Posts by — Amy Suarez

Stars of “America Unplugged” are modern MacGyvers
by AMY SUAREZ on JUNE 14, 2014 - 0 Comments in land

Building a tiny homeRyan Lapinski always wanted to be MacGyver, the TV character solving problems with a bit of candle wax and a plastic bag.

“I watched that show religiously … that pretty much got me interested in outdoors. Blame it all on MacGyver, I guess,” he said.

The 26 June show in the new series “America Unplugged,” on the Sportsman Channel, will feature. Lapinski and his wife, Adda Lamon, as they build an off-grid home in East Brady, Pennsylvania.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I just preferred camping over being in a structure,” said Lapinski, 38, a native of the South. (“Pick a Southern state and chances are, I’ve lived there for a little bit.”) (more…)

Shop the bunker
by AMY SUAREZ on JUNE 1, 2014 - 1 Comment in urban

prepperposhThe Spectator newspaper reports that an architect who usually designs Manhattan skyscrapers was recently asked to pitch for a far more interesting project. The client, a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, wanted him to design a family house in upstate New York with a difference. It wouldn’t just be completely ‘off the grid’, with its own power and water supplies, but — and there isn’t yet an architectural term for this — it would be post-apocalypse. The conventional house would be mirrored below ground with pretty much identical living quarters that would be completely secure and so self-contained that there would be facilities to hydroponically grow plants and vegetables without soil. (more…)

Solar Flares set to strike Friday
by AMY SUAREZ on JUNE 1, 2014 - 1 Comment in land

Three solar flares in the past 48 hours let forth a giant spray of particles from Earth’s sun. There is a risk that the particles will KO a large number of the planet’s satellites and communication systems.

A ‘coronal mass ejection’ (CME), a huge cloud of irradiated particles and a magnetic shockwave, could strike on Friday.
The flares already caused brief disruptions to high frequency communications, such as radio broadcasts and aircraft communications, disrupting military radio and aircraft control towers.

The X-grade solar flares were on Tuesday morning at 7.42am and 8.52am – X being the most powerful kind of solar flare – and a third X-class flare early yesterday. (more…)

British Gas customer ripoffs – more info
by AMY SUAREZ on MAY 26, 2014 - 0 Comments in energy

British Gas owned by Centrica gives staff bonuses for ripping off old people

Bare-faced theft from British Gas

British Gas workers who doubled bills ‘were treated like celebrities and given free helicopter rides for ripping off customers’ say Whistleblowers.

Those producing high profits went to Monaco and Rome. Other rewards included 3D TVs, laptops, theatre tickets and Playstations

Energy regulator Ofgem has said it will investigate after Daily Mail exposé. Last month it emerged staff have monthly targets to bring in £120k profits.

The rewards included luxury all-expenses paid trips including limousine and helicopter rides, whistleblowers claimed.
Employees who made the highest profits by ensuring customers were sold the most expensive deals possible were sent on holidays to places such as Monaco, Rome and Iceland. (more…)

Devon smallholders win right to build home
by AMY SUAREZ on MAY 14, 2014 - 3 Comments in off-grid-101

Willand Devin couple win planning battle - go off-grid

They won their fight – you can too

A young family has won the right to live off the grid on their smallholding after a battle to get planning permission.

Dinah and Stig Mason were refused permission to build a house on the four-acre site in Willand, classified as open countryside.

Changes to planning laws mean the Masons can now convert an old barn on the site.

Mrs Mason said: “We’re ecstatic. We can finally live the life that we choose.”

We are going to have to spend a lot more money, but we have got our dream” (more…)

More Brown-outs coming soon say boffins
by AMY SUAREZ on MAY 9, 2014 - 0 Comments in energy

Electrical blackouts that cause disruption to millions are a looming threat to society, argue Hugh Byrd and Steve Matthewman

Hugh Byrd is a professor of architecture at the University of Lincoln, UK. Steve Matthewman is an associate professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This is adapted from their paper in the journal Social Space:

ON 14 August 2003, the north-eastern US and Ontario, Canada, were crippled by an enormous electrical blackout that affected 50 million people. Commuters struggled to get to work, ATMs failed, 36 car manufacturing plants were closed and hundreds of flights were cancelled, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in economic losses. The cause was later found to be a software bug in a control room in Ohio. (more…)

China’s housing crash may topple global economy soon
by AMY SUAREZ on MAY 2, 2014 - 0 Comments in land

So now we know what China’s biggest property developer really thinks about the Chinese housing boom and its consequences for the rest of the economy.
A leaked recording of a dinner speech by Vanke Group’s vice-chairman Mao Daqing more or less confirms what the bears have been saying for months. It is a dangerous bubble, and already deflating. In the year when China’s economy was set to overtake the USA in size, China may instead decide to get the trauma over and done with sooner rather than later. But the rest of the world should be under no illusions as to what this means. (more…)

100 things to do on British Waterways
by AMY SUAREZ on APRIL 29, 2014 - 0 Comments in water

1x1placeholderThe Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways) is publishing details of 100 readymade waterway days out ( to give individuals, couples and families a simple and affordable chance to spend quality time.

Half the UK population lives within five miles of one of the Canal & River Trust’s waterways and canals. And there are now 34,000 licensed boats and thousands more unlicensed ones where off-gridders can leave cheap or free lives.

British Waterways were unable to say how fast the numbers are growing, but they do say there are now more boats on the waterways “than at the height of the Industrial Revolution” in the C19th. (more…)

“$1m” Tree House under threat
by AMY SUAREZ on MARCH 14, 2014 - 1 Comment in urban

Wenatchee Treehouse in danger of demolition by local council

The Treehouse that Zeb built

A family in Wenatchee, WA have been told they can only keep their tree house if they takes out a $1M insurance policy in case it falls down

Zeb Postelwait built a tree house for his young sons in the front yard but the council say it is a threat to public safety.
Postelwait disagrees, says it is secure and does not obstruct the sidewalk. The council says that if Postelwait does not remove it, they will have an engineer appraise it, obtain an order to remove it and tear it down – and send him the bill for all costs. (more…)

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