Skip this chore: Cleaning your air conditioner condenser probably won’t make it work better

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Scratch this off your to-do list. Florence Yuill, CC BY-ND

David Yuill, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

I asked my neighbor who hoses off his air conditioner condenser every spring why he does it. “Because my dad always told me I had to,” he said.

Conventional wisdom like what my neighbor’s dad imparted may always seem right. But through my HVAC scholarship – the study of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems – I’ve learned that this particular presumption is probably wrong.

Dirty equipment

The equipment I’m talking about washing is the outdoor part of central air-conditioning systems that move heat from homes into the outdoors.

Technically known as condenser coils, they are usually about the size of a large garbage can but they can be as small as a bucket or as big as a refrigerator. Some are protected by louvered grilles but most are exposed to the elements. Their metal fins help transfer heat to the air. They contain tubes that carry the hot refrigerant, which gives off heat as it condenses.

Stuff like windblown seeds, dust and grass clippings tends to collect on the coil surface. Most homeowners and HVAC companies envision that this untidy-looking stuff acts like an insulating blanket, slowing down the passage of heat from inside to outside. Any debris that accumulates would also interfere with airflow over the coil, further restricting the system’s ability to expel heat.

The nitty-gritty

Mehdi Mehrabi, an architectural engineering graduate student, and I set out to learn the extent to which dirty residential air conditioners are less efficient than clean ones. What we found astonished us – and many of the other experts in this field.

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Monopoly was designed 100 years ago to teach the dangers of capitalism

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Do not pass GO! Monopoly was designed by a progressive writer to teach players the dangers of wealth concentration. Shutterstock

Benjamin Hoy, University of Saskatchewan

Have you played Monopoly lately? Or maybe snakes and ladders? These board games are examples of 100-year-old games that many still play today.

But the way they are played today may not be teaching the lessons their designers hoped to share.

At the start of the 20th century, children were part of the regular workforce. They possessed few toys. When U.S. manufacturers created games, they built them to market to parents: to teach as well as to entertain.

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Toy Story 4 to introduce “Canada’s greatest stuntman”

If you are a fan of the Toy Story series by Disney – Pixar then you will want to plan a date with a theater beginning June 21 when Toy Story 4 is scheduled to release.

Toronto-raised Keanu Reeves is set to voice Duke Caboom in the upcoming fourquel.

Caboom is a vintage 1970s-era toy, inspired by Canada’s greatest stuntman. Perched atop his powerful Caboom stunt-bike, Duke flashes off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger, but he has one itsy-bitsy problem: he can’t actually do the stunts advertised by his own commercial. Weighed down by the failures of his past, he has some serious identity issues when he encounters Woody (Tom Hanks) at an antique store.

Read More in This Toronto Sun Article

Learn more including cast and crew at The Movie Database


Toy Story 4 (June 19, 2019)

Release Date: June 19, 2019
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Runtime: 100 min
Original Title: Toy Story 4
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar
Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that's Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called "Forky" to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.

Trailer Toy Story 4

A Fisherman’s Tale – Chapter 7

The sun was high when I walked through the door, Esther just arched her eyebrows and asked, “Breakfast or lunch?”

“Babe, I’m sorry I’m late”

“Never mind that Simon, Eli told me what happened.  You must be exhausted, you fished all night and then you are gone all morning.  Where were you?  What is happening?”  Breakfast or lunch?”

“Just some bread and olives will be fine, we cooked some fish for breakfast and ate while we talked.”

“And what did you talk about with this Jesus?  How to build a table or fit at door?  Or were you teaching him how to fish?  What do you even have in common with this man?” The questions rolled out, one after another.

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Every Ontarian has the right to fly the Canadian Flag

Great article in the Toronto Sun by Bill Walker, Ontario minister of Government and Consumer Services.

Like most Ontarians, I was shocked to read that a family in Ottawa – the father, a third-generation member of our Armed Forces and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan – was told by a condominium board they were not allowed to fly the Canadian flag on the front of their house.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the story, Maj. Michael Mitchell initially put up our nation’s flag to celebrate Canada Day and kept it flying until he was told this week it violated the rules of his condominium corporation.

The board informed Mitchell that no condo owner was allowed to affix anything to the front of their home. Mitchell and his family were not initially aware of these rules

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Qantas Airways CEO Responds to Adorable Letter from 10-Year-Old

Hats off to the Qantas CEO who treated this young boy’s request with dignity and respect. It’s a beautiful story that may bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye.

Alex Jacquot is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Australia. He’s also an aspiring airline CEO, who wrote a letter last month to Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce, asking for advice on getting his future company off the ground.

He starts it off by introducing himself and asking the CEO to please take him seriously. After all, he’s already the CEO of his very own airline, which he’s named “Oceania Express.” He’s also already hired a CFO, a head of IT, a Head of Maintenance, a Head of On-Board Services, and a Head of Legal. And he’s got a co-founder in the form of his friend Wolf. Oh, and he’s already “started some stuff, like what type of planes I’ll need, flight numbers, catering and more.”

So he only really has three questions:

Read more here.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Based on the true story of a 13 year old boy and his efforts to provide a reliable water source for his family and village in Malawi, Africa.

Learn more including cast and crew at The Movie Database

View movie review at PluggedIn


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (March 1, 2019)

Release Date: March 1, 2019
Starring: Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aïssa Maïga, Lily Banda
Genres: Drama
Runtime: 113 min
Original Title: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Potboiler Productions, BBC Films, Blue Sky Films, Head Gear Films, Lipsync Post, Metrol Technology, Participant Media, BFI Film Fund
Against all the odds, a thirteen year old boy in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine.

Trailer The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Queen of Katwe

Inspirational movie based on the true story of a young girl who overcomes her disadvantaged upbringing in the slums of Uganda to become a Chess master.

Learn more including cast and crew at The Movie Database

View movie review at PluggedIn


Queen of Katwe (September 23, 2016)

Release Date: September 23, 2016
Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Martin Kabanza
Genres: Drama
Runtime: 124 min
Original Title: Queen of Katwe
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Cine Mosaic, Mirabai Films
A young girl overcomes her disadvantaged upbringing in the slums of Uganda to become a Chess master.

Trailer Queen of Katwe

The mental health crisis among America’s youth is real – and staggering

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Between 2009 and 2017, rates of major depression among 20- to 21-year-olds more than doubled. Ana Ado/

Jean Twenge, San Diego State University

The first signs of a problem started to emerge around 2014: More young people said they felt overwhelmed and depressed. College counseling centers reported sharp increases in the number of students seeking treatment for mental health issues.

Even as studies were showing increases in symptoms of depression and in suicide among adolescents since 2010, some researchers called the concerns overblown and claimed there simply isn’t enough good data to reach that conclusion.

The idea that there’s an epidemic in anxiety or depression among youth “is simply a myth,” psychiatrist Richard Friedman wrote in The New York Times last year. Others suggested young people were simply more willing to get help when they needed it. Or perhaps counseling centers’ outreach efforts were becoming more effective.

But a new analysis of a large representative survey reinforces what I – and others – have been saying: The epidemic is all too real. In fact, the increase in mental health issues among teens and young adults is nothing short of staggering.

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