by Rina Gestetner
Since fewer than 1 in 10 of us are expected to achieve our New Year’s resolution, I propose that we start a new trend instead: New Year’s introspection. Remembering why we’re doing what we’re doing, in the hope for rejuvenation and a fresh new year. A promise of thoughts and only that.
Looking back at the past year as an employee at a nonprofit can go in two directions: we can look at the work we’ve done as tasks that were crossed off our list, or we can look at that same work as accomplishments that are changing lives. Every day brought with it frustration, every week yielded impossible deadlines, and every month had late nights at work. But a year passed means thousands of kids attending school, spending their summers in a positive atmosphere, receiving guidance from their mentors, and shaping into our future success stories.
This year, I’m spending New Year’s putting this all in perspective so that next week, when I want to just go home and crawl under my covers, maybe it’ll cross my mind that Kars4Kids is headed somewhere- and we’re headed there fast.
Thousands of realtors converged on the Atlantic City Convention Center this week for Triple Play, the premier annual realtors trade expo. Among the hundreds of booths exhibiting at the convention was one whose magenta colors, karaoke stand and innovative display made it stand out from the others: our very own Kars4Kids booth!
A quick introduction to our real estate donation program for the unfamiliar: We accept properties of all kinds, from commercial to residential, vacant lots to high end homes, offering donors a tax deduction for the full appraised value of the property, a hassle-free process including covering all closing costs, and of course, the chance to benefit a charity.
Real estate agents and brokers can benefit from the program as another option to offer homeowners whose properties are not selling easily and who may be in a position where donating is as beneficial as selling. Realtors even receive commission for the properties their clients donate!
Realtors at the expo were very interested in hearing about our new program, but perhaps even more popular were the nifty little Tylenol promos we distributed. “The Cure to Your Headache Listings”– get it?😉 We were told they would come in handy after the evening parties…
The nice folks at the booth next to ours had another reason for stocking up on the Tylenol: we also had a karaoke stand set up, with the Kars4Kids jingle, tweaked just a tad for real estate (donate your land today!), playing on a seemingly infinite loop. Those realtors who were brave enough to sing along were emailed a recording of themselves on the spot!
All in all, it was a fun experience for everyone on the real estate team and we’re looking forward to doing this again next year!
So, where were we? Oh, yes! We just learned about steam powered cars. So now we get to find out about the secret behind modern cars – the internal combustion engine!
A steam engine is an external combustion engine. In the steam engine, as we have seen, there is a special furnace or burner which heats up a tank of water. The heated water then produces steam which powers the engine. So, the combustion occurs outside the engine. This of course involves several large, separate parts, making a small, light engine that runs on steam-power very difficult to produce.
An internal combustion engine is an engine where the heat source, or combustion, is inside the actual engine. It basically consists of some sort of fuel, most commonly gasoline, which is ignited directly in the cylinder. The force of the explosion (the combustion) drives piston, which powers the engine.
In 1859, Jean-Joseph-Etienne Lenoir, a Frenchman, developed an internal combustion engine. (There had been other attempts, but no one managed to produce a practical model.) His engine was called a two-stroke engine, because of the amount of times the piston moved for every complete cycle of the motor. It was powered by coal gas.
Although his engine was successful, it was not strong enough to power a carriage. Instead, it was used to power small machinery.
It was in 1876 that an internal combustion engine was developed by a German named Nikolaus Otto that was strong enough to power a carriage. This engine employed a four-stroke cycle, known as the Otto cycle, greatly increasing its efficiency.
Let’s take a closer look at the Otto cycle.
Otto’s engine was a rotary engine. In other words, the piston, moving up and down in the cylinder, turned a bar called crankshaft. This crankshaft could be attached to a wheel, or whatever it is that is supposed to be turned.
As we mentioned, the Otto cycle goes through four strokes per cycle. Every time the piston moves, whether up or down, is called a stroke.
The first stroke (1) is called the intake. In this stroke, the piston moves down and the intake valve is opened. Since the piston is sealed tightly against the cylinder, a vacuum is created and the fuel is sucked into the cylinder.
The next stroke (2) is the compression stroke. Now, both valves are sealed and the piston moves up. This compresses the fuel, making it more combustible.
Next, comes the power stroke (3). This is when the fuel is united, usually by a spark plug, and pushes the piston back down. This is called the power stroke because it powers the entire cycle.
Finally, comes the exhaust stroke (4). It gets its name from the fact that the engine is quite tired at this point. Just kidding! It’s called the exhaust stroke because the used, or exhausted, gases are expelled. In this stroke the piston goes back up, and the exhaust valve is opened. This pushes the used gases out of the cylinder.
As long as fuel is supplied to the engine, the cycle will continue, and the crankshaft will turn.
This engine model was able to operate at a much higher efficiency than previous types of engines, due in large part because of the compression stroke. Otto himself, however, didn’t think the best use for his engine was for vehicles. He instead wanted it to be used for other types of machinery.
It was his manager, Gottlieb Daimler, who saw the potential of the engine to be used to power vehicles.
But, that will have to wait – until next time!
As you recall, dear readers, we had an exciting contest this week. Who can come up with the best ideas for the blog?
We said we’re opening the blog to you, our readers, and we’re going to keep our word!
To be honest, when we read the responses we were very impressed! So many great ideas! But, there can only be one winning idea. So the idea that won, the idea that will get the gift card is:
An epic poem!!!!!
You asked for it, you got it! An epic poem about a car.
This is the first chapter. Read, enjoy, and give us your feedback. If we get enough positive responses, we’ll continue!
King Hrothgar great and strong sits in his hall
Surrounded by companions both big and small
Drinking all night till wee hours of morn
Little knowing that outside lurks the demon spawn
Music and feasting for the brave and the strong
But for some soon they will sing their last song
In smashes his way that weird wicked thing!
Stopped in mid-note the song just begun to sing
The vile Grendel so evil and foul
Warriors drop dead just from his howl!
The bloody carnage is terrible to behold!
The once-warm bright hall has turned dark and cold
Yes! Things look quite black for Hrothgar’s star
But the very worst thing? Grendel’s stolen his car!
Weeping and wailing for all his lost things
He knows he must call that great friend of kings
The brave good Carwulf will come to his aid
Just as long as he knows that he’s gonna get paid
With trembling fingers Hrothgar picks up the phone
Praying and hoping that Carwulf is home
What good fortune and luck for our good king!
Carwulf picks up on the very first ring!
Weeping and groaning and shedding a tear
His voice is so quiet one can barely hear
My car! Hrothgar sobs and can say no more
Because it’s not just a car that you buy in the store
McLaren F1 LM and they only made five
Carwulf must get Grendel – dead or alive!
End of first chapter
When Rebecca came down with laryngitis (probably from one of her Wild West vacations) she was a little annoyed. She was really used to talking. In her own words, she can “be quite a conversationalist.”
But, since she works as a call-center rep here at Kars4Kids, she decided it was work as usual. As for her missing voice? Well, it would just have to make its appearance!
It soon became clear that it wasn’t going to work. Her voice kept fading in and out, and people on the phone noticed.
Much to her surprise, though, they weren’t annoyed! In fact, advice flew fast and thick.
“You’re sick!” was one donor’s helpful observation.
“I’m a nurse,” another donor presented her credentials. “Do you have post-nasal drip? No need to see a doctor, then. It will go away by itself….” Phew! “…in five weeks.” Oh, no!
“I’ll make this quick. You have to boil a lemon. When the pulp is nice and soft, put honey on and eat it.”
“Take a shot of whiskey and honey.” (Rebecca did not get permission to do this at work.)
“Where are you located? Maybe I can bring by some chicken soup?”
Of course, the most common suggestion was to drink tea with honey.
All in all, Rebecca was quite overwhelmed with all the sympathy. But, she realized she had to rest her voice. So for now, she’s concentrating on non-phone related work until her voice is back.
Then she can give out her own sore throat advice.