Monday, August 26, 2019

2019-08-27 1-4 PM Eastern - 3D Printing Class for the Blind and Visually Impaired

3D Printing
3D Printing

From ArcticPixy, Virtual Ability community member

If you are blind or visually impaired, you may think the 3D printing craze is not accessible to you. Not so!

The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library (New York, NY) is offering a class titled “Accessible & Assistive Technology: 3D Design with Code: a Gentle Intro to OpenScad.” The class will be held on Tuesday, August 27, 2019, from 1 to 4 pm Eastern (10am to 1pm ST/Pacific).

OpenScad is software that lets you create shapes with just a few lines of code. Combining these shapes allows you to build any 3-dimensional object you like using a laser cutter, 3D printer, or CNC machine. Although the software does show a visual image onscreen of what you create with code, you do not need to see it. You’ll learn to read the code itself to understand and revise your design. You will be using your spatial thinking abilities.

You do not need to have any prior coding experience! If you use a screen reader, set it so it reads punctuation marks (because those are parts of code). Braille readers work well with this software.

Learn more about the class here:

Everyone is welcome to attend this class, either in person at the library in New York City or remotely using Zoom. You do not need to be a resident of New York, or of the United States, as we understand it. Please register for both in-person and Zoom attendance by emailing or calling (212) 621-0627.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

TIP - Key nutrients to improve your health

Nutrients come in many forms!

Protect your arterial linings from getting clogged with cholesterol plaques by consuming more antioxidants. Antioxidant chemicals include vitamins C and E, selenium and carotenoids  (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein). Good sources include berries, broccoli, dark chocolate, grapes, kale, red cabbage and sweet potatoes.

Lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by increasing your consumption of dietary fiber from apples, beans, berries, bran, greens, peas, squash, and whole grains.

Decrease your risk of peripheral artery disease and stroke by lowering your homocysteine levels. B vitamins, found in broccoli, eggs, dairy products, legumes, meat, spinach and whole grains, will help.

Omega-fatty acids, found in cold-water fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), fortified milk, and walnuts decrease your risk for heart attacks.

Small additions or changes to your diet can have big effects on your lifetime health.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

TIP - Curb cravings with a different mental image

Do you want to eat a whole carton of chocolate ice cream when you feel down? Do you feel you need a cigarette after a meal? By mid-afternoon, are your thoughts turning to the snacks in the vending machine? These are not healthy thoughts. To get those cravings under control, replace them with healthier images.

Instead of a food craving, picture something more nutritious. Rather than thinking about how it feels to smoke, picture yourself hiking easily in a natural setting or climbing a mountain on vacation. In other words, use your imagination to replace the craving with a vision of yourself doing your favorite physical activity, or feeling good about your healthy body.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

TIP - Work up to your exercise goal

Working up to your goal

It feels good to have set an exercise goal as part of your effort to improve your lifestyle. However, it pays to start slow and work up to your intended level of exercise. Most injuries caused by exercise come from doing too much before your body is adequately prepared to do that much.

Instead, start off with short sessions of low-intensity exercise just a few days a week. As you become comfortable with that exercise routine, start increasing the frequency until you are doing a small amount of low-intensity exercise almost every day.

Then it is time to increase the duration of your exercise session gradually, until you are meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of 150-300 minutes per week.

Finally, when that amount of exercise has become routine, it’s time to increase the intensity or how hard you are working. This may mean jogging instead of walking, using heavier hand weights, or increasing the pull of your exercise band. Work up to moderate intensity activity.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Expiry Dates

Soda can expiration date

Let’s start this article off with a quick quiz.

Which item would you be willing to use if its manufacturer would not guarantee it operated safely and effectively?
(a) antibiotic cream for a cut to prevent infection
(b) sunscreen to protect you from a sunburn at the beach
(c) condom to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy
(d) infant car seat to protect your baby in case of a car crash
(e) none of the above

Maybe you did not realize that, as with foods, many other consumer products have expiration dates. Here are a few to consider.

Antibiotic Cream
The bathroom medicine cabinet is one of the WORST places to store tubes of antibiotic cream (and other medications). Heat and humidity increase the rate of degradation of the chemicals in the ointment. The expiration date that is usually stamped on the crimp at the bottom of the tube is when the manufacturer will no longer guarantee the product’s effectiveness, especially if not stored in a cool, dry environment.

Hydrogen Peroxide
It comes in a brown bottle to protect the chemical from light. The contents of an unopened bottle should remain effective for 3 years, but once it’s opened, it won’t work properly after about 6 months.

To see if older hydrogen peroxide will still be effective in cleaning a cut, pour a bit into the sink. If it fizzes, it is probably OK to use.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that sunscreen ingredients remain effective at their original strength for at least 3 years after manufacture.

Some sunscreen containers show the expiration date. If not, use a marker to write the purchase date on the bottom of the container, and throw it away 3 years after.

Do not store sunscreen in excessive heat (like your car in summer) or in the direct sun, as that will increase the rate of degradation. If you took the sunscreen with you to the beach, store it under a towel. And of course, if the product looks or feels “off,” do not use it no matter what the expiration date.

Most packages of condoms have a printed expiration date when the material from which the condom is made begins to degrade. Storage matters. Condoms in individual wrappers break down faster if they are in a warm, moist pace where they can get creased (such as a wallet or pants pocket). If a condom seems stiff, dry or sticky when the wrapper is opened, discard it.

Makeup gets contaminated with bacteria when you apply it. Since you do not want an eye infection, throw away opened mascara after 3 months of use, earlier if it dries out.

For more information about the shelf life of cosmetics, see this information from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Infant Car Seat
Most newer car seats have the expiration date stamped on the bottom. The materials from which the seat is constructed degrade over time, especially when left in a hot environment such as a coxed car during summer months. In general, good quality name-brand car seats will be safe to use for 6-10 years but be cautious of seats you find at garage sales.

If you are concerned about the safety of a car seat, or if you want advice on proper installation, most car seat inspection stations will provide assistance for free. Find a car seat inspection station near you, courtesy of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bicycle Helmet
Inspect your helmet for wear every time you use it, which should be every time you pedal. Sunlight degrades the plastic outer shell, and salt from sweat acts against the materials of the lining. Depending on how often you bike, you may need a new helmet every 2-4 years.

Cans of paint typical do not list an expiration date, so it’s wise to use a marker to write the purchase date on the bottom of the can. Unopened cans of latex-based paint will remain good for up to 10 years; unopened oil-based paints last as long as 15 years.

However, paint begins to go bad as soon as the can is opened. You should certainly dispose of any can that has been opened after 2-4 years, earlier if you notice the paint has dried out, molded, or its texture is chunky.

Motor Oil
After storage for about 5 years in an optimal environment motor oil tends to separate and its consistency will change. This compromises its performance in protecting your car’s engine.

Household Batteries
Most of these are labeled with an expiration date, sometimes called a Best If Used By (BIUB) date. Although they may continue to work past that date, parts will have begun to corrode and this makes it more difficult for the battery to transfer electricity to your battery-powered device, so, for instance, the flashlight will start looking dimmer. Read this article to learn why batteries have an expiration date.