Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Window Cleaners Helping Out - Can You?

Stuart Webster aka "The Marmite Man" - you may remember this blog a while back! - is raising money for the Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust. Follow his exploits on Twitter by clicking the picture above. Stuart says, "Over the past few years I've been involved in several fund-raisers for charities. The last 2 have involved me, a bike and some friends!" "In September 2008 Mark Street, Jonny Stokes and myself planned and finished a 190km Coast-2-Coast ride from Workington in the Lake District to Sunderland." "We did this over 3 days and even though we enjoyed the experience, I had hoped for better weather." "The 2009 charity event didn't have any direction." "Then we bought the boys a road bike each, they loved it and wanted a challenge." "In 2006 I did the Cat & Fiddle Challenge, a 88km ride from Stoke taking in the 7 mile climb up the Cat & Fiddle road to Buxton." "In 2009 all three of us will take up the challenge." "If you would like to donate please see my Just Giving page." Stuart Webster runs his Sunshine Window Cleaning in Derbyshire.


Family hopes visit to US sea-life park could aid disabled schoolboy. A chance to swim with dolphins could help kieran, 10, who suffers from rare genetic disease. The family of a severely disabled schoolboy born without a sense of danger is planning a potentially life-changing mission to the other side of the world. Keiran Buchan has Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delay. The 10-year-old has never spoken a word in his life, sleeps for just one hour each night and has difficulty walking. Because he has no perception of danger, he needs to be supervised and kept safe around the clock.
All over his family home at Crimond, between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, cabinets, doors and appliances are fitted with safety locks and protective covers. Parents Neil and Linda say that if the front door is left open, Keiran is likely to wander out into the street. He will think nothing about playing with electrical sockets, picking up knives or exploring potentially hazardous household objects. Sadly, there is no known cure for Angelman Syndrome and there is only a limited amount that therapies can do. But the Buchans are desperate to give their son a better quality of life and they are now pinning their hopes on a planned trip to America, where they hope a visit to a Florida sea-life park could make a notable difference.
The family hope to take Keiran swimming with dolphins. They have discovered sessions which are specifically designed for youngsters with Angelman syndrome and similar conditions. Mr Buchan, 37, said: “It will be an amazing experience for him, but more importantly these sessions could boost his confidence and increase his development rate. “It’s going to be a lot of work and it will cost a lot of money, but if it meant I could hear Keiran saying his first word it would all be worth it. That would be the best thing in the world for us.”
Window cleaner Mr Buchan, of The Corse, Crimond, is organising a skydive to raise money for the trip and also for charity Assert (the Angelman Syndrome Support Education Research Trust). On Saturday, October 3, he will jump from an aircraft 8,000ft above St Andrews. The family, including Keiran’s sisters Sammy, 14, Kerri-Marie, 13, and younger brother Rhys, six, are planning various other fundraising events over the coming months. Mr Buchan said: “Keiran’s a happy boy who enjoys life, but likes to keep himself to himself. “We know there are families with children with Angelmans who set up CCTV to watch over them 24 hours a day, but we don’t want to do that. “We want him to have as normal a life as any other kid his age.” Keiran is a pupil at the Anna Ritchie School for children who have special learning needs at Peterhead. For more information on Mr Buchan’s sky dive log on to "Just Giving."

Window Cleaner Takes Sh*t from President Obama



Feces splattered on Douglas County Democratic headquarters. Pictured: Erik Haeber of Crystal Clear Professional Window Cleaning cleans off the window in front of a life-size cut-out of President Barack Obama.
A window case displaying a life-size cutout of President Barack Obama was pelted with a bucket-sized load of feces early Tuesday at Douglas County Democratic headquarters in downtown Roseburg. The excrement appeared to have been thrown from some kind of container as it coated the window at 827 S.E. Cass Ave., covered the eaves and was visible on the ground. “I was shocked to see it,” said Jean Patricia, a Democratic Party volunteer who discovered the vandalism when she arrived at 10 a.m. to open the office. “You'd think people would have something better to do.” The incident is the latest and most serious act in a recent string of vandalism on downtown streets, police report. And the Republican Party headquarters has not been immune, according to a party member.
Splashing the feces on the Democrat's window was a cowardly act, said Dean Byers, chairman of the Douglas County Democratic Party. “This is where people choose to take the dialogue,” he said. Byers added that if whoever responsible had the guts, “they'd call me out and ask me to debate them.” Other incidents have been reported on a smaller scale downtown in recent days, according to the Roseburg Police Department. Sgt. Aaron Dunbar said someone smeared feces on the window of the Blend Clothing store at 556 S. E. Jackson St. last week. In a second incident, someone defecated in the doorway of the store. There have also been incidents of vandalism at Republican Party headquarters at 642 S.E. Jackson St. in recent weeks, according to longtime Republican Tom Hatfield, an alternate to the state Republican Central Committee. There has been evidence of public urination and vomiting at the building, Hatfield said, which he prefers to think is tied to the homeless population downtown. But there have also been incidents specifically targeting the building, including matches jammed in the front lock, soaped windows, and even buttock marks left on a window. Two years ago, a window was shot out. “That was disturbing,” he said.



Hatfield denounced the incident that occurred at Democratic headquarters. “I think it's unfortunate people choose to express themselves that way,” Hatfield said. “We do have a First Amendment that allows good and reasonable discourse, and that should be allowed. This is inappropriate. This is out of line.” Linda Hellenthal, chairwoman of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee, also criticized the act. “It's a shame. There are much more civilized ways to express to express unhappiness,” she said. “What a deplorable way to express an opinion, if that's what this was. It doesn't tell us anything about what they might be angry about. All it does is require a lot of cleanup.” Sgt. Dunbar said police are investigating the downtown incidents, but at this point don't have a lot to go on.
The window that was plastered at the Democratic Party headquarters only contained the Obama cutout. The main display window that contains photographs of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and other prominent state Democrats, was not touched. “The fact they chose to focus on the Obama image seems to suggest a racist statement,” Byers said. Last November, Obama received 38 percent of the presidential vote in Douglas County. Republican John McCain carried the county with 58 percent.
The incident took place sometime before 7 a.m. Tim Beaty, the owner of the American Family Insurance agency two doors down from the Democratic headquarters, said there wasn't anything amiss when he came to work at 3:30 a.m. He left later for breakfast and noticed the feces attack when he returned to the office about 7. The vandalism was the third in the past two months targeting the party headquarters. Someone filled the front door keyhole with solder last month, said building owner Byron Frazer, who also owns Garden Valley Realty, located next to the office. Later that same month, someone glued a couple of flyers denouncing both Obama and former President George W. Bush for the war in Iraq. Beaty said he wished people had more respect for differing views. “Whatever your political views are, this isn't something you should be doing,” he said.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Window Cleaning News & Video



Cleaning up: Pictured, window cleaner Peter Kloster has been kept busy in recent days trying to keep dust from the control tower window at Cairns airport. For the first time in 16 years, Peter Kloster's normally spectacular view of Cairns has vanished. Washing the windows of the 10-storey high control tower at Cairns international airport every week, the owner of Curryup Window Cleaning has never seen anything like the dust storm that has surrounded the city since Thursday. "I've been up there in 40 knot winds, but last Friday I could barely see the ocean, let alone Green Island or anything else like that,’’ Mr Kloster said. While he was surprised at how little dust gathered on the windows of the lofty control tower - possibly because of low humidity - Mr Kloster says the window cleaning business had certainly been booming in the past week, and it was likely to continue. "There has definitely been plenty of people out there who don’t want the dust messing their windows," he said. Yesterday, Cairns saw the tail end of its second dust storm in less than a week, a strange phenomenon that was brought north from South Australia by a surface trough.

Brother cleans up dirty window drama -Manawatu NZ: Palmerston North's Yatai restaurant no longer has dirty windows after the brother of the man who duped its owners out of $120 returned to finish the job. Yatai co-owner Barbara Taniyama contacted the Manawatu Standard last week after a man went to the Featherston St restaurant to clean the windows, but left many dirty or covered in brown streaks. He still collected the $120 from Mrs Taniyama's husband, as she was out running errands at the time. Mrs Taniyama was unable to complain about the cleaner, who left the name Smith's Window Cleaners, as she was supplied with a fake number. However, Carl Smith, who works under the same name, went to Yatai on Friday to redo the windows. He had intended on doing the first job but said his brother had done it before he could get there. Upon seeing the Manawatu Standard article, a shocked Mr Smith immediately called Mrs Taniyama to apologise for his brother's shoddy work. "I've apologised to Barbara in respect to that, because she paid for a service that was not done properly," he said. "I've only just started up but I've had other clients and those people have been satisfied." Mr Smith said he hoped the matter had been settled and would love to take on Yatai as a regular customer. Mrs Taniyama said she was more than happy with the final job, even giving Mr Smith food to take away. See initial story to understand this article - here.

Rooftop Anchor, Inc. Announces new Rooftop Safety Product Line: Rooftop Anchor, Inc., engineers, manufactures and installs solutions for commercial rooftop safety. Rooftop Anchor, Inc. announced the introduction of their new rooftop safety product line. The new products are designed to provide certified anchor points on commercial rooftops for workers to tie-off to while working on the roofing surface, or off the roof on a suspended scaffold or on rope descent equipment. In addition, Rooftop Anchor will provide engineered horizontal cable systems, davits, monorail, guardrail and a superior anchor point for guy wire support for antennas and other rooftop structures.
"Our product development and distribution network has extensive commercial rooftop experience, and we have found that a majority of commercial roofs lack suitable anchor points for window cleaning crews, maintenance teams and other rooftop contractors," said Nate Sargent, President of Rooftop Anchor, Inc. "Our products are designed to meet ANSI/IWCA I-14.1 and OSHA safety regulations and can easily install in new building construction or as a retrofit on an existing commercial roof" added Kynan Wynne, Vice President of Rooftop Anchor, Inc.

The Next Big Thing Is Really Small: Nanotechnology is emerging from the labs, creating new markets and disrupting others. Nanotechnology is a branch of engineering which is concerned with manipulating materials at the atomic and molecular levels (the "nanoscale") and constructing devices at the molecular level. Whilst we're waiting for those world-changing applications that science-fiction has promised us, such as nanoscale robots which scrub your arteries clean or rewire your brain so that you can speak Sumerian, some everyday products have been improved by nanotechnology and are starting to appear in the marketplace.
Fed up with cleaning your windows? The glass manufacturer Pilkington makes a self-cleaning glass called ActivTM where a special coating interacts with sunlight to break down dirt and then by reducing the surface tension of any water that falling onto the window, causing the water to fall off the window taking the dirt with it. Some of the newer water-repellent fabrics incorporate nanotechnology in the form of a coating which contains carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes restrict the surface area that is available for any water to adhere to, causing the water to fall off.

Full Video below: the full interview with the guys from North East England, Tony Earnshaw & how they got their investment from the Dragons Den investor, Duncan Bannatyne. The video also shows their investor spending a day out & helping with a spot of water fed pole-ing. Also in a previous blog - see here.
video

A worker cleaning a Siemens-made Sapsan train. Its top operating speed is 217 miles per hour. This December, high-speed trains designed by the German conglomerate and adapted for Russian winters will ply the rails between St. Petersburg and Moscow. But Siemens hopes their final destination will be the last laggard of the high-speed age: the United States. For years, businesspeople and politicians have dreamed about America entering the high-speed era, but Amtrak has been plagued by budget and service problems and the closest Americans have come to high speed is the Acela, which rarely runs at what Europeans call high speed. Now Siemens and its competitors are hoping all that has changed. The economic stimulus passed by Congress in April includes a five-year, $13 billion high-speed rail program. Siemens is one of four makers of high-speed trains, none of them based in the United States, that hopes to take advantage of it.

ForeignTRADEX.com, publisher of over 34 buying guides for the industrial community, announced today the launch of its new on-line directory of new and used Construction Heavy Equipment. ForeignTRADEX launched a website selling a variety of industrial cleaning supplies and janitorial equipment which has since grown to thousands of offerings, according to Bailey. The directory includes mops, window washing equipment, industrial vacuums, steam cleaners, floor buffers, carpet cleaners, cleaning chemicals, scrubbers, janitorial supplies and other cleaning products. More information is available on the ForeignTRADEX website. ForeignTRADEX is a US-European Industrial Trade Portal designed to connect American and European exporters and importers of industrial products. The site includes offerings for a broad variety of industrial supplies, equipment and machinery as well as manufacturing services from leading companies in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.

Lotus Plant-Inspired Dust-Busting Shield to Protect Space Gear: A plant that lives along muddy waterways in Asia has inspired a NASA team to develop a special coating to prevent dirt and even bacteria from sticking to and contaminating the surfaces of spaceflight gear. Researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., are developing a transparent coating that prevents dirt from sticking in the same way a lotus plant sheds water — work begun through collaboration with Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems, Linthicum, Md., and nGimat Corporation, Atlanta, Ga. Although a lotus leaf appears smooth, under a microscope, its surface contains innumerable tiny spikes that greatly reduce the area on which water and dirt can attach. "If you splash lotus leaves with water, it just beads up and rolls off, indicating they have a special hydrophobic or water-repelling ability," said Eve Wooldridge, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Project Contamination and Coatings Lead at Goddard. "This ability also prevents dust from adhering to the leaves."
This special quality is what the NASA team is attempting to replicate to prevent dirt from accumulating on the surfaces of spacesuits, scientific instruments, robotic rovers, solar array panels and other hardware used to gather scientific data or carry out exploratory activities on other objects in the solar system. The trick is developing a coating that can withstand the harsh space environment.
The coating was originally developed to reduce the need for window cleaning. Made from silica, zinc oxide, and other oxides, its potential uses on Earth are limitless. It could be applied to car windshields, camera lenses, and eyeglasses — almost anywhere a need exists to repel dirt. Understanding the potential, Northrop Grumman teamed with nGimat to find more applications for the coating technology. The pair ultimately turned to Goddard for its expertise in making equipment ready to endure the harsh space environment.

Conman targeting elderly Bristol residents: A bogus window cleaner is targeting elderly victims in the Bristol area. There have been a string of deception offences in the last few weeks – all of which police believe were committed by the same callous criminal. The stocky white man in his early 40s usually asks residents to pay for a year's work, then never returns to do it. Eileen Cainey, 76, was one woman who thwarted the conman. On Sunday, September 13, she was surprised to see a caller at her home in Park Grove, Westbury-on-Trym, saying he was her new window cleaner. She said: "He said 'I've got your old window cleaner's round and if you give me £60 I'll come back until Christmas.' He asked me if I wanted the front windows cleaned and I said 'no', but he did them anyway. "But he didn't have a ladder or anything, he just started doing them with a little spray and a cloth. "It was a Sunday and I thought it was a bit strange so I went to make sure I'd bolted the back door. When I opened the kitchen door he was standing in the lean-to. "He couldn't speak properly and he was shaking like a leaf, but he asked if I wanted the inside windows done. "I said 'no' and he went. He didn't steal anything. The strange thing was the next day my regular window cleaner called."
Grandmother Mrs Cainey has lived in the house with her husband Ivor, 80, for 33 years. But she was alone on the day in question and said she will always be on her guard now. "It does unnerve you," she added. "In future, I will put the chain on and look through my little spy hole whenever I answer the door." Mrs Cainey said the suspect was white, had fair hair and was wearing a pink and purple shirt. In other incidents the offender has been described as in his 40s, with tattoos on both forearms wearing a large watch on his right wrist.
An elderly woman from Claverham lost £2,500 after her bank card was stolen in a walk-in theft and used in transactions, most of which were in Bristol. Acting DS Sam Donati, who is part of the Doorstep Crime Team, said: "We believe one man is responsible for these crimes. I would advise residents never to agree to purchase goods and services on the doorstep. "Always rely on references and personal recommendations and satisfy yourself that this person is genuine. Obtain a written quote for any jobs before work starts. I would also advise calling the company to ask if the caller is a genuine employee." Victims or witnesses should call the Doorstep Crime Team on 0845 4567000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Nicely produced video this one from Powerwash Limited in the Midlands.
video

Another way of cleaning - Dry Ice! Produced by Envirotek Solutions using blast methods to achieve the desired results.
video

And finally..."Clin," a window spray ad'. Two videos on a humourous note.
video
video

Monday, 28 September 2009

Water Fed Pole? No Thanks - I Have a Wagtail!



Chris Dawber from Newton Aycliffe in Durham aka "Wagga" on the UK window cleaning forums has made an art of adapting the Wagtail tools in a big way. Previously serving in the Navy for 11 years before turning to window cleaning for the last 23 years mostly domestic. In this time Chris has been using a Wagtail for about 10 years. Chris says "I prefer window cleaning, especially since I like going home for my dinner!"
Chris also adds, that although water fed pole is a great tool and of course it works, but he couldn't get on with his trolly system. "A van system is the way to go." "However, it is hard to beat the freedom you get from a traditional system using a pole." "It's taken a lot of practice I admit, but contrary to popular belief, it is possible to achieve good results with a traditional pole & squeegee." Adding "even I could not believe it a first." Chris's round/route is very local to him and he doesn't need to travel much. He says "there was a lot of building going on around here in the 80s and 90s so its mostly modern style windows he gets to clean."
Chris also has another secret - he swears by Lidl dish washing liquid & has many converts that have taken his advise. He adds, "Good slip and few streaks."






Chris does about 80-90% of his round using a pole only. With these latest developments he says "anyone could learn the techniques fairly quickly." "It took me about 7yrs to perfect my technique but then along came the Flipper version and suddenly it made all the difference."
Above are the pictures of Wagga's current modified version for pole use only. Note, the pad is on top instead of below the squeegee. "The reason being, "you can see what your doing better and it never interferes with closing out." The pictures also show the new way he attaches the pad. Chris says "it works better once you're used to it, & use un-modded wagtail for hand use. The cable ties act like springs. They allow the wagtail to swivel as normal but it centralises the blade making it much easier and more accurate to use instead of it flopping from side to side. "Works a treat on most windows." "Takes a while to learn to use it but worth the learning curve." "You will need an angle for the pole." Click the pictures to enlarge as always. Note the dog-earing!

"JOB DONE!"

video
video
video
video
video
video
video

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Window Cleaning Videos for Sunday

The "Wagtail World Window Cleaning Challenge" starts rolling with these great videos from Duncan & 2 from "Wagga" as he calls himself, Both these guys win themselves a Wagtail squeegee.
video
video
video

Mark Henderson puts out a video for his own company in Italy.. and it looks strangely familiar! Mark Henderson is known for the "Window Cleaning Resource" website.
video

Astound Window Cleaning put out this pretty impressive video..
video

Kris Cook of KC Power Clean gives some tips on Anodised frame problems & fixing them. Check out his blog!
video

More Wagtail fun from Sweden..
video

"At Glass with Class, we specialize in “the art” of window cleaning and collectively have decades of experience." Check out Glass with Class.
video

Matt Cole gets stopped in the street & interviewed!
video

The Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world gets a clean - forget squeegee's.
video

Brennon of New Albany Window Cleaning is selling this RHG cart for a friend. It also gives us a chance to look at some of the modifications he's made.
video

And finally...
video

Saturday, 26 September 2009

3 for 2 - Window Cleaning DVD Unique Offer



Mark Henderson of Window Cleaning Resource UK has kindly agreed to this 3 for the price of 2 offer for a limited time period. Get them while you can! All 3 for £40 +p&p.

What you get:

1. Advanced Window Cleaning Skills DVD
The most comprehensive guide to traditional window cleaning available, An ideal training aid. Learn such skills as; selecting the right tool for the job, minimising detailing, cleaning interior windows, using a scraper blade and the various techniques used for using a traditional extension pole up to a height of 10 metres. Work effectively! Each piece of equipment is explained and shown how it is used on real jobs. Warning: This DVD could seriously transform the way you and your staff clean windows. Normally £19.99+£1.50 P&P.

2. Window Cleaning Essentials DVD
This DVD shows how you can improve your skills as a window cleaner, helping you to work faster and more efficiently hence earning more money. It also offers useful tips regarding organisation, motivation and customer rapport. With the Window Cleaning Essentials DVD you will discover basic techniques and equipment required for novice window cleaners and anyone who might be considering starting their own window cleaning business. How to deal with various types of windows such as leaded and Georgian windows. Hints and tips that will help you avoid common and time costly mistakes. How to stay organised in your work and remain motivated. How to increase your income by improving the efficiency of your technique. An advanced technique is put to the test and the huge time difference is clearly shown, illustrating the effect it will have on your earnings. Normally £19.99+£1.50 P&P.

3. Choosing and Using a Water Fed Pole System DVD
This DVD shows how the water fed pole system works and offers advice for choosing the best type of system for your needs. It also demonstrates how to use a water fed pole to get the best results and contains many useful tips that can save you time and make you money. Normally £19.99+£1.50 P&P.

Buy all 3 securely by clicking the link below (this offer is not found anywhere else on the internet - not even on the Window Cleaning Resource UK website).

OFFER NOW FINISHED!


video

Window Cleaning News

Praise for window cleaners who rescued elderly woman from fire: Two window cleaners have been hailed as heroes for rescuing an elderly woman from flats. Lee Reardon, 25, and work-mate, Alfie Dunn, 23, leapt into action when they saw smoke coming from a window of St John's Court in Paignton yesterday afternoon. While Alfie climbed in through the first floor window and found Joan McMann, 82, in a smoke-filled room. Lee went in through the door, led her to safety and put out the chip pan fire. Mrs McMann said she felt like the 'luckiest person in Paignton' after being led to safety while firefighters hailed the pair as heroes. "Bless their hearts, those boys saved my life" she said.
Lee said: "We were cleaning the windows and noticed smoke coming out of one of the windows. My friend went through the window and found an old lady inside. "I went around the front and he opened the door for me. There was lots of smoke inside. We helped the lady out then I went back in, picked up a rug and put it over the fire. "It was a chip pan on the hob. I carried it out and then we brought the fire extinguisher in and put the rest out. "The lady was very happy but it was all instinctive and we didn't really think about it." Alfie, who works with Lee for SLR Window Cleaners, said: "The room was smoke filled and at first the old lady didn't want to come out.
"I unlocked the door for Lee and we helped her out. The firemen were there within five minutes and we went back to work." Mrs McCann said: "I had put a saucepan on the hob and had turned on the chip pan by accident. "The room was full of smoke and I didn't know what was going on until they arrived. "I want to thank them for saving me. I feel like the luckiest person in Paignton." Paignton fire station watch commander Roger Williams said he couldn't praise the pair enough for their bravery and quick actions. He added: "Without their actions and intervention the lady's flat would have been severely fire damaged and she could have been seriously injured. "I want to thank them on behalf of the service for doing a real community-spirited rescue. They didn't make a fuss, they just did what they thought was the right thing to do and then returned to work."

Papa Gianni is 89, but the music of his native Italy still lives deep within him, and so he must sing. Sing with all his heart. And what emerges from his throat is, in his own words, "a miracle." The voice is remarkably strong; it's the voice of a much younger man, a voice "that must be from God." Papa Gianni has no other explanation, but his voice received the highest of validations, from the great Luciano Pavarotti himself. He sang for Pavarotti in San Francisco in 1979, including one of the songs "The Maestro" loved most: "Nessun Dorma." That made it three performances within a 10-day span for this charismatic man who was born outside Trieste, Italy, and who immigrated to America in 1951.
"I came from a poor family," he said Sept. 12. "My papa was a fisherman. My mama was on her knees, scrubbing wood floors. There was no money to buy food. I went through a lotta, lotta, lotta things in my life." "I came to America because I lost my land. I was a refugee. From New York, I went to California, and worked in construction in Dana Point. My wife wanted to come to San Francisco. I had two kids, Gianfranco and Sofia. I became a window washer. God gave me the strength to go outside on 40, 60 stories."

From nature, robots: To a robot designer like Sangbae Kim, the animal kingdom is full of inspiration. "I always look at animals and ask why they are the way they are," says Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. "As an engineer, looking at them and speculating is fascinating." While a graduate student at Stanford, Kim drew inspiration from the gecko to build a climbing robot, and he is now designing a running robot that mimics the movements of a cheetah. Such agile, fast-moving robots could perform military surveillance and search-and-rescue missions deemed too dangerous for humans to undertake. His Biomimetic Robotics Lab is one of several at MIT pursuing biologically inspired engineering. A team of mechanical engineers has built robotic fish, and materials scientists have designed moisture-collecting materials that mimic a beetle's shell.
When Kim and his colleagues at Stanford set out to build a climbing robot, at first they figured they needed to make the robot's feet sticky. However, they soon realized that very sticky feet can't detach very easily. Their approach shifted dramatically with the 2006 discovery, by Lewis and Clark College biologist Kellar Autumn, that geckos use a phenomenon called directional adhesion to stick to walls. "The gecko gave us a completely new perspective. Stickiness does not necessarily come from chemical composition; it can come from mechanical properties and geometry," says Kim. "The geometry enables strange phenomena such as directional adhesion, which sticks in only one direction."
The pads of a gecko's feet are covered with a forest of tiny hairs called setae, some of which are one-twentieth the width of a human hair. The setae, in turn, branch into hundreds of tiny smaller hairs called spatulae, which are about one-thousandth the width of a human hair. These hairs cling to surfaces using tiny molecular interactions known as van der Waals forces. Collectively, the forces are strong enough to support the gecko's weight as it scrambles up a vertical surface.
To demonstrate, Kim rummages around in a desk drawer in his office and pulls out a small rectangle of the gecko-inspired adhesive material, which resembles a tiny patch of blue Astroturf. A compact disc gently held against the horizontal surface attaches securely in one direction and then easily detaches in the opposite direction. The adhesive is covered with hairs made of rubber silicone, which are thicker than those on a gecko's paw (about four times thicker than a human hair). Because thicker hairs require smoother surfaces for adhesion, Stickybot can only climb extremely smooth surfaces like glass.
Kim and his colleagues, led by Stanford professor Mark Cutkosky, first demonstrated Stickybot in 2006, and Time magazine named it one of that year's best inventions. The paper describing the robot also won the 2008 Best Paper Award for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics. Potential applications for the stickybot technology include exterior repair of underwater oil pipelines and window washing. Kim also plans to start designing climbing equipment for humans using the directional adhesion technology.

The family of a severely disabled schoolboy born without a sense of danger is planning a potentially life-changing mission to the other side of the world. Keiran Buchan has Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delay. The 10-year-old has never spoken a word in his life, sleeps for just one hour each night and has difficulty walking. Because he has no perception of danger, he needs to be supervised and kept safe around the clock. All over his family home at Crimond, between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, cabinets, doors and appliances are fitted with safety locks and protective covers. Parents Neil and Linda say that if the front door is left open, Keiran is likely to wander out into the street. He will think nothing about playing with electrical sockets, picking up knives or exploring potentially hazardous household objects.
Sadly, there is no known cure for Angelman Syndrome and there is only a limited amount that therapies can do. Window cleaner Mr Buchan, of The Corse, Crimond, is organising a skydive to raise money for the trip and also for charity Assert (the Angelman Syndrome Support Education Research Trust). On Saturday, October 3, he will jump from an aircraft 8,000ft above St Andrews. For more information on Mr Buchan’s sky dive, log on to "Just Giving."

Businesses, homes, hotels and more keep demand high for building cleaning workers: Outlook: Employment of building cleaning workers is expected to increase 14 percent over the 2006-16 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Pay: Building cleaning workers in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma area earned a median wage of $28,720 in 2008.
The job: Building cleaning workers -- including janitors, maids, housekeeping cleaners, window washers and rug shampooers -- keep office buildings, hospitals, stores, apartment buildings, hotels and private residences clean, sanitary and in good condition.
Training/licensing: Most building cleaning workers have a high school diploma or less and mainly learn their skills on the job or in informal training sessions sponsored by their employers.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Angie’s List: Gutter cleaning tips - INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Gutters are among the most visible parts of any home. But few homeowners take the time to really look at them. Angie Hicks of Angie's List said failing to look at your gutters now could cost you plenty later. "Gutters aren't just about looks," she said. David Rhodes of Weather Shield, an Indianapolis company that installs and repairs gutters said they are far more important than that. "The gutters are designed to get the water away from your house," he said. "The water is the enemy of your home, so they are really essential.”
Essential and even brand new ones require some maintenance. It’s important to make sure your gutters retain their proper pitch and clean them out twice a year, once in the fall again in the spring. Rhodes said, "A good idea is to go out when it’s raining, or take a hose to the roof and check and see if it's flowing properly. Look out the window; see if water is collecting in the gutter. That will tell you if it's mispitched or clogged," Rhodes said. Hicks said getting gutters cleaned is important, but she said think twice before you decide to do it yourself. "Many people think that gutter cleaning is a do it yourself job. But it actually can be pretty dangerous. We want to remind people that there are more injuries related to falling off a ladder than there are with any other do it yourself project," said Hicks.
Aluminum gutters are the most common residential choice. They are the least expensive. But you still need to keep them clean. Each of the other choices has its pluses and minuses said Rhodes. "Steel seems to rust with time. Copper oxidizes, gets discolored. Vinyl will crack once it's been through the winter months if it's not properly cleaned. The aluminum is a lifetime product," said Rhodes. Mother Nature can pose problems for any kind of gutter. Rhodes said gutter covers are a good idea. But, he said gutters still need to be cleaned even with covers. Hicks said if a company promises that if you buy their cover you'll never need to clean your gutters again, be sure to get it in writing.

John Denham MP Visits Harlow Town Centre: Pictured from left: Cllr Eddie Johnson, John Denham and Bill Rammell MP. THE Secretary of State for communities, John Denham MP, visited Harlow yesterday (Wednesday) to see how the town is using Government funding to tackle the effects of the recession on its high streets. Last month Harlow Council was given £52000 in funding to reduce the negative impact that empty shops have on the high street.
To see how that money has been put to use, Mr Denham was shown round the Window Works initiative which has brightened previously boarded up shops using displays by local artists. The Council plans to spend the grant on extending the Window Works displays to more empty shops, giving the pedestrianised areas a deep clean, ahead of an extensive Christmas promotional campaign to increase local trading. Mr Denham said: "The downturn has hurt many high streets across England but Harlow is fighting the impact of the downturn by putting the empty shop funding Government gave them in last month to good use brightening up unused shops, cleaning up the streets to attract back shoppers for the Christmas push. "Harlow has been leading the way on this and I was impressed by what I saw. I hope the extra money will help them to continue the good work."

DCSS accepts bid for building: ALBANY - It was something they don't often do, but Dougherty County School System Building & Grounds Committee opted to recommend using the third lowest bidder for a project at Friday morning's meeting. The rare move followed after minority businesses Robie Thompson and Tandem Contracting turned in bids of $7,990 and $8,400, respectively, for the pressure washing and window cleaning of the downtown Administration Building.
The bids were about $14,000 below the third lowest bid by Albany's Akridge Interiors of $22,000. "We're not comfortable about two lowest bids," said Tony Reese, DCSS construction manager. The job entails pressure washing the entire outside of the three-story building and cleaning all of its windows, both inside and out, Reese explained. This also includes the skylights and rescreening the skylights. "The cost is around $6,000-$8,000 just in equipment and materials alone," Reese said. Bush said the recommendation came down to legitimacy. "You've got to have legitimacy," he said. "It appears (minority businesses are) either too high or too low. It breaks my heart when we had a really good chance to do things and we didn't. Now, everyone is trying to do work, as Maschke stated (because of the economy)."

Householders warned again about "doorstep crime": Police are warning people to be on their guard after a string of deception offences across Avon and Somerset. Officers from the "doorstep crime" team at Bristol are also hoping more victims will come forward to help with their investigation. During these incidents elderly and vulnerable people have been targeted by rogue traders who have tricked their way into homes. In another a pensioner had her bank account cleared through a series of fraudulent transactions. On several occasions' a man has visited houses posing as a window cleaner. After taking money up front he then never returns to complete the work.
Officers are reminding residents that they should never pay for services in advance unless they are completely satisfied the caller is genuine. People are advised to obtain references from others, check credentials and never to feel pressurised into entering contracts on their doorsteps. People should always obtain written quotes where possible. Anyone who has been defrauded or has any information is asked to contact the Doorstep Crime Team at Southmead Police Station on 0845-4567000 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555111. You can also call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org which can be accessed by clicking the link in our "related articles" section. They never ask for your name or trace your call.

Employees at community health care centers in west Sonoma County held a low-key demonstration in Guerneville Friday to promote federal health care reform and protest state budget cuts. A main focus was on getting a government-run health insurance plan, or public option, back into federal legislation that is being debated by the Senate Finance Committee. Maggie McDonald, a 56-year-old Guerneville resident, said as she held aloft a protest sign Friday that she no longer has access to low-cost dental care at a time when she says she needs it the most. A disabled window washer, McDonald said she receives $850 a month in state disability payments, which is not enough to cover her monthly rent. “I’m in chronic pain right now,” she said. “It’s difficult for me to eat food. I’ve lost a tremendous amount of weight.”

Search This Blog