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5 Non-Electric Washers to Save You From the Laundromat

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For those of us who don’t have access to our own washing machines and dryers at home, laundry is a painful chore. There is schlepping down stairs to basement machines or across town to the laundromat, killing time between wash and dry cycles, and occasionally running out of clean underwear when you can’t get to the laundromat during its open hours. There is another option, though, and it doesn’t involve scrubbing every individual piece of clothing you have by hand in the sink.

Non-electric washers can get your clothes just as clean while saving energy. If you’re willing to put in some physical effort, you can minimize your laundry day dread. Here are five non-electric clothes washers to get you started:

1. ALLURETTE WASH BAG; $50

A white wash bag that reads "Allurette"
Allurette

Made by the same company that invented the Scrubba, a washbag designed for camping, the Allurette is essentially a Ziploc with a washboard that’s designed especially for delicate clothing. You pile your clothes in, add water and soap, and squish it around so that your clothes rub together and against the textured rubber on one side of the bag. It’s an easy way to make sure your more fragile garments get clean safely without actually getting your hands dirty, since you control how hard to scrub. When you’re done washing and rinsing, just squish the bag down to squeeze out excess water and hang your clothes to dry.

Get It: Allurette

2. WONDERWASH; $45

A Wonderwash rotating drum
The Laundry Alternative

Hand-cranking the Laundry Alternative Wonderwash makes you feel a little bit like a farmer churning butter. The appliance is small enough to fit on a counter, though it needs to be near a drain because it doesn’t have a detachable hose. After a few minutes of cranking, your clothes will be as clean as they would coming out of a regular washer, and you can do a big pile of your laundry at once in the 5-gallon drum. The large size makes a full load quite heavy, though. And it’s not particularly easy to drain thoroughly, leaving you with a large, sopping pile of heavy clothing that still has to be wrung out. It’s a great option if you happen to have an old-fashioned clothes wringer, though.

Get It: Amazon

3. THE LAUNDRY POD; $96

 

The problem with most non-electric clothes washers isn’t the washing itself—it’s figuring out what to do without the spin cycle that sloughs off the excess water after rinsing. Without it, you need a hefty towel or strong hands to wring out your clothes so that they don’t drip pools of water onto your floor when you hang them to dry. Essentially a salad spinner for clothes, the Laundry POD adds the spin cycle back in to draw out some of that excess water. It only uses a gallon of water and a tablespoon of detergent per wash cycle, so it’s far more environmentally friendly than the typical washer, which uses anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons per load. The ease of use comes at a price, though—if you’re purely looking for convenience, you can get an electric mini-washer for about the same cost).

Get It: Amazon

4. YIREGO DRUMI; $239

 

The Drumi, which is set to come out in late 2017, is a fancier version of the foot-powered washing machine. As tech reviewers have noted, it looks a bit like R2D2, if R2D2 could wash your clothes in his head. It takes about 10 minutes to wash a 5-pound load using a similar design to the Laundry POD. The Drumi is made of reinforced aluminum and has a detachable hose and second drain to make it easier to remove water from the drum. No need to memorize how much detergent to put in, either: The lid of the washer has markers to guide you.

Pre-order: Yirego

5. JAPANESE LAUNDRY WASH BASIN; $13

A blue plastic basin with a washboard
JapanBargain via Amazon

Here’s an old-fashioned bargain. This little plastic washboard won’t fit much more than one item of clothing, but it’s an easy choice if you’re only looking to wash a few bras or that shirt you just spilled salad dressing on. One writer for The Strategist contends that even though it takes up space in her small apartment, she “cannot give it up. It is too good, too useful.”

Get It: Amazon

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6 Things Americans Should Know About Net Neutrality
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Net neutrality is back in the news, as Ajit Pai—the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a noted net neutrality opponent—has announced that he plans to propose sweeping deregulations during a meeting in December 2017. The measures—which will fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses use and pay for internet access—are expected to pass the small committee and possibly take effect early in 2018. Here's a brief explanation of what net neutrality is, and what the debate over it is all about.

1. IT'S NOT A LAW; IT'S A PRINCIPLE

Net neutrality is a principle in the same way that "freedom of speech" is. We have laws that enforce net neutrality (as we do for freedom of speech), but it's important to understand that it is a concept rather than a specific law.

2. IT'S ABOUT REGULATING ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

Fundamentally, net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be allowed to prioritize one kind of data traffic over another. This also means they cannot block services purely for business reasons.

To give a simple example, let's say your ISP also sells cable TV service. That ISP might want to slow down your internet access to competing online TV services (or make you pay extra if you want smooth access to them). Net neutrality means that the ISP can't limit your access to online services. Specifically, it means the FCC, which regulates the ISPs, can write rules to prevent ISPs from preferring certain services—and the FCC did just that in 2015.

Proponents often talk about net neutrality as a "level playing field" for online services to compete. This leaves ISPs in a position where they are providing a commodity service—access to the internet under specific FCC regulations—and that is not always a lucrative business to be in.

3. INTERNET PROVIDERS GENERALLY OPPOSE NET NEUTRALITY

In 2014 and 2015, there was a major discussion of net neutrality that led to new FCC rules enforcing net neutrality. These rules were opposed by companies including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. The whole thing came about because Verizon sued the FCC over a previous set of rules and ended up, years later, being governed by even stricter regulations.

The opposing companies see net neutrality as unnecessary and burdensome regulation that will ultimately cost consumers in the end. Further, they have sometimes promoted the idea of creating "fast lanes" for certain kinds of content as a category of innovation that is blocked by net neutrality rules.

4. TECH COMPANIES GENERALLY LOVE NET NEUTRALITY

In support of those 2015 net neutrality rules were companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Vimeo, and Yahoo. These companies often argue that net neutrality has always been the de facto policy that allowed them to establish their businesses—and thus in turn should allow new businesses to emerge online in the future.

On May 7, 2014, more than 100 companies sent an open letter to the FCC "to express our support for a free and open internet":

Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.

5. THE FCC CHAIR ONCE QUOTED EMPEROR PALPATINE

Ajit Pai, who was one of the recipients of that open letter above and is now Chairman of the FCC, quoted Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi when the 2015 rules supporting net neutrality were first codified. (At the time he was an FCC Commissioner.) Pai said, "Young fool ... Only now, at the end, do you understand." His point was that once the rules went into effect, they could have the opposite consequence of what their proponents intended.

The Star Wars quote-off continued when a Fight for the Future representative chimed in. As The Guardian wrote in 2015 (emphasis added):

Referring to Pai's comments Evan Greer, campaigns director at Fight for the Future, said: "What they didn't know is that when they struck down the last rules we would come back more powerful than they could possibly imagine."

6. THE TWO SIDES DISAGREE ABOUT WHAT NET NEUTRALITY'S EFFECTS ARE

The Star Wars quotes above get at a key point of the net neutrality debate: Pai believes that net neutrality stifles innovation. He was quoted in 2015 in the wake of the new net neutrality rules as saying, "permission-less innovation is a thing of the past."

Pai's statement directly contradicts the stated position of net neutrality proponents, who see net neutrality as a driver of innovation. In their open letter mentioned above, they wrote, "The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth."

In December 2016, Pai gave a speech promising to "fire up the weed whacker" to remove FCC regulations related to net neutrality. He stated that the FCC had engaged in "regulatory overreach" in its rules governing internet access.

For previous coverage of net neutrality, check out our articles What Is Net Neutrality? and What the FCC's Net Neutrality Decision Means.

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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume
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For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]

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