Monthly Archives: August 2012

Covenant and the Law: The Book of Exodus

The Hebrews, or Israelites, as they became known, were commonly used as laborers by the Egyptian Pharaohs. Judging by the magnitude of many Egyptian rulers’ building projects, including the Pyramids of Giza, it is of course no wonder that the labor that was being done was arduous to say the least. During this time, in its lack of technology, it was commonplace to utilize slave labor. In this case, it was the Hebrews who were the slave labor in Egypt. Out of desperation, the Hebrews fled Egypt to escape the brutality of their merciless slave duties.

The Israelites were beside themselves with relief following their escape from Israel. They were led by Moses, who would assume great responsibility. After leaving their troubled past in Egypt behind them, Yahweh, God of the Israelites, entered an agreement with Moses. The Hebrews at this point were wandering vast deserts in search of a place or settlement to call home. Ever grateful to Yahweh, the Israelites agreed in a covenant to obey the laws he saw fit for them. In exchange, Yahweh would forever “take special care” of the Hebrew people, that they would be his “treasured possession” among all other nations.

From this covenant with Yahweh, we begin to see a spiritual rejuvenation of the Israelites. It became the work of the prophets to help their population abide by the laws of Yahweh.

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Hypermiling

Getting good gas mileage is serious business in America and abroad.  With the right techniques, a person can get much more “bang” on the road for their “buck” at the pump.  Those who become knowledgeable about these methods and associated concepts will undoubtedly prevail over others who simply accept their treacherous fate of being subject to big oil.

Luckily theses woes have been lessened in recent years thanks to the information superhighway that is the internet.  Countless websites devoted to fuel conservation have sprung up and as a result, more and more individuals have become empowered, informatively, economically and environmentally.

In my own personal quest over the last several years, I have found two sites in particular to be of the most use.  Visit them here:  Ecomodder.com & CleanMPG.com.

Feel free to comment here about your own experiences with gas mileage, tips or other useful comments.

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Wikibooks

Wikibooks.org is quickly becoming one of my favorite websites. It’s like any other wiki in that literally anyone can edit and contribute articles published within. However, it is a little more special that what most of us are used to. Because it’s geared toward the the scholars in all of us, we’re likely to learn a ton more than on “traditional” (whatever that means) wiki interfaces.

As a history student, the site appeals to me in particular because it is a voluminous, ever-growing library that is A) 100% free of charge, B) in my home within my tiny computer, and C) there are no late fees.

Also, as someone who reads a lot on and offline, it is refreshing to see this format available. It just makes reading so much more pleasurable. For instance, if I read a small article, I’m likely to have to seek out tidbits of information several times online before I can finish it (the article). I do this as a means of understanding concepts to the utmost; the opposite of rote learning (whatever that’s called. I have been trying to remember/figure that out for about two years now). What wikibooks seems to do is offer textbook style motif while maintaining its place amongst the information superhighway that is the internet. It’s fantastic; plain and simple.

Give it a shot:

English – http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

Espanol – http://es.wikibooks.org/wiki/

Français – http://fr.wikibooks.org/wiki/

Kannada – http://Kn.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

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The Diesel Generator: India’s Trusty Power Source

By HEATHER TIMMONS for the New York Times International Herald Tribune

An Indian shopkeeper fixes an electric generator at his shop in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.Tsering Topgyal/Associated PressAn Indian shopkeeper fixed a generator at his shop in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI — They are smelly, noisy, polluting and expensive — and increasingly, they are what keep India running.

The massive electrical grid failures that India experienced on Monday and Tuesday would have been catastrophic in many other countries, leaving hospitals without crucial power for lifesaving machines, airports paralyzed and businesses shuttered.

But in some parts of India, particularly urban areas, office parks and wealthier neighborhoods, the failures were barely noticed. State-run electricity is already so unreliable that residents and businesses long ago resorted to buying private diesel generators to produce their own.

In Lucknow, for example, the Vivekananda Polyclinic and Institute of Medical Sciences, a private hospital, was using three generators Tuesday to keep dialysis machines running and air-conditioning on in the wards, said Sachendra Raj, the hospital’s manager.

Six hours after the blackout started on Tuesday, Dr. Raj said he was unfazed. “It’s part and parcel of our daily
 life,” he said. The situation in his state, Uttar Pradesh, may get worrying once residents’ smaller generators run out of power, he said, but his hospital’s industrial-size generators will last longer.

Entire industries and neighborhoods rely on diesel power, including India’s massive call center and outsourcing campuses, private apartment buildings and small shops. The city of Gurgaon, south of New Delhi, has been heavily dependent on diesel for years. Even the most utilitarian things, like the telecom towers that help power India’s much-vaunted mobile phone revolution, are often powered by diesel.

Estimating how much diesel Indian consumers use to make up for the state’s energy shortages, or how many people own such generators, is difficult. More than two billion liters, or 5.3 million gallons, of diesel are used every year just to keep India’s rural and urban digital communication network running, according to one 2010 report.

Diesel fuel in India is subsidized by about 13 rupees (about 23 cents) per liter, about a third of the sale price, and when the cost of these subsidies is taken into account, diesel is more expensive, on a per-kilowatt-hour basis, then even the most expensive renewable energy in India, a 2010 World Bank report said.

An extremely hot summer and the recent power failures have meant a booming business for diesel generator sales. “This is a good year for us,” said Irfan Ali of Sunshine Diesel Engineers, a rental and sales shop in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi. “Power cuts have been more frequent.”

After reports of power failures began on Monday, calls to Mr. Ali’s shop doubled, he said. Some customers are renting generators, while others are buying a second one, he said.

Sruthi Gottipati and Niharika Mandhana contributed reporting.

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