Jay Shafer: Living Big In A Tiny House

More than ten years ago, Jay Shafer decided to build a house that would probably be the size of a walk-in closet. This house was about 89 square feet that has all the necessary features of a typical home. Since then, he has built more little buildings under his company called Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.  Shafer and his company continue to plan, build and deliver tiny houses that suit the occupants’ requirements.

What makes these tiny houses special is that these have the necessary features of a comfortable home without unused space. What could have been transitional spaces such as hallways are utilized as storage spaces. Despite a very minimalistic approach, the interiors have a designer feel using wooden panels, stainless steel sheets in the bathroom and kitchen.

There is benefit to living in a small space, Shafer says. Less energy consumption and less impact on the environment are just some of the selling points of Tumbleweed.

Heavy Rains Cause Flooding In Wisconsin

Rains over the weekend have caused heavy flood damage in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin as well as in other adjacent counties. Residents have evacuated as basements were flooded food and properties were lost and damaged across the counties in Southern Wisconsin.

County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. announced earlier that the cost of damage may have exceeded $35 million by now. As requested by the state, a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is set to arrive in a week to assess the extent of the damage. The damage assessment team will be conducting inspections to evaluate damages and seek assistance for relief and repairs.

Mayor Tom Barrett has asked for help from Governor Jim Doyle to expedite the process. To date, counties by the flood and rains were reportedly still in the process of preliminary assessment of damages. These other counties affected are Grant, Winnebago, Grant and Outagamie. They would need complete reports from these affected counties for a more accurate assessment of damages.

State and federal officials consider disaster declarations based on the amount of damage and insurance coverage.

Tracy McGrady Would Fit In Chicago

Tracy McGrady, a seven-time NBA All-Star is still a free agent without a team. It is likely that he would be joining the Chicago Bulls barring any hitches with his physical tests.

The Bulls had the salary cap to land then free agents LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Instead, the new big three got together in South Florida to play for the Miami Heat. Chicago still managed to acquire talents from the Utah Jazz with Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver signing up. The Bulls also got Ronnie Brewer, another former Jazz, to play for Chicago.

Kirk Hinrich left Chicago with vacuum to fill at shooting guard. Ronnie Brewer may start at shooting guard but he may not have Hinrich’s shooting touch. Both Brewer and possible 6th man Kyle Korver can probably ease the pressure off Derrick Rose in handling the ball. This is where the value of T-Mac can possibly come in.

McGrady may no longer command as much money and playing time but his skills are still evident in his short stint with the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks last season. He has been one of the best NBA players in the last ten years. Physically, he may cause some concern with his body more prone to injury at his age.

He could still be good for ten to twenty minutes a game to provide offensive options. Getting a starter caliber player for a backup player’s salary just might be a good bargain for the Chicago Bulls.

WikiLeaks: How It Works

There is so much talk about the WikiLeaks reports published about the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan. You will find nothing fancy about its webpage. However, WikiLeaks would come off as a strategic platform for exposing sensitive information that not all people have access to. These are deemed classified information that is somehow humanized by WikiLeaks.

How exactly does WikiLeaks work?

Similar to other “wikis”, information is sent to the site electronically or by snail mail. Unlike Wikipedia, information is not published on WIkiLeaks immediately. Volunteer editors sift through these submissions to determine what can be published based on facts, relevance and importance of these information. Anyone can actually submit classified documents and information to WikiLeaks but only approved submissions are published. To a certain extent, contributors are protected from a legal and security standpoint since their identities are not made public.

 Tracking down this controversial news organization may be very challenging. For one, their servers are scattered around countries that provide some extent of legal protection. Tracing their origins would take a tremendous amount of effort since they have encrypted data.

“We use this state-of-the-art encryption to bounce stuff around the internet to hide trails — pass it through legal jurisdictions like Sweden and Belgium to enact those legal protections,” said Julian Assange, the site’s founder and editor.

The site has been facing technical issues lately with the sudden surge of its popularity. WikiLeaks will likely survive these technical problems just as they were able to execute an effective information strategy.

The Avengers Introduced At Comic-Con

Some crowd of 6,000 gathered for the Marvel Studio presentation at the Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday. Just as the presentation was about to end, Samuel L. Jackson announced the “The Avengers” movie, set for release in 2012.

Chris Hemsworth is the arrogant but powerful Thor. However, the “Thor” movie starring Chris will be released in May 2011 before he joins forces with the Avengers. Chris Evans has played the Human Torch, another Marvel superhero, in the past. In a movie for release in July 2011, Evans will play Captain America in “Captain America: The First Avenger”. The same Captain America will also appear in the Avengers movie the following year.  

The other Avengers include Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman once again, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as the new Hulk. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury in the Captain America and Avengers movies.

Mark Ruffalo Is New Hulk For The Avengers

Versatile actor Mark Ruffalo is set to play the role of Bruce “the Hulk” Banner in the upcoming movie “The Avengers”. At the Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday, Samuel L. Jackson announced the upcoming movie before a crowd of about 6,000 who were present at the conference. The Avengers movie is set for release in 2012 after two other Marvel superhero movies in 2011.

The Avengers movie brings together superheroes of Marvel Comics including Ironman, Captain America, Thor and Hawkeye. Other superheroes included are yet to be confirmed. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his Tony Stark/ Ironman role while Jeremy Renner will portray Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Chris Evans, who is set to appear in the new Captain America movie in 2011 is also set to join the Avengers. Chris Hemsworth plays another Marvel superhero, Thor, which has a separate movie showing in 2011.

Mark Ruffalo’s versatility is not limited to just being an actor as he also is a director, producer and screenwriter. Some of his more recent movie appearances include “Just Like Heaven”, “Zodiac” and “Shutter Island”.

India To Make Computers For $35

Over the last two decades, India made significant strides in the area of information technology. In 2001, their literacy rate was estimated at 65% with population more than a billion people. With these numbers, providing connectivity to students is an important factor to accomplish their goal.

In line with their education objectives, India revealed a prototype computer that initially will cost only $35. These are intended for students and teachers to stay connected at low prices.

India’s human resources development minister, Kapil Sibal, showed a computer that should be priced low enough to be affordable at approximately $35. The plan is to eventually further reduce pricing to $10.

Research and design are ongoing to deal with cost reduction and quality concerns. This is a high-volume production requirement that will be tendered out to qualified private companies.

 The target date for production release of these low-cost computers to colleges and universities is in 2011.

Chris Paul Seeks Trade To New York Knicks

The New York Knicks failed to sign LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade who have all decided to play together in Miami. So far they have landed one blue chip free agent in Amare Stoudemire. The NBA heartbreak team for years now may just bag another key player soon.

New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul is one possible candidate as he is reportedly demanding a trade to the Knicks, Orlando Magic or LA Lakers. The Hornets are on a decline, missing the playoffs in the 2010 NBA season. They ended the regular season with a losing 37-45 win-loss record.

It seems that the Knicks with new acquisition Stoudemire could be a good fit for Paul. The Lakers triangle offense would only inhibit Paul from displaying his great individual skills. Orlando Magic is a good option for Paul given its roster of talents that instantly puts them in title contention.

Paul signed up on a two-year extension with the Hornets thinking that they were title contenders. Now that he realizes are way past their peak, he appears to be taking the same route that LeBron James took… moving to a team with more potential to get deeper in the playoffs. Hornets management is set to have a meeting with the star point guard, hoping to sell a more attractive winning future for Chris Paul with his current team.

NBA Free Agent Udonis Haslem Re-signs With Miami Heat

Udonis Haslem and Dwayne Wade have been playing together in Miami for the last seven years. They have been part of the Miami Heat that won only 15 games in the 2008 NBA season. Now that the Heat has its own version of the big three in Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, they are instant contenders. The three NBA superstars have agreed to a pay cut for an opportunity to play together, making it so much easier for Haslem to decide to stay where he really wants to. There are also unofficial reports that Haslem’s friend Mike Miller has agreed to join the Heat. Haslem and Miller played together as Florida Gators.

Now Haslem is re-signing with the Miami Heat even if he stands to earn less than what other teams have to offer. This, Haslem says, would be an opportunity for another championship run and at the same time be where he wants to be… to stay close to home.

Magic Johnson Chimes In On LeBron James

It happened a few days after NBA legend Michael Jordan commented that LeBron James “took the easy way out” by joining fellow NBA superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. This time another NBA legend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers said that he would not join forces with Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics just to win an NBA championship.

Magic and Bird were rivals dating back to their college playing days. When Johnson played for Michigan State, they beat Bird and his Indiana State squad in the NCAA 1979 season. In the NBA, they had a storied rivalry in the 1980’s prior to the Michael Jordan era with the Chicago Bulls.

As quoted on Bloomberg News, “We didn’t think about it ‘cause that’s not what we were about,” said Magic. “From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.” Johnson added.

Two Hall of Famers have spoken about the “decision”. Are we expecting Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others to follow suit?