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Staff Contributor

Staff Contributor

THE ROCK FATHER: The Pop Culture & Lifestyle Magazine for Families that Rock.

It's the premiere destination for the best in entertainment for the ENTIRE family, kids and grownups alike. Featuring the latest news and reviews on Music, Movies, TV, Comics, Books, Toys & Games, and lifestyle coverage including Home & Garden, Automotive, Cool Products and more, THE ROCK FATHER has it all...

Sheds are a beautiful yet practical addition to any backyard. By offering a simple and easy way to expand your storage space, they allow many homes to handle more than would necessarily be expected. Even better, they can be customized and designed to suit your needs and aesthetic: if you're going for the farmhouse feel, paint it red and white; if you just need a safe place to store your gardening tools and outdoor equipment, include lots of shelving.

Although prefabricated sheds certainly exist (and The Rock Father™ has built them), they are rigid in design and style. If you've got handyman history and know your way around a tool belt, why not give it a go yourself? The following tips will help you build the backyard shed of your dreams.

  • Plan It Out: The easiest way to get lost in a project is to try to keep it all together in your head. If you don't write down your planned design, you'll end up forgetting vital materials (like wood and screws) or buying things you won't end up using. Take the time to clearly outline your expectations; how big is your shed going to be, are you including siding and insulation, etc. Don't neglect to account for 25% extra storage space for future needs.
  • Gather Materials: The complexity of your design determines how many --and what type of -- materials are required. You'll need to use a combination of nails and screws to ensure the joints are tight and secure; if you don't own a power drill, we'd recommend investing in one to make the process much faster. Standardized screw threads didn't exist until 1928, so imagine how frustrating it would've been to build a structure with screws that varied in size and shape because they were handmade!
  • Clear A Path: Picking your shed location should have been one of the first things you did, now it's time to prepare the area. Remove any brush, plant life, or yard ornaments that may be nearby, giving the space a wide berth -- remember, you're going to be stomping in and around the area a lot in the coming days and you don't want anything to trip you. This is an excellent way to get the whole family (especially younger children) involved in the project; while mom or dad is cutting two-by-fours, the kids can help make sure the ground is open and even.
  • Foundation Matters: In all buildings, the source of strength and stability lies in the foundation. When it comes to a backyard shed, you can't go wrong with cement. The material is durable, lasts for centuries (and actually gets stronger as time passes), and is extremely affordable.

Depending on your previous handyman experience, you might be interested in adding a few extra features. In mid-January, a photo album of lauded author Jane Austen's family was discovered when someone dug it out of storage and popped it up on eBay; if you want your shed to be suitable for storing family photos and archives, you're going to need to make sure that it is completely sealed. For example, the relative humidity must be below 65% in order to protect old documents from molding, and against insect activity. If you have the know-how needed to waterproof your shed (and are okay with the extra work it requires), the added effort will allow your shed to be used for any occasion.

Although the natural wood look is very popular these days, sometimes the best way to express yourself -- or to get your family involved in the complex construction process -- is to paint! Gather everyone together for a little painting party as the final step to your DIY shed, and then simply enjoy the extra space.

The energy sector is a large and all-encompassing term that describes a complex and interrelated network of organizations directly and indirectly involved in the production, storage, and distribution of energy. As technology rapidly advances, virtually every industry has to adapt accordingly. Simply adapting, however, isn't always enough and officials in the energy sector have to constantly find ways to actually change the energy landscape.

Thankfully, there are up-and-coming startups that are working tirelessly to improve and reshape the future of energy storage and energy generation. Here are some of the startups to look out for in the energy sector:

  • Breezi -- In most commercial buildings, HVAC systems account for between 40% to 60% of energy consumption. Breezi is focusing on making these HVAC systems much more efficient by providing a low-cost solution for filter maintenance and repairs. Breezi's innovative approach utilizes audio sensors and AI to determine what is going wrong within an HVAC system.

  • Constructis -- Constructs is leading the kinetic energy revolution with a zero carbon emission roadway power platform -- Roadway Energy X (REX). This innovative startup can harvest over 1,100 watts of electricity for every two able car pass, which is enough energy to power three family homes with just four roadway lanes.

  • Kite Power Systems -- Steam turbines have been utilized for energy production since the 1880s. Though there have been all sorts of new advancements within the turbine power industry, using kites might actually be one of the most creative and efficient. Kite Power Systems have developed a way to generate energy using kites. Each pair of kites pulls a tether that turns a turbine and generates electricity to provide a continuous energy source.

  • Nostromo Energy -- Nostromo Energy is an energy company attempting to replace Lithium-ion batteries with water for storage solutions.
    "While everybody is talking about global warming and Li-ion based energy storage, we have found a way to use water as a highly potent capacitor and solve the most crucial problem of electrical grids: high peak demands, which are wholly subjected to cooling demands, e.g., commercial chillers. We have developed the cleanest, safest, most cost-effective energy storage system available today and in the foreseeable future," said a spokesperson for the company.

  • HST Solar -- This startup isn't exactly new on the energy scene, since they've been in the sector since 2013, but they are gaining some serious momentum. HST Solar builds solar software, include an app that uses AI to design utility-scale solar farms. With this platform, a solar developer can design the entire layout of a large solar farm, which could have thousands of solar panels onsite, across various landscapes and terrains.

As tech becomes more advanced and readily available, startups are going to be doing everything in their power to improve the energy sector both across the U.S. and the entire globe.

Miracle cure, urban myth, or placebo effect? Here's what you need to know about these popular hangover cures.

For many Americans, alcohol plays a role in most major social events. But what might start off as a fun-filled evening can quickly turn into a morning full of regret. Despite all your best efforts, you wake up with a pounding headache and feel as if you've been run over by a truck. Now what?

Manual transmission vehicles are outnumbered by automatic transmission vehicles 10 to 1 on U.S. roads. Though the majority of American drivers prefer automatic automobiles, manual vehicles are still quite popular and have a strong following.

Manual transmission, also known as a manual gearbox, standard, or stick shift, is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications. It uses a driver-operated clutch, typically engaged and disengaged by a foot pedal or hand lever, for regulating the amount of torque transferred from the engine to the transmission. A conventional 5-speed manual transmission is the standard equipment in a base-model automobile, though some vehicles come equipped with 6-speed transmission instead.

If you're a millennial mom, though four-door sedans with automatic transmission might be perfectly suitable, there are plenty of SUVs and crossover vehicles you can find with manual transmission. Here are some of the best manual SUVs or crossovers on the market today:

  • Kia Soul -- The 2019 Kia Soul can come equipped with a six-speed manual transmission in its base form: Soul Base. This model comes with a 130-hp 1.6-liter non-turner four-cylinder engine. Additionally, each model is front-wheel drive, but can still act as a subcompact crossover. Later in the year, the Soul will likely be replaced by an all-new model that also will offer manual transmission.
  • Mini Cooper Countryman -- Mini pretty much offers manual transmission on just about every vehicle model it manufactures. This Mini Cooper comes standard with a six-speed manual and can even come with a third pedal.
  • Jeep Compass (pictured top) -- Jeeps are great for just about anyone, but if you have kids who play sports -- they are perfect. Jeeps come equipped with both stick shift transmission and all-wheel drive. Additionally, they have standard front-wheel drive options, too, but you aren't restricted to front-wheel, as all-wheel is available. These manual Jeeps come with a 180 horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

Just because you have only driven automatic throughout your driving career doesn't mean you can't pick up on how to properly drive standard. If you have the right model and are serious about learning how to do it, you'll probably enjoy a standard transmission might more.

Friday, January 18 2019 20:17

Could These Glasses End Car Sickness?

French car manufacturer Citroen has developed a simple pair of plastic glasses that they claim can reduce or eliminate childhood car sickness. It's possible that with these £89 (or roughly $113) glasses, motion sickness on long road trips could quickly become a thing of the past.

Creative Construction

These simple specs are designed specifically for children at the moment, but there's no reason that these couldn't be developed for adults in the near future. The "Seetroen," as they have been called by manufacturer Citroen, are made of plastic for a durable, cost-effective solution that's reasonably inexpensive to produce. Today the world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly, and the market is still growing about 5% a year.

The lenses are large enough to be worn over any corrective eyewear, making them accessible to the one in four U.S. children that has a vision problem that could interfere with learning and behavior. This makes them perfect for young children who enjoy reading or playing video games on long road trips but typically are unable to due to motion sickness on the road.

How Do They Work?

The trick of these glasses isn't, as one might suspect, in the lenses at all. Instead, the secret to these innovative lenses lies in a small tube of colored fluid that rests in the edges of the frame. This colored liquid supposedly creates the illusion of a horizon, helping the brain to regain its sense of direction. This tackles one of the primary causes of motion sickness, particularly for passengers in the backseat of a vehicle or passengers looking downward at reading material where the horizon may not be immediately visible.

While originally designed to help sailors avoid sea-sickness, these creative lenses are perfect for long road trips with your little ones. Citroen claims that these glasses are able to correct motion sickness in as little as twelve minutes in up to 95% of users. Currently, the frames are available for £89, or roughly $113, but if this creative solution to motion sickness takes off, it's possible the price will be lowered in the future. It's possible that these unique lenses could make motion sickness a thing of the past, so get ready for easier road trips with your family very soon.

Do you or your kids experience motion sickness in the car? If so, do you think these odd lenses might help them on longer road trips?

Magnolia co-founder and New York Times bestselling author Joanna Gaines will publish her first children's book, We Are the Gardeners, on March 26, 2019 with Tommy Nelson, the children's division of Thomas Nelson, the company announced today.

In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and her kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (like bunnies that eat everything!), and all the knowledge they've gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to grow a happy, successful garden.

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