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Most of us have been taught to wash our hands since early childhood. But the hand hygiene we were taught can be improved. Especially now during summer vacation when we spend more time out of our own friendly-germ environment and possibly traveling, it makes sense to follow sensible precautions.

When do you wash hands? Naturally, after toilet use and after touching yucky things like garbage. How about:

  • Before starting to cook. While cooking, after you’ve handled raw meat. After any time you’ve handled raw meat.
  • Before eating. Coming in from the street and ravenous? Take a minute to wash before attacking the meal.
  • If you’re taking care of a sick person, wash before and after contact. Wash before and after treating a cut or a wound.
  • Wash well after changing diapers or wiping a child or adult.
  • Got a runny nose? Even if you’re not sick, do everyone a favor and wash your hands after a nose-blowing session. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow to minimize spreading airborne cooties.
  • You love your pets, but their body wastes and food are as germy yours. So wash after handling pet food and changing kitty litter or the newspaper in the hamster’s cage.

Running water and soap are your best tools for hand-washing. Remember that the backs of your hands and between your fingers need lathering too. Use a nail brush to get dirt out from under your nails. Avoid using water that’s already been used, for example, water standing in a basin.

How long to lather? 20 seconds will do it. Or hum “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice while soaping up.

Dry thoroughly. If no clean towel is available, swish your your hands around to dry in the air. Dirty towels are worse than useless, they’re dangerous, especially if sick people are using them.

A hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content will do instead of washing, but not as efficiently as water and soap, and especially if your hands are greasy or dirty with visible dirt. Rub the sanitizer between your palms, on the backs of your hands and between your fingers until it’s almost evaporated. Wave your hands to air dry.

Note that some substances, notably pesticides and heavy metals, aren’t removed from the skin with alcohol.If you’ve had contact with pesticides, wash with soap and water. Call a poison control center if the contact has been extensive, and follow instructions.

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)-based hand sanitizers are safe when used as directed, but older children and adults might swallow some to get drunk. Bad idea.  Swallowing more than two mouthfuls will poison a person.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, from 2011 – 2015, U.S. poison control centers received nearly 85,000 calls about hand sanitizer exposures among children. Children may be particularly likely to swallow hand sanitizers that are scented, brightly colored, or attractively packaged.

Hand sanitizers should be stored out of the reach of young children and should be used with adult supervision. Child-resistant caps could also help reduce hand sanitizer-related poisonings among young children.

:: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

 

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The rocky brown soil of the Negev desert suggests an empty environment, but recent excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority have brought to light an ancient mosque from the 7th-8th centuries CE there. It’s one of the earliest known mosques in the world, a surprising find in the area.

Dr. Jon Seligman and Shahar Zur, directors of the excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority, say,

“A small rural mosque, dated to the 7th to 8th centuries C.E., is a rare finding anywhere in the world, especially in the area north of Be’er Sheva, where no similar building has previously been discovered. We know of large mosques in Jerusalem and Mecca from this period, but we have evidence of an ancient house of prayer here, which apparently served the farmers who lived in the area.

“We found remains of an open-air mosque – a rectangular building with a “Mihrab” – a prayer niche – facing south, towards Mecca. These features are evidence of the purpose for which this building was used, many hundred years ago”.

Also discovered are the remains of a a farm from the end of the Byzantine period (6th – 7th Century C.E.), and a small settlement from the beginning of the Islamic period (7th – 8th Century B.C.). There are stone buildings divided into living and storage spaces, open courtyards, kitchens and places for tabuns (outdoor ovens). According to the directors of the excavations,

“These sites were part of the agricultural structure in the Northern Negev in ancient times.” They estimate that the then-fertile soil and accessible water streams attracted potential farmers to the area.

According to Prof. Gideon Avni, an Israel Antiquities Authority expert on this period,

“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E. The discovery of a mosque near an agricultural settlement between Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon also indicates the processes of cultural and religious change which the country underwent during the transition from the Byzantine to the early Islamic period.

“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.

“According to historical Islamic sources, the new Islamic regime distributed plots of land to its senior officials, including Amr ibn al-‘As, an Arab military commander who conquered Israel and Syria. The continuation of excavations on the site will perhaps provide answers to the questions regarding the foundation of the settlement and the nearby mosque, and its connection to the Arab conquerors of Israel.”

Ground preparation for constructing a new neighborhood in the Beduin town of Rahat uncovered the ancient remains. The Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev and the Israel Antiquities Authority are now examining possible ways in which this special finding can be integrated into the neighborhood .

The excavation is a joint project of the Israel Antiquities Authority with Bedouin residents and youth groups. It’s part of the Legacy Project led by the Antiquities Authority in recent years, a project organizing youth groups to help with the excavations during the summer vacation. The kids earn a fair wage, get into touch with the past, and gain experiences that will last a lifetime. The project is financed by the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev, and the Emek Ayalon Infrastructure & Projects Management Ltd (2000).

Photos by Anat Rasiuk/Israel Antiquities Authority.

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The best businesses don’t just turn a profit –– they make a positive impact in the lives of their employees and customers. And there’s no better way for a business to boost its reputation and do good for others than to increase its sustainability and go green. Indeed, making a few eco-friendly changes can lead not only to a better environment, but also more marketing opportunities and improved public relations. With all that in mind, today we’re going to share five ways businesses can help out the environment:

Partner with a Charity

Teaming up with a charitable organization is almost always a good idea for businesses. Again, it’s fundamentally a kind thing to do, but it will also likely score a given business valuable brownie points with consumers. As such, partnering with an environmentally conscious group is a great way to do your part for the planet, while also showing your company’s values and beliefs to the rest of the world.

Go Paperless

Plain and simple, the less waste your company produces, the more sustainable your operation becomes. Eliminating paper might seem like a straightforward enough process. However, in addition to ditching regular sheets of printing paper, businesses may also consider doing away with paper plates, utensils, and other disposable items like straws. Replacing these items in your kitchen area with reusable alternatives will save your company money and underscore your commitment to the environment.

Start a Recycling Program

It’s one thing to have recycling bins placed strategically throughout your office. It’s quite another to energize your staff and to launch a successful recycling program. Consider offering a reward to whomever recycles the most, or give your entire team a small bonus if they reach a certain recycling total at the end of the year. Motivating your team to recycle can be fun too!

Explore Remote Employment

Cars, buses, trains –– they all emit harmful chemicals that contribute to climate change. Given that fact, businesses can make themselves more eco-friendly by allowing their employees to work from home or from remote locations. Plus, modern professionals love the flexibility remote employment affords.

Conserve Energy

Businesses can cut down on utility bills and promote sustainability by purchasing products like energy-efficient light bulbs. Additionally, business owners may also consider lowering the heat or air conditioning overnight when employees aren’t in the office.

The Bottom Line

Whether your business develops intricate equipment like microplates, or you sell life insurance, every company can be more sustainable. Fortunately, the above tips can help you do your part for the green cause!

 

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The internet may be considered one of the wonders of our modern world. Not only has it allowed for information to be distributed faster and more easily, but it has also greatly reduced the energy required to distribute information and services.

Mailing Service

The wise usage of the internet can reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary physical services. Sending information via mail can now be done instantly though email services rather than the conventional way of sending mail. Even better, working with email will not leave any carbon footprint on the environment. Lately, many postal services keep track on the level of CO2 emissions associated with mail transportation and from the requirements to run their facilities.

Besides the transportation of mail, there is also the deforestation problem. Deforestation is happening on a large scale in order to meet the ever growing demand of paper. In contrast, virtual “paper” is limitless and does not leave any impact on the environment.

Digital Goods

The distribution of some goods is also much easier. One industry that has greatly benefited from the internet is the gaming industry. A while back, one would have to wait until the newest game release could be found in their local gaming shop. This is no longer the case, as distribution of video games is now much simpler with online services such as Steam or GOG. While it is hard to pinpoint the exact time when digital distribution will replace physical ones, some estimate that the year 2022 would probably be a possibility.

Physical distribution of video games consume a lot of energy. From the fabrication of disks, cartridges and cases followed by transportation required to reach your local shelf. The internet has also been beneficial for the casino industry, as many of them are now available online. There is no denying that a casino establishment consumes a lot of energy. Besides the general comfort provided for guests such as heating and air conditioning, there are also many machines found in casinos which consume a lot of electricity.

Gaming Alternatives

Lately, many casino establishments are looking to become more eco friendly and are making great efforts to ensure that their CO2 footprint is smaller on the environment. The online environment has also helped in this regard. Because many of the games can be found online, people are no longer required to travel to these establishments and the games can be enjoyed from their home. And so, the negative impact from transportation is greatly reduced.

Slot machines occupy a lot of space, sometimes an entire floor of a casino. This is due to the fact that they are the most played type of casino games and many people enjoy them. A similar situation can be found in online casinos, except that space is not an issue. GameTwist Online for example, has a large number of slot games available on their website that people can choose to play.

On casino websites, you will have access to poker games, roulette and a large number of free slots of which you can choose to play.  You will be able to play all of these different types of games. For convenience each type of game is placed in their respective category for easier navigation. Since many people consume media on their mobile phones, there is also an app version of the casino for Android and iOS. The casino app itself is like a package that contains most of the games found their website.

This is more convenient than having an entire floor of a casino filled by slot machines and other table games. And by having the games available on your phone, there is no longer the need for people to physically travel to land-based casinos to enjoy the games. Less traveling will result in less pollution and less energy consumption for transportation.

Preparing for the Future

The internet may not solve many of the environmental issues but it can clearly be used to reduce the impact of some industries. As mentioned, the physical mailing service can be completely replaced with the digital counterpart and the gaming industry itself will reach a point where their products will be only digitally distributed. As time passes, many industries are becoming aware of the challenges that we face regarding climate change and are many are taking the necessary steps to reduce the negative impact that they have on the environment. 

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Water treatment systems use settling tanks unit to allow for sedimentation and settling. The main aim of tube settlers is to minimize the vertical distance that a small floc particle must settle before agglomerating into larger particles.

Water treatment is a major requirement both for raw water for drinking and wastewater management. Both have particles which need to sediment in order to obtain clear water.

Tube settler design involves the use of multiple tubular channels sloping at an angle of 60 degrees and adjacent to each other. This helps in increasing the settling area effectively. Tube settler design reduces the depth significantly compared to the conventional clarifier. This helps in reduction of settling time.

Tube settler collects solids into a compact mass and slides it down the tube channel. When using tube settlers water flow is upward through the tubes and the solids slide down against the current using gravity.

ADVANTAGES OF TUBE SETTLERS

  • They can be applied to new or existing clarifiers of any size
  • Tube settler clarifier increases the rate of operation by 2 to 4 times the normal rate of a conventional clarifier
  • They are available in varying sizes and shapes for fitting in different tanks
  • They are of lightweight because of the material used in manufacturing.
  • Tube settlers enable cutting of coagulant dosage and they maintain lower influent turbidity in the treatment of plant filters.
  • Saving of operating costs in water and electricity because of less filter backwash.
  • New installations can be made smaller because of the increased flow capability.
  • Tube settlers increase flow capacity through the expansion of settling capacity
  • They increase the solid removal rate in the settling tank

TUBE SETTLER’S DISADVANTAGES

  • May have flow distribution issues due to the smaller path of water flow which may cause plugging.
  • The material used for tube settler media may break and move downward into the filter membrane equipment.

TUBE SETTLER SPECIFICATIONS

Tube settlers are specified using

  • Size – it the diameter of the tubing in millimeters
  • Thickness – it defines the wall of the tube settler individual tube.
  • Quantity – it defines the number of tubes per meter square.
  • Weight – it is defined using Kgs per meter square.
  • Specific surface area – expressed as M2 per M3

TUBE SETTLER DESIGN

Tube settlers are designed using PVC, PP or FRP. The design may be the square type or round type tubing. The materials make them lightweight easy to retrofit.

USES OF TUBE SETTLERS

They can be used in the treatment of raw water. The source can either be a river or stagnant water.

Tube settlers save costs of boiling and condensation used to clean water.

Tube settlers are used in the treatment of sewerage water.

TUBE SETTLERS VS PLATE SETTLERS

Plate settlers are more reliable, have low maintenance and are long-lasting. As enhancement used in clarifiers, they decrease the footprint by as much as 50% over basins using tube settlers. Plate settler is made of stainless steel making them last longer than tube settlers.

Plate settlers require low maintenance than tube settlers

Plate settler require smaller basins than tube settlers

Plate settlers need specific installation height although the problem may be overcome by using special plant design.

The initial investment cost of plate settlers is greater than tube settlers

Plate settlers can be built with an enhancement that allows you to walk on during installation and maintenance. The walk-on enhancement enables high-pressure washing without causing damage to the plate settlers.

Influent distribution in plate settlers is blended with basin water and eliminating diving currents, short-circuiting and other differential density anomalies.

Effluent distribution – Plate settler have features that create even draw across the top tube. The mechanism ensures even distribution over the width of the plate settler.

CHOICE BETWEEN TUBE SETTLER AND PLATE SETTLER

The following variables should be considered when making a choice between tube settler and plate settler.

Specific application – it is the type of treatment required e.g. wastewater treatment or the amount of dirt in the raw water.

Space

The geometry of the treatment basin

Expected results

Lifetime costs of maintenance and replacement

Tube settler wastewater treatment ensures maximum clearance of sludge removal. The tubes extend the filter run time and use the minimal chemical to induce sedimentation.

Tube settler tank is used for clarification before getting the effluent. It is attached to the main quiescent zone and separated from the zone by the use of baffle.

Proven over time tube settler are ideal for water treatment especially if the budget is low. When using tube settler the efficiency can be increased by the length and increased no of the tubes in the tank. Currently, there is a tube settler made of stainless steel by some manufacturers. They reduce the shortcoming of PVC tube settler chards from breakages.

Good tube settler media should consider the topography to reduce wastage of resources.

Tube settlers are applicable for varying uses and are portable. They can be used in portable water treatment units.

Water treatment is a requirement for consumable water and when disposing wastewater. There are regulations defining the quality of water released to the environment after use in waste management.

Tube settler help in removing physical particles through sedimentation and do not remove the chemicals contained in the water. 

Tube Settler Vs Tube Clarifier

The difference between tube settler Vs tube clarifier is that a clarifier uses mechanical means when removing solids created by sedimentation while a settler aids in sedimentation. Tube clarifier clears what is created by tube settler.

CONCLUSION

Plate settler and tube settler both are technologies used to enhance sedimentation only. Each has its advantages. Tube settlers are affordable, reliable and effective.

Tube settlers are easy to upgrade because they use lightweight materials and installation procedure is not complicated.

Tube settlers wastewater treatment is an ideal technology for enhancing sedimentation.

 

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Lots of health benefit claims are made of CBD oil (see Bokh’s post on what non-psychoative, cannabis-derived CBD is). The most popular reason to use the oil is for pain management, a boon to people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia and joint pain from trauma. It’s also a popular alternative medicine product said to reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, and relieve the symptoms of neurological ailments such as epilepsy and movement disorders. In addition, the American Cancer Society supports the claim that CBD oil can slow down the growth of cancer causing cells.

As CBD oil contains a low level of cannabis’s psychoactive compound THC (no more than 0.03% by law) it doesn’t provoke the exhilarating “high” associated with straight cannabis use.

CBD oil is most often taken by mouth, applied on the skin as part of a lotion or inhaled with a vaporizer. There’s some interest in cooking with it. While it’s possible, be aware:  heat, contact with other foods, and exposure to air cause it to degrade, so cooking it loses some of its benefits.

“CBD is regarded as a relatively stable botanical, but it does lose potency over time, as it degrades,” says Dr. Glen Miller, an organic chemist at the University of New Hampshire. “The literature suggests that degradation occurs primarily in three ways, including exposure to acid and exposure to basic/alkaline conditions. But the most likely cause of CBD degradation is oxidation, which occurs upon exposure to oxygen or air, especially at elevated temperatures, but even at room temperature over longer periods of time.”

In other words, you don’t want to mix CBD oil in salad dressing with vinegar or lemon juice, and once you open the bottle, you should refrigerate and use it up soon.

How about baking with CBD oil? Some, especially vendors of CBD-enriched pastries, say that it’s fine to bake it into cookies, which have a shorter cooking time than, say, a cake. But don’t use it to fry anything, as the beneficial cannabinoid elements in it will cook right out.

The truth about CBD oil taste: it’s unpleasant. You may need to hold your nose and close your eyes to swallow it. Are there any alternatives out there? Of course, capsules. And expensive products, like CBD-infused toothpicks, gummy bears or lipstick. You can order them online. But if you suffer from chronic pain, depression, or any of the long list of ailments CBD is said to relieve, your best bet is to buy CBD isolate.

It’s the essence of CBD in powder form. You can dress almost any food with it, as its taste is mild and it dissolves easily. Just use it in foods that don’t need much heat. Some examples: stir it into guacamole; spoon it into a smoothie; mix it into salsa or gravy just before serving. Or you can tincture it into alcohol for efficient, fast relief. Ultimately, CBD isolate saves money, too, as it yields good results using less product.

The Web yields many sites advising how to use CBD oil and isolate, including recipes. Do a quick search, and if you live with chronic pain, physical or mental, you may decide to give CBD a try.

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If it’s one great thing that the legal cannabis industry has done for the world, it’s educate on the myriad of ways that non-psychoactive cannabis can be used for health and wellbeing. Now, that doesn’t mean the legal cannabis industry hasn’t done any other great things; the cannabis legalization movement gave the public the freedom to use plant-derived cannabinoids. And, of course, the legalization movement also freed up a lot of time for police, who, to be honest, could be better spending their time than arresting cannabis users.

Anyway, the point is that both hemp and marijuana can be used for their non-psychoactive properties. So for those who are still skeptical about the intoxicating effects of THC, there exist a plethora of ways to get the benefits of cannabis even without being intoxicated. 

If you’re lucky enough to live in a cannabis-friendly country and can grow your own cannabis, all the power to you. This makes the possibilities even greater. 

So — to all the green juice and sprout lovers who are enthusiastic about their health but don’t care too much for being high: you’re about to learn some of the ways you can reap the rewards of cannabis without being stoned.

1. Isolated cannabinoids

The first, and perhaps the most obvious, way to use non-psychoactive cannabis is to opt for isolated cannabinoids. Thanks to the rapid technological advancement within the cannabis industry, we are now able to isolate single compounds from the cannabis plant. This includes the hundreds of non-psychoactive terpenes and cannabinoids. 

CBD is the most abundant, non-psychoactive cannabinoid in hemp and marijuana. It is most often extracted from hemp, because hemp has naturally higher levels of CBD than marijuana. However, from time to time, CBD is also extracted from marijuana.

CBD is therapeutic in a multitude of different ways (a short Google search will reveal hundreds) and of course, it doesn’t have the psychoactive effects of THC. It can be consumed as CBD oil, CBD edibles, topical treatments or simply as CBD isolate. 

2. Keep it localized (don’t ingest)

The next way is to use topical cannabis. Even cannabis rich in THC can be transformed into a non-intoxicating cannabis lotion. Many athletes, and even those with rheumatoid arthritis, are beginning to brag about the effects that topical cannabis has for sore muscles and inflammation.

In fact, there are cannabinoid receptors all over the skin. When cannabis is applied topically to the skin, it can mediate pain, make skin healthier and decrease inflammation locally. 

3. Juice raw cannabis

If you can home-grow cannabis in your country, then juicing it is the best way to get cannabinoids into the body. Interestingly, THC ingested in its raw form is non-psychoactive. This is because, in raw cannabis, it exists in its acidic form, THC-A. It is converted to THC as part of a degenerative process of the molecule, specifically when it is exposed to heat. This process is called decarboxylation. Cannabis is decarboxylated before making edibles to make it psychoactive, or otherwise, it happens in a pipe or joint when somebody puts the lighter on it!

So then, taking cannabis fresh off the plant and into the juicer does not elicit any psychoactive effects. On top of this, cannabinoids in their acidic form are much better absorbed by the body, and therefore bioavailability is greater. 

4. Liquid terpenes!

Cannabis isn’t just cannabinoids, although they are the molecules specific to cannabis. A single cannabis specimen can contain over 400 different compounds. These include cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Terpenes are the molecules responsible for giving cannabis its characteristic smell and they have remedial properties of their own.

In fact, the entire discipline of aromatherapy is based in the therapeutic effects of terpenes. They are the essential oils of a plant. And as far as we know, they are non-psychoactive — although their varying qualities do contribute to the overall effect of cannabis.

The application of extraction technology means that liquid terpenes are often produced as a byproduct of cannabinoid extraction. They are sometimes available for sale and can be used in a vaporizer or can be used to make other DIY things: lotions, perfumes and maybe even consumed in small doses.

5. Hempseed

When people praise cannabis for how versatile it is, they’re justified. Virtually every part of the hemp plant can be used for something, including the seeds (other than for planting). Hempseed is jam packed with all kinds of goodness, including being rich in protein beneficial fatty acids. It can be added to everything, too and has a delicious nutty flavor. It can be thrown in salads, mixed into juices or simply added to a nut mix.

Hempseed oil also has a number of applications. It can be applied to the skin or the hair, or can be used in cooking instead of other oils.

Cannabis is much more than just a piece of plant material to put in the end of a pipe. Long gone are the days where that was the only way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. The legal cannabis industry has created so many ways for people to reap the rewards of cannabinoids that now, virtually anybody can use them! 

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Conventional thought among archaeologists was that Neolithic people didn’t settle in the area around the Judean Hills. Yet Motza, 5 kilometers west of Jerusalem, was always within easy distance of fresh water from the Sorek river, and near good agricultural ground. A trail coming from the southern foothills allowed access to traders and emigrants. All those were good reasons for past people to settle in the area.

Recent excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Motza junction uncovered a huge settlement from the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age). It’s the largest known in Israel from that period, and one of the largest of its kind in the region. See also our post about the oldest-known bread, discovered in Jordan.

Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Dr. Jacob Vardi, Antiquities Authority excavation directors at Motza say,

“This is the first time that such a large-scale settlement from the Neolithic Period – 9,000 years ago – has been discovered in Israel. Until now, it was believed that the Judea area was empty, and that sites of that size existed only on the other bank of the Jordan river, or at the Northern Levant.”

The researchers estimate that 2000-3000 people lived and worked in the area until now considered barren.  They excavated large buildings with alleys running between them, and found house spaces, storage sheds, public spaces, tombs,and places of worship. Uncovered burial offerings made of materials from Anatolian volcanic glass, and sea shells from the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, show that the inhabitants traded with foreigners. Artistic figurines were found (presumably house idols).

Jewelry for everyday was also uncovered: bracelets and medallions made of alabaster beads and mother of pearl, and carefully crafted stone-bead bracelets for children to wear.

Judging from the thousands of flint arrowheads found, hunting was part of everyday subsistence, and warlike defense was well understood. The remains of axes, sickles and knives show that the inhabitants made and used tools for agriculture. Indeed, huge quantities of identifiable pulses, especially lentils, were found in the storage sheds. Yet it seems that the people of the settlement were turning away from hunting, as large quantities of sheep bones found indicate a preference for home-raised meat instead.

The excavations were initiated and financed by the Netivei Israel Company (the National Transport Infrastructure company), after the Highway 16 Project revealed archaeological remains. The project is constructing a new entrance road to Jerusalem from the west, connecting the National Highway 1 from the Motza area to the southern part of Jerusalem including two double tunnels. It is considered vital to access to Jerusalem.

Gilad Naor, Head of Projects Department at the Netivei Israel Company says, “It is a huge privilege for us, as the Israel National Transport Infrastructure Company, that tomorrow’s transportation infrastructure projects facilitate such special discoveries in the splendid history of our country.”

In preparation for the release of the excavated area, the entire site was documented using advanced 3D technology that will enable research of every detail digitally. A large part of the prehistoric site around the excavation will be preserved. In addition, there will be an exhibition showing the site’s history built by the Israel Antiquities Authority. At Tel Motza, adjacent to this excavation, archaeological remains are being preserved for the public. Conservation and accessibility works are underway in nearby Tel Bet Shemesh and Tel Yarmut.

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Everyone has their own comfort level in the kitchen. Some people feel completely comfortable with a knife in hand while others use the kitchen for snacks and as a place to sit while ordering take-out. 

Regardless of the frequency that you use your kitchen, you can hit the progressive jackpot in saving time, money and aggravation by keeping a ready list of some of the most useful kitchen hacks. 

Whether you’re struggling with a stuck jar lid, find your eyes watering while chopping onions or trying to fish pieces of egg shells out of your dish, our list of the kitchen experts’ top kitchen hacks will be useful. 

Preparing Food

  • If you’re getting ready to grate hard cheese, put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to keep the cheese from sticking to the grater while grating. Soft cheeses (goat cheese, brie) can be sliced smoothly using dental floss. 
  • Sick of watery eyes from cutting onions? Freeze the onion before chopping.  If you don’t have time to freeze the onion before it needs to be cut, put a piece or bread or a spoon in your mouth while you are cutting it. Some people say that the bread will absorb the onion’s odor to keep it from reaching your nose but no one seems to know why the spoon works….but it does!
  • To open a stuck jar lid, you can give it more traction by wrapping the lid with a rubber band. If that’s not enough, grasp the wrapped lid with a towel.  You can also bang the side of the lid on a countertop or on the floor to break the suction that is keeping the lid from turning.
  • If you’re baking with butter or making herb butter, you need to soften the butter before you work with it.  You can leave it on the counter for awhile first but that requires planning. Alternately, you can put it in a plastic bag and roll it with a rolling pin. You can also grate it with a grater.  An even simpler idea involves cutting the block of butter into smaller cubes for faster softening.
  • How many times do you skip a recipe because it calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any? Truthfully, buttermilk isn’t a staple that people generally keep stocked.  You can easily make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.  You won’t get a thick, creaming genuine buttermilk but the ersatz buttermilk will work well in your recipe.
  • Honey is expensive. There’s no reason to go out and buy more honey just because the honey that you have in your cupboard has crystalized.  Take the honey jar and remove the lid.  Then put it in a pan or pot of boiling water. The honey will de-crystalize and you can pour it out.
  • Cracking raw eggs almost always means that some shell gets mixed in with the raw egg. To remove the shell, scoop it up with the half piece of the already-cracked egg shell.  That half acts as a magnet to scoop out errant shell pieces.
  • Speaking of honey, if you need to measure out sticky stuff like honey, peanut butter, tehina, etc, you can save yourself some clean-up time by rubbing some oil on the measuring cup before you pour in the sticky ingredient.
  • In addition to being a delicious addition to soups, salads and sauces, garlic is good for you. Too often, cooks skimp on the garlic because it’s such a pain in the you-know-what to peel.  For a quick peel hack, remove all the cloves from the garlic bulb and then whack each clove with a rolling pin. The skin will disengage from the garlic clove.

Storing Food

  • Store tomatoes at room temperature to keep them fresh longer
  • Keep peeled potatoes white by covering them with cold water. When potatoes are peeled, they release a starch that makes them oxidize.  If you put them in cold water, they won’t turn brown as the starch is released into the water (throw out the water when you’re ready to cook).
  • Wrap the end of a bunch of bananas with plastic to keep them fresher, longer. Conversely, if you want to ripen a banana faster, put it in a paper bag.
  • Check your eggs for freshness by putting them in a bowl of water. Eggs that sink to the bottom of the bowl are fresh but those that float are not.

Cooking and Baking

  • Parchment paper is your friend.  Use it to put in the pan when baking. Clean-up is 100% easier and more efficient. To remove from parchment paper more easily, grease the parchment paper before you pour in the dough or food.
  • Don’t have a coffee maker to brew a good cup of coffee? Use a strainer.  Put 1 Tbsp coffee grounds per cup in the strainer (a small strainer is best).  Pour boiling water over the coffee grounds to brew the coffee. You can even add your coffee grounds to your plants to perk up your garden.

Leftovers

  • Repurpose your leftovers into new and different meal options. Match cooked chicken or fish with a different starch – noodles, potatoes, rice, etc or add some vegetables and eggs and mix it into a casserole.  The family doesn’t have to FEEL like their eating leftovers, even when they are.
  • If you reheat food in a microwave, put a cup of water next to the dish to keep it moist.
  • When reheating a block of pasta in the microwave, carve a hole in the middle of the pasta to help it heat evenly.

Freezing

  • Fresh herbs are worth their weight in gold for creating the best dishes. Freeze them in ice cube containers and then you can use them later, as a seasoning agent that still has all of its freshness.
  • Freeze shelled nuts, especially in warm weather, to help them preserve their natural oils and keep bugs from infesting them.

Clean Up

  • Rub your hands with lemon juice to remove strong odors (onions, garlic, etc). Baking soda also works well.
  • You can get pesticides off your fruits and vegetables by soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda for 15 minutes before eating.
  • Clean a coffee grinder, blender or food processor by running it for a few minutes with a soap and water mixture. You’ll get all the crumbs out of the hard-to-get-to places and save yourself a good bit of time. 

Safety

  • Keep a supply of baking soda stocked, within easy reach, in the kitchen. Baking soda is useful in putting out grease fires.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near your cooking area.
  • Make sure that you have a working smoke detector near your kitchen.  Check it every month to make sure that the battery is working.   

 

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The Green New Deal is a term that has been thrown around recently as a potential option to address serious issues related to climate change. While many people have heard about this proposal, there are still a lot of questions about what it actually entails. The Green New Deal is a term that builds off of the New Deal that was run by Franklin Roosevelt shortly after the Great Depression. By coining a term such as the Green New Deal, legislators are seeking to build off of the successes that came from the New Deal, which was in effect about 80 years ago. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the proposals of the Green New Deal. What are a few of the most common questions?

What Exactly is the Green New Deal?

In the Green New Deal, the government does not fund projects directly but instead provides monetary backing to promote a variety of sources of clean energy. Some examples of clean energy include:

  • Water power such as hydroelectric plants
  • Solar power such as solar panels
  • Wind power such as windmills

Specifically, the Green New Deal will seek to shift the country’s dependence away from fossil fuels and carbon emissions, instead choosing to focus on “green” sources of clean energy. By reducing the country’s consumption of fossil fuels, the hope is that the rate of climate change will start to slow. 

What Does the Green New Deal Do?

The goal of the Green New Deal is to shift the country to 100 percent reliability on zero-emission energy sources over the next 10 years. While this is a great goal, it is a tough ask. Currently, about 80 percent of the country’s energy needs are met by the country’s consumption of fossil fuels. The country would try to create tax incentives for people to use green sources of energy. Furthermore, the Green New Deal also seeks to increase the number of educational opportunities that are available in this sector.

How Does the Green New Deal Plan to Accomplish These Goals?

Unfortunately, the specifics of the plan are still largely unknown. In the resolution that was placed before Congress, the bill tried to display the problems of climate change alongside the Green New Deal with an increased sense of urgency. Prior to this point, many of the plans to address carbon emissions have been met with legislation such as an increased tax on fossil fuels. At the very least, the Green New Deal has led to an increased discussion surrounding climate change. On the other hand, the specifics at this point are still very much unknown.

How Much Does the Green New Deal Cost?

This is another common question; however, without any specifics of the plan, it is difficult to estimate the cost of this plan. Some of the early estimates have come in at around $1 trillion per year for the next 10 years. Even though many people feel that the United States can handle a much larger deficit, it will still be tough to pass a plan through Congress until the numbers become more concrete. 

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