How to Dog Proof Your Garbage Can

How to Dog Proof Your Garbage Can

If your dog is getting into your garbage, here’s a quick hack to help keep your beloved pooch out of the bin and safe.

Think you’ll need:

Stretch the bungee cord to find how far down the anchors need to be. Mark the holes, drill, and place the anchors with the screws facing out.

I added a few layers of duct tape to the interior bolt head to keep the bags from ripping.

 

Is GoDaddy.com a good place to register my domain name?

Well, you’ve decided to make a website. Congrats! After figuring out what to name it, the first step is registering your domain name!  Now where should I do that? Maybe you remember a Super Bowl commercial from a while back about GoDaddy.com.  Let’s answer the question, “Should I register my domain name with GoDaddy?” Or what is the best company to register my domain with?

Well first, you should know that, legally, to make a website, you need to register it with you name, email, address, and phone number. If you do not opt for privacy protection, this information will be published for everyone on the WHOIS Public Database.

Let me advise not registering your domain with GoDaddy. The $0.99 intro offer may sound good.  However, if you do not pay for the extra $10 per year fee, they post your information online and you will get loads of spam phone calls and emails. Then the price goes up to $18 per year. And still doesn’t include any privacy protection.

GoDaddy_UploadInstead, I would recommend registering your domain though Google Domains. It’s $12 per year and they won’t give away your info… unless you want to be listed on the WHOIS database.

Google_Upload

Before registering your domain with any company, make sure they won’t put your information out there on the web or see how much they charge for privacy protection.

Honda Element Camper

This post is on my Honda Element Camper Design. It is pretty simple. This configuration allows for three passengers and flexibility to sleep one or two. I also wanted to be able to hold 10 gallon storage bins underneath the bed.

Here is a photo of me at Crater Lake National Park. I have added a few things since this picture.

IMG_20190903_181135

What you will need:

  • Bed legs: (4) 2×4’s length 14”
  • Frame: (2) 2×4’s length 46.5”
  • Frame: (2) 2×4’s length 18”
  • 22” wide plywood, cut to 46.5” and 24”
  • Set of small hinges
  • High torque deck screws

Tools:

To make the bed: Use the the clamps to make the use the screws to fasten them together. I like to drill pilot holes and use bits that are designed not to strip. I attached the legs to the short part of the frame first and then the long areas.

Is folds out into a 6′ long bed and has storage room underneath.

From here we can add a 3″ thick foam pad or 2″ thick foam pad. A second one can be used on the other side if you want a full sized bed.

I also made some custom window blockers out of a 25′ roll of 24-inch wide Reflectix  and suction cup hooks. This keeps some heat in, allows for urban/stealth camping, and affords some privacy. The other great addition was a rain fly that I made out of a tarp, (2) high strength magnets, tarp poles, paracord, and stakes.

A few other great additions:

Thanks for reading!

Related posts:

Items to increase safety in your car and to keep for emergencies

Finding an ETF with Foreign Country Exposure

This post is building off a previous analysis that showed that it may be beneficial to include a few different countries’ major companies’ stocks in your investment portfolio.

An exchange-traded fund or ETF allows you purchase a small part of many companies.  Two common ones are VTI, which is Vanguard Total Stock Market and VOO which is Vanguard S&P 500 ETFs.  They have low expense ratios of 0.03%.  Compare that to the actively managed funds which can have expense ratios greater than 1%.  The lower the expense ratio, the more money goes home with you.

There is one item that should be noted about investing in foreign companies. We also need to keep in mind the currency which the company uses and how strong it is in relation to the USD.  For example, the company’s share price may increase, but if the USD gets stronger during this period, it will eat away at your gains.

There are two great websites that let you search ETF’s by your given criteria:

http://www.etf.com/

etfdb.com and their Country Exposure Tool

Browsing these websites, we can see a ETFs that have exposure to the countries. A few countries (Burma, Libya, Romania, Ethiopia, and Iran) that I ranked highly did not have any exposure on the etfdb.com exposure tool. Other countries (Macau and Bangladesh) had very limited exposure in the ETFs. Other countries such as China, Philippines, India, Hong Kong, and Turkey had ETFs with a high amount of exposure. I did a few permutations with different weighting and added South Korea to the list.  A table that shows the ETF, expense ratio, and exposure to each country is shown below.

ETF Ticker ETF Name Exp Rat (%) Macau (%) Turkey (%) China (%) Bangladesh (%) Philippines (%) India (%) Hong Kong (%) S Korea (%) sum (%) No of countries
FLKR Franklin FTSE South Korea ETF 0.19 100 100 1
EPHE iShares MSCI Philippines ETF 0.59 99.52 99.52
TUR iShares MSCI Turkey ETF 0.59 100 100 1
FLCH Franklin FTSE China ETF 0.19 16.78 82.73 99.51 2
FLHK Franklin FTSE Hong Kong ETF 0.09 0.4 95.55 95.95 2
AIA iShares Asia 50 ETF 0.5 53.68 22.67 76.35 2
FLAX Franklin FTSE Asia ex Japan ETF 0.19 6.89 1.15 10.29 43.71 13.02 75.06 5
GMF SPDR S&P Emerging Asia Pacific 0.49 13.41 1.56 16.2 39.73 70.9 4
EMCG  WisdomTree Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund 0.32 9.53 3.7 8.7 21.88 11.53 55.34 5
IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF 0.14 6.38 9.11 27.78 11.86 55.13 4
ESGE iShares ESG MSCI EM ETF 0.25 4.85 8.95 28.44 11.55 53.79 4
SPEM SPDR Portfolio Emerging Markets ETF 0.11 9.42 11.06 29.8 50.28 3
VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF 0.1 8.82 10.12 30.58 49.52 3
EEMV iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Emerging Markets ETF 0.68 8.95 2.6 8.73 20.18 6.5 46.96 5
AAXJ iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan ETF 0.72 7.98 1.02 9.84 4..5 13.17 32.01 4
VPL Vanguard FTSE Pacific ETF 0.1 8.07 11.35 19.42 2
VSGX ESG International Stock ETF 0.17 10.74 3.28 14.02 2
VXUS Vanguard Total International Stock ETF 0.08 9.78 3.19 12.97 2
FM iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF 0.79 5.28 5.28 1
XCEM Columbia EM Core ex-China ETF 0.16 0 0

As we can see, there are quite a few ETFs that have almost 100% exposure for individual countries, but these should be used sparingly because their 0.59% expense ratios. A combination of FLAX, TUR, and FM would get us a mixture that is pretty close to the countries that are the top of the list.

Let’s dive into FLAX for example; you should do this with the other ETFs as well. According to ETF.com, FLAX is mostly technology (34.91%) and financials (29.16%). The top holdings are Alibaba Group Holding (7.69%), Tencent Holdings (6.50%), and Taiwan Semiconductor (5.10%). We should to an assessment of the major companies in each ETF; I will break down Alibaba. You should look at the past few years of annual reports and a few quarterly reports. Looking at the 2019 annual report, the company settled a lawsuit in the USA, which left it in an unfavorable position. However, the company reports a 51% year over year increase in revenue and 242% increase in earnings per share. The company does not report carrying debt. It has has many years of growing revenues.

This is just on example of and ETF you can buy. You can select your own to meet your investment goals.

This article is for informational purposes only. It does not serve as investment advice or credit analysis. It should not be used as a recommendation to purchase any investments.

Disclaimer: I/we have positions in FLAX and Alibaba.

Why You Should Include Foreign Stocks in Your Investment Portfolio

Introduction

There are many differing opinions on if you should include foreign assets in your investment portfolio. Some say those in the USA should only have USA-based stocks and bonds. Others say you should have different percentages of foreign stocks and bonds. This post seeks to determine if there are other countries or regions that one should consider investment attention to.

Methods

I downloaded the following data from the CIA World Factbook for the word’s countries:

A total of 189 of the world’s countries were assessed.

For the analysis, the following transformations of the CIA World Factbook data were made:

  • Public debt as a % of GDP was multiplied by the per capita GDP to approximate the public debt per capita
  • External debt was divided by the population to approximate the External Debt per capita
  • The trade surplus or deficit was determined by subtracting the imports from the exports. Then this value was divided by the population to determine the approximate trade surplus (positive) or deficit (negative) per capita
  • The government reserves were divided by the population to approximate the government reserve amount per capita

Each one of the countries was given one point (scored) for each country that is surpassed. For example, the country with the largest GDP (China) was given a score of 189. The country with the smallest GDP (Anguilla) was given a score of 1. The countries with the least amount of public debt per capita (Macau and Timor-Leste) were given a score of 188.5 while the country with the largest public debt per capita (Singapore) was given a score of 1. Ties were given the average score.

Once scoring was complete, the score for each category was multiplied by a weighting factor and summed to determine the overall weighted score. Then each country was ranked by score.  The country with the greatest score was given a rank of 1. The weighting system is subjective by nature but was intended to give more importance to categories which would cause a country’s economy to excel or falter in the future.

Category Name Highest Score Weight
GDP ($) Greatest 0.20
GDP ($/Capita) Greatest 0.15
Public Debt ($/Capita) Least 0.15
External Debt ($/Capita) Least 0.10
Trade surplus or deficit ($/Capita) Greatest 0.05
GDP Growth Rate (%) Greatest 0.15
Industrial Production Growth Rate (%) Greatest 0.15
Government Reserves ($/capita) Greatest 0.05

Results

Based on the weighting system, the countries are ranked as follows (lower ranking is better):

Rank Country Rank Country Rank Country
1 Macau 57 Kyrgyzstan 113 Syria
2 Turkey 58 Madagascar 114 Grenada
3 China 59 Peru 115 Mauritius
4 Libya 60 Niger 116 Luxembourg
5 Bangladesh 61 Sri Lanka 117 Japan
6 Philippines 62 Nigeria 118 South Africa
7 India 63 Rwanda 119 Central African Republic
8 Burma 64 Albania 120 Colombia
9 Hong Kong 64 Nicaragua 121 El Salvador
10 Nepal 66 United Kingdom 122 Qatar
11 Romania 67 Brunei 123 Yemen
12 Ethiopia 68 Argentina 124 Denmark
13 Vietnam 69 Paraguay 125 Kuwait
14 Indonesia 70 Belarus 126 Afghanistan
15 Iran 71 Germany 127 Tonga
16 Tanzania 72 Cameroon 128 Brazil
17 Pakistan 73 Finland 129 Italy
18 Ghana 74 Slovenia 130 Chile
19 Cambodia 75 Russia 131 Croatia
20 Poland 76 Lesotho 132 Saint Lucia
21 Uzbekistan 77 Zambia 133 Iceland
22 Malaysia 78 Bolivia 134 Guinea-Bissau
23 Czechia 79 United States 135 Norway
24 Estonia 80 Sweden 136 Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 Senegal 81 Sierra Leone 137 Malawi
26 Kazakhstan 82 Cyprus 137 Sao Tome and Principe
27 Guinea 83 Netherlands 139 Angola
28 Cote d’Ivoire 84 New Zealand 140 Greece
29 Panama 85 West Bank 141 Jordan
30 Ireland 86 Guatemala 142 Iraq
31 Turkmenistan 87 Benin 143 Eswatini
32 Burkina Faso 88 Bhutan 144 Botswana
33 Latvia 89 Sudan 145 Ecuador
34 Korea, South 90 Togo 146 Bahamas, The
35 Egypt 91 Eritrea 147 Papua New Guinea
36 Laos 92 Portugal 148 Timor-Leste
37 Mali 93 Kosovo 149 Seychelles
38 Thailand 94 France 150 Bahrain
39 Bulgaria 95 Ukraine 151 Somalia
40 Uganda 96 Vanuatu 152 Cuba
41 Canada 97 Djibouti 153 Solomon Islands
42 Hungary 98 Moldova 154 Anguilla
43 Dominican Republic 99 Tajikistan 155 Malta
44 Kenya 100 Australia 156 Tunisia
45 Taiwan 101 Bosnia and Herzegovina 157 Belgium
46 Lithuania 102 Congo, Dem. Rep. 158 Cabo Verde
47 Singapore 103 Liberia 159 Mongolia
48 Georgia 104 Serbia 160 Uruguay
49 Morocco 105 Saudi Arabia 161 Montenegro
50 Algeria 106 Mexico 162 Zimbabwe
51 Spain 107 Slovakia 163 Venezuela
52 Israel 108 Fiji 164 Comoros
53 Honduras 109 United Arab Emirates 165 Mauritania
54 Armenia 110 Mozambique 166 Azerbaijan
55 Maldives 111 Switzerland 167 Haiti
56 Austria 112 Costa Rica 168 Oman

Additionally, the countries were also broken down into seven global regions. The lower the average rank, the better.

Region Average Rank
Africa 101
Arab States 119
Asia & Pacific 70
Europe 83
Middle east 103
North America 60
South/Latin America 129
Grand Total 95

Conclusions

Broken down by region, we can see that the economic situation of the North America is still quite good; it is the highest ranked region. The United States and Canada are ranked 79th and 41st, respectively. However, the USA is 182nd of 189 for public debt per capita and 169th for external debt. It is 131st in GDP growth and tied for 116th for government reserves.  These issues could create long term problems for the US Economy.

Thus, it appears that having foreign stocks is worthy of a look in your investment portfolio. If you can focus on countries that are positioned the best economically, your risk can be mitigated with problems underlying the United States economy.

Just because a country is ranked well here does not mean all of the publicly traded corporations that you can invest in will have good performance in your portfolio. The ranking here does not release you of the need to vet the company, country, or region before investing in it.

A look at ways to invest in these countries or regions will follow in a later post.

This article is for informational purposes only. It does not serve as investment advice or credit analysis. It should not be used as a recommendation to purchase any investments.

Source:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/docs/rankorderguide.html

Prevention/Emergency Car Items

This is a list of items I have found that can help you save money long term on your car and help you be ready for an emergency. The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared;” this has not left me. The first ten items are those that I believe that most people could benefit from. The latter set of ten, I believe most people could also benefit from, but these items are geared for those that enjoy the outdoors.

Ten things you should always keep in your car:

  1. Spare tire, jack, tire iron, PB Blaster
    It turns out that when my parents got a slow tire leak, we realized the manufacturer has decided to save fuel economy and money by not including a spare tire and jack in the car. Instead there was a small tire repair kit. Take a look in your car and you could save yourself a major headache! A repair kit will not cover you in the event of a blowout. We picked up a spare tire (donut) from the local junk yard. If you live somewhere where they salts the roads, I recommend picking up can of PB blaster as well. Give the lug nuts a spray and let it set for a while before you turn them.
  1. Battery jumper
    Now a days, you don’t need to find another car to jump your car. Instead you can use a compact batter jumper which also functions as a backup battery for your cell phone or electronics. Don’t forget to charge it every six months. I usually do this when I renew my insurance.
    IMG_20200419_074632
  1. Tire inflator and pressure gauge
    I have been in a few situations where the tire just had a slow leak. A tire inflator would have been enough to get to the tire shop for a fix.
    IMG_20200419_074831
  1. Extra Security – Anti-theft stickers and alarm (Vibration alarm and/or Wi-Fi-based motion sensor alarm)
    Keeping your car safe should be a priority. To slightly lessen the likelihood of it getting broken into, try putting anti-theft stickers on the windows. Also, I put a vibration alarm which goes off even with my car being unlocked without being disarmed. I just heard on a podcast about someone’s car getting stolen from the work parking lot with a master key. A loud beeping when unlocking the car would have probably been enough to ward them off. A Wi-Fi-based alarm may be helpful too if you have Wi-Fi where you normally park your car.
  2. Emergency supply kit with Zip ties, paracord, and Pocket knife
    Zip Ties come in handy for a variety of needs such as a piece of trim that has fallen off or a muffler. Who knows what 550-lb test cord could be use for. And the pocket knife has few small tools on it that can come in handy.
    vlcsnap-2020-04-19-19h56m07s738
  1. First aid kit – You never know when it could come in handy. Have pain relief medicine in there and inventory it at least once per year.
  1. Hand sanitizer – I keep a bottle in my driver’s side door.
  1. High visibility vest – If you do have do work on your car on the side of the road, at least you will able to be seen from afar.
    IMG_20200419_081600
  2. Blind Spot Mirrors – Makes it little easier to see what is around you.
    IMG_20200419_081105
  3. Dash Cam – This is a recent addition to my car. After hearing a horror story about someone being in an accident that wasn’t their fault and the other person going after them, I figure it is cheap insurance for a defensive driver.
    vlcsnap-2020-04-19-20h00m31s954

Ten additional things for outdoors lovers:

  1. Emergency food and water/water filter
    It can be good to have some extra food in the car for emergencies, especially if you or a love one gets hangry. Depending on the climate, extra water or a water filter might come in handy too.
    IMG_20200419_081646
  1. Toilet Paper, wag bag, and Shovel
    Nice to be able to use the bathroom in a sanitary fashion if needed. The wag bag has a chemical powder in it that stops decomposition. It can be placed in the trash. Not only can you bury human waste with the shovel, but you can dig snow and even may be able to dig yourself out if you get stuck in the mud.
    IMG_20200419_081831
  1. Emergency Poncho, umbrella, or tarp
  2. Work gloves – If you have to do some work on the car or if you live in a colder climate, these can really come in handy.
  1. Recovery Strap – If you get stuck, it is the safest way to get pulled out.
  1. Travel blanket – If you want to have an impromptu picnic or in case of an emergency, this blanket will suit you very well. Also nice if you want to have a picnic.
  1. Windshield crack repair kit – I have heard that one chip can span into a large one during the drive home. Save yourself the headache and fix your windshield on the fly.
  1. Fire supplies: Lighter, saw/hatchet and fire starters – I like to go camping, so having an ability to get a fire going in a flash is helpful.
  1. Pepper spray – For self-defense purpose, I would opt for this.
  1. Headlamp and batteries – It can be good have light while being hands free. I would recommend placing the headlamp and batteries in a plastic bag as batteries that are left in devices tend to leak. I use rechargeable batteries.
     

Let me know if you have comments or if there is something I am missing.

Visit National Parks and Monuments on the Cheap

Visit National Parks and Monuments on the Cheap

“Welp, I’m doing it.”  I decided to make the trip I’d been dreaming about for a good while.  I wanted to see more of Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.  It was going to be 23 days of waking up at the crack of dawn and seeing some of America’s best National Parks, Monuments, and other treasures.

Here is my final itinerary:

  • Zion National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Red Canyon
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Kodachrome Basin
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Valley of the Gods National Monument
  • Monument Valley
  • Grand Canyon National Park

Grad Trip Map

Continue reading “Visit National Parks and Monuments on the Cheap”

Simplify Your Breakfasts

Mornings can be hectic! If you’re looking for a way to simplify things, you’ve come to the right place.  You can prep all of your breakfasts for the week on Sunday.  I use old fashioned oats since I don’t like the texture of quick oats, but this recipe would surely work with quick oats with an adjusted cook time.  Pro tip:  You could make overnight oats by adding liquid the night before, and you wouldn’t need to microwave it.

The great thing about this recipe is that you control the amount of sugar unlike sugary breakfast cereals or oatmeal packets.  Plus, oats are heart healthy.

Here’s what you’ll need for each jar:

  • ½ cup (heaping) oats
  • 2 spoonfulls of nut butter (I use peanut butter)
  • A few shakes of cinnamon
  • A few pinches of baking chocolate powder
  • About 7 almonds
  • A small handful of raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Honey (optional)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

Add the oats to the jar.  I use a canning funnel to eliminate the mess.  Add the other ingredients in the order above.

MVIMG_20190224_185926.jpg

 

In the morning, add milk or non-dairy beverage to the jar.  I’ve found over filling or under-filling can cause it to overflow; the best line is the top of smooth part.  The cook time will vary, depending on your microwave.  I put it in for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  You’ll want to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over and make a mess in your microwave.  If it looks like this is occurring, I’d suggest going down to 80% power on the microwave to even out the cooking of the oats.

IMG_20190224_191312

You could transport the filled jar and it shouldn’t leak.

Be careful as it will be hot – don’t burn yourself.

IMG_20190226_063534

Thanks and enjoy!

Please take a look at the links below to order the supplies to simplify your morning:

Best Oats

Best Jars For These Oats

Best Peanut Butter For These Oats

Best Cinnamon For These Oats

Canning funnel

Smart Contract-Based Hydroclimate-Extreme Insurance Premium Adjustment with Season-Ahead Forecasting

The purpose of this paper is to advance smart contract-based crop insurance. The research question is: How can season-ahead forecasting be implemented to adjust the premiums on smart-contract-based hydroclimate-extreme insurance? The progression of this paper will be as follows: First, blockchain technology will be summarized. Then, a versatile crypto-currency, Ethereum, will be presented to implement hydroclimate-extreme insurance. Finally, three case studies will be presented- two in southern Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, and one in Australia. Season-ahead forecasting will be used to determine when premiums for crop insurance should increase due to increased probability of hydroclimate-extremes.

Season Ahead Forecasting and Blockchain PDF

Insurance

 

Compost Research Project

Compost Research Project

Reviewing Compost Use In Construction and Modeling The Hydrologic Response of Vegetated Compost Blankets

Written by Corey Poland – August 2018

Poland_2018_Reviewing_Compost_Use_In_Construction_and_Modeling_The_Hydrologic_Response_of_Vegetated_Compost_Blankets

Abstract
The objective of this independent study is to evaluate the use of compost in large scale earthwork projects such as those conducted by Departments of Transportation. A literature review outlining how compost can be used for soil stabilization, runoff reduction, and vegetation establishment in construction sites shows that compost is viable for these purposes. Important design parameters related to compost were taken from scientific literature, as well as from recommendations by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the U.S. Composting council, the authority on composting in the U.S.

Then each state’s latest DOT design specification document was assessed for if/how compost use is prescribed. Most states had some mention of compost, but specifications varied widely in scope. The particle size distribution requirements differed from state to state significantly. Many of the requirements outlined by the U.S. Composting Council and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials were not incorporated design specifications for each state.

Modeling of the hydrology of vegetated compost blankets explored different vegetation scenarios, depths of compost, and types of compost in the one-dimensional domain. Fully established vegetation represents a significant sink of soil water from the root zone as transpiration or root water uptake. Since fully established vegetation covers exposed soil, it limited evaporation as well. Varying the depth of the compost layer had less of an effect on the change in soil water storage, evaporation and transpiration than changing the vegetation or type of compost. Different depths of compost did, however, affect the runoff depth more than changing the vegetation. Changing the hydraulic properties of the surface layer, based on hydraulic testing of various composts, had the greatest effect on runoff. While modeling different types of compost, we found the evaporation from the surface is not necessarily an indicator of the hydrologic effectiveness of a surface compost layer, as more water can infiltrate but is subject to evaporation, leading to similar cumulative evaporation.

Overall, the positive effects of compost have been demonstrated while DOTs and other construction companies would benefit from expanded understanding of how to use compost effectively on site. A way to model vegetated compost blankets is presented, which can help engineers determine how to best incorporate compost into design.

Continue reading “Compost Research Project”