No way to distinguish which hoverboards are fire prone … yet

red hoverboard
Source: Wikipedia
Wired tells us: the strangest thing about hoverboards is that, “this year’s most popular holiday gift keeps catching on fire.”

Jay Whitacre, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, says that the problem doesn’t have to do with these self-balancing scooters themselves, but with the quality of the batteries being used (in some)…

“There are a lot of factories in China that now make Li-ion batteries, and the reality is that the quality and consistency of these batteries is typically not as good as what is found in top tier producers such as LG or Samsung,” Whitacre says. “These are known as ‘low cost li-ion batteries’ by most in the industry—they are not knockoffs or copies, but are instead just mass-manufactured cells.” read more

In 84 seconds learn why Cable & Telcos are trying to gut Net Neutrality funding and take it away from you

Squeezing internet users
FFTF warns that Big Cable & Telcos want to squeeze more money out of users

Fight for the Future cautions:

Net Neutrality is Under Attack. Don't let Congress break the Internet by dismantling Net Neutrality — share this video to raise the alarm.

Why not also call your elected federal officials and ask them to protect net neutrality on your behalf? Calling is a powerful action to make sure net neutrality doesn’t go away. Call using this convenient tool.

white house net neutrality letter
President Obama endorses net neutrality
The White House defines net neutrality:

More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money. read more

Ayuda grátis y de bajo costo con solicitudes de DACA

DACA 3 anos

Recursos para aplicar ó renovar su solicitud de la Acción Diferida – DACA

El programa DACA se ha expandido y algunos de las reglamentaciones se han cambiado. Aprenda más.

El primer paso para todo solicitante sería registrarse con la red nacional DACA Renewal Network. Esto es un proyecto de United We Dream, una organización fundado por jovenes indocumentados para ayudar a la comunidad de los DREAMers. El grupo brinda ayuda a nivel nacional con identificar abogados y programas que ofrecen asistencia con las solicitudes DACA grátis ó a bajo costo. También informa sobre cambios en el programa DACA y el progreso de la propuesta DREAM Act legislación. read more

Google tracks everything you do, but you can stop them

stop spying on usGoogle tracks every place you go and records every search you make. They also store voice recordings of every interaction you have with ‘Google Now’. If you feel this is kinda creepy or just like privacy, checks out these posts and learn how to turn off Google’s tracking and delete your stored history items:

Best leadership video: how to build a movement in 3 minutes aka Dancing Guy

dancing guy & first followerYou need followers to make a movement. The Dancing Guy leadership video lesson shows that people actually follow other followers, thereby saving the original leader from being a “lone nut”. At the same time, this makes the first few followers leaders in their own right. Especially, the first follower.

So remember to enjoy the heck out of everyone that jumps on your bandwagon 🙂 – they’re making you the leader you want to be.

read more

Introducing the ball thrower your dog can use without you

dachshund using iFetchThey’ve invented a ball thrower your dog can use without you. Isn’t that nice? (BTW, it works for big and small dogs.)

Watch it in action… Buy it on Amazon!

Hat tip to Nora Montoya for this find

33 brilliant tricks to keep your home organized

This is the best home item organizing list I’ve come across. I might be in love. Two of my favorites:

duvet covers inside pillow cases
Store duvet covers inside pillow cases

paper clip end of tape

Want to make sure you’re still registered to vote?

Craig Newmark wants you to voteCraig Newmark (Craigslist) wants to make sure you can vote and reminds us, “In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register!

Do you know that if you did not vote in two consecutive federal elections, your name is removed from the voter registration roll? Thousands of voters are not registered and don’t even know it. But learning your voter registration status is this simple: Visit and select ‘Am I Registered?’ read more

Democratic citizens have obligations, not just rights

dismantle corporate powerI don’t know why this important US Department of State document is housed on a Taiwanese website. but I like how it lays out the Citizen Responsibilities in a Democracy. Some of the juicier exerpts are:

Citizenship in a democracy requires participation, civility, and even patience.

Democratic citizens recognize that they not only have rights, they have responsibilities. They recognize that democracy requires an investment of time and hard work — a government of the people demands constant vigilance and support by the people. read more

Random winter survival hacks

Winter bench

To get your car unstuck

Get an old carpet remnant – 6 foot long is best but 4 foot is OK too – by 18″ to 24″ wide. Roll it up and place inside a big garbage bag in your car. If your car gets stuck, forget about shoveling! Put the carpet upside down wedged under your tires. The tufts instantly freeze into the ice and stay there till the ice thaws or you rip the carpet off. Store the wet carpet piece in the garbage bag until you can take it out and dry it well. If it gets too dirty or smelly, get a new one. read more

Being caring is not noble, it’s essential.

Please, let’s never forget how important it is to care for people more vulnerable than ourselves. Recently I told about Narayanan Krishnan who walked away from a good job to devote his life to caring for India’s homeless (I love this story). And here’s another one, right here in the US!

Dr. Withers

Dr. Jim Withers started off dressing like a homeless man to gain the trust of homeless people living on the streets of Pittsburgh in order to give them free medical treatment. His guide was a formerly homeless man who told him, “Don’t dress like a doctor and don’t act like a jerk.” The pair once told clients the medicines in their backpacks were samples from pharmaceutical companies, but since he became a hero to the street community, Dr. Withers doesn’t need to pretend any more. read more

Beware! ransomware locks up your computer or phone until you pay

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 6.26.30 PMWAKV Radio Station in Plainwell, MI had its show archives and music wiped out by ransomware thieves. Fortunately, they had their music library backed up on another computer.

CNet writer Seth Rosenblatt explains in his report “Your computer and smartphone, held hostage: Cybercriminals are making their attacks personal, remotely locking your computers and smartphones until you pay a hefty ransom.”

The mother of a New York Times writer got ransomeware hacked and paid $200 to get access to her data back. As Alina Simone’s family learned, the criminals don’t want your data, they just want your money. And they’re getting plenty of it: read more

Where to get legally free-to-use photos

free-stuffYou’ve become aware that copying photos and graphic images you find on the internet might be considered stealing them. This may or may not be morally wrong but breaking the law is at least a bit problematic. If you need pictures and don’t want to pay for them, here are sources for getting them legally free:

creative commons logoImages licensed under Creative Commons terms are free to use although they do have some strings attached to them (creators want to be named, for one thing). Photopin is a repository where you can find plenty of “free” Creative Commons pictures. read more

Writing tip: add visualization with just a few extra words

I came across a beautiful snippet of writing this morning. By adding several words about the woman who walks into the village carrying a tote, Shirley Rousseau Murphy transformed an abstract sentence into a visual treat replete with a subject who lays claim to habits, personality and wow – even a history. I’ve never so clearly experienced the power of the power of visualization, until now. From Cat Breaking Free (2005, p 66):

Maybe he’d wait until tomorrow, take the sensible route, lay low until Chichi walked into the village early, as she often did, carrying her big canvas tote. read more

Can you legally record a conversation in New Jersey?

phonerecordingYou can legally record both phone and in-person conversations in New Jersey as long as one of the people in that conversation agrees to the recording of it – and it’s fine if the one person is you. State law makes the phone recording legal; and federal law makes the in-person conversation recordings legal. If you need guidance for your state, check the Digital Media Law Project website.

Digital Media Law Project tells us that New Jersey is a “one-party consent” law state as regards the recording of both phone and in-person conversations: read more

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