Need a Low-Maintenance Pet? Try a Tarantula!Written by V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D.
If youíre like me, then you donít really have luxury of keeping a high-maintenance pet such as a dog. Even a less demanding pet such as a cat might be beyond your time constraints. Fish tanks can be difficult too, since itís easy to under-estimate time and effort involved in keeping them clean. So what options do you have?
Well, you could try a snake or one of hardier lizard varieties. My personal favorites, however, are tarantulas. Thatís rightóthose big, hairy, eight-legged freaks.
Contrary to popular belief, tarantulas are not known for being deadly; in fact, there are no known instances of anyone dying from a tarantula bite. In addition, most of pet store specimens that youíll encounter are exceedingly docile, and will generally not bite unless they are severely provoked.
The most common variety available is Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammastola rosea), which is notoriously gentle and easy to handle. It is also known to have fairly mild venom, and almost never bites. Other docile and readily available species include Honduran curly hair tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum) and Guyana pinktoe tarantula (Avicularia avicularia).
Unlike a dog or a cat, these animals do not require much care. They can go for weeks without food or water, although regular care is still recommended. They do not generate much waste either, and so cleaning their cages is easy as well. Some species do have rather specific humidity requirements, but most common pet store varieties are not so demanding. They also require very little space, and most of them can be kept in plastic shoebox-sized containers. Make sure that their lids fit tightly though, since these animals can be quite good at escaping.
How Beer is MadeWritten by Jason (The Snob)
Making beer is easy, inexpensive, and most of all, fun. With rise in popularity of homebrewing, there are a wide variety of top quality ingredients available. You can literally make thousands of styles of beer that will taste great and impress your friends. Getting started making beer will only cost you a small amount of money, depending on your level of interest. Most beer making kits range from only $60 to $200 and make great, unique gifts.
How to Make Beer
Making Beer is just like cooking. Each recipe requires different ingredients and techniques. This page is an attempt to go over basics of homebrewing in order to give you an understanding of how beer is made.
First of all, beer is made from 4 basic ingredients: water, malt (malted barley), hops, and yeast.
Water is most abundant ingredient in any style of beer. When making beer at home try to use filtered water instead of plain tap water. If your water doesnít taste good from tap, you probably wonít like it in your beer either. Do not use distilled water because it has been depleted of its oxygen.
Malted barley is barley grain that has been carefully soaked in water until it sprouts and then dried. This malting process develops necessary sugars and soluble starches needed for fermentation. The malt is then taken through a process called mashing which extracts sugars and starches from grain. Although advanced homebrewers can accomplish this step at home, most will buy malted barley already mashed in a product called malt extract.
Hops are a green flower that grows on a vine and looks similar to a pine cone. Hops perform several roles in beer making process. Most notably are taste and aroma they impart on a beer. Since not all of sugars will ferment, malt will cause beer to be really sweet. Hops will balance out sweetness by adding a degree of bitterness. Hops will also add a distinctive aroma to finished brew.