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    Subway Tile: Here To Stay? – Mint Hill Times - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    CHARLOTTE Im constantly asked whether subway tiles will still be in style in the years to come. This is an understandable concern, as tile work is the most expensive, and difficult part of a bathroom to replace, so it makes sense to choose a material that will be attractive for decades.

    Subway tile was first introduced in 1904, and has been popular choice in bathrooms for over 100 years. While subway tile is traditionally 3x6 and glossy white, there are now a myriad of color options, textures, and sizes available. A popular choice is to use a dark-colored grout to add some visual interest without overpowering the space. Subway tiles can be installed in many different patterns, from the timeless brick pattern to a more modern stack or herringbone pattern.

    Subway tile can serve as the foundation for many styles, from farmhouse all the way to ultra-modern. If youre planning on selling your home in the future and you want to maximize the value of your home, a bathroom renovation using subway tile is a great choice as it has a broad appeal to nearly any buyer. Subway tiles are the blue jeans of the home design world. Good looking, timeless, versatile, easy to maintain, and comfortable. Its hard to imagine either of these going out of style any time soon.

    Subway Tile: Here To Stay? - Mint Hill Times

    Tesla Solar Roof buyer left without roof and tarps over his house after 2-month-long nightmare – - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A Tesla Solar Roof customer was left without a roof and tarps covering his house after new solar roof installation turned into a 2-month-long nightmare.

    Tesla is still trying to ramp its solar roof tile deployment, which has been delayed several times already.

    Its why we like to follow new solar roof projects and share the progress.

    We were excited when Paul Stacey reached out to us back in July about sharing his experience with his solar roof installation on his home in Florida.

    He had just signed a contract for what we believed would become Teslas biggest solar roof install yet: a 24.3 kW solar roof.

    Over the following weeks, Stacey gave Electrek a breakdown of the progress.

    At first, he was told by Tesla that it would take about 2 weeks, but they doubled the timeline closer to the start of removing the old roof.

    The subcontractors in charge of removing the roof made some good progress during the first week (before/after week 1):

    However, the first week already gave a glimpse of the problems to come.

    The first day the crew showed up, but the equipment wasnt on site like they thought it would be.

    Then on day 5, Stacey saw some water leaking from the tarp and he was unable to reach Tesla.

    Roof removal was completed early the next week and Tesla started on the roofing underlayment, a water-resistant or waterproof barrier material that is installed directly onto theroofdeck.

    Tesla was trying out a new product for the underlay and it didnt conduct proper testing first as Stacey would later find out.

    Week 3 consisted of preparation work to receive the tiles and on week 4, Tesla finally started installing the solar tiles.

    Tesla also installed the electrical hardware:

    On week 5 (we are now in September already) Tesla started to realized that it made a mistake with its new underlay.

    Stacey explained:

    Monday did not start out well we had rain over the weekend and a few places inside the house felt the effect of it, two of the seven areas were back to the roofing removal company, as they found those areas and fixed them, it started raining and that stops all work. The other areas came down to a failure in Teslas new lining and thats when you find out your one of the first homes to get it. Apparently, its too thin and the clips that hold the boards together can come through and when it rains, water gets in.

    They spent most of week 5 trying to fix those problems.

    The next week (week 6) Tesla sent an expert to oversee the work and try to bring it back up to standard after the prior failures.

    It looked like they were making some progress, but they experienced another leak in the garage by the end of the week.

    During week 6 is when things went from bad to worse as work was halted and they just decided to put a tarp over the whole roof:

    They started moving the situation up the chain of command and Stacey started to hear that the consensus was that they needed to start from scratch.

    Keep in mind that they are now already almost 2 months into the project.

    A source familiar with the project said that Tesla engineers agreed that it was a big mistake to switch from a double layer of self-sealing Firestone as to a single layer thinner and weaker product as roof underlayment without proper testing.

    The next week they had Servpro, afire and water cleanup and restoration service company, over to make sure the leaks didnt leave lasting damages and Stacey reached a compensation agreement with Tesla over all the issues.

    Now in early October, 9 weeks into the project, Staceys entire house is covered by tarps to try to protect it against the elements:

    This week, Tesla is now restarting Staceys roof back from the deck after abandoning the new underlay.

    He might be looking at another 4 weeks of construction on his house before he finally has a new roof.

    We will keep you updated.

    Stacey is still hopeful that the final product will be worth this 2-month-long nightmare, but he thinks prospective customers should know that Tesla hasnt figured out the whole installation process just yet.

    I agree with him and this is why we are posting this now.

    We will update when the project is over and hopefully, the result will be worth it.

    I still think that Teslas solar roof tiles are an extremely important product that has the potential to accelerate residential solar power adoption.

    But it looks like Tesla was premature with the product.

    It probably should have gone through more testing before making its way to customers who are spending tens of thousands of dollars for it.

    Stacey seems to be handling it well, but I have to imagine that having 2 months of construction work on your roof is extremely stressful.

    For the product to become mainstream, they have to smooth out the installation process.

    If you have interesting solar roof experiences, good or bad, please reach out to us as we try to get a better picture of the current state of the product.

    FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

    Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

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    Tesla Solar Roof buyer left without roof and tarps over his house after 2-month-long nightmare -

    What is Amazon Sidewalk and how does it work? New neighborhood network explained – Gearbrain - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Amazon latest products, including the new fourth-generation Amazon Echo smart speakers, include a new feature called Sidewalk. Announced a year ago, but explained in more detail at Amazon's hardware event this September, Sidewalk is a new type of wireless network that will span between Echo and Ring devices.

    Read More:

    Free to consumers, Sidewalk uses the 900 megahertz wireless spectrum to connect all sorts of devices together, including Echo smart speakers and displays, as well as security products by Amazon-owned Ring.

    The devices will be linked together using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and because the network signals are passed from one device to another, they can be spread much further than a regular Wi-Fi network, while using far less power than a 4G or 5G cellular network.

    Here is how Amazon describes Sidewalk: "A shared network...that helps devices like Amazon Echo devices, Ring Security Cams, outdoor lights, and motion sensors work better at home and beyond the front door. When enabled, Sidewalk can unlock unique benefits for your device, support other Sidewalk devices in your community, and even open the door to new innovations like locating items connected to Sidewalk."

    There are two types of Amazon Sidewalk devices. Sidewalk Bridges take the network signal and broadcast it, extending the network; these devices include the latest Amazon Echo smart speakers and Show displays, plus outdoor cameras and security lights produced by Ring, which is owned by Amazon.

    The second set of products are called Sidewalk-enabled devices. These automatically connect to the wireless network created by the bridges, using Bluetooth Low Energy.

    This is not a password-protected network created by one person exclusively for their devices to connect to. Instead, every Sidewalk network is open to all. That way, anyone's Sidewalk enabled devices can connect to anyone else's Sidewalk bridges, but all of the connections have multiple levels of encryption to prevent data being captured by unauthorized parties. Amazon says Sidewalk will use no more than 500MB of a person's internet connection per month, which is equivalent to 10 minutes of HD video.

    So far, the primary use for Amazon Sidewalk will be to help people locate lost items.

    Amazon says Sidewalk can be used to help locate lost itemsAmazon

    Tile, maker of Bluetooth tracking devices to help you find lost possessions, is also a partner of Sidewalk, leveraging the new network to help improve the odds of users relocating their lost Tiles.

    Instead of relying only on a Tile user walking within Bluetooth distance of a lost Tile (upon which the owner of the lost Tile is told its location), the location will also be shared when the Tile is in range of a Sidewalk network created by the Amazon devices of nearby properties. So if the Tile, perhaps attached to a keychain, is dropped outside a home with a Sidewalk-compatible Ring security camera installed, the Tile will alert its owner through the Ring's internet connection.

    Amazon has previously said how its own Fetch dog tracker could also work with the Sidewalk network, helping owners locate their dog if they leave the garden. However, Fetch is no longer sold by Amazon.

    The company has explained how a Sidewalk connection can help make it easier to reconnect devices to your Wi-Fi network if something goes wrong. Amazon also says how some devices can continue to function in a limited capacity through the Sidewalk network, should they lose Wi-Fi signal. "For select Ring devices, you can continue to receive motion alerts from your Ring Security Cams and customer support can still troubleshoot problems even if your devices lose their Wi-Fi connection."

    Although use cases are somewhat limited for now, Amazon is keen to point out how broad a network can be created using Sidewalk bridges. The company explains how Amazon employees and their friends and family installed 700 Ring products in their homes, which created a Sidewalk network that "covered much of the Los Angeles Basin, one of the largest metropolitan regions in the United States by land area."

    Amazon says how this network could be used by "low-bandwidth, low-cost devices," but doesn't say specifically what these would be, beyond referring to "lights and sensors". The company describes the creation of Sidewalk networks blanketing entire cities in connectivity as "a long-term effort".

    Which devices act as Sidewalk Bridges?

    It isn't just the aforementioned new Echo and Ring products that work as Sidewalk Bridges. Here is a list of compatible products from Amazon:

    For now, only Tile products and the new Ring Car Alarm are listed as devices capable of connecting to a Sidewalk network, but we expect to see this increase through 2021 and beyond. We also hope to see Amazon offer many more examples of what Sidewalk can be used for, as for now it feels like an experiment that has only just begun.

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    What is Amazon Sidewalk and how does it work? New neighborhood network explained - Gearbrain

    Scientists zoom in on HIV inside a test tube, find critical steps in infection – Live Science - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Scientists have finally recreated the initial steps of HIV infection in a test tube, offering an incredibly zoomed-in view of the virus in action.

    The amazing images show a cone-shaped shell of geometric tiles, called the capsid, that sits at the virus's center and contains its genetic material, known as RNA. Before infiltrating a cell, the capsid is surrounded by an envelope of fatty molecules; this envelope fuses to the host cell to let the capsid inside, where it then carries the RNA to the cell's nucleus. On the way, the RNA replicates, and once inside the nucleus, it invades the host's DNA.

    By granting a closer look at this replication process, the new study highlights that the capsid itself plays a critical role in infection and that specific criteria must be met for the virus to interweave its genome with the host cell's.

    Knowing how to recreate the initial steps of HIV infection "means we have many more tools for dissecting the process of replication," said study author Wesley Sundquist, a distinguished professor of biochemistry at University of Utah Health. In particular, the study, published Oct. 8 in the journal Science, describes a cell-free system that can be used to study how HIV invades the host genome such a system could "revolutionize HIV experiments in many labs," Leo James, a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science in an email.

    "To have accomplished all this is a real tour de force," James said. Beyond basic research, the system could also help explain how experimental drugs that target the capsid work to limit HIV replication, Sundquist said in a statement.

    Related: 12 amazing images in medicine

    Although the test tube experiments capture aspects of HIV infection in superb detail, they cannot recreate every step in the process, Sundquist noted. Infection typically starts when the outer membrane of the virus fuses with the membrane of a host cell, allowing the capsid and its innards to sneak inside. But with a cell-free system, the authors had to bypass this initial step.

    They instead used a compound found in bee venom, called melittin, to "permeabilize" the viral membrane and release the capsid held within.

    The HIV capsid has tiny pores in it, and normally, as a virus particle floats through a human cell's cytoplasm, it picks up the cellular building blocks of DNA, called deoxynucleotide triphosphates, that are already there, according to a 2017 report in the journal Nature. As it travels to the nucleus, the virus particle uses those building blocks to make copies of full strands of DNA, thanks to a special enzyme housed inside the capsid. This is how the virus copies its genetic material to later insert into the host genome. How the virus "knows" when to start this so-called reverse transcription is still somewhat mysterious, but studies hint that biochemical properties of the host cell act as cues for the reaction to begin.

    But a test tube doesn't automatically have DNA building blocks in solution, so to jumpstart reverse transcription, the authors added them. "This method has been around for a while, but it's tricky to get the reaction to go until completion," James noted. But the study authors managed to get reverse transcription running smoothly; to do so, they learned that the capsid must stay mostly intact throughout the process.

    Related: Going viral: 6 new findings about viruses

    "The capsid has to be largely intact, and it has to be of the proper stability or flexibility, to support reverse transcription," meaning the capsid must be bound tightly enough to not fall apart during reverse transcription, but able to open up when the capsid enters the nucleus, in order to unleash its copied DNA, Sundquist said. Fortunately, scientists recently discovered a way to keep the capsid just stable enough.

    Study author Owen Pornillos, an associate professor of molecular physiology and biological physics at the University of Virginia, and his colleagues found that a compound called IP6 binds to the capsid's tiled surface, they reported in 2018 in the journal Nature. IP6 carries a negative charge, while each tile carries a positive charge on the side that points in toward the center of the capsid; since opposites attract, when IP6 binds to the capsid, it helps pull the tiles into a tighter, more stable arrangement.

    "Before the discovery of IP6, someone would remove the [viral] envelope in vitro and everything would fall apart and they could not see anything," said Joo Mamede, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogens and Immunity at Rush University, who was not involved in the study.

    IP6 is "quite abundant" in cells, so in their test tube experiments, the authors added similar concentrations of the compound as would be found in cells, Sundquist said. "That was really the trick," he added. "Until we knew it, we were working with capsids that were far too unstable."

    Using computer models of molecules and an electron microscope, the authors could literally see that the 240 tiles making up the capsid held their lattice-like structure stable throughout reverse transcription. As the DNA strands grew larger, their ends sometimes poked through tiny gaps in the lattice weave, the authors noted, and sometimes singular tiles could be seen dislodging while the rest of the capsid stayed intact.

    The capsid may need to stay stable to keep the RNA and transcribing enzyme close to each other, said Christopher Aiken, a professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University, who was not involved in the study. The enzyme tends to fall off the RNA during transcription, so "by keeping the enzyme contained, it can rebind the template and continue DNA synthesis," Aiken told Live Science in an email.

    With reverse transcription complete, the authors then moved on to the next step in infection: integration, where the viral DNA infiltrates the host genome. They introduced DNA strands known as plasmids into their test tubes, to serve as proxies for the DNA in a human nucleus, but integration would not begin without an additional ingredient. Only "whole cell extracts," a mix of proteins and molecules drawn from cells, would allow the viral DNA to pervade the plasmids.

    In the future, the team hopes to pinpoint precisely which ingredients in the cell extracts trigger integration, Sundquist said. "It's likely to be more than one thing," he noted. One challenge is that, in test tube experiments, "it's always difficult to know if you're missing something," he said.

    Related: The 12 deadliest viruses on Earth

    One limitation of the study is that it can't perfectly recreate cellular conditions, James said.

    "Any in vitro system, however powerful, can only be used to test the components we know about and can add into the reaction," James said. For instance, in actual cells, the capsid must travel to the cell nucleus, where the DNA is held, and then slip through portals known as the nuclear pores. There may be unknown factors that alter the capsid during this journey, Sundquist noted.

    That said, the new cell-free system could help reveal the identity of those unknown factors, Mamede added. Scientists can now make observations in a cell-free environment and then check to see if the same behavior appears in actual cells, he said.

    In addition, the system could be useful in drug development. "You can test [new drugs] more readily with one of these simplified systems than with a cell," Mamede told Live Science. "This way, you can see mechanistically what it's really doing to the virus."

    The pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences currently has a new drug in human trials that targets the HIV capsid specifically, according to Based on early data, the drug appears to alter the capsid at various points of infection, including during reverse transcription. Sundquist said that the cell-free study underscores that the capsid is a "critical component" of HIV infection, and that corrupting the capsid can limit the virus's ability to multiply.

    Originally published on Live Science.

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    Scientists zoom in on HIV inside a test tube, find critical steps in infection - Live Science

    Pa.’s 15 best small towns, ranked, for the perfect fall day trip – - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Fall is made for road trips and Pennsylvania is full of great destinations.

    The Keystone State is home to countless adorable small towns, but time is limited and you can only see so many before all the leaves have fallen and winter has set in. To that end, weve crafted a list of 15 of the best small towns in the state, pulling largely from a list of the greatest small towns that we did back in 2017.

    This list is entirely subjective, so feel free to disagree! Heres how we made it. We opted to only look at towns that had populations of less than 10,000 people. COVID also means that some small towns that are usually bustling with activity are a little quieter right now. We ranked higher those that still had most of their attractions open for socially distanced fun. Also, fall is all about the leaves. So each one on our list should offer some great fall views, whether its in the town itself or nearby.

    With that in mind, heres our list of the 15 best small towns in Pennsylvania.

    Named after its founders daughter, Zelienople came into being in 1802. Its your quintessential small town, it has a bustling downtown with stately red-brick buildings. Zelienoples slogan is a modern place with old fashioned grace. Come with a full wallet that youre okay with emptying, as there are plenty of coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants to patronize, including Herb Brittners Smokehouse, home to some of the best beef jerky around.

    The porch of the Summerdale Cottage in Mt. Gretna. Sunday August 14, 2016.Daniel Zampogna, PennLiveHAR

    Originally meant to be a summer retreat for Methodists in the late 1800s, Mt. Gretna today is a quaint small town. While Mt. Gretna is known as a summer destination, its just as beautiful in the fall. Plan on walking around for a few hours just marveling the unique architecture of the various cottage homes. Head down to the Mt. Gretna Roller Rink which plays live organ music as you skate on Saturday nights in the fall.

    READ MORE: Highlights of the Mount Gretna Tour of Homes and Gardens

    You dont have to be a Bucknell University student to enjoy all that Lewisburg has to offer. Head downtown for numerous small shops, restaurants and art galleries. Catch a film at the Campus Theatre, a restored Art Deco movie theater. Due to the pandemic, its open for rentals of groups of less than 22 people. Fans of the written word will want to walk down Poetry Path, which winds throughout historic downtown with poem markers throughout.

    Punxsutawney Phil waves to cars on Mahoning Street on Groundhog's Day eve in Punxsutawney, Pa. 02/01/2013 Sean Simmers | THE PATRIOT-NEWSTHE PATRIOT-NEWS

    Its always Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney.

    Throughout the downtown area youll run across painted groundhog figures. Check out the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center (which has its own hall of fame) for a chance to learn about the science behind extreme weather. Then you can meet the weather prognosticator himself at his home in the town library.

    READ MORE: The love story between a town and a groundhog and 9 underrated places to visit near Punxsutawney

    Just 40 minutes outside of Pittsburgh lies this adorable town, which was once a summer retreat for Rudyard Kipling in 1889. Head to 3rd St. to check out all the small shops and many of the towns restaurants. Pop by on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to explore the Beaver Farmers Market and enjoy fresh produce from the area. Fans of history will want to check out the Beaver Area Heritage Campus which includes a museum, 1802 log house and a restored 1897 Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad station.

    This adorable town sits in the midst of the Allegheny Clarion River Valley and offers excellent fall foliage views. Its also a must-visit for golf fans: the American Golf Hall of Fame resides at the Foxburg Country Club, which is also the oldest continuously used golf course in the United States (it was established in 1887). While youre in town, treat yourself to a handmade confection at Divani Chocolatier or a glass at the Foxburg Wine Cellars, which has more than 30 different varieties of wine in stock including the high alcohol Wineshine. Then prepare to enjoy the great outdoors by hiking along the Allegheny River Trail.

    The Old Sled Works is the cant-miss stop in Duncannon. This antique mall has penny arcade games, an operational soda fountain and a whole slew of oddities. It also hosts the occasional auto show. Taste some wine at the Buddy Boy Winery and Vineyard while youre in town, which is known for its sweeter varieties. Then prepare for a hike; the Appalachian Trail passes through here and youll want to see the great view of the Susquehanna River from the trails Hawk Rock (pictured) yourself.

    READ MORE: 10 of the best hikes in Pennsylvania to enjoy this spring, from great views to beautiful waterfalls

    If you arent a fan of artist Andrew Wyeth and his father N.C. Wyeth before you visit Chadds Ford, you will be after. They both called Chadds Ford home and their work is highlighted at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, where you can actually tour their studios. Their work is also on display at the Christian C. Sanderson Museum, which is also the home of numerous artifacts from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I and II. The Sanderson Museum is open by appointment only because of the pandemic, so be sure to request entry at least 48 hours before you want to visit. Grab your pumpkins and other produce from SIW Vegetables (pictured). Make sure you pencil in time to visit the Chaddsford Winery, and then a few hours (at least) at the nearby Longwood Gardens. Just note that youll need to grab a ticket in advance of a Longwood Gardens visit.

    Lititz has won the title of America's Coolest Small Town in an online contest by Budget Travel. Shops along East Main Street in Lititz.02/20/2013Dan Gleiter | dgleiter@pennlive.comPENNLIVE.COM

    Voted Americas Coolest Small Town by Budget Travel in 2013, Lititz is a must-visit for small town fans. Stroll through Lititz Springs Park to feed the ducks and enjoy natures beauty. Head over to Bulls Head Public House and immediately feel like youve been transported to England. It was also named one of the best beer bars in the country by Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to wander along Main St. and see all the quirky and fun shops. And, before you leave, be sure to twist your own pretzel at Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.

    Fonthill Castle, in Doylestown, was built between 1908 and 1912, by archaeologist and tilemaker Henry Chapman Mercer, who also designed it. Julia Hatmaker, jhatmaker@pennlive.comHAR

    Love castles? Doylestown is the place for you (supposing youd rather forego crossing the Atlantic). There are two in the area: Fonthill Castle (which mixes Byzantine architecture with gothic and medieval) and the Mercer Museum (home to 50,000 historical artifacts). Both were built by archaeologist Henry Mercer and are a feast for the eyes. Both castles are open to the public, although there are admission fees. You can learn more about Mercer and his Moravian tile business at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a living history site. It is open by appointment only and limited to just six visitors because of the pandemic. Theres also the 1842 Pine Valley Covered Bridge to see, Doylestown Cemetery walking tours to go on and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa to visit.

    READ MORE: A castle for the new world is a treasure in Doylestown, Pa and Pa.'s Mercer Museum of junk gives insight into American history

    Named one of the best small towns in the country by Country Living, Ligonier was a natural fit for our own list. Its downtown area is filled with great shops and restaurants, including the Ligonier Creamery. In the middle of the historic downtown sits a gazebo, a perfect place for hanging out with friends or, in the summer, hearing live music. Back when it was just a fort, it was a key spot in the French and Indian War. Fort Ligonier today is a museum that boasts living history demonstrations and re-enactments.

    Wellsboro, Pa. is less than ten miles from the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.Mark Pynes |

    This historic town is lit in the evening by old-fashioned street lamps. The downtown is filled with little shops and places to eat. Be sure to at least step inside the Penn-Wells Hotel, which was built in 1869. Bid the town farewell to explore the gorgeous Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, aka Pine Creek Gorge. It doesnt get better than this hilly landscape to see the changing leaves.

    READ MORE: Wellsboro: Todays top fall foliage spot in Pennsylvania and 7 reasons to visit the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

    Come to New Hope prepared to shop. The town is great for antique lovers, with many stores offering up numerous vintage pieces. Theres also a thriving art community here too, so be sure to check out the various galleries. History lovers will want to go on one of the towns ghost tours or take a ride on the New Hope Railroad. Its also just a half hour drives away from the famous Ringing Rocks County Park, where you the rings sing when hit with a hammer.

    READ MORE: Bucks Countys 10 must-visit spots: Ringing Rocks, Sesame Place, New Hope and more

    Downtown Jim Thorpe, Pa., -- sometimes called "The Switzerland of America" - is a storybook pretty mix of turn-of-the-century charm with modern-day hipness. (Photo courtesy SJNSJN

    Jim Thorpe is a treasure hidden snugly in the Lehigh Gorge. Originally founded as Mauch Chunk in 1818, it was renamed Jim Thorpe in 1954 after the famous athlete, whose remains are still there. The towns location makes it perfect for seeing the leaves change, and its plethora of little boutiques and restaurants makes it a perfect place to spend a day. No trip to Jim Thorpe, however, is complete without a trip on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

    A statue of Abraham Lincoln stands in front of the Wills House in the square in Gettysburg. Mark Pynes |

    Take a stroll through history at Gettysburg. Theres the Gettysburg National Military Park, where you can walk on the battlefield and see monuments to the fallen soldiers. Or head towards the Gettysburg National Cemetery to see where Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address. The haunted Sachs Covered Bridge is decidedly worth seeing as well, even if just for a photo. In terms of non-Civil War things to do, head over the Land of Little Horses to pet adorable miniature horses or pop by Mr. Eds Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium to see the wide variety of elephant statues. You can also tour the Eisenhower Homestead to see where President Dwight Eisenhower would vacation. And of course be sure to check out one of the towns many ghost tours.

    READ MORE: What to do in Gettysburg other than visit the battlefield: 12 non-Civil War attractions to check out

    This story has been adapted from our 2017 list of the 35 best small towns in the state for a fall day trip.

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    Pa.'s 15 best small towns, ranked, for the perfect fall day trip -

    Watch an indie puzzle game get built, tile by tile, in this fascinating Twitter thread – The Verge - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    idk what this is yet but I had an idea.

    Thats how game developer @davemakes started a Twitter thread last January, sharing a GIF of colorful tiles floating through a diagonal game space. Follow Daves thread, though, and youll see how they develop this single idea over the months into a fully fledged rhythm and puzzle game called Mixolumia, available to buy on as of last weekend.

    The game itself looks extremely fun, pairing a simple and bold art style with immersive music and sound effects, and gameplay that looks to be a cross between Tetris and Puyo-Puyo. Whats really fascinating about the thread, though, is how it offers a look into the often opaque world of game development, tracking Daves work and experiments.

    Follow the thread, and you can see how Dave adds new features over time, testing out certain mechanics. One early question is how should the tile-blocks move when they hit another point-on-point? Should they break in half? Should they slide down alternate directions? Or should they zig-zag down the screen to avoid this problem altogether?

    As you can see, Dave eventually solves the problem by having the blocks move in the direction they were last pushed. As they note, that makes it easier for players to direct the tiles, adding more depth and strategy to the gameplay in turn.

    We wont recap the whole thread here, but click on that first tweet, and you can watch as Dave adds particle effects, previews of where each block will land, a scoring and level system, different gameplay modes, and more. Its fascinating to see the title take shape, and it feels like watching a time-lapse of a painter turning out a fresh landscape.

    What starts as a game in simple primary shades gets colorful when new palettes are added:

    Then, the musical elements of the game evolve. Dave starts with their own dynamic music effects but collaborates with musician Josie Brechner to build out a more complex soundscape. I particularly love the example track below, named Summer Shower, which features rain noises that build in intensity as you play through a level.

    Throughout the games development, Dave takes the title to Tokyo Indies (a monthly gathering for game developers), starts a Patreon to support development, and is eventually able to launch the title as a full game, complete with customizable color palettes and music effects. You can buy Mixolumia right now for Mac and PC for $9 (10 percent off the regular price).

    Its amazing to see what happens when you have a single idea in your head and simply... follow through.

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    Watch an indie puzzle game get built, tile by tile, in this fascinating Twitter thread - The Verge

    #AmericanWindWeek 2020: AWEA recognizes 16 wind champions for clean energy leadership Into the Wind – Into the Wind – The AWEA Blog - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    #AmericanWindWeek 2020: AWEA recognizes 16 wind champions for clean energy leadership

    Welcome to day three of American Wind Week! Dont forget to visit for more information, follow #AmericanWindWeek and #WindBuildsTheFuture on social media, and check out AWEAs social press kit.

    Today were recognizing our Wind Champions: elected officials whose leadership makes it possible for wind to build a strong economy and clean future through their support for policies that strengthen American wind power. Champions on both sides of the aisle understand how important wind is to the constituents they serve, our economy, and our environment. This year we are recognizing the following elected officials with awards:

    Members of Congress

    State Governors

    Weve chosen this highly selective group of lawmakers to thank and acknowledge for their wind advocacy. By championing legislation that includes higher clean energy standards, support for offshore wind, and support for the production and investment tax credits and more, these elected officials helped ensure wind can build a clean energy future for our country that includes both a thriving economy, and healthy communities.

    On to more #AmericanWindWeek highlights!

    Originally posted here:
    #AmericanWindWeek 2020: AWEA recognizes 16 wind champions for clean energy leadership Into the Wind - Into the Wind - The AWEA Blog

    Civilization 6: Vampire Castles Guide (What They Are & How They Work) – Screen Rant - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    In Civilization 6, there is a new tile improvement from the Sanguine Pact that players can use called the Vampire Castle, but what does it do?

    Civilization 6, one of the civilization simulation games has a new tile called the Vampire Castle from the Sanguine Pact. While this may seem a bit silly from the basis of looking at how to conquer the earth as the perfect civilization, there are many strange and secret things about all sorts of societies. The Vampire Castle is a tile improvement that players can use within their own civilizations, but how does it help them build up their settlements to defeat others?

    Related:Civilization 6: How to Survive the New Apocalypse Game Mode

    The Vampire Castle tiles can be accessed in the Secret Societies game mode. This game mode is a recent addition as of July, which allows players to align themselves with different secret societies and cults. This update is part of the New Frontier Pass and requires either the Rise and Fall or The Gathering Storm expansion pack. Once this is added to the game the player, in this mode, can only join one society. Players should make sure to pick the vampires if Vampire Castles will satiate their sanguinary palates.

    Before a player can even start thinking up how they will play as a vampire civilization, they must first meet and take part in the Sanguine Pact, one of four secret societies currently available in the game. This pact is focused on the militarization of civilization and is bloodthirsty. Once the player has accepted this group as a part of their society, they will have to go through some initiations to access Vampire Castles and other upgrades.The first part of taking on the Sanguine Pact is gaining the Vampire Governor who is a main part of the pact and what gives the players access to Governor Titles within the pact. To access Vampire Castles, players will need to get up to the second level of titles within the pact called, Ritual. This title can be accessed as early as the Medieval Era.To gain this title, the player must go through the Initiation title, which requires them to destroy a barbarian camp. Once done this will give them access to Vampire units, and will automatically spawn one at the player's capital. The Ritual title will be received once the player has reached the Medieval Era within the pact. At this point, they will be able to charge their vampire units with constructing a Vampire Castle.Vampire Castles cannot be sat directly next to each other, and each empire can only house two castles. Once built, these castles duplicate their adjacent tiles production and give them to the capital. The vampire unit within is granted a plus-four to their defense strength, and two rounds of fortification once in battle. Later on, if the player progresses through the Indoctrination and Master Plan titles, they will be able to build up to four of these castles.This building is much like any other fort improvement available in the game but has additional purposes that make them much more useful. It gives an economic boost to the player's capital and gives the Vampire units a place to retreat outside of the capital to once they are down to one hit point in the battle. As Vampire units aren't usually killed in battle and can return home to heal, this is extremely useful.

    Next:Civilization 6: How to Acquire a Pantheon Belief ( And Which One to Choose)

    Civilization 6 is available for PC, Linux, Classic Mac OS, Mac OS, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

    How Carrion Does John Carpenter Horror Better Than The Thing

    India MacGregor is a writer, illustrator and gamer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a Full Sail graduate with her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. As a connoisseur of high fantasy and post-apocalyptic media, she prides herself on digging up lore.

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    Civilization 6: Vampire Castles Guide (What They Are & How They Work) - Screen Rant

    Sims 4 build tutorial: Split level loft and Tiny Living tile restriction cheat – Extra Time Media - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Sims 4 finally got ladders in the base game before the release of the Eco Living expansion pack. These have been very useful for crafty space-saving builders. But the ladders have also made it possible to build a more realistic-looking split level loft.

    Builders who have been around for a while will know that this split level trick is not new.

    It is the same method used to build the sunken rooms. But its also another crafty way to cheat or get around the tile restriction in the Tiny Living Stuff Pack.

    Please do not lecture us on the morals of cheating the restriction, were not here to judge anyone. Were just the sharers of this valuable information. Thats why we say cheat. Some call it cheating, others will call it being resourceful.

    We have previously shared a tutorial on how to cheat the tile restriction by using the A-frame roof, but this method is a bit less finicky.

    We have given the build in this tutorial a very quick playtest and there was no angry and frustrated stomping from the Sim we used, so there shouldnt be any problems as long as you make sure your flooring is level.

    Well upload the house to the gallery in a few days (Origin ID: mspr1nt) partially furnished, so you can grab it play around with it yourself.

    By the way, ifyou would like to get a weekly newsletterfeaturing our Sims 4 CC picks along with other Sims-related goodies,sign up to our Sims 4 newsletter over here.

    Right, lets get to that tutorial.

    Start by placing a square on the lot youre building. Then increase the foundation height to roughly the height of the short walls.

    You can go higher if you want. After that, use the terrain tool to increase the terrain height around the foundation so that the bits that stick out are covered up a bit more.

    Use the room tool to add your loft level to the foundation and remove the floor. Leave some space for your entryway to the side. Dont worry about getting this 100% perfect, you can still adjust it later.

    You can add your roof at this stage or leave it for later. Or add it now it change it later.

    There are was to better hide the foundation, but that will require a tutorial on its own. Debug cheats will be your friend here.

    You can also add your foundation now. The foundation is one of the more challenging parts of using this build method to cheat the Tiny Living tile restriction quite simply because the options are quite limited if you do not use custom content. Oh for the ability to pain the foundation to match the walls.

    Once you have refined the terrain outside your build, you can start adding the finishing touches. Firstly, you will need to level the terrain where you removed the floor inside.

    You also need to add some stairs to the entryway. This might take a bit of trial and error, but angular stairs work best.

    Fill in the floor of your build by painting the terrain with your floor tile of choice. This wont add to the Tiny Living restrictions.

    Add furnishings and use the split level for any rooms (like a bathroom) you want to keep completely private. Pop a ladder and a fence down around the bedroom area for the super loft like feel.

    One of the challenges with using this split level method is that it can be quite dark. Using a glass roof in part and adding hanging ceiling lamps makes all the difference though.

    Furnishing the lower level of this split-level loft in The Sims 4 can be a bit challenging. Objects will sometimes snap to the grid above it so keep an eye on your placings to avoid angry Sims.

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    Sims 4 build tutorial: Split level loft and Tiny Living tile restriction cheat - Extra Time Media

    Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts installs mosaic at Progressive Playground – LebTown - August 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    5 min read282 views and 100 shares Posted August 12, 2020

    Progressive Playground is the latest area in the city of Lebanon to get a new look via public art. Installation of a mosaic mural at the playground located at 350 N. First St. was completed at the end of July.

    The wall now sparkles with beautifully colored tiles, and the mural conveys the message of unity.

    The theme of were all in this together reflects the time were in. It not only references the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also alludes to the community and unity, said artist Michaelanne Helms. The design also incorporates a basketball since there are basketball courts at the park.

    All photos by Will Trostel.

    Although she continues to create more traditional artwork, Helms is also community artist. She said the spark for community art was lit when she took a workshop in the early 2000s with Philadelphia mural artist Isaiah Zagar.

    What I like about his style is that he has a way of involving many people in one project. As a community-based artist, I work with groups of people to design and create together, she said.

    The concept of community art is that the public art gives voice to concerns, values and aesthetics of the community, explained Sharon Zook, Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts president. Public art exists to serve the public, improve the atmosphere of public space and provide enjoyment, inspiration, and hope for the public who uses the space. As time changes, and the public is no longer served by the art in their space, we see art being removed, and at some point, new voices rising through art. Art reflects life in the community, empowering the voices of those who contribute to the art.

    This marks Helms third playground project in Lebanon. Her first collaborative mosaic mural project in Lebanon can be seen at the playground at 6th and Elm streets, and she completed a collaborative mosaic mural in July 2019 at Beautex Park, 129 Van Buren St.

    Zook explained that before each public mosaic mural was installed, content was gleaned through survey research. She said themes are gleaned from those responses, and imagery comes from the concepts in the surveys.

    For the latest project at Progressive Playground, as with previous mosaic mural projects in Lebanon, Helms collaborated with participants in a two-week summer camp hosted by the council.

    Zook said the wall selected for this years mosaic mural was suggested by Jandi Goshert, who grew up at the Progressive Playground.

    She mentioned that site to Michaelanne a year ago, so we explored the possibility of placing the mosaic there, Zook said. From time to time, people suggest walls throughout the city, so we keep a mental list identifying walls where people would like to see public art.

    Typically, during the first week of camp, the class canvases the neighborhood, gathering research and inviting neighbors to participate in the installation. Because some of the data is collected that week, the design can only be completed during the camp.

    That gives everyone including the mayor only a day of turn-around time for approvals so the installation can be completed in a week, she said, Mayor Capello has been very workable and cooperative with giving permission for the project, and handing over the keys literally and figuratively before the design is ready for approval.

    Helms added that during the first week, the class, which this year had seven teens, also learns the fundamentals of mosaics. Toward the end of the first week of camp, the design is completed and sent for approval. Meanwhile, the tiles are prepared based on the design being approved because there isnt any time to lose.

    Helms said tiles that are shiny and glossy are perfect for outdoor mosaics.

    Zook related that they were running out of white tiles, so she visited the local tile graveyard at Weavers Carpet in Tile in Lebanon.

    Its a treasure trove of all the misfits, overstock, discontinued, and rejects from decades of being in business, she said. Last year, in a frantic last-minute search calling around the area for blue tile, I hit the jackpot at Weavers.

    Zook was able to find array of skin tones for the mosaic.

    We wanted a pallet of skin tones so that anyone visiting the mural could identify themselves with one of the clasping hands.

    She said the council also accepts tile from local stores getting rid of sample boards or from people who have leftovers in their basement.

    The one color tone on the hands came from a couple in Hershey who recently moved to their new home, and their dishes no longer fit the color theme of the new kitchen, Zook said. The brown glazing on the bottom side of their old scratched stoneware plates was the perfect color.

    According to Zook, due to COVID-19 precautions, the indoor instruction time this year was reduced, so the class that trained did not create key pieces in the studio prior to the installation. All the technical elements were done right on the wall.

    In addition to the seven teens from the class, several volunteers from the Progressive Playground neighborhood helped create the mosaic. Tiles were applied to the wall, and then grout was mixed and applied.

    Helms said she used a special formula for the grout that she learned from Zagar. After letting the completed artwork weather for about a week, she returned and applied some of the lettering.

    Working with kids and community members is fulfilling to me, Helms said. Designing and creating the art is a collaborative process. It crosses generations, races and economic levels. Everyone can learn from one another and share ideas.

    Funding for the mosaic mural was provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through Millersville Universitys South Central PaARTners program and the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

    Do you know a Lebanon County story we should share? Give us advice on what to feature next using the contact form below.

    Give the gift of local journalism.If you are thankful for what LebTown brings to the community, consider joining our cause as a member. Members get an inside look at our publishing schedule each week, plus invites to our members-only Facebook group and happy hours.

    Sign up for an annual membership using the link below, and well give you a free LebTown mug at the next happy hour.

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    Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts installs mosaic at Progressive Playground - LebTown

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