Visit Big Bend! (Before Will Hurd Destroys It)

a message from #PeteGallego for Congress

Yet another classic example of Congressman Will Hurd talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Today a column by Rep. Hurd appeared in a D.C. media outlet on the beauty of the Big Bend Region — which is great — we 100% agree.

What we disagree on is Rep. Hurd’s proposed legislation that would devastate Big Bend National Park.

Our local paper in Alpine had this to say about Rep. Hurd’s bill:

“The result is that the Department of Homeland Security can come into Big Bend National Park and bulldoze archaeological sites, endangered wildlife zones and destroy view shed and the dark skies for which this park is internationally famous”

So, if Rep. Hurd remains in office, then you should probably go visit the Big Bend area ASAP — before he militarizes it and destroys the natural beauty.

Or you could help us get Pete back in office and rest assured that we’ll have a congressman who will never stop fighting to preserve and protect the area he grew up in.


Basic Tips for saving water in Washington …from

fixLeakFaucet_LgSaving Water Partnership

Seattle and participating water utilities

Many people think that having an environmentally friendly house means spending thousands of dollars on solar panels or planting a garden on the roof to keep the house cool during the summer time.
That’s not really the case. There are many things you can do to help the environment without having to transform your home, or even spend too much money. In fact, you might end up saving hundreds of dollars per year in the process.

For more information click on the link below

chief victims of global warming are women

women walk miles for water and gather the firewood … and women grow the food

Dark and Milk Chocolate


05/21/2015 1:15 PM EDT
FDA is releasing more information about its study finding that some dark chocolate products contain varying amounts of milk. And you can’t always tell that’s the case simply by reading the food label.

Read the Consumer Update to learn more.

Pursuing transformative technology with the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities

GOOGLeWhen Laura Palmaro was 10 years old, she woke one morning to find that the central vision in her left eye had all but disappeared. She was not ill and had no genetic issues—it was completely out of the blue. When she was 14, the same rare condition struck her right eye, and she began her freshman year of high school legally blind. Suddenly she was forced to depend on other people to read everything aloud, from school assignments to menus. The toughest part, according to Laura, was losing her sense of independence—and not knowing when or how she would get it back.

Laura has since adopted technological solutions to her vision challenges, using a combination of screen-readers and magnification software to read, work and more. Now a program manager at Google, she is following her passion, helping Chrome and Chrome OS teams make their products more accessible. “Technology has truly transformed my life,” she says. “Assistive technology can tear down boundaries, and empower people to find their independence and fulfill their dreams.”

We agree with Laura about the power of technology to change lives. And in order to support more people like her—people who see obstacles as opportunities—we’re launching the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. We’re putting $20 million in grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities, and today we’re issuing an open call to identify new areas of opportunity at

We’re kicking things off with support for two remarkable organizations. Each of these organizations is using technology to dramatically reduce the cost of and access to prosthetic limbs and auditory therapy, respectively—which could be transformative for hundreds of millions of people.

  • The Enable community connects people who want prosthetics with volunteers who use 3D printers to design, print, assemble, and fit them, for free. This dramatically cuts costs, increases speed of distribution, and meets unmet needs. We’ll support the Enable Community Foundation’s efforts with a $600,000 grant to advance the design, distribution and delivery of open-source 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics.
  • Diagnosing auditory challenges can be a struggle in low income communities—the equipment is expensive, bulky and unrealistic, particularly in the developing world. With our support, and a $500,000 grant, World Wide Hearing will develop, prototype and test an extremely low cost tool kit for hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available—and affordable—in the developing world.

The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities will seek out nonprofits and help them find new solutions to some serious “what ifs” for the disabled community. We will choose the best of these ideas and help them to scale by investing in their vision, by rallying our people and by mobilizing our resources in support of their missions.

But of course, we realize there’s always room to improve our products as well. We have a team committed to monitoring the accessibility of Google tools; and we provide engineering teams with training to incorporate accessibility principles into products and services. That doesn’t just mean improving existing Google tools, it means developing new ones as well. For example, Liftware is a stabilizing utensil designed to help people with hand tremors eat more easily, and self-driving cars could one day transform mobility for everyone.

Historically, people living with disabilities have relied on technologies that were often bulky, expensive, and limited to assisting with one or two specific tasks. But that’s beginning to change. Thanks to groups like Enable and World Wide Hearing, and with tools like Liftware, we’re starting to see the potential for technologies that can profoundly and affordably impact millions. But we’ll all get there sooner if we make it a team effort—which is why we’re launching Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities today. Together, we can create a better world, faster.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director,

The One Thing You Need to Know When Buying Vanilla Ice Cream

We devoured pint after pint to get the scoop on vanilla ice cream — and uncovered the best-tasting brand along the way.

The One Thing You Need to Know When Buying Vanilla Ice Cream

Go to the freezer section of your local supermarket and you’re bound to find a number of brands peddling vanilla ice cream. Sounds fine, right? However, there’s a problem lurking among the labels: Brands that print phrases like “natural vanilla” on their packages may actually be pushing products that contain anything but.

RELATED: Want to make your own ice cream? Arm yourself with the best recipes and detailed video tutorials (try it for free).

In our America’s Test Kitchen TV taste test segment for supermarket vanilla ice cream, Jack Bishop explains that counterfeit vanilla is a bigger problem than one might think, and implores smart shoppers to read labels before buying a pint of the stuff.


“Vanilla extract is the key to buying ice cream with good vanilla flavor,” says Bishop. “If it doesn’t say vanilla extract, walk on by.”

Bishop explains to co-host Christopher Kimball that shoppers might see the words “natural vanilla flavor” printed on ice cream cartons. “Sounds pretty good, right? It’s actually imitation extract made from wood pulp.”

RELATED: Not sure if a Vitamix is worth it? Read our review of blenders. Shopping for a new skillet? We have you covered.

Vanilla flavoring was all over the map in the 8 ice creams we included in our taste test, ranging from barely detectable in some to overpowering in others. We looked on the back of the cartons and noticed that each brand seemed to list vanilla in a different way—as Bishop explained—from the wordy and virtuous “fair-traded certified vanilla extract” to “natural vanilla flavor” to simply “vanilla.” Dairy expert Scott Rankin, a professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explained that the different wordings on the labels amount to an industry shorthand for specific kinds of natural or artificial flavorings. As he helped us break the code, we looked at our favorite (and not-so-favorite) ice creams according to the type of vanilla.

First, a little background: The flavor in vanilla beans is predominantly due to the presence of a compound known as vanillin. Vanillin is produced three ways: from vanilla beans, from wood, and from resins. The first two types are considered natural, while the vanillin from resins is synthetic. Not surprisingly, our top three top-ranked brands all contained the real deal—“vanilla extract”—natural vanillin extracted from vanilla beans, just like the real vanilla extract in your pantry. Less favored brands were made with vanillin extracted from wood (“natural vanilla flavor”), which is chemically identical to the synthetic vanillin found in artificial vanilla extract. Simple “vanilla” turned out to be code for a combination of synthetic and natural vanillin, while “natural flavors” (with no mention of vanilla at all) indicates just a trace of natural vanilla (there’s no required level) and other flavorings such as nutmeg that merely trigger an association.

Bottom line: Our tasters strongly preferred brands containing real vanilla extract.