Choose Isometrics

There are many different ways to exercise. Exercise can be divided into several categories. Isotonic activities are those where there is a range of motion employed to move a muscle group. There is a force exerted on the muscles that are maneuvered by contractions. Within this range of isotonic tensions are concentric and eccentric contractions. Concentric isotonic contractions are the most common. They occur when muscles are shortened and move across the joint attachment as force. An example of this is curling a dumbbell. When you extend the dumbbell to lower it, there is an eccentric contraction, which is the lengthening of the biceps. Even though it is lengthening there is still a contraction to control the free fall of the barbell against gravity.

Most exercises fall into the anaerobic category of exercise as opposed to aerobic. Anaerobic are repetitive motions like weight lifting that deal with fast-twitch muscle fibers. Anaerobic isometric contraction exercises tend to fatigue muscle because it quickly uses up the oxygen stores and replaces it with a metabolic by-product called lactic acid that causes cramping and soreness. Aerobic exercise deals with slow-twitch fibers. Fatigue of muscle with this type of activity comes from the consumption of the glucose energy stored for the muscles. They then tire because there is no more energy for them as when distance runners hit “the wall.”

Isometrics, however, are exercises where you contract muscles without shortening the muscle. Imagine holding a weight at arm’s length. The muscle contracting to hold that object in that specific location is an example of isometrics. Isometric contractions build muscle strength and mass over a shorter period of time and effort. Contractions lasting for only ten seconds produce enough contractile tension over time to increase strength. Overall, isometric exercise is the preferred method for both toning muscles and losing weight. There is no danger of injury, exertion is lessened and time is saved.

Downtown dallas loft – my minimalism

My loft is almost complete finally. Found the perfect table for behind my sofa to serve as my dining table and working table. It’s a beautiful solid wood table thats about 20″ x 72″ and I’m sure you can all guess where I found it for the bargain price of $80… Craigslist! I just wanted to show my recent additions to the space including the table, my new tv stand, and my vintage chair. My friends have convinced me that it would be okay to not reupholster the chair quite yet so the awesomely ugly yellow chair will just chill in the corner. My next project is building a coffee table and bedframe using wood pallets and refinishing my mom’s old mirror for my dresser. Now, as I said I am not an extreme minimalist, which is obvious by looking at my loft. If I was, it’d be empty besides a bed and table I’m sure. But this is my idea of minimalism and it guides the direction I have taken with my home… Minimalism seeks to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. In terms of design, that means that one strips everything down to its essential quality and achieves simplicity. Every single thing you see in my space has a purpose and speaks to who I am as a person and a designer.

Small space. The number one thing you can do as a minimalist, is limit your footprint. My loft is 513 SF and I find that to be about as small as I would go with three pets. But that’s tiny in comparison to what most people expect to live in, especially in Texas. To me, it feels huge coming from a cramped one bedroom 600 SF apartment due to all the walls. This space is wide open and has so many possibilities.
Natural elements. When I walked into this very apartment on a tour I knew it was for me based on the foundation it has to build off of. An important aspect of minimalism is less clutter, less stuff lining the walls, less everything. People’s complaints about minimalist design is the starkness and impersonal feeling. This loft exudes character. I don’t need to through paint on the wall or art everywhere or use neat little accent vases and clutter. The brick wall, the real wood flooring, the wood rafters and beams, the exposed HVAC system, the warehouse windows… all of it is beautifully simple design that makes the space so interesting, I don’t need to detract from it or add to it in anyway.

Essential pieces. I need a space that feels like home. That is one reason extreme minimalism doesn’t appeal to me. I need a space that I can be comfortable in and call my own, not just a space to sleep in for 8 hours a day. Hence why I am all for furniture, it’s just a matter of how much you need  and why it’s there.

Bed – sleep time.
Sofa – lazy time and hang out time.
Yellow vintage accent chair – because every designer should have a quirky piece that is oddly loveable and makes the space feel more personal.
Table behind sofa – dining table, work table for drafting and rendering, etc.
Desk – iMac. I did consider moving it to my new table and getting rid of the desk, but it worries me to have my computer out in the middle with my crazy cats running around… plus the desk completes my cat run up to the loft so I’d have to have something here anyway, and that just means spending more money so desk stays.
Dresser – being a loft, it has a tiny closet, the dresser is a functional accent piece that serves as storage and is a beautiful, unique piece for my entry area. It, along with curtains, conceal my bed from the entry.
Billy bookcase – pantry and storage. My kitchen has like 2 cabinets and one drawer. No lie.
TV stand – well obviously I need something to put my TV on… so I decided to find a piece that is different and a do it yourself project. Love it.

Minimizing the clutter maximizes the design. One thing I think that makes my loft minimalist is the lack of clutter. I have some books that are important to me and/or my profession and that’s bout it. If you take away all the junk and little things that fill your home, you can have a design that takes little effort to clean, arrange, and you can spend money and time on finding pieces that truly fill their purpose and make you happy to have them in your home verses buying quick fix pieces to conceal or display all your clutter. Less maintenance and less distraction from your space.

I love my loft and feel like it has turned out better than I ever imagined. Don’t let someone else’s idea of minimalism define your’s… figure out what works best for you and what makes you content with your space.

What are the advantages of local power generation

There are some trade-offs between the current model of large power plants with extensive distribution networks and smaller local power that’s generated at the point of demand. Provided that this power is of a renewable nature, it has many advantages for both environmental and economic benefits.

Power generated where it’s needed is much more efficient, because there’s no energy wasted on a lengthy transmission network. The local power can be fine-tuned for maximum efficiency, with any waste energy such as heat harnessed to provide a benefit rather than waste by-product. The localized generation of power can take into account any local energy source, and the local variances in demand, to provide a tailored fit for a community.

When thinking about the current distribution network, we can draw parallels with mainframe computers. We long ago got rid of the centralized computing model to go with a networked approach as it breeds innovation, flexibility, and efficiency. The same three benefits hold true for distributed energy, with local power solutions particularly giving rise to a new wave of research and development.

Distributed energy can be cheaper to build than large centralized plants, and with renewable energy sources, it’s much cheaper to operate. The distributed power plant also gets away from pricing fluctuations of fossil fuel sources that are controlled mostly by foreign sources. The resulting energy independence means a much more predictable and sustainable solutions without huge spikes in power cost.

Reliability is the common argument against distributed power generation, as the national grid is seen as the means to avoid blackouts or interrupted service. Recent focus on power efficiency in the renewable market shows that there are solutions to combat the intermittent nature of solar and wind power.

Internationally, the idea of distributed power is winning out over huge centralized plants. There are signs that the United States is starting to realize the advantages, spurred by legislated mandates to generate more power from renewable sources. There’s a revolution on the way here that will gain steam as the costs rise for our current energy sources and as upkeep and maintenance grows for our large-scale transmission grids.