America’s Top 5 Cleanest Cities
What Is a Clean City? What’s the cleanest big city in America? How about the dirtiest? And what about the place where you live — did it make the list?
First, though, what is a clean city? Ideally, it’s a place where the air quality is good, the water is safe to drink, and factories aren’t dumping harmful chemical waste into the environment. It’s also a place where you look up and down streets that are free of garbage, and stroll through parks without wading through litter. To gauge these things, we used several databases as yardsticks for measuring cleanliness. That data pertained not just to the cities themselves, but to their Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), which include the surrounding suburbs and counties.
We also wanted to dig beneath the data to find out just what our highest-scoring cities were doing right. So we talked with policymakers, economists, activists and government workers in the top five cities. As you’ll see, these places have earned their rankings — and their success holds some lessons for the rest of us.
#5 San Francisco (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties)
Background: Once a prominent shipping and manufacturing center, San Francisco now has booming financial and business sectors. Since 1980, the city’s population has increased by more than a third and its per capita income ranks among the nation’s highest. Few places have a citizenry that is more environmentally conscious.
Problems: Like nearly every traffic-clogged urban California area, San Francisco has struggled with high emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon monoxide. Its Hunter’s Point area is home to two polluting power plants and a highly contaminated Naval Shipyard, now defunct. In 2002, a national report found that while San Francisco’s source water was safe, its tap water contained high levels of a cancer-causing contaminant known as total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, a byproduct of chlorinating water.
Solutions: San Francisco has benefited from the state of California’s bold and controversial air-quality regulations. The city’s Environment Department — something many municipalities lack — is seeking to close the power plants at Hunter’s Point, and the federal EPA is overseeing a massive cleanup of the shipyard there. Meanwhile, San Francisco is in the forefront of efforts to promote the use of clean-air vehicles, with its public transit leading the way. The city’s bus fleet includes over 700 electric-drive vehicles, with plans to convert all the buses to this clean-air technology by 2020. As for concerns about its drinking water, San Francisco responded by modifying its water treatment process, which brought the TTHM levels back down into the safe zone. Finally, the local government is finding ways to push energy savings, including a program that encourages residents to exchange their old strings of holiday lights for a free set of more efficient LED bulbs, courtesy of the city and Pacific Gas and Electric. #4 Columbus, Ohio (Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties)
Background: Ohio’s capital, according to the latest census, was the only major city in the state to grow in population. And Columbus’s geographical expansion continues. Its economy is light on industry — less than 12% of its job force works in the manufacturing sector. The big growth has been in financial and insurance businesses, as well as retail. Meanwhile, per capita income here is slightly below our 50-city average.
Problems: Columbus’s steady development has made it tough to keep the city’s watersheds clean. Also, an aging storm water and sewage system has caused overflows and backups in recent years. Litter has been a manageable problem, although Columbus has a recycling rate of just 4%, which Mayor Michael Coleman calls “pitiful.” And finally, the late 1990s were marked by a sudden increase in ugly graffiti on both public and private property.
Solutions: Mayor Coleman supports a moratorium on development of sensitive watershed land, but has also pushed for redevelopment of brownfields (contaminated land kept vacant until sites can be cleaned up). The mayor recently unveiled a new initiative, “Get Green Columbus,” which established an Office of Environmental Stewardship. Also underway is a program to update the sewage and storm water systems. To spruce up unsightly areas, Columbus has committed to removing graffiti within two days of its appearance. Through the city’s Neighborhood Pride program, a handful of communities each year get a solid week of concentrated cleanup, including tree trimming, hydrant painting, graffiti abatement, bulk trash pickup and litter removal.
#3 Buffalo, New York (Erie and Niagara counties)
Background: Long known as a Rust Belt city where steel was king, Buffalo was hit hard when that industry went into steep decline more than two decades ago. As steel plants shut down, Buffalo was forced to rebuild its economy from the ground up. But by leveraging its assets, including a low cost of living and cheap, clean hydroelectric energy generated by nearby Niagara Falls, Buffalo has begun luring new, nonmanufacturing businesses to the area.
Problems: After the shuttering of its steel plants and oil refineries, the region was left with the residue of its industrial past: A heavily polluted Buffalo River and acres of brownfields and Superfund sites, including the notorious Love Canal. By the 1990s, Buffalo’s dwindling population, shrinking tax base and fiscal problems meant drastic cuts in city services — including sanitation. As a result, huge trash piles often accumulated in front of homes, sometimes going uncollected for days on end. At the same time, Buffalo was struggling with a sizable rat infestation.
Solutions: With the help of environmental quality bonds and Superfund dollars, Buffalo has made great strides in containing and cleaning up brownfields and contaminated sites. Meanwhile, plans are underway to turn part of the former Bethlehem Steel site — an 1,100-acre brownfield on the shores of Lake Erie — into a wind farm that will generate clean power for businesses and residents. The state is also overseeing a Buffalo River cleanup, already successful enough to draw boaters and fishermen back to the waterway. As for the trash problems, Buffalo undertook an award-winning restructuring of its garbage collection system. A fleet of 13 high-tech street sweepers, deployed 24 hours a day during non-winter months, now helps keep the streets clear of debris. And the city has dramatically curbed the rat problem by distributing large, securely covered garbage bins to every residence in the city.
#2 San Jose, California (San Benito and Santa Clara counties)
Background: This area’s booming high-tech business during the 1980s and 1990s earned it the name Silicon Valley. Numerous semiconductor and computer chip manufacturers brought in huge numbers of highly educated workers, driving up house values and living costs. Then the dot-com bust hit, and San Jose suddenly lost 200,000 jobs. Now the city is seeking to reinvent itself as a center for innovation and research in such diverse fields as pharmaceuticals and automotives.
Problems: In the early 1980s, a leaking underground storage tank filled with trichloroethane, a solvent suspected of causing reproductive and developmental problems, was found to be contaminating the drinking water of 65,000 people near a semiconductor plant. Over the next few years Silicon Valley became dotted with Superfund sites; at one time, Santa Clara County had more such sites than any other county in the country. Besides the high-tech contamination, the Valley’s rapid growth resulted in extensive sprawl, which means traffic, and air pollution — trapped by surrounding mountains.
Solutions: The widespread pollution gave rise to a strong grass-roots environmental movement that pressured industry to clean up its mess. Industry responded by going the extra mile, setting higher standards for itself than required. The EPA, meanwhile, is overseeing the containment and cleanup of the Superfund sites. Because so much groundwater had been contaminated, the Santa Clara Valley Water District became a national leader in testing and protecting drinking water. As for its traffic woes, San Jose can thank the state of California for stricter regulations that have helped reduce the carbon monoxide and diesel particulates in the air. The bottom line for San Jose: It’s a city now known nationwide for its clean streets, fresh air, and healthy lifestyle.
#1 Portland, Oregon (Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties, Oregon; Clark and Skamania counties, Washington)
Background: Portland, long an important port and shipbuilding center, now also has a burgeoning high-tech sector, and a robust manufacturing base in paper, metal products and sportswear. Nonetheless, the per capita income is below the average for the 50 cities in our analysis.
Problems: A six-to-nine-mile stretch of the Willamette River’s Portland Harbor was declared a Superfund site in 2000. The sewer system is ancient and poorly designed, combining storm water runoff with sewage in the same piping system. Industries in Multnomah County, Portland’s home, continue to spew an estimated 1.85 million pounds of toxics into the air, water and land.
Solutions: Portland belongs to the country’s only elected regional government, which means the city coordinates its planning and growth decisions with its neighbors. This arrangement has allowed Portland to make far-ranging decisions, such as the establishment of a growth boundary around its urban center. Land inside this invisible circle is fair game for development; outside the circle there’s only open space and farmland. The result is not only a well-preserved agricultural region just outside the city, but also a vibrant, livable urban area where public transportation rules. To attract even more riders, the bus and light rail system has turned a section of downtown into a fare-free zone. The city did another smart thing when it was looking into a green building ordinance: It met with 200 developers to find out exactly what regulatory or financial hurdles were preventing them from using “sustainable” principles, and then laid out a plan. To resolve the sewage problem, Portland has invested over a billion dollars in the “Big Pipe Project,” which will lay massive pipes alongside the Willamette to carry waste to a treatment plant. In 1974, the city removed an entire freeway running alongside the Willamette’s banks and converted the space into parkland.
Best Clubs in the World to Party In
Fancy a night out that could change your life? Want to lose your inhibitions, push the boundaries and experience something new or exciting? There are some clubs in the world that take evening entertainment to a whole other level and bring an excitement not usually found in clubs. Check out these beauties and prepare for a mind blowing experience.
The box is full of surprises. There is very little sign on approach the box contains an evening of delight and fantasy that has never been done before in london. Itâ€™s a journey into the unknown so be prepared for any eventuality. Expect to be entertained and titilated like you have never been before. It is the lovechild of a circus and a burlesque club. There are always entertainers amongst the crowd, ready to amaze and surprise. Often some nudity creeps in but itâ€™s all in the name of fun. Itâ€™s a good idea to leave closed minds and inhibitions at the door, as the world of the box is unlike any mortal place that you have been before. It certainly is a walk on the wild side.
Want to head for a well established, beautiful yet surreal venue, usually packed to the rafters with the A list crowd? Well, the obvious choice would be Funky Buddha. It holds reign in the heart of Piccadilly, attracting the good and the beautiful from around London and the world. Funky Buddha is a world that is very luxurious and creative. The theme of the club merges the far east, Buddhism, cool beats and food that will melt in your mouth. It makes for a wild night on in London. Check out the waterfall, the cool seating areas and the music. This club has sisters around the globe because the format is unbeatable.
Los Angeles can be a dull affair when you are seeking out a night to remember. Bar licences can really put a damper upon the proceedings, as well as jaded music and pretentious spaces. Avalon has been LAâ€™s superclub for 90 years. Yes, you read that right – 90 years. It has kept the happy people of LA entertained for almost a century for some pretty impressive reasons. Firstly, the bar has the golden alcohol licence, it is open for 24 hours a day. This means that whatever your body clock demands, there is a great party going on in the club. Great music is what makes a wild night out Â possible. Imagine having crazy fun without the beats that will get your group moving. Well, how about a club that has had resident DJs such as Sacha? It speaks volumes that the club has nurtured the super stars of club DJs and has a history of looking after the most talented on the circuit. Then there is the venue. It isnâ€™t the slick, shiny venue you might hope for but a cavern-like old theatre with tonnes of atmosphere and character. Want to have an amazing night/morning with friends and listen to some classy music? Avalon has all the potential for a wild night out.
There is a place in Sydney that has the ingredients for an unforgettable night. Tokyo Sing Song has entertainers that will amuse and freak you out, dancers of the type that you have never seen before and music that will make you both laugh and cry. Every weekend is shrouded in mystery. No two are alike or even remotely predictable. there are drag queens, karaoke disasters, comedy to make you cry, wild dancing and some very unusual outfits on parade. this is a place to attend when you are ready to go wild. Enjoy this one off experience.
Put down the donuts and pick up an apple
Did we ever think the day would arrive when Homer Simpson would be taking the blame for society’s poor lifestyle choices?
Well that day is upon us friends, sad as that may seem.
Hypnotherapist Miller has written to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening to urge him to make Homer â€œput down the donuts and pick up an apple.
Miller believes that Homers unhealthy lifestyle and penchant for Duff beer and junk food is sending out a dangerous message to fans of the popular show.
Of course, we all believe our favourite Simpsons character to be genuine role models â€“ only a fool would think otherwise…Dâ€™oh!
Homerâ€™s insightful outlook on life makes him a terrific source of advice…
Homerâ€™s take on life
Homer has been a part of our lives for so long, we sometimes forget heâ€™s there.
Loveably enduring, the magic of The Simpsonâ€™s means that while everything around us changes rapidly, Homer stays just the same.
Who can forget his simplistic explanation to Lisa on how gambling enhances the good things in life?
Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you?
Homer: And do you like it even better when it has hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate chips, and crumbled-up cookie things. Mmmmm…. crumbled-up cookie things.
Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better.
Homer: Yes, it is like there is some kind of bond between us.
The magic of Homer J Simpson!
No doubt Homer would approve of the casino bonuses and no deposit bonuses available at http://www.bonusmob.com.
Experts like Miller will insist we check out the Responsible Gambling section at the bottom of the page before starting!
The genius that gave Homer Simpson to the world, Mr Matt Groening. After almost 25 years on our screens, it seems a bit late to blame Homer for poor lifestyles now!
Famous Homer Simpson Quotes â€“ the legend that is Homer has given us some pearls of wisdom through the years. Here are some of our favourites.
- â€œI’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.â€
- â€œKids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.â€
- â€œBart, with $10,000, weâ€™d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things likeâ€¦love!â€
- â€œFacts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.â€
Homer the global icon
Incredibly, it seems Miller is genuine in his belief that Homerâ€™s carefree lifestyle and attitude towards food and drink is setting a bad example to the world at large.
“Homer is one of the most iconic faces in the entire world and is loved by everyone and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s a massive concern,” he went on.
â€œHomerâ€™s indulgent habits make it seem like being fat is okayâ€¦Being fat isnâ€™t good, there are many health risks and negative effectives attached to it.â€
As Homer himself would doubtless point out, Miller seems to have confused â€˜real-ityâ€™ with â€˜car-toonsâ€™.
How to prepare for a psychic reading
How to prepare for a psychic reading
Psychic readings are becoming commonplace these days, especially now that so many psychics make themselves available for online readings. You can easily find a psychic to do your reading for you at a site like Psychic Living. The good thing about choosing an association website like this is that each of the psychics on the site will have been scrutinised before being allowed to advertise on the site. Youâ€™ll also find a range of different psychics including angel and tarot readers, mediums and clairvoyants.
For many people, a psychic reading will be something new and you may be wondering what you need to do to get ready for it. In short, thereâ€™s not a lot thatâ€™s required of you, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.
1. Write down your questions. Itâ€™s easy to go off topic when you have a reading, and if you have certain issues you are really keen to discuss, itâ€™s best to tick them off a list as you cover them. That way, you donâ€™t forget anything important. Donâ€™t be afraid to be specific. The more detailed you can be, the easier it will be for a psychic to help tune into your concerns.
2. Take time to be calm. Take a few minutes before your appointment to be quiet and reflective. Donâ€™t rush around doing chores right up to the last moment as youâ€™ll be less open to the reading and what you might gain from it. Try and empty your mind of clutter about day to day life, so you can focus on the reading.
3. Limit distractions. In the same vein, make sure that youâ€™re not going to be disturbed during the reading â€“ by other people in the house, by the phone or doorbell. Turn off other electrical equipment and close down other windows and programmes on your computer.
By making these simple preparations, you should get the most benefit out of a psychic reading. Youâ€™ll be ready to listen to the insights that a psychic can offer you and you should come away from the reading with a clearer understanding of your current life situation and the path you are travelling on.
The Coolest Casinos in the World
The Coolest Casinos in the World
There are many unique casinos scattered across the globe that can make excellent tourist destinations. One of the coolest casinos in the world is located in an unexpected place, Germany. The Baden-Baden Casino has become synonymous with world class gambling. The Baden-Baden is distinctive for its opulent dÃ©cor. In fact, it has a rather luxurious French air to it with red carpet, gold moulding and sparkling crystal chandeliers. Many visitors to the Baden-Baden feel like royalty when visiting the casino. The casino also offers some of the best gambling with promising odds.
Many casino gamblers find that for day to day play, online casinos such as http://www.jackpotcity.co.uk/mobile-casino/iphone/ provide the best option. These casinos can be easily accessed from home as well as from many mobile devices. Therefore, it is quite convenient to play when the fancy strikes. Online casinos never close which make them suitable to fit into any schedule. While playing at an online casino can fulfill day to day purposes, sometimes gamblers want to get away from it all while enjoying some of the finest gambling in the world.
World travelers can also find one of the top casinos in Kazakhstan, another unlikely location. Here, the Casino Zodiac has fast become a draw for gamblers from across the globe. Like the Baden-Baden, many visitors cite the ambience of the facility for its success.
Another one of the coolest casinos in the world isnâ€™t far from Germany; in fact it is located right in the heart of London. The Empire is the largest casino in the capitol. Well known games such as blackjack, punto banco and roulette can be found here. The Empire provides an extensive amount of tables and machines to accommodate their large patronage. One thing for which the Empire is known is its top of the line cuisine.
Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
People react differently when they hear strange bumps in the night. They either believe that they are imagining things or something bigger may be going on. For some, it is thought that ghosts are making these odd sounds. Theories have swarmed from city to city and country to country, but nevertheless prompted many to call in the real-life ghostbusters.
SyFy Channelâ€™s â€œGhost Huntersâ€ is a show with well-renowned paranormal experts who have been trained by the best of the best. Â â€œOdd noises are rarely caused by other worldly things,â€ said Ghost Hunter Jason Hawes. â€œMost of the time, these unexplained, strange noises are actually a sign of plumbing problems that can, in most instances, be easily fixed.â€Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson were taught how to work on fixtures by the #1 plumbing and drain service, Roto-Rooter. A decade later, Hawes and Wilson brought their talents onto the television screen and attracted the masses.
Thanks to Roto-Rooter, many of the once unexplainable have become easily crystal clear. Something simple such as a loose or eroded pipe can interestingly cause weird sounds and cause the homeowner to become suspicious.Â Roto Rooter Fall Plumbing Tips can be utilized in case of trouble and can be found on their website www.Roto-Rooter.com.
CIA Spy Tricks
CIA Spy Tricks
For decades, rumors of top-secret “magic” manuals swirled within CIA circles.
The long-lost guides were said to have been written by a prominent magician, but many officers dismissed them as myth, believing them too fantastical to be true.
But in 2007, retired CIA officer Robert Wallace unearthed an extraordinary archived file and is now making its contents available to the public for the first time.
The file contained once highly-classified manuals written in the early 1950s by American magician John Mulholland that detailed the secrets of magic that could enhance the art of espionage.
It was thought that every copy of his reports had been destroyed in 1973.
But Wallace obtained surviving copies and, with intelligence historian H. Keith Melton, combined the two manuals — one examining sleight of hand techniques and the other on covert signaling — into one book, recently released by publisher HarperCollins.
Complete with illustrations, “The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception” describes a wide range of Mulholland’s Houdini-like tricks designed to help spies pull off a number of clandestine operations, such as slipping poison into an enemy’s drink or surreptitiously removing documents.
Other magician-historians previously established Mulholland’s connection to the CIA and printed portions of his reports â€“ and one, Michael Edwards, said he received full copies of the reports from the CIA in 2003. But the authors say their book is the first to publish the historical documents in their entirety.