Sunday, March 30, 2014


Well, at long last I have a few visitors to the feeder!!! Admittedly one of them is not quite what I expected...

This is a rarely sighted Christopher. 

Follow-Up: 4/3/14
I have also found that what I lack in deer population, I more than make up for in rabbits. We have rabbits everywhere!! They seem to be coming out of the wood work. It is going to be an epic struggle this year to manage to harvest our vegetables before the critters.

Friday, March 28, 2014

First piece of furniture

Well, it's no masterpiece but it's an end table. It effectively holds beer while you watch television. I'm calling it a success and nearly complete.

Lead by example

How not to crash. Moto GP style.


Wood Working Exploits

So, we are delving into a bit of wood working at our house in a effort to use old scrap wood and save money by building things we would like to have at the house. In an effort to pursue this new found money saving hobby I have found the following resources.
Router Tips
Router Tips 2
Joining Boards with Cheap but Professional results

Follow-up: So, a few of the results from this weekend's wood working projects:

Jewelry Box
There was a third project as well but I forgot to take some photos. These were all made with lumber that most people would have thrown away long ago. Most of it was scrap from an old fence that I took down. The total cost was simply invested into stain and time in the end. A few more projects are planned for the near future and will hopefully turn out even better than the ones so far.

Present for some friends getting hitched

The temporary baby chick "holding" tank until they get a bit bigger. This was designed to be a short term solution with a long term use. After the baby chicks are done with this, it will be washed and sanitized and turned into our new deck box for outdoor storage. All made with scraps from other projects.

Follow-up: 3/27-28/14
So here are a few projects from the last couple days that in progress. I am about half way finished with the end table (below) and the bird house cost me less than $2 in supplies. Both are made with only scraps left over from other projects. I have maybe $6 in the end table once I finish it.

Made some good progress last night on these two. However, the table looks very plain. I think that to liven things up a bit I am going to run a jig saw down the legs to give them a flowing wavy look. Then, some sanding, stain, top coat, and then it is time to sit back and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jewellery box #2

I have learned a little something with each project and they are starting to look a little cleaner now. The lid is still setting up but I think I can claim this one as a success.

Follow-Up: (3/25/14)
So, it isn't perfect but not bad for try #2.

Changing Nutrition Info

It's times like these that I am extatic that my company does not sell our products directly to the consumer. It appears that labels may be due for a big change in the near future.

(Source Link)

The Future of the Nutrition Label


On Feb. 27, 2014, HHS Secretary Sebelius, FDA Commissioner Hamburg, and First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Proposed Rule on Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels, as part of celebrations and announcements around the fourth anniversary of the Let's Move! initiative. 
Found on nearly 700,000 products nation-wide, the Nutrition Facts label is undergoing its first major revision since 1994. 
“For 20 years consumers have come to rely on the iconic nutrition label to help them make healthier food choices,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “To remain relevant, the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”

Current versus Proposed Nutrition Labels

Current_Nutrition_Label ProposedNutritionLabel DualColumn_NFL
Image Source: FDA
"Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "So this is a big deal, and it's going to make a big difference for families all across this country."
The newly proposed nutrition facts label reflects the latest in food science information, addressing the link between diet and chronic illness. "To help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country, the proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes," said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA.

Major Changes Between Current and Proposed Nutrition Facts Labels

  • Update Serving Size Requirements. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not what people "should" be eating. The proposal requires calorie and nutrition information for the whole package of certain food products that could be consumed in one sitting. 
  • Increase prominence of serving size and calorie count on label
  • Dual Column Labels. This will indicate both "per serving" and "per package" calorie and nutrition information for larger packages that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings. 
  • Require declaration of sugars. The proposed rule would require declaration of “Added sugars," indented under “Sugars,” to help consumers understand how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much has been added to the product.
  • Move the percent daily values (%DV) to the left side of the label so they come first. Daily values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label, which is intended to help consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.   
  • Remove "Calories From Fat". While continuing to require “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” on the label, “Calories from Fat” would be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
  • Replace Vitamin A and C with Vitamin D and Potassium. According to the FDA, Americans are not getting enough Vitamin D and potassium in their diets, referring to these two deficiencies as “nutrients of public health significance.” Calcium and Iron will still be required on the nutrition label, and Vitamin A and C may be included on a voluntary basis. 
  • Revise Daily Values. Proposed changes for the daily values of certain nutrients include:
    • Sodium - decrease from 2400 mg to 2300 mg
    • Dietary fiber - increase from 25 mg to 28 mg
    • Vitamin D - change from 400 international units to 20 micrograms
  • Increase record-keeping requirements. Currently, there are no analytical methods that can distinguish between dietary fiber and non-digestible carbohydrates that do not meet the definition of dietary fiber; added and naturally occurring sugars; the various forms of vitamin E; or folate and folic acid. Also, there are no analytical methods that can determine the amount of added sugar in specific foods containing added sugars alone or in combinations with naturally occurring sugars, where the added sugars are subject to fermentation. Therefore, for the products with these ingredients, FDA is proposing that manufacturers must make and keep certain written records for two (2) years in order to verify their declarations of each of these nutrients in the labeling of the food associated with such records. 
These proposed changes are estimated to cost approximately $2 billion. Food manufacturers will have approximately two years to comply with the new Nutrition Facts label requirements after the effective date.

Industry Reaction from Beth Johnson, Food Directions, LLC 

Elizabeth Johnson of D.C. advisory firm Food Directions, LLC, recently shared her expertise on the topic of labeling during a February TraceGains webinar entitled: Imminent Labeling Changes. When asked to continue the labeling discussion in light of the proposed rules, Johnson had the following to say:
What is your reaction generally to the proposed new design?  
"Generally I think it makes sense to increase the prominence of calories on package as well as the amount of servings per package. While I question if consumers really understand that serving size reflects what consumers are actually eating instead of recommended amounts, by law they must be based on what people actually eat, not on what people 'should' be eating. From a nutrition perspective, I hope a great deal of education occurs to help consumers truly understand the changes to the label and how they can incorporate the information into making healthy choices." 
What are the major issues/push back from industry likely to be? 
"While industry has been anticipating some of the changes, a few of the major issues of concern are likely to be increases and decreases in serving sizes, addition of added sugar, and the alternative label suggested. This concept indicates 'quick facts' (e.g., amount of total carbohydrate, fat and protein) about a product’s nutrient content first, and then explicitly points out nutrients to "avoid too much" of as well as nutrients to 'get enough' of as a way to categorize the nutrient declarations in the Nutrition Facts label. Given the lack of interest and understanding of the label by the majority of the population, many will  question whether this alternative label will help or hurt. Specifically, will consumers understand how to 'get enough' or 'avoid too much' of the specified nutrients."
How will industry feel about added sugar being verified through record keeping instead of analytical testing? 
"I anticipate major push back from the industry on added sugars. This is because there are no analytical methods that can distinguish added and naturally occurring sugars. FDA recognizes this issue so is suggesting  record keeping  as a way to verify their declarations of each of these nutrients in the labeling of the food associated with such records. Not only does this add another record keeping burden -- at the same time companies are having to increase record keeping for new food safety rule implementation, it does little to help consumers from a physiological aspect. Total sugars, which are already listed on the label, is still most important, from a physiological point of view, since the body can't distinguish between added vs. natural sugars."



Erik Buell Racing 1190RX | First Ride

Next Evolution of the American Superbike

By Zack Courts, Photography by Patrick Daly
After the long buildup following the introduction of EBR's 1190RX at the AIMExpo this past fall, it's finally time to see if Erik Buell and his hard-charging crew delivered on all those promises. We booked a last-minute flight to Florida to ride the RX around Jennings GP, a busy but smooth road course situated along the northern edge of the Sunshine State. Ironically, low clouds and rain greeted us the morning of the track test, with no rain tires in sight. Perfect conditions, then, to evaluate EBR's proprietary traction control system and see how well it worked to transmit a claimed 101.6 pound-feet of torque to a wet racetrack. Professional roadracer and EBR test rider Cory West helpfully suggested a TC setting somewhere between 10 and 15, with 1 delivering the least intervention and 20 the most. We queued up lucky number 13 and ventured out.
Before even twisting the throttle you'll notice the slim midsection, a benefit enjoyed by many V-twin sportbikes, though the massive, fuel-carrying frame spars make the RX wide at the shoulders. A sleek nose and windscreen are raked back in a very Italian manner, complementing the European look of the sharp, upswept tail—this bike looks nothing like that other company's bulbous 1125R. The riding position feels similar to comparable sportbikes, aggressive but not unpleasant, and the seat is surprisingly comfortable. Footpegs are round and knurled like a proper racebike's, a departure from the slippery cast pieces from most Euro brands.
The slightly heavy hydraulic slipper clutch engaged smoothly, overcoming tall gearing to send the RX grumbling through the drizzle and down a glistening Jennings GP pit lane. With the TC cranked up so high, the motor sometimes struggled against its electronic sanctions, making the power curve feel a little lumpy and unrefined. Slowly turning the TC down throughout the day eventually delivered smoother power but still offered a comprehensive safety net.
An extended break allowed time for the track to nearly dry by early afternoon, which finally allowed us to light the fuse on the 72-degree, 185-hp (claimed) V-twin. Inspired by the excellent TC system, it readily overpowered the rear Pirelli's grip on the pavement, resulting in exciting power slides leaving corners—TC level 3 was the eventual favorite. The motor has a broad spread of torque, but the real fun starts around 7,000 rpm with a rush of power that lasts until about 11,000 rpm; EBR says the peak is at 10,600 rpm. This engine is immensely entertaining but still tractable and manageable in tight corners or even putting around the paddock. It should prove to be a well-mannered powerplant on the street.
At low or no speed, the RX feels a little top heavy and very much a 450-pound machine, but once on track the 1190RX carries itself well. A Showa Big Piston Fork and linkage-less shock let the RX transition calmly with minimal effort through the wide, flat clip-ons. EBR's "hubless" wheels probably help here, too, with less rotating (and unsprung) mass to flick from side to side.
Dry pavement let us test the enormous front brake, which is less different in practice than it looks. It felt slightly unusual but delivered plenty of power and quality feedback without any ABS plumbing to potentially numb feel at the lever. And like all good superbikes, much of the machine remained transparent. Moving around on the bike felt perfectly natural, and you never even consider the transmission. A slipper clutch more willing to slip would be welcome, as rushed downshifts on corner entry created some rear-wheel hop, but the gearbox never missed a beat.
The 1190RX isn't quite perfect: The TFT gauge looks beautiful, but getting your fingers under the tight fairing to operate the buttons is a pain. Simple, handlebar-mounted controls would be a better solution. There's no shift light, either, but fortunately for EBR the high-tech display means that's only a software update away. Fit and finish is decidedly up-market but not quite on par with similarly priced competition—there are exposed wires behind the dash, for example, which either look cool or unfinished. You decide. Lastly, for almost $20,000, the market should expect a quickshifter and an ABS option (the latter of which is under development).
So, EBR might have some minor wrinkles to iron out with the electronics interface and general refinement, but you can start spreading the word: America has an affordable, sophisticated, legitimate superbike. EBR has officially arrived.


EVOLUTION This production version of the 1190RS uses a similar engine and aluminum chassis, both rife with innovative technology RIVALS Aprilia RSV4, BMW S1000RR, Ducati 1199 Panigale, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, KTM RC8 R, Yamaha YZF-R1.
Verdict: 4.5/5
Absolutely the bike EBR promised, and a legitimate contender in the superbike pack
Engine typel-c 72-deg. V-twin
Valve trainDOHC, 8v
Bore x stroke106 x 67.5mm
Fuel systemEFI
ClutchWet, multi-plate slipper
Claimed horsepower185.0 hp @ 10,600 rpm
Claimed torque101.6 lb.-ft.
FrameAluminum twin-spar
Front suspensionShowa 43mm Big Piston Fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspensionShowa shock adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brakeEight-piston EBR caliper, 386mm disc
Rear brakeTwo-piston Hayes caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
Rear tire190/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
Rake/trail22.4°/3.8 in.
Seat height32.5 in.
Wheelbase55.5 in.
Fuel capacity4.5 gal.
Claimed curb weight446 lb.
ColorsStrike Yellow, Racing Red, Galactic Black
Warranty24 mo., unlimited mi.

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