Alternatives to central air conditioners

The most commonly used method of cooling during the summer months still seems to be using central air conditioner systems. They are very convenient but require a large investment upfront to install so not everyone can afford them. Central air conditioning is a big modification to the house’s original design so they also cannot be used when renting – and the percentage of renters rises each year. Lastly, some also consider them a health hazard because the AC unit can have a buildup of dust and bacteria in it that you later inhale. Too cold temperatures are also linked to a weaker immune system and dry air.

So what alternatives can you use in place of central air conditioning? As it turns out, there are plenty of choices.

Portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners only need electricity and a connection to the outside to work properly. A portable air conditioner is a standalone AC unit that can be placed anywhere in the house. So you are not limited in its placement and can carry it from one room to another if you need to.

There are two types of portable air conditioners – single hose and dual hose. Single hose units use the hose to expel the hot air outside through a window or a special hole in the wall. They are fine for basic cooling needs but aren’t efficient in the long run. Dual hose conditioners have one hose for expelling hot air and another hose for bringing in air from outside (that air is first cooled inside the unit before being released in the room). This way, the amount of air in the room stays the same. Dual hose portable air conditioner is the most efficient type.

Evaporative coolers

Evaporative coolers are also known as swamp coolers and they are an eco-friendly alternative. The standalone units use moisturized cooling pads to turn warm air into cool one while adding moisture to it – so they also take care of the dry air problem. Evaporative coolers are a much more cost-friendly option than air conditioners because they use a simple fan to only draw in the warm air rather than also cooling it. They can be used outside as well as inside (provided you live in a dry and hot climate, such as the West Coast. Read evaporative cooler reviews to see all the different models.

Electric fans

These fans are powered solely by electricity and cool the air with their fans rotating at high-speed. There are many shapes and designs available and most of them (with the exception of the ceiling and wall-mounted fans) don’t require you to modify the room in any way so they are perfect for renters. Standard pedestal and tower fans just need to be plugged in to provide you with the well-deserved relief. They can often be set up to run at different speeds according to what you need at the moment. If you need a permanent alternative to central air conditioning then a ceiling fan is the best choice. It doesn’t take up any space and cools the whole room evenly.


How to get the full spa experience at home

Not being able to go to the spa and relax after a long week at work is just one of the many unfortunate side effects of the pandemic. How are you supposed to relax at home if you already spend all your time there? This is no easy task. But because many of us struggle with being cooped up at home all the time, it is important to find time and the right method to take that stress away. Having no outlet for stress is severely detrimental both to our physical and mental health. Fortunately, people’s ingenuity is boundless. There are plenty of ways you can transform your home into a full-blown spa and in this article, we will introduce some of them.

Spa bath

If you have a bathtub at home then it is easy to make the experience of taking a bath a very special one. Take your time to draw water at just the right temperature, warm but not scalding hot. Make it a bubble bath or use your favorite scent of bath salts – or do both of these for a full-blown spa bath. Get some essential oils and put a few drops in your bath to make it smell amazing. The oils also have the added benefit of moisturizing your skin. You can also dim the lights and light some scented candles to make your bathroom seem like a completely different place. Grab a book or simply close your eyes and let yourself get lost in the newly-found relaxation space. Maybe even get a glass of wine with you.

If you have other people living with you, make sure that they know not to disturb you during your ‘me’ time – there is nothing worse than having to pause your bath to put out random fires at home that could have been easily handled by someone else.

Spa appliances

Many makers are racing one another to come up with new ideas to make people’s life at home more spa-like. The result is we have many new home appliances to choose from!

Facial steamer

Steaming your face feels amazing and it also has great benefits for your skin. A facial steamer is an indispensable part of many skincare routines. The steam opens up your pores, making congestions easier to clean out, and any skincare products you put on your skin after are more easily absorbed.

Foot massager

Foot massagers are an amazing invention that shouldn’t get overlooked. You simply fill it with water, put your feet inside and turn the machine on to enjoy having rollers knead the bottom of your feet with bubble water swirling around. Foot massagers simulate real massagers in a surprisingly good way and they can be used anywhere, even under your desk as you work.

Inflatable hot tub

Inflatable hot tubs are a relatively cheap way of getting that jacuzzi experience in the comfort of your own home. As long as you have enough space on your veranda or in your yard to place it, consider getting the best inflatable hot tub possible. It’s guaranteed you will completely lose yourself in the bubbles.


How to choose a bidet toilet seat

Bidets are literally dividing the world. Some countries love them and cannot imagine going to the toilet without one. These include countries from Southern Europe, the Middle East, and some Asian ones, predominantly Japan. Other nationalities often find them peculiar and unnecessary. However, lately, even people from North America have started to warm up to the idea of installing a bidet in their toilets.

A bidet can come either as a standalone plumbing fixture usually found next to the toilet or as an attachment in the form of a toilet seat that you put on top of the regular toilet. If you want to start using a bidet, finding space to install a standalone bidet might not be easy. Most people choose the attachment type if they are installing the bidet in an already built bathroom. They are easy to install and don’t need any additional plumbing.

Due to their surging popularity, bidet toilet seats can now be found in most home improvement stores. For example, a Home Depot bidet toilet seat will have everything you need to enjoy the benefits of a bidet at home without costing you a fortune.

But what to look for when buying a bidet toilet seat?


The bidet toilet seat has to fit your existing toilet to be able to use it comfortably. Make sure to measure your toilet bowl and get a bidet toilet seat that will sit properly. The shape is also important. Some bidets will be round, others will be more elongated. Get the one that matches the shape of your toilet.

Power source

Bidet toilet seats can be mechanical or electrical. If all you want is just the basic cleaning function, then a non-electrical bidet will be enough. It runs on your bathroom’s water pressure and is cheaper.

Electric bidet toilet seats, however, have many additional features that will make the visits to the bathroom much more comfortable. For example, almost every electric bidet has a heated water setting so you won’t be shocked when you get sprayed with water from behind. You can also adjust the water pressure which is helpful if it takes you a lot of time to feel clean. Some models even have heated seats that are great during colder seasons. However, the biggest advantage of electric bidet toilet seats is probably the option to change the position of the water-spraying nozzle. Standard bidets only clean the rear area but the modern ones can have the nozzle adjusted so that it also aids feminine hygiene. Electric bidet toilet seats need to be connected to a power outlet to run.

To sum up, non-electric models will do a fine job but if there are women living in the house, or maybe an elderly person that would benefit from having an easy to use control panel, then consider getting an electric bidet toilet seat.

A bidet is a great way to improve your personal hygiene. Buying a bidet toilet seat will also save you money in the long run because you won’t be spending as much on toilet paper. This also makes them a more ecological way of using the toilet.


Research Exhibits

SC2001 offers an exceptional opportunity to learn about the latest research results in high-performance computing and communications. This year’s research exhibits include a larger and more varied collection of universities, labs, and centers than at any previous event. The major research centers will present demonstrations and provide opportunities for in-depth discussions with research staff. In keeping with the Beyond Boundaries theme, the research exhibits include both a European Research Village and an Asian Research Village, providing a focus on international research activities.

Jim Pool, Research Exhibits Coordinator
California Institute of Technology

SC2001 Research Exhibit Hours

Monday, November 12, 7 – 9:00pm GALA OPENING
Tuesday, November 13, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday, November 14, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday, November 15, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Click each title for details or click here to view the entire Research Exhibitors list.

Exhibit Institution
Exhibit Title
Adventure Project (Graduate School of Frontier Sci)
Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center
Ames Laboratory, Scalable Computing Lab (DOE)
Arctic Region Supercomputing Center
Argonne National Laboratory
ASCI DOE Tri-Lab Exhibit
Asia Pacific Grid (ApGrid) / Electrotechnical Labo
Boston University
Brigham Young University
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Caltech Center for Advanced Computing Research
CCSE of Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute
Center for Computational Physics, U of Tsukuba
Center for Supercomputing Research and Development
CLRC Daresbury Laboratory
Cornell Theory Center (CTC)
Cybermedia Center, Osaka University, JAPAN
Department of Defense HPC Modernization
Digital Worlds Institute – University of Florida
Embedded High Performance Computing Project
EPCC: Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre
European Center For Parallelism Of Barcelona
George Washington University
High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS)
Indiana University – Purdue University – Universit
INRIA: Institut National de Recherche en Information
Institute of Statistical Mathematics
John von Neumann Institute for Computing
Krell Institute
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Leibniz Computing Center (Leibniz-Rechenzentrum, L)
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Maui Supercomputing Center
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Nat’l Center for Data Mining/Nat’l Scalable Cluster Proj.
Nat’l Center for High Performance Computing, Taiwan
National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance)
National Coordination Office for Information Tech.
Nat’l Partnership for Adv. Computational Infrastructure
NCAR Scientific Computing Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Ohio Supercomputer Center
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Paradyn Project – University of Wisconsin and Univ
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
Real World Computing Partnership
Research Org. for Information Science & Technology
RIKEN (The Inst. of Physical and Chemical Research)
Saitama University
Standard Peformance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC)
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Fermi Nat’l
The Aggregate
The MITRE Corporation
Universidade de Sao Paulo
University of Houston
University of Manchester, Manchester Computing
University of Tennessee
University of Utah, CHPC