Oct 25, 2014

Vodka Pie Crust Hack

Use vodka instead of water when baking your next Holiday pie. Vodka is only 60% water, so it forms less gluten, which makes for a more tender crust.

Six Quick Animal Facts

Armadillos found in the US nearly always give birth to identical quadruplets.

The largest bat colony in the world in Bracken Cave, Texas has 20 million bats.

Dolphins can stay active for 15 days or more by sleeping with only one half of their brain at a time.

Elephants are pregnant for almost two years.

Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

Koala bears are not bears, they are marsupials.

Funeral Celebrants

Funeral Celebrant is an interesting and relatively new profession. They can help plan a festive or somber ceremony, and work with families to develop a eulogy. Some celebrants perform a whole ceremony while some families prefer to perform a ceremony themselves. Celebrant funerals are funeral ceremonies that are a true celebration of the departed one’s life.

Many people are choosing to forgo traditional funerals and cremation is growing as an alternative to funerals with half or more people now choosing it. Unlike funerals with the somber process of casket, service, and internment, the cremation process is more personal, less costly, as well as more positive and celebratory. Cremation typically costs less than one fourth the cost of a funeral (if not done by a funeral home). Most states have cremation societies, which can take care of paperwork for insurance, VA, Social Security, obituary, etc., having the body moved to a facility, and assist with all aspects of the process, just as a funeral director traditionally did.

Scattering of ashes is now the most popular thing to do with cremation ashes. Family and friends are having private memorials, scattering ashes, and having a party in the backyard. In fact, you can now buy a "Loved One Launcher", which is a CO2 cartridge filled tube, including confetti that launches ashes into the air. There are also personalized mementos containing bits of ash used in jewelry, lockets, pictures, action figures, and more. You can even get an urn that can be used as a birdhouse after the ashes have been scattered. Seems like an oxymoron with an action figure made of ashes.

Oct 24, 2014

Happy Friday

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back." Arthur Rubinstein

It is doubly true when celebrating a Happy Friday!

Berserk, Pea, and Edit

A back-formation is a word created by removing an element from an existing word. It can change the word’s meaning or the part of speech.

Berserk  is a back-formation from berserker, one of a band of ancient Norse warriors legendary for their savagery and reckless frenzy in battle.

Pea and plural peas are a back-formation of Middle English 'pease', which was a mass noun in wide use, like oatmeal.

Edit is a back formation of editor. Editor was in use for almost 150 years before edit. Edit arose because the word 'editor' sounds as if it should mean 'one who edits'.

Selfie Video

Skype has a new app that lets you take a short movie and send it to anyone in your address book. Think of it as a video instant message. LINK

Nobel Prizes 2014

The $1.1 million awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

U.S.-British scientist John O'Keefe split the Nobel Prize in medicine with Norwegian couple May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for breakthroughs in brain cell research that could pave the way for a better understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, which promises to revolutionize the way the world lights its homes and offices, and already helps create the glowing screens of mobile phones, computers and TVs.

U.S. researchers Eric Betzig and William Moerner and Stefan Hell of Germany won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for finding ways to make microscopes more powerful than previously thought possible, allowing scientists to see how diseases develop inside the tiniest cells.

Baseball Trading

Harry Chiti was traded for himself. Chiti was a major league catcher who played from 1950 to 1962. On April 25, 1962, before he actually played a game for the Indians, he was acquired by the expansion New York Mets team for a 'player to be named later'. He was sent back to the Indians on June 15, 1962 after 15 games and a .195 batting average.

Since Chiti was the 'player to be named later', he became the first player ever traded for himself. Three other players in history have been traded for themselves: Dickie Noles, Brad Gulden, and John McDonald. Chiti never played another major league game, spending two more years at Triple-A before retiring in 1964.

Houseplants and Odors

People in office cubicles have put photos of nature up on the walls or brought in green plants to help personalize their space since cubicles were first invented.

The impact turns out to be more than just aesthetic. Adding a plant or two can boost productivity by 38% or more. Scientists at the University of Exeter conducted ninety experiments and found houseplants not only improve creativity (45%) and overall well being (47%), they also provide a boost to focus. As an added bonus, rooms filled with plants have an average of 50% to 60% less bacteria.

Environmental odors appear to impact how productive we are. As the most powerful of our senses, smell might have an impact. One corporation says to chop up some lemons. In studies, workers made 54% less errors when they smelled lemons, 33% fewer mistakes with jasmine, and 20% fewer with lavender.

Free Friday Autumn Smile

Oct 17, 2014

Happy Friday

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.

This is especially true when celebrating a Happy Friday!

Cell Phone Facts

Although Apple iPhone smart phones generally receive the most publicity, they make up just 11.7% of all world-wide smart phones.

Android has 84.7% market share according to Business Insider (August 15, 2014). The rest, to equal 100% are other brands.

The top 5 countries with the most active cell phones are: China, 1.2 billion; India, 904 million; US, 327 million; Brazil, 276 million; and Russia, 256 million.

A scientific study by the Mayo Clinic in 2005 proved cell phones cause no electromagnetic interference with hospital equipment.