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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Uses For Vinegar

How To Be Organized: 5 Uses For Vinegar

Vinegar is more than something you use while cooking and baking. From cleaning to laundry, the sour stuff has a host of other uses. Here are my favorite five ways you can use vinegar inside (and outside) your home.

A little bit can make a big difference. 

Household Disinfectant. During the days of the Black Plague, it was believed that vinegar would ward off disease. Technically they were right. Vinegar is effective bacteria killer, and you can use it for household cleaning purposes, ranging from scrubbing the tub to even cleaning mirrors or stainless steel. You can use the vinegar straight-up.

Windshield De-Icer. If the forecast calls for frost, ensure a morning free of scraping with a coat of this preventative solution: 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water. Simply spritz over your windshield for a few weeks' worth of protection.

Drain Unclogger. Remember the science experiments you would do as a kid with the volcano made of vinegar and baking soda? Try putting a little bit of baking soda into a clogged drain and then pour vinegar into it. Your volcano, I mean drain, will erupt and the reaction helps break down down. The best part about this method is that is much safer than industrial chemical drain cleaners, which are toxic to your pets and children.

Laundry. Do you have some stinky laundry? We all do, and you can use vinegar to help deodorize your garments or laundry. Just pour a cup of vinegar into the washer and it helps take care of your odor problems. Not only that, but the vinegar also helps keep your fabric soft and fluffy. Just add the vinegar when you start the laundry cycle with your regular detergent. (And no, it won't make your clothes smell like a salad.)

Clear The Air. When painting the walls, even low-VOC formulas can give off a bit of an odor. But a dish of vinegar placed in the room will reduce the smell, making this task (a little) easier.

What are your favorite tips for vinegar? 

Share them in the comments!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Switch Your Pet’s Food

How to Switch Your Pet’s Food?
Posted by: Dr. Jennifer Kvamme // January 20, 2012 //

NOTE: If you are switching your pet’s food due to a recall, click here for a few quick tips on how to quickly change your pet’s brand of food.

Dogs and cats, like many humans, are creatures of habit. In fact, the main reason veterinarians and nutritionists recommend against giving your pets new and different foods too often is that their systems get accustomed to digesting certain foods and the intestinal bacteria has the routine all figured out. Shaking up their diet can cause the digestive tract to become upset -- among other things -- and that's something neither you nor your pets wish to experience. There are times, however, when you may need to change your dog or cat’s food.

Reasons to Change Foods

Has your dog or cat developed an allergy to a certain food ingredient? Maybe your pet’s health or stage of life requires a change to a diet that provides (or doesn’t provide) certain ingredients or beneficial properties. You may even have done some product evaluation and decided that another brand or formulation of food would be a better fit for your pet. Perhaps your veterinarian has made a suggestion for a special diet. There are many reasons for changing your pet's diet, and with so many variations of foods today -- from dry to wet, frozen to freeze-dried -- it can be hard to choose the one you think is best.

However, once you decide on a new food and are ready to make the change, it’s not recommended to stop feeding the old food altogether and give your dog or cat 100 percent new food. (The only reason you might do this is if your pet’s food is recalled and there is no other option available.) Rapid food changes can cause indigestion, diarrhea, flatulence (gas buildup), and even vomiting.

Not every animal is going to be super-sensitive to food changes, and some may not experience any intestinal problems at all, but it is best not to take the chance with your pet’s comfort.

Steps to Making the Change

Because dogs and cats become accustomed to certain foods, it can be tricky to get them to eat a new food. The taste may not be similar to the old food and they may not like the taste of a new product. For this, and the other reasons above, the switch to a new food should be done gradually. Depending on how your pet reacts to the new food, you can make the switch in one to two weeks.

Step 1: On the first day, start out by mixing together a batch of mostly old food (about 75 percent) with the new food (about 25 percent) in your pet’s food bowl. You should be feeding your pet the same amount of food you normally do, only with one-fourth of the new food replacing that amount of the old food. Feed this ratio for several days and watch your dog closely for signs of intestinal upset (diarrhea, flatulence, etc.). After a few days with no signs of upset, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Once your pet has accepted and become used to having some new food in the mix, you can mix the old and new food together in a 50:50 ratio. At any time, if your pet develops loose stools or begins vomiting, go back to the previous step or ratio of food for a few days. If all is going well, feed the 50 percent ratio for about three days and then move on to the next step.

During the transition, your pet may pick out the old food and leave the new food behind (or stop eating altogether). Don’t worry, just stick with the program until your pet accepts that this is going to be his/her new food and eventually your pet will eat.
A word of caution when feeding cats -- do not allow a cat to go more than a couple of days without eating, as this can lead to health problems (particularly in obese cats). Consult your veterinarian if your cat is refusing to eat the new food after a couple of days.

Step 3: If things are going well after a few days on the 50:50 diet, you can go one step further and feed a combination of 75 percent new food and 25 percent old food. Feed this combination for another several days and continue to watch for any signs of stomach upset or diarrhea. Once your pet is happily eating the 75:25 combination without any problems, you can move on to the final step. (You can feed this amount until you finish off the bag of old food.)

Step 4: Now, we are ready to feed 100 percent of the new food with no old food in the mix. Take as long as you need to get to the final step, letting your pet get used to the taste of the new food and how it affects his/her body.

Transition Tips

If you find that you have a desire or need to switch your pet’s food from wet to dry or vice versa, things could be a bit more difficult with a picky pet. In most cases, a wet food is accepted more easily than a dry food, and mixing them together makes everything a bit tastier at first.

Once you get to steps 3 and 4, it may help to add warm water to dry food to moisten the kibbles. You can also warm the wet or moistened food in a microwave for about five seconds to bring out the aroma. Do be careful not to allow the food to become too hot when microwaving. Over time, you can reduce the moisture and stop warming the food until it is accepted by your pet.

For an even better chance of success, begin the food switching process during the weekend. This will allow you to more closely observe your pet's behavior and watch for problems that may arise. It is also important that you not alter the feeding times, frequency, or the amount of food given. If your pet has trouble accepting the new food, or has major intestinal upset, consult your veterinarian.

HS student devises possible cancer cure

January 13, 2012 7:02 PM

If you ever worry about the future of America, there is no need: it is in good hands

A high school student named Angela is proof of that. We think you'll agree she is nothing short of amazing. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman met her on the road.

Born to Chinese immigrants, 17-year-old Angela Zhang of Cupertino, California is a typical American teenager. She's really into shoes and is just learning how to drive.
But there is one thing that separates her from every other student at Monta Vista High School, something she first shared with her chemistry teacher, Kavita Gupta.
It's a research paper Angela wrote in her spare time -- and it is advanced, to say the least. Gupta says all she knows is its recipe -- for curing cancer.
"Cure for cancer -- a high school student," said Gupta. "It's just so mind-boggling. I just cannot even begin to comprehend how she even thought about it or did this."
"I just thought, 'Why not?' 'What is there to lose?'" said Angela.
When she was a freshman, she started reading doctorate level papers on bio-engineering.
"At first it was a little bit overwhelming," said Angela, "but I found that it almost became like a puzzle, being able to decode something."

By sophomore year she'd talked her way into the lab at Stanford, and by junior year was doing her own research.
In a lab area, Hartman asked Angela: "Try and make it for a feeble mind, such as this one, to understand."
Angela: "So I made something that's an iron-oxide, gold dangle...
Hartman: "You lost me." (laughter)  Eventually, here's what he did get.

Angela's idea was to mix cancer medicine in a polymer that would attach to nanoparticles -- nanoparticles that would then attach to cancer cells and show up on an MRI. so doctors could see exactly where the tumors are.  
Then she thought that if you aimed an infrared light at the tumors to melt the polymer and release the medicine, thus killing the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells completely unharmed.

"I think it was more of a -- 'This is really cool, I want to see if it works' -- type thing," she said.
"And when you found out it did..." asked Hartman.

"That was pretty amazing."   It'll take years to know if it works in humans -- but in mice -- the tumors almost completely disappeared.

Angela recently entered her project in the national Siemens science contest. It was no contest. She got a check for $100,000 and promptly bought about a dozen more pairs of shoes.
"I got these shoes because they're purple and I didn't have purple yet," she explained.   Easy to forget, she is still high school. It's just her dreams that keep graduating.

"I'm excited to learn just everything possible," she said. "Everything in the sciences -- biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, even computer science -- to make new innovations possible." 
Pretty big flats to fill.   How will she top her cancer discovery? We can't wait. 

See VIDEO Here: