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Five steps for an unbelievably green and water efficient lawn during California’s drought

Keep your lawn green this summer!

The following five steps will allow you to significantly improve your lawn while saving a tremendous amount of water use throughout the year. The following five steps only take about 30 minutes across the entire year in order to properly improve your specific situation. The simple fact is you do not need to kill off your lawn in order to save significant amounts of water and contribute to the efficiency of water use within California.

By implementing these steps I personally experienced more than 30% reduction in my water use while my neighbors stood in awe of how florescent green my lawn was. When I showed my water bill and the savings to my neighbors they were in complete disbelief because they believed they had to kill off their lawn by reducing their water use to all zero but quite in fact this is not necessary. With proper maintenance, a lawn and your entire yard needs only a fraction of a the water necessary to keep it green and beautiful when you are not properly caring for it.

Step 1. Follow the sun (and the weather).

Often, many of us pay attention to the weather in order to select the right clothing for the day. However many of us ignore the fact that our lawns also need you to adjust your care according to the weather and the amount of sun your lawn will receive. So it is important to note what the weather will be like and the temperature ranges that your lawn will be experiencing along with you during the day.

Step 2. Penetrate your soul (leverage an aerator).



This simple little tool can be used to significantly change the absorption rate of water for your lawn. Imagine that you don’t aerate your lawn, without aeration the water sits on the top layer of soil and if you have a hill or sloped lawn it rolls right off only permeating the very top quarter-inch layer of topsoil. The goal for water efficient lawn is to maintain deep penetration of water into the topsoil and the only way to perform this without overwatering is through aeration. Aeration also has other benefits such as delivering nutrients further into the soil towards the roots of your grass. This is the single most effective way to reduce water usage and it only takes five minutes with this tool found at Home Depot at the following URL: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hound-Dog-Steel-Spike-Aerator-HDP37/202605484

Step 3. Renew your body (sprinkle some seed).

Re-seeding is an essential step to keeping a quality lawn. Over time and age lawn degrades and the blades of grass simply don’t have the same luster as they once had similar to humans and aging. So it is important to re-seed on a regular basis usually in the springtime. grass-seedThere are many types of seed and you should try and match the type of seed that you already have if at all possible so that you can maintain the look the you desire. For me a simple fescue mix from my local Walmart or Home Depot was sufficient to maintain my own grass in the look that I desired.

Step 4. Take some vitamins (fertilize!).

The next stephandheld-spreader after aeration is to ensure that your grass has quality nutrients delivered directly to its roots, just like our bodies need vitamins so to do grasses and other shrubs we plant our yards. A simple $10-$15 fertilizer sprinkled across your lawn is sufficient to provide nutrients for almost 6 months and significantly improve the health of your lawn and provide for a florescent green and healthy color. This step takes only minutes once every six months. Ideally you can spread fertilizer with the same handheld spreader you use for the seed.

Step 5. Adjust your clocks! (water at the right time of day).

The final step in this process is to adjust your watering habits or your watering system to accommodate our newly renovated lawn. An unhealthy lawn without these maintenance techniques requires 2 to 3 times as much water, leading guidance from common Internet sources to claim watering must be 8 to 10 minutes per day in order for the desired look. However I have found that For my environmental conditions in Northern California,  quite honestly a healthfully maintained lawn only needs one third of the amount of water across to the majority of the year with only exceeding this amount in the highest temperature period of the summer months. The best watering times for grass are during the morning hours between 4 and 5 AM allowing sufficient soak time prior to the sun rising and evaporating the moisture. For my use I also run my water in the afternoon at around 5 PM, ideally you do not want a moist soil all night long to avoid bacteria and moss growth during the evening.

This is a photo of my lawn and my bill usage graph with an over 30% reduction (year over year) in my water use. 







[ISN] US watchdog: Anthem snubbed our security audits before and after enormous hack attack

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/05/us_watchdog_anthem_audits/ By Shaun Nichols The Register 5 Mar 2015 A year or so before American health insurer Anthem admitted it had been ruthlessly ransacked by hackers, a US federal watchdog had offered to audit the giant’s computer security – but was rebuffed. And, after miscreants looted Anthem’s servers and accessed up to 88.8 million private records, the watchdog again offered to audit the insurer’s systems, and was again turned away. “We do not know why Anthem refuses to cooperate,” government officials told The Register today. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) told us it wanted to audit Anthem’s information security protections back in 2013, but was snubbed by the insurer. According to the agency, Anthem participates in the US Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which requires regular audits from the OIG, audits that Anthem allegedly thwarted. Other health insurers submit to Uncle Sam’s audits “without incident,” we’re told. […]


[ISN] S. Korea nuclear hack ups aging reactor risks

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/13/asia-pacific/s-korea-nuclear-hack-ups-aging-reactor-risks/ Reuters Jan 13, 2015 SEOUL – The hacking of South Korea’s nuclear operator means the country’s second-oldest reactor may be shut permanently due to safety concerns, said several nuclear watchdog commissioners, raising the risk that other aging reactors may also be closed. “The operator failed to prevent it (the hack) and they don’t know how much data has been leaked. If the old reactor is still allowed to continue to run, it will just hike risks,” said Kim Hye-jung, one of nine commissioners who will this month review an application to restart the Wolsong No. 1 reactor. The future of Wolsong No. 1, shut in 2012 after reaching its 30-year life span, is seen as critical to the fate of other reactors, including the oldest, Kori No. 1, which had its life span extended by 10 years to 2017. Nuclear power accounts for about a third of South Korea’s electricity supply. More nuclear closures would boost fuel imports, which had soared since late 2012 after some reactor closures forced Asia’s fourth-largest economy to replace nuclear power with liquefied natural gas and thermal coal. […]


[ISN] Georgia Tech student indicted for UGA website hack

http://onlineathens.com/breaking-news/2014-12-30/georgia-tech-student-indicted-uga-website-hack By JOE JOHNSON Athens Banner-Herald December 31, 2014 A Clarke County grand jury recently indicted a Georgia Tech student for allegedly hacking into the University of Georgia’s computer network to post a message prior to the annual rivalry football game between the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets. Ryan Gregory Pickren, 21, was charged with felony computer trespass for making the posting on UGA’s online calendar on Nov. 27, two days before the intrastate gridiron match-up. The illegal calendar entry, which was added below the legitimate entry for the game, read: “Sat., November 29, 2014/ 12:00 pm/ Get Ass Kicked by GT.” Tom Jackson, UGA’s vice president for public affairs, said the calendar hack was discovered shortly after it was posted on Thanksgiving and taken down about an hour after it appeared. […]


[ISN] Automakers working to prevent vehicle cyber terrorism

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2014/10/22/automakers-working-prevent-vehicle-cyber-terrorism/17710785/ By Michael Wayland The Detroit News October 22, 2014 Right now is the time for automakers and federal regulators to address potential “acts of terrorism” using connected vehicles, according to former administrator of the government’s vehicle safety watchdog. David Strickland, ex-head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the industry needs to be proactive rather than reactive regarding cybersecurity issues as more cars and trucks become connected with the Internet, one another and additional third parties. “It is, right now, the industry’s time to get together and figure out countermeasures, before you do have a much more mature threat,” said Strickland, now a partner in consulting and lobbying firm Venable LLP, during the 2014 SAE Convergence conference in Detroit. Strickland’s comments come nearly four months after the industry’s largest trade groups, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, informed NHTSA that they planned to launch a cybersecurity initiative designed for companies to voluntarily share cybersecurity best practices in an effort to help protect drivers and their personal information. […]


[ISN] Fixing HealthCare.gov security

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2685234/data-protection/fixing-healthcare-gov-security.html By Antone Gonsalves CSO Sep 17, 2014 While the security weaknesses found in HealthCare.gov by a U.S. government watchdog need to be addressed, they are not unusual for sites as complex as the federal insurance exchange, experts say. In a report released Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office found problems in the “technical controls protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability” of the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), which is the area of the site to buy health insurance. Specifically, the GAO faulted the site’s operator for failing to require and enforce strong passwords, to adequately restrict access to the Internet by systems supporting the FFM, to consistently implement software patches, and to properly configure the administrative network for the FFM. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is responsible for HealthCare.gov. […]


[ISN] Cyber Labor Shortage Not What it Seems, Experts Say

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/August/Pages/CyberLaborShortageNotWhatitSeemsExpertsSay.aspx By Stew Magnuson National Defense August 2014 Businesses and government agencies are engaged in a dogfight over cyber security talent, or so the conventional thinking goes. The shortage of qualified cyber security personnel continues to cause hand-wringing inside the beltway. That is mostly still true, but the situation is more nuanced, said Alan Paller, co-founder of the CyberAces nonprofit, who also chaired a Department of Homeland Security task force on cyber job vacancies. “There is no shortage of people who can talk and write about cyber security,” he said in an interview. “The shortage is in the people who actually have the hands-on skills to quickly find the infections, get rid of them and do good incident handling. Those skills are very rare.” U.S. universities are cranking out plenty of graduates with cyber security related degrees, but they have mostly studied policy, he said. Many of those graduates aren’t getting good jobs. Faculty members don’t have real-world skills, so they are not teaching how to perform complicated tasks such as application penetration testing, advanced memory forensics or wireless hacker exploit development. […]


A person with no values has no value.

I was on a walk with my two dogs today and I was thinking it had been some time since I posted a blog entry. I don’t often take enough time to sit down and put

thoughts into this blog because I have so many other writing outlets at the moment. However, While on my walk today I started to think about how important it is to have and what that means and translates into in the workplace.

Far too often businesses today are in an ever-changing rat race to a team greater profitability and efficiency. At the same time society has shifted focus away from values that distinguish us in this life towards caring little about each other and more about personal gain and selfishness. I to fall into that trap occasionally, and make the mistake of talking too much about myself or focusing on financial or political gain rather than really focusing on my core values.

For me, my core values relate to my work as a security practitioner. This translates into the following three core areas:

1. Caring about securing the world around me and the transactions that others are performing during their daily lives.

2. I like to surround myself with people who are caring and do things purposefully to help each other become successful.

3. I love to teach others so that they too could be successful, learn and adapt to situations they come across and orient themselves towards better outcomes.

Without these values, I can hardly claim success in my own personal life. I also think that these values have carried me through tough times and brought forth people into my life who care when I really needed it. If we as humans focus only on our own personal gain we quickly lose sight of what it is that we do in our lives and how others will remember us when we are no longer here. A person without values is not valuable. A person who is not focused on your customers, their employees and attach a personal core value to their job cannot achieve greatness in their role. To achieve greatness one must move beyond selfishness and seek to better the lives of those around them, financial gain will come from beginning the great path versus the lonely one.