Dec 30, 2011

Happy New Year

We made it through another one. This coming year should be fun for the politicians and election junkies. Don't forget to pick up 'Unelectum All' before voting. It has some great info to help you with your choice.

Happy Friday

Every man has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

I know you see that I think I have a need for a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Craneberry

That is the original name for the cranberry. It was first named by early European settlers in America who felt the expanding flower, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, especially for meat, wound medicine, and dye.

Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Most notably, cranberry products have been used in the hope of preventing or treating urinary tract infections. The berries are also used as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, capsules, and tablets. Raw cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber and the essential dietary mineral, manganese, as well as a balanced profile of other essential micronutrients.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and some European winter festivals.

In the 1820s cranberries were shipped to Europe and became popular for wild harvesting in the Nordic countries and Russia.

Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, with over half of US production. About 95% of cranberries are processed into products such as juice drinks, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining 5% are sold fresh to consumers.

Phosphenes

This is the name for the lights you see when you close your eyes and press your hands to them. It is kind of like your own personal Christmas lights.

Posh

This is a word that has been around since the late 1800s, but is not used much these days, except for many small businesses which use it in their name. It means smart, elegant, or fashionable, such as posh clothes. It also means upper-class or genteel. It is also an herb.

A common reference is that back when ocean liners were the only way to cross the Atlantic, the preferred staterooms were those that faced “port out and starboard home.” As the ship crossed the North Atlantic, sunlight came into the room from the direction of the equator to the south. In a “posh” room you were on the port side (left) on the way south and east, and the starboard side (right) on the way home. Although this explanation is completely wrong, it makes for a good story.

Google+ is Growing

Google+ growth is accelerating. It has now gone past 62 million users and is adding about 625,000 new users per day. It is predicted to hit 400 million users by end of 2012.

Facebook needs to be concerned. Google+ is easier to use and groups can be separated so you do not need to have all posts seen by all friends. It is also easier to add links, pictures, etc. It also hosts live chats, so if you are planning an event, everyone can be online and conversing at the same time. Kind of like a free 'go-to-meeting'.

Dec 28, 2011

Cheeta the Chimp

Old timers who remember Tarzan from the movies will surely remember Cheeta the chimpanzee, who starred in the Tarzan films in the early 1930s. Cheeta died of kidney failure on Christmas Eve, according to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbour, Florida where he lived. At 80, he was the oldest non-human primate alive, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He outlived both Johnny Weissmuller, the actor who played Tarzan and owned him, and Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane.

Dec 27, 2011

Nostradamus

It is probably prophetic that Nostradamus was born in December, because that is the month all the pundits come out withe their predictions for the coming year. Michel de Notredame was and is famous for his predictions, even though many change with the reader. He was born 1503 in St. Remy, France. He is the author of ten books of prophecies, titled Centuries that many still believe foretell the future. He was also a physician, astrologer and, clairvoyant.

His famous astrological predictions were written in rhyming quatrains (four-line poems) that many believe predicted the Great London Fire in 1666, Spain’s Civil War, a Hitler who would lead Germany into war, and predicted his own death on July 2, 1566.

He wrote in code, because in those days, if he was found out, he would have been considered a sorcerer and probably burned at the stake. He used symbolism, metaphors, and added and deleted letters to make his writings even more obscure. Most were written in French and some in Italian, Greek, and Latin. Since we do not know his exact code, or which calendar he was using, we are challenged with making events fit into the 942 quatrains, or vice versa.

Louisiana

I am surprised Nostradamus did not foresee the Louisiana Purchase. The United States took possession of the Louisiana Territories from France in December 1803, just before Christmas. The treaty that France drew up, sold the territory to the United States for $15 million.

The Louisiana Purchase effectively doubled the size of the existing U.S. It was 827,987 square miles, at about $18 per square mile.

The area was later made into 15 states, created or *partially created from the Louisiana Purchase: Arkansas, *Colorado, Iowa, *Kansas, Louisiana, *Minnesota, Missouri, *Montana, Nebraska, *New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, *Texas and *Wyoming.

How Much is a Trillion

The government throws around numbers that are difficult to comprehend. Here is a way to understand a trillion - If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion.

Scooter Bag

Had to throw this one in for travelers. It is a scooter built into a suitcase. Truly for the traveler on the go.

The case's back is made from durable ABS while the zippered front is made from sturdy nylon. Its generous interior provides 1' cu. of space; its 15" L x 11" padded laptop compartment has three storage slots for documents and zips to close off the spacious interior for storing work shoes, a lunch, or purse. Cool stuff.

Government Salarymen

For those who care, this is a list of the top 1,000 highest paid civil service government employees, by salary, with names. The most often seen title is medical officer. No, elected officials are not included.   LINK

Dec 23, 2011

Happy Friday

In order to make our dreams come true, we must wake up.

I woke up this morning to fulfill my dream of having a Happy Friday!

Old Saint Nicholas

On this day in 1823 in the Troy NY Sentinel published the poem we know as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore. It was published anonymously under the newspaper editor’s title, Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. Moore wrote it a year earlier and read it to his children, who saved it.

He was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature and never sought to do any more than read the story to his children that one time. Clement referred to the poem "a mere trifle." Some have questioned whether he was the author, but proof of another writer has been elusive.

It is known that Donner and Blitzen were originally from ''Dunder'' and ''Blixem'' Dutch for thunder and lightning. Rudolph didn't come along until 1939, but that's another story on my blog from December 17, 2010.

Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmas visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the world. He was the first to describe eight tiny reindeer. Oh, and it ended with 'Happy Christmas to all'.

Alfred Nobel

We all know about the various Nobel Prizes, but many do not know how they came about.  Each year on the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the prizes bearing his name are awarded “to those persons who shall have contributed most materially to the benefit of mankind during the year immediately preceding.”

Alfred Bernhard Nobel died in December 1896 and the first of the Nobel Prizes was presented in 1901 according to instructions in his will. Nobel chose this method to ease his conscience after inventing the deadly explosive, dynamite.

Predictions From the Past

This is the time of year when the predictors pontificate about the future. The Ladies Home Journal from December 1900 contained an article, “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.” Here are a few of the surprisingly accurate predictions from a hundred years ago:

There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. (309 million as of 2009) Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next.

The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present.

There Will Be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits. In most cities it will be confined to broad subways or tunnels, well lighted and well ventilated, or to high trestles with “moving-sidewalk” stairways leading to the top.

Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour. Cars will, like houses, be artificially cooled. Along the railroads there will be no smoke, no cinders, because coal will neither be carried nor burned. There will be no stops for water.

Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. 

There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic. They will be maintained as deadly war-vessels by all military nations. Some will transport men and goods. Others will be used by scientists making observations at great heights above the earth.

Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.

Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theater box.

Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished.

Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today.

Microscopes will lay bare the vital organs, through the living flesh, of men and animals. The living body will to all medical purposes be transparent. This work will be done with rays of invisible light.

Fast electric ships, crossing the ocean at more than a mile a minute, will go from New York to Liverpool in two days.

What's in a Name, Crepuscular Rays

These are the rays of sunlight coming from a certain point in the sky. Also known as “God's rays.” I just call them awesome.

Dec 20, 2011

Moving Water

Have you ever noticed the water in your toilet moves on windy days? In many homes in the US, part of the plumbing system is a pipe that runs up and out to the roof. This outlet, called a “vent stack,” allows sewage gases to vent outside instead of through the toilet, sink or tub, which would make the house reek. The stack also allows air to move through the pipes, which makes waste-water drain smoothly and keeps gurgling to a minimum.

When the wind blows over the vent stack outlet on the roof, the air pressure in the pipe is lowered. This is Bernoulli’s principle in action, in your bathroom. The lowered pressure in the pipes creates a slight suction effect throughout the plumbing system, pulling on water in the toilet below. As the wind kicks up and dies down, the suction gets stronger and weaker, and the water in the bowl sloshes around accordingly.

Bacon Candy Canes

Just in time to make your season jolly. Mmmm, tis the season.

Flying Building Robots

This is amazing. Flying robots build a 19.7 foot structure.

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. The exhibition has been developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea, to inspire new methods of thinking about architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation."

The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously at a rate of 370 frames per second with millimeter accuracy. This "Flying Machine Arena" was developed by D'Andrea, and features a state-of-the-art motion capture system.

Each quadrocopter is fitted with custom electronics and on-board sensors to allow for precision vehicle control, whilst also providing the opportunity for pre-programmed flight paths, which could include arcs and spirals. Furthermore, the fleet management technology helps avoid collisions by taking over when the flying robots get too close to each other. The same technology is also used for automating routine take-offs, landings and vehicle calibration and charging.

The Flight Assembled Architecture exhibition will be on display at the FRAC Centre from December 2 through to February 19, 2012.

More Uses for Peanut Butter

A label that can be removed easily without leaving any glue behind has yet to be invented. Fortunately, we have peanut butter. Rub some of the tasty spread on the label glue and rub with a cloth.

To help eradicate the smell of fried fish, take a tablespoon of peanut butter after you have finished frying and drop it in the frying pan and fry it off for a minute or two. The smell of peanut butter is the house is much more enjoyable than stale fish and oil.

Peanut butter is a perfect gum remover. It can remove gum from kids hair and it will remove gum from carpet and any other object that is tainted with the chewy stuff. Rub some peanut butter into the gum and you can wipe the whole mess off with a cloth.

Dec 16, 2011

Happy Friday

When our pleasures have exhausted us, we think we have exhausted pleasure.

I am never too exhausted to enjoy another Happy Friday!

Obituaries

Here is a web site that shows obituaries for the whole country. LINK  You can look up hundreds of newspapers from the US and abroad. You can look up by time period. You can even set up a reminder for the name you are searching, so that when a person dies, you can receive a notice. It has funeral home locators, and many more features. This sounds a bit morbid, but I know some folks are interested in relatives that live far away and may not have any other way of finding out.

One featured item was that Alan Sues, from the 1960s "Laugh In" show, passed away last week at age 85.

Before I write about stuff, I usually like to try it, so I did. Here is the answer that came back from my search, "We're sorry, there are no obituary search results for 'shubnell'." Don't know why they were sorry, I was delighted.
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French Fries

They are the most eaten vegetable in the U.S.  The Potato Council in the U.K. has put forth a petition to Downing Street to re-classify it as a “supercarb,” a new food group that, according to the council’s website, would help highlight “how much goodness potatoes contain.” French fries cooked in bacon fat contain even more goodness.

What's in a Name, Togas and Tunics

Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer's social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.

Chicklets

There are only a few companies today that still make chewing gum from natural chicle and other natural gums. Today, most chewing gums are derived from man-made materials that provide highly consistent chewing quality. Chicle continues to be the common word for chewing gum in Spanish. And, of course Chiclets gum, which is named after chicle.

Chiclets is another old-time classic gum brand that has been available for generations and can still be enjoyed today in its original form and flavor. Frank H. Fleer based his product idea on a confection that was popular around the turn of the 20th Century, candy coated almonds.

Peppermint Chiclets were introduced in 1906 and are the original candy coated chewing gum.  Over the years, Chiclets have been made in many different flavors and colors. In 1929 when a box of ten Chiclets cost a nickel, a billboards and print advertising called the product "Peppermint gum iced with candy."

In 1899 the leading gum manufacturers organized themselves into a conglomerate called the American Chicle Company.  Gum makers in the organization included Adams, Beeman, Primley, Curtis, and S. T. Britten.  In 1914, Fleer merged his company with the American Chicle Company.

Chiclets Tiny Size® were introduced in 1962, the same year that American Chicle was purchased by the Warner-Lambert Company.  Warner-Lambert became part of Pfizer in 2000, and most recently was acquired by Cadbury. That is a lot of gummy maneuvering.

Dec 13, 2011

Nano Sim

Those little cards in cameras and phones are about to get much smaller. At .47 x .35 of an inch, it is 60% smaller than the regular SIM cards in a majority of the devices out on the market. It is also 15% thinner than previous SIM cards. They will be out early next year. A few reasons why this is important - they are cheaper, also they are smaller so there is more room in devices (or the devices can be smaller), and they are faster. The best reason is they have nano in their name and I love anything nano.

Bacon Squeezins

The Bacon Squeezins Water Bottle is a stainless steel water bottle with screenprinted graphic of Mr. Bacon enjoying a refreshing drink of delicious liquid fat. It holds 20 oz (600 ml)

Baby-cut Carrots

Farmers know that even if an ugly carrot tastes better than any other carrot that ever existed, it won’t sell simply because it looks weird. Every year Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, culled and threw away tons of vegetables too ugly for supermarket shelves.

In some harvests, 70 percent of his carrots were tossed. Most culled vegetables wind up getting fed to farm animals, but pigs and cows can only handle so many carrots. After a while, their fat turns orange, and meat is about as useful at the market as a lumpy carrot.

In 1986, he came up with a solution to his ugly carrot problem. He would cut the carrots into smaller, sleeker, better looking forms, like a plastic surgeon for vegetables. He took the culled carrots and cut off any lumps and twisted parts. He was left with a perfect-looking mini-carrot just a few inches long, which he then peeled. They are often labeled as “baby-cut” carrots in stores.

There’s actually a second type of baby carrot available that’s specifically grown only to the “baby stage” and harvested long before the root reaches its mature size.  They’re usually more expensive than baby-cut carrots.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

The Ancient Celts used mistletoe as an animal aphrodisiac, or more specifically, to increase the fertility of sheep. Such became the mythic power of mistletoe that in addition to bringing a lamb-ful spring, mistletoe was hung over doorways to ward off fire, lightning, and evil spirits. Despite its protective properties, mistletoe couldn't shuck its fertile past, and even though it was hung in people's doorways, it seemed as if something romantic should occur in its presence. Thus the kissing.

Did you know that mistletoe's power runs out? Every time a man steals a kiss under the mistletoe, he must pay by plucking one of its berries. When the berries are gone, no more smooching.

Dec 10, 2011

Happy Friday

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.
Misery runs out the door when I am disposed to have a Happy Friday!

Cadenas and Forks

Forks have been used for a few thousand years in various cultures, but its adoption in northern Europe was first described in English by Thomas Coryat in a volume of writings on his Italian travels in 1611). Some writers of the Roman Catholic Church expressly disapproved of its use. "God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks, his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating."

Forks were common in France, England and Sweden by the early 17th century.The curved fork that is used in most parts of the world today, was developed in Germany in the mid 18th century. The standard four-tine design became current in the early 19th century.

The earliest forks usually had only two tines, but those with numerous tines caught on quickly. The tines on thee early implements were straight, meaning the fork could only be used for spearing food and not for scooping it.

When dining with nobility, it was proper for a guest to arrive with his own fork and spoon enclosed in a box called a cadena.

There are hundreds of specialty forks, such as Asparagus fork, Beef fork, Berry fork, Carving fork, Cheese fork, Chip fork(french fries), Cocktail fork, Crab fork, Dessert fork, Dinner fork, Fish fork, Fondue fork, Meat fork, Olive fork, Oyster fork, Pastry fork, Pickle fork etc., etc. We should not forget the knork (knife fork) and the spork (spoon fork). Despite all the specialty forks, some foods are still best suited to be enjoyed with the fingers, such as chicken wings and bacon.

Say What

There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. Research shows that  one vanishes every 14 days when its last speaker dies.  In a hundred years, predictions are that half will disappear.

In Brazil, 4,000 people are left who speak Kayapo. Their language distinguishes between 56 types of bees. Of the 231 languages spoken in Australia, at least 50 have never been written. Forty languages are still spoken in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, many of them originally used by Indian tribes and others introduced by Eastern tribes that were forced to resettle on reservations.

83 languages with “global” influence are spoken and written by 80 percent of the world population.  Lesser used languages will fall by the wayside, while English will become the most used form of communication around the world. More people in China speak English than in the whole United States. English is the official language of more countries than any other language.

The top five most spoken languages in the world, in order are: Mandarin, English, Hindustani, Spanish, and Russian.

Say Cheese

The root of the English word cheese comes from the Latin caseus, which also gives us the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese. Caseus is also the root word for cheese in other languages, including queso in Spanish, kaas in Dutch, käse in German, and queijo in Portuguese. Caseus Formatus, or molded (formed) cheese, brought us formaticum, the term the Romans employed for the hard cheese used as supplies for the legionaries. From this root comes the French fromage and the Italian formaggio.

Cheese consumption began as early as 8000 BC, when sheep were first domesticated. It is believed to have been discovered in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia, where foodstuffs were commonly stored in animal hides or organs for transport. Milk stored in animal stomachs would have separated into curds and whey by movement and the naturally present bacteria

The United States is the top producer of cheese in the world, with Wisconsin and California leading in production. Although the US produces the most cheese, Greece and France lead in cheese consumption per capita. Cheese consumption in the US has tripled since 1970 and is continuing to increase.

Charleston Dance

This short minute and a half video is pure fun. LINK It shows many of the steps and some variations from the the old time dance craze, the Charleston. It is an old dance set to new music. Who said the new dances are better than the old ones.

Dec 7, 2011

Bacon and Boobies

We all like bacon and we all like boobies. For some reason, many years ago man introduced pigs to tiny uninhabited Clipperton Island, about 800 miles off Acapulco Mexico. 

The pigs soon turned feral and began eating the eggs of the nesting Boobie sea birds. A few years ago, Ken Stager came to count the wildlife on Clipperton and brought with him a shotgun to shoot some birds for a museum. Instead, he saw what the pigs were doing to the birds and used his shotgun to kill all the pigs. True story.

Today Clipperton is host to 40,000 Masked Boobies and 20,000 Brown Boobies, among others, but no pigs and no men. Just goes to show you that if that island had been inhabited by man, who is naturally predisposed to bacon, then man, boobies, and pigs would have all lived in peace and harmony.

Wyatt Earp

There have been many stories, movies, and books about Wyatt Earp, but did you know he is buried in a Jewish Cemetery in California? We know many stories are from the old West. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born about 1848, just before the Civil War and died in 1929, just before the great stock market crash.

Josephine Sarah Marcus ran away from her home in San Francisco with a friend and joined an acting company touring the country. When they played Tombstone, Arizona, she met Wyatt Earp. They fell deeply in love and were married.

It is true that he did have an extra long barrel pistol. It was given to him and a few others, including Bat Masterson by  pulp-fiction writer Ned Buntline, hence the name 'Buntline Special'. It was a Colt. Colt did not use that name until the 1950's when the TV series made it a household name. The foot-long barrels were made until the 1980s.

Wyatt, his brothers, and Doc Holliday went to trial for the famous gunfight at the OK Corral and were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. The Clantons did not like the verdict and ambushed Wyatt and killed his brother Morgan. After that, Wyatt and Doc Holliday, along with others, raided various hideouts, killing anyone they suspected had a hand in Morgan’s death.

With the law after him for the killings, Wyatt and Josie moved to Gunnison, Colorado. They moved often and invested in mines, and real estate, and operated saloons and gambling parlors in Nome, Alaska, Eagle City, Idaho and others. For a while, they even lived with Josie’s parents in San Francisco. Later, they settled in southern California and raised racehorses and lived off gambling winnings and real estate speculation. In the 1920s, they invested in oil wells.

Wyatt Earp died in 1929 and his wife had his ashes buried in her family plot at the Little Hills of Eternity Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California, just outside of San Francisco. Wyatt Earp was not Jewish, but his wife was. Josie, his wife of fifty years died in 1944, and is buried next to Wyatt.

GPS Shoes

Here is a great idea for those who have someone with Alzheimer’s in the family. 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease with that figure predicted to rise to as many as 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. To make it easier for caregivers and family members to keep track, GTX Corp has partnered with comfort shoe manufacturer Aetrex to produce the GPS Shoe that allows real-time tracking of the wearer.

The company started out producing footwear for children with a miniaturized GPS chip and cellular device embedded in the sole that allowed parents to keep track via an online portal and then started offering similar shoes for long distance runners. It then realized the technology would also be beneficial in keeping track of those suffering dementia  and built its GPS technology into comfort and wellness shoes for the elderly. Sometimes technology is wizbang and practical.

Food Tidbits

Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
    The onion is named after a Latin word meaning large pearl.
    Potato chips were invented by a North American Indian, George Crum.
    During a lifetime the average person eats about 35 tons of food.
    Within 2 hours of standing in daylight, milk loses between half and two-thirds of its vitamin B content.
    There are about 100,000 bacteria in one liter of drinking water.
    Bakers used to be fined if their loaves were under weight, so they used to add an extra loaf to every dozen, just in case -- hence, the expression "baker's dozen.
    In France, people eat approximately 500,000,000 snails per year.
    It has been traditional to serve fish with a slice of lemon since olden times, when people believed that the fruit's juice would dissolve any bones accidentally swallowed.
    The first breakfast cereal ever produced was Shredded Wheat.
    Reindeer like to eat bananas.
    Maine is the toothpick capital of the world.
    Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a billion dollars on chewing gum.
    American's eat about 18 billion hot dogs a year.
    The oldest piece of chewing gum is 9,000 years old.
    The man who played the voice (Mel Blanc) of Bugs Bunny was allergic to carrots.
    Apples are more effective at keeping people awake in the morning than caffeine.
    Every time you lick a stamp you gain 1/10 of a calorie.
    Yams have 10 times more vitamin C than sweet potatoes.

Dec 2, 2011

Happy Friday

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
I plan to stand tall and carry on with a Happy Friday!

Satellites

If you have about ten minutes to waste, this site shows what can be seen on earth from Google earth satellite. LINK Amazing and quick paced. It is also scary with the level of detail to show someone laying out in their yard. Fascinating pictures of our earth from space. The Singularity web site occupies way too much of my time.

Chewing Gum

Gum has a long history from many countries and civilizations. For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum, the resin obtained from the bark of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found on the island of Chios, Greece. Grecian women especially favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.

In the Middle Ages, mastic was used in the Middle East by the Sultan's harem both as a breath freshener, cosmetics, and for its healing properties.

The Mayan people chewed chicle, which is derived from the sap of the Sapodilla tree, a tropical evergreen native to Central America. Chicle was enjoyed for its high sugar content and sweet flavor.

American Indians of New England chewed gum, made from the resin of spruce trees. The custom of chewing gum grew until the early Nineteenth Century when lumps of spruce gum, were sold commercially. Spruce gum was gradually replaced by paraffin wax-based gum. It was eventually replaced by other substance. Sweetened and flavored paraffin wax is still used in the production of novelty chewing products.

Former Mexican political leader Antonio de Santa Anna went into exile and boarded with Thomas Adams in his Staten Island home. Santa Anna brought with him a large quantity of chicle. He felt chicle would be in high demand among Americans because he believed it could be used as an additive to natural rubber, which could make rubber a less expensive material and could be used to manufacture all kinds of things, such as tires. He asked Adams to experiment with it.

Adams spent over a year trying to make rain boots, toys, masks and bicycle tires, but found chicle unsuitable as a rubber substitute. Adams decided to experiment with chicle as a gum base and found that chicle-based gum was smoother, softer and superior in taste to the paraffin gums available at that time. Adams produced a batch of chicle-based gum and persuaded a local druggist to carry it. Soon Adams opened the world’s first chewing gum factory.

By February 1871, Adams New York Gum could be found on sale in drug stores for a penny per piece. In 1888, a Thomas Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first gum to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.

The firm was the nation's most prosperous chewing gum company and built a monopoly in 1899 by merging with the six largest and best-known chewing gum manufacturers in the United States and Canada, and achieved great success as the maker of Chiclets, named after chickle.

Also in 1899, Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning. A few years later, in 1906, Frank Fleer invented the first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum, which never sold. Still a few years later in 1914, William Wrigley, Jr. and Henry Fleer added mint and fruit extracts to a chicle-based chewing gum and created Doublemint gum.

In 1928 the first commercially successful bubble gum based on Frank Fleer’s 1906 creation was manufactured and was called Double Bubble. The Wrigley Company was a prominent user of chicle until the 1960s, when it was replaced by a less expensive material that made chewing gum cheaper to manufacture. There are only a few companies today that still make chewing gum from natural chicle and other natural gums.  That's a lot to chew on.

American Drinking

Sixty four percent of American adults drink alcohol. Of those who imbibe, 36% prefer wine, 35% beer and 23% hard liquor.

What's in a Name, Jukebox

The first Jukebox, or ‘Nickel-in-the-Slot’ was placed in service in 1889 in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco, California.

Juke was a slang African word for a disorderly house, or house of ill repute, then a juke joint became a place where they had jukebox music. Now it is a name for a Chicago dance, and also means to fake, as in football. Some diners still have juke boxes

The unit, developed by Louis T. Glass and William Arnold contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. After receiving a coin, it unlocked a mechanism, allowing the listener to turn a crank which simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. The new device took in $1,000 in six months.

The more modern, but still classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when entered in combination, are used to play a specific selection.

Nov 29, 2011

Honest Abe

As election seasons go on, many like to quote the great presidents from the past. Here is something about Abraham Lincoln. He delivered his Gettysburg Address on November 19 1863. The speech was considered so insignificant at the time that coverage was not even front page news.

A few months before, the fields outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania had one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War between the states. The Union forces held their positions against Confederate advances. The Confederates, under Robert E. Lee, retreated to Virginia, ending their attempt to invade the North. The battle was the turning point of the war.

President Lincoln traveled to the site of the battle to designate it as a national cemetery. While on the train, he wrote his speech on a small piece of paper. It only took three minutes to deliver the entire speech, which is now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war - testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated - can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people - by the people - for the people - shall not perish from this earth.”

Google+

Google(plus) is like the new Facebook. It has new and different features, like circles. Circles lets you segregate your friends, family, business associates, etc so that your postings can be sent to one or more groups, rather than everyone sees all. It reached 50 million subscribers in 88 days. Facebook took two years to reach that number. Also, since Google+ has been open to the public, it has been adding about two million new users a day.

Hand Held Super Computer

ASCI Red supercomputer, the first computer capable of doing one trillion calculations per second. Now Intel says that it can put the processing power of ASCI Red in the palm of your hand. Literally.

Intel does this with a new chip, code-named Knights Corner. It crams more than 50 general-purpose Pentium microprocessor cores onto a single chip. All by itself, Knights Corner can perform about 1 trillion mathematical calculations per second. In 1996, it took 72 cabinets of servers for ASCI Red to pull off the same feat.

In June 2011, 17 of the world’s top 500 supercomputers used these graphical processing units, but now that number has jumped to 39

Intel is building a massive 10 petaflop (10 thousand trillion calculations per second) supercomputer called Stampede, out of these next-generation Intel chips. It takes server cards that have a Xeon and Knights Corner processor and slides them into specially designed 7 inch tall server boxes. They expect to get 8 petaflops of performance from the Knights Corner chips and another 2 from the Xeons when Stampede goes live. The 4U servers hold just one card now, but they are designed to eventually hold two, which means Stampede could double its power.

When it goes online in January 2013, Stampede will have 10,000 times the processing power of ASCI Red. As Tim Allen used to say, "Arrrgh, More Power!" Isn't technology wonderful!

Rocky Musical

 I don't even know why this deserves mentioning, but I can't help thinking how odd it is. Sylvester Stalone was in Germany for the announcement that he is producing a Rocky musical to be debuted in Hamburg next year. 

Why a musical and why Hamburg are the questions that make it so strange. It might be in case it bombs, we will never hear about it in the States. Of course, you did read it here.

Flush This

I am not a greenie or enviro agitator, but this caught my eye last week. It turns an ordinary toilet into a dual flush toilet, like those costing hundreds of dollars. The article had an eight-year-old install one in a few minutes with no tools. In full disclosure, I have no financial interest in this product.

The dual-flush technology allows lower water volumes for liquids and paper. A second, full-flush uses the standard amount of water for solids. It is estimated that 80 percent of flushes do not need the full amount of water. This thing costs $19.00 on Amazon. It has a piece that replaces the flapper and an extension that replaces the handle.

Read the customer reviews. It is not a panacea, but seems like it is worthwhile to consider saving a few bucks on your water bill. It is called HydroRight. LINK

Nov 26, 2011

Happy Friday

Impromptu thoughts are like mental wild-flowers.
I just occurred to me that I need to have a wild and Happy Friday!

Does Size Matter

You might not care one iota about size, but we live with small things every day. For instance, an iota is the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. Maybe you have wondered why Yoda, in the movies was so small. A Yodh or Yodr is the smallest letter in the Hebrew and Aramaic alphabets.

The phrase 'not one jot or tittle' comes from the 15th century bible translation. A tittle is the small mark above the letters i and j. Tittles have been around since the 11th century Latin manuscripts to distinguish those letters from the ones next to them and making reading text easier. The Irish may tipple, but do not bother with small things like tittles and do not use them for their letter i. A jot is the name of the least letter of an alphabet or the smallest part of a piece of writing. So, jots and tittles are small things. We have a thought and jot it down. We dot an i, but Chaucer would have tittled his. Size matters and small is important.

Vending Machines

Did you know the first vending machines were invented in the first century in the city of Alexandria. The only goody sold was holy water. When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of holy water.

During the early 1880s, the first commercial coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England and dispensed post cards. An English publisher and bookshop owner invented a vending machine for selling books.

In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the first vending machines to the United States and installed them on the elevated subway platforms in New York City. Naturally they sold Tutti-Fruiti gum. Round candy coated gumballs and gumball vending machines were introduced in 1907.

Polyvend introduced the first glass front snack machines in 1972 and the first frozen food vending machines are introduced in 1987. Coffee machines didn't appear until 1991.

Today vending machines sell everything from live bait to hot and cold full meals, including one that actually mixes ingredients and bakes a pizza while you wait. Australians love the machines that make fresh french fries while you watch. Mmmm!

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people.

Ineptocracy

A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Bacon Turkey

In case you missed it, here is a nice pic to make your mouth water all over again. 

Also, warm up your leftover turkey in the oven with a few strips of bacon draped on top. It enhances the flavor. Partially cook the bacon first, so you do not overheat the leftover turkey.

Update - Bud sent this along to one-up me -  Bacon covered Turducken, chicken stuffed in duck stuffed in a 15 lb. turkey, all nicely packaged in pork bacon. The bacon isn't just on the outside. The chicken pieces were wrapped in it then the duck was bundled in bacon, and then the turkey was lovingly covered in more bacon, resulting in a total of five pounds of the porcine product. Mmmm!

Recruiting With Bacon

Another reason why I love Google. This week, it set up tables outside of Amazon headquarters to recruit new employees.  It hired the ad agency Wexley School for Girls to find a solution.

They set up a food cart outside of Amazon.com’s headquarters and invited workers there to have some free bacon. A bunch of bacon lovers braved the rain for free strips of pepper bacon. They also had toppings of spray cheese, peanut butter, maple syrup and chocolate sauce.  Serious candidates can even get a bacon air freshener. How can you not appreciate the unique way to steal employees.

Shameless Self Promotion

Shameless Self Promotion - Last year I promised that I would put all my Friday Thoughts for the year in a book. I have been very busy until lately, but have finally managed to finish a book with all of the  2010 Friday Thoughts and another from 2009. Bloginalia 2010 and bloginalia 2009 are available on Amazon now. These facts never grow old, so don't let the title throw you.

In addition, Bloginalia 2011 will be out no later than February, as I have been adding to it weekly. Anyway, if you want a whole collection of interesting tidbits and facts to read while you are having a bacon sandwich, these might be just for you. Fun stuff and great Christmas stocking stuffers for kids and adults of any age. They will also be available on Kindle for those who need a bit of light reading while on the go. Thanks

Nov 22, 2011

Buying Technology

As we approach the buying season, here are a few tips to remember when buying technology. Memory (RAM) is more important than speed. Most do not use the full capacity of their computer, so getting more memory actually translates to more speed than chip speed.

Texting is more expensive than voice time, so watch your contract for cost of messages.

Buy the best components, and the cheapest cables, because all those claims about gold cables, ultra cables are almost meaningless.

When looking at cable plans, buy speed, not channels, because hundreds of those channels have nothing worth watching. Plus if cable internet is fast enough, you can watch more TV and videos on your PC for free. You can do like my brother and hook up your laptop to TV for Netflix movies. Wouldn't you like a 50 inch monitor to surf the net?

When it comes to TVs, remember that size really does matter. A larger screen is more enjoyable to watch than paying for faster refresh rate. Technology has come a long way and refresh rate is way less important than it used to be. Also, LED LCD is much better than LCD alone.

3D TV is an immature technology waiting for an audience, which will not likely happen until at least the next one or two generations. Save your money and wait.

Camera lenses are more important than the camera and most lenses can be re-used on next year's wizbang camera model.

Mark Twain

Happy Birthday next week to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who was born on November 30, 1835.

Home Robots

Still time to buy a robot for Christmas. While Roomba vacuums your living room, Scooba is scrubbing the bathroom floor, Verro is power washing your pool, and Looj is clearing out your gutters. You can kick back, catch the game, and the house will be spic-and-span just in time for the party. Prices are coming down, too. A few hundred bucks for many and up to a few thousand for the really slick and sophisticated ones.

Millions of home robots have been sold and are busy every day. Ava, an autonomously-guided, mobile robotics platform that has a PC tablet, a smart phone, etc. for its brains. This mobile interface will allow us to become a night watchman, or see things that we currently can not, or anything we can think of, only limited by developers’ imaginations. This and others are all open platform, which means we can do our own programming and teach our bots to do our personal bidding. The home bots are coming and the next generation will be absolutely amazing. We will likely have to wait for a few years, but the trend is up.

Google and Facebook

Google will now begin adding Facebook comments that are public and your comments could end up in a Google search. One more reason to watch what you type on Facebook, especially when you type personal information or names. This stuff lasts forever on the web, so it pays to think ahead before you type.

Nov 18, 2011

Grating Butter

When you're buttering your bread, or other goodies, it is a pain when the butter is cold and hard. Instead of microwaving or waiting, you can solve the problem with a cheese grater. Grab your butter brick and grate it over whatever you're going to eat. This process generates a little bit of heat, but mainly the smaller pieces will melt faster and spread better when they hit your warm piece of toast or muffin. It works on bread for sandwiches and is also a good idea for baking.

Fenelon Funicular

The Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, Iowa is an incline railway running 296 feet from bottom to top. It first went into business in 1882, and has been owned by the same family since 1912. It was originally built so workers could get up the hill quickly to go home for lunch. Now visitors take the one dollar ride up the hill for the scenic views.

This year, four inspectors from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) arrived in black vehicles to secure the 'railroad' and conduct inspections and investigations to prevent attacks.

To give you an idea of how far 296 feet is, the farthest baseball throw was 445 feet 10 inches by Glen Gorbous of Canada August 1, 1957 while playing with the St. Louis Cardinals Triple A team.

A funicular is a railway up the side of a mountain pulled by a moving cable and having counterbalancing ascending and descending cars. Yep, that's our government dollars at work. Oh, we are safe. They did not find any security threats or WMDs.

Organic News

True and funny. Nebraska troopers patrolling the state fair grounds in September told a woman that she had an "illegal" message on her T-shirt and that if she wished to remain at the fair, she would have to either change shirts or wear hers inside out. The message was a marijuana leaf picture with the slogan "Don't panic, It's organic." She was at the fair to attend the night's live concert starring self-proclaimed marijuana user Willie Nelson.

Thanksgiving

Don't forget next week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

PS - Here is a site for bacon wrapped turkey recipe.  LINK  Also, I read where some folks are beginning to add bacon and sausage to the stuffing for Turducken. Mmmm!

Who is Watching You

Each minute, 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, and it is only one of many video sites. There are millions of photos uploaded to Facebook each month. Flicker has 5 Billion photos and there are hundreds of photo sites like it. Millions of people have iPhones and Androids with video and still cameras. Google Earth is constantly scanning the globe from satellite and you can actually zoom into a view of your own home. I found one site where you can compare pictures from today, side-by-side with the same location from many years ago.

There are many thousands of cameras in public places around the world. One site that I enjoy has a collection of cameras available from around the world and it has a search capability LINK. Earthcam has locations of cameras that you can watch what is going on in full detail, live, up-to-the-minute color, and in full screen. Get a view from the Statue of Liberty, or Trafalgar Square. Check out the ski conditions in Switzerland. How about a live view of Hong Kong, or Melbourne? There is even a camera to watch the penguins in Sarasota, Florida.

Dallas has hundreds of traffic cameras that you can click on and watch traffic and weather. If you know someone it going to work on I75, you can actually watch them drive all the way to work, using the many traffic cameras. You can even set up a list of personal cameras that you want to watch. If a spouse or friend calls and says there is an accident, you can check the cameras and tell them what happened. Of course, if they have their iPad, they can look it up themselves while they are at a dead standstill.

Be careful if you call and tell your boss you are stuck in traffic, he or she might just check the cameras to make sure you are telling the truth.

Planning a trip, check the weather and traffic cams set up in the city you are going to and get a close up look at weather and traffic conditions. Tie these together with Google Streetview and you can look up pictures of the building, neighborhood, or house you are looking for. If you are going on vacation almost anywhere in the world, let your family back home know where you will be and they can watch you on a local camera. Of course, you can just stream your own video from your phone.

It is fun, interesting, distracting, and a bit scary at the same time. Big brother, big sister, and their nieces and nephews, cousins, and neighbors are all watching. Smile, you are on camera!

Baconator Dumpling

Just saw this on the web, peanut butter baconator dumpling. Put a gob of peanut butter and some cooked chopped bacon in a potato dumpling and deep fry. Am searching to see if the cook is a long lost relative.

What's in a Name, Leotard

In 1859, twenty one year old Jules Leotard, made a public appearance as the world’s first flying trapeze artist. He was first to turn a somersault in mid-air and the first to jump from one trapeze to the next. He died at 28, likely from smallpox, typhoid, or cholera.
 
He also designed the eponymous piece of apparel for men. He called it a maillot, and the name leotard did not come into being until years after his death. The original leotard design was a skintight, one-piece garment with the lower portion resembling tights. Current designs do not have legs, but may be worn with tights. Unitards cover the torso and legs.

Jules had been practicing since he was a little boy. He would swing from a trapeze hanging over the swimming pool in his father’s gymnasium. The leotard is still worn by acrobats, dancers, skaters, and exercise enthusiasts throughout the world.

In 1867 George Leybourne wrote lyrics to the song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" about Leotard,

iPad Apps

App is short for application and an application is a program or bunch of programs that make iPads and other computers do things. Here are a few interesting apps people have found for iPads, Playing piano LINK,  Play drums LINK, a review of ten book reading apps LINK, many are talking about Alice for the iPad, fast, but shows it well LINK, and finally, we find out if it will blend with a blendtec that is a favorite for teens LINK.

Nov 12, 2011

Unelectum All

I am so excited. It is official! My latest (45th) book "Unelectum All" is available on Amazon, Barnes, etc. The stores do not yet stock it, but it can be ordered at the counter. The title says it all. Obviously it is political and is packed with facts, figures, and quotes from some of the good, bad, and ugly politicians that we are responsible for voting into office. This is all tempered with my opinions and a bit humor thrown in. We can correct our errors next year by serving up our own form of term limits - not re-electing any incumbent from either party.

Amazon has the 'search inside' feature turned on, so you can take a peek before you buy a few dozen for Christmas gifts. LINK With each gift you make three people happy, the receiver, me, and yourself for being such a good person. Thanks!

Nov 9, 2011

Lady Godiva and Lady Gaga

It just occurred to me that we should send Lady Gaga to Washington and she can do for us what Lady Godiva did for Coventry. Hey, it worked before. I am sure Budweiser would lend her a horse. Then we could decide what to do with our tax money and eliminate the middlemen, who have not been doing a very good job lately.

Bad Guys Release Bad Guy

A Mexican member of online hacker group Anonymous was released by the Zetas drug cartel ahead of a threat by the Web group to expose details of the crime ring's activities. The kidnapped man was released ahead of a November 5 deadline set by Anonymous, after which it planned to divulge the Zetas' links to politicians and others.

The US released a video in which a masked individual claiming to be part of Anonymous had threatened to make some information public about the Zetas in retaliation for the kidnapping of one of his associates.

Salty Thoughts

Adding salt to water changes the boiling point and cooks food faster is a myth. You hear it repeated by home cooks and professional chefs, but any first year chemistry student knows how little salt affects the boiling point. You need to use at least an ounce of salt per quart of water to raise the temperature one degree. Of course, adding salt to your pasta water makes the resulting pasta tasty.

Other Uses for Wine

A nice glass of wine with dinner is always appreciated, but what happens when dinner is over and there is still wine in the bottle? We all know wine does not last forever, so here are a few tips to make use of the last bit of wine in the bottle. Pour leftover white wine onto grease and oil stains on garage floors and driveways, and the alcohol and acidity will help them dissipate.

Just like baking soda, wine can be used as a natural fruit and vegetable cleaner. The alcohol in the wine dissolves impurities on the surface, and according to a 2005 study by Mark Daeschel of Oregon State University, components in wine kill several types of foodborne pathogens like salmonella and E. coli.

Spoiled white wine is on its way to being vinegar, so naturally it works like a charm on dirty glass. Add a few tablespoons to a spray bottle of water, apply to windows and mirrors and wipe with a newspaper.

Nov 5, 2011

Happy Friday

We can be knowledgeable with other folk's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other folk's wisdom.

I have some knowledge and wisdom to enjoy a Happy Friday!

Daylight Savings Time

It looks like we saved enough time this year. This weekend, at 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 6th, Daylight Savings Time will end, and revert back to Daylight Standard Time (turn your clock back to 1:00 AM). Actually, the debate is still raging, whether clock shifting is a benefit or curse. It seems to me that all the debate, clock changing, and missed appointments more than offsets the benefit. Am reminded of the Indian wise man who said that changing the clock was like cutting the bottom of a blanket off and sewing in on the top.  If you live in Arizona, Hawaii, or parts of Indiana, and other parts of the modern world, please disregard this message as you are smart enough not to believe in hobgoblins or time monsters.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, was presented to the American people by the French and unveiled in October 1886. The statue in New York Harbor is the work of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. He called it Liberty Enlightening the World.

Inscribed on a tablet inside the pedestal of ‘Miss Liberty’ is a poem by Emma Lazarus. It describes the statue of a woman holding a book and torch. The symbol of freedom, she waits for immigrants who must pass by her on their way to Ellis Island and admission to America.

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she with silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost [sic] to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The 152-foot high statue, weighing 225 tons sits on Liberty Island. On August 3, 1957, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name from Bedloe’s Island to Liberty Island.

Freezing Candles

Candles will last almost twice as long if they are placed in the freezer for a day before using them. For some candles this will also cause them to drip less and burn straight down without burning through the side of the candle. If you have the kind in a glass, freezing them when done will make it easier to get the remaining wax out of the bottom.

Really Rich People

Who are the wealthiest people in the US and where did they get their money? Half of the top 20 are from the computer industry and 9 of the top 25 are family heirs.

Four Waltons (stores) $80B, Gates (Microsoft) $59B, two Kochs (energy) $50B, three Mars (candy) $41B, Buffett (conglomerate) $39B, Ellison (Oracle) $33B

These few distort the numbers so greatly because their wealth is so great. Over a quarter trillion dollars with just that handful of people. Add the next bunch and there is another quarter trillion dollars. The top 25 added together are worth over half a trillion dollars.

The technology folks make up half of the top twenty and are all new wealth, made from working for a living. Their hard work and ideas created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Jeff Bezos $19B, Sergey Brinn $16.7B, Mark Zuckerberg $17.5B, Larry Page $16.7B, Michael Dell $15B, Steve Balmer $13.9B, Paul Allen $13.2B. Steve Jobs is way down the list with only $7B. Facebook produced 5 billionaires, Microsoft at least three and hundreds of millionaires. Apple also produced at least 300 millionaires.

Only 4 of the top 25 richest people in America made it from investing - Buffett companies and stocks, Soros and Paulson hedge funds, and Icann leveraged buyouts. Buffett and Soros are in their 80s, Kochs are 75, Mars are in their 70s and 80s.

It is difficult to estimate how many millions of people are employed by these few and how many lives have been made better by them. Difficult to fault them for being wealthy when we buy their stock, which accounts for the vast majority of their wealth.
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Nov 1, 2011

Explosive Pumpkin Carving

This is very interesting video of a teacher showing how to carve a pumpkin instantly using gas. It is only 45 seconds long. LINK

Earmarks and Pork Barrels

Earmarks are defined as "Provisions associated with legislation that specify certain congressional spending priorities or in revenue bills that apply to a very limited number of individuals or entities."

Pork Barrel usually refers to "Spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes." It supposedly originated in a pre-Civil War practice of giving slaves a barrel of salt pork as a reward and requiring them to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout.

Both terms are derogatory and used interchangeably. Either are requested by only one chamber of Congress; not specifically authorized; not competitively awarded; and serve only a local or special interest. Below are a few examples.

$1,800,000 was earmarked for a climate model evaluation program.  This is on top of the $2 Billion in stimulus money for the climate science program, and another half a billion in stimulus money that the White House directed to global warming. I am getting warm just thinking about it.

Online Dictionary

If you use Firefox to read newspapers and other articles online, there is a great tool to help. Highlight a word that you do not understand, and a little question mark appears above the word. Just click on it and you will be taken to a dictionary with that word defined. Technology is great.

Oct 29, 2011

Happy Friday

Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.

I have made it past Monday and am enjoying the sweetness of a Happy Friday!

Birthdays Revisited

I was reminded that last week, when I listed the famous people born on October 18, in Friday Thoughts, I missed at least one. Bill MacFarlane, a friend, business associate, and regular reader. Today Mac is even older than he was last week.

Fluffernutter

I was reading a quote from Joe Biden, “So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there.” Since I had not heard the term, went to see what he meant.

A fluffernutter is a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow creme. Its name comes from the common use of "Marshmallow Fluff" brand marshmallow creme. It is popular in the Northeastern United States, where Joe is from, and has been proposed as the official Massachusetts state sandwich.

It is made by spreading peanut butter on a slice of bread then spreading an equal amount of some kind of marshmallow (small, large or cream) on another slice, and combining them together to form a sandwich. "Fluffernutter" is a registered trademark of Durkee-Mower Inc., the maker of "Marshmallow Fluff" brand marshmallow creme.

Second Hand TV

Speaking of fluffernutter, some researchers are warning about the dangers of watching TV when very young children are nearby. Recent findings suggest that even casual exposure to TV can harm child development and undermine parent-child interactions.

One study said parents are distracted by TV the same way preschoolers are. Another recent study found that children who watched a short cartoon showed a reduced ability to delay gratification and poorer working memory.  I have some language for them, secondhand science is harmful to real science.

Internet is Growing

If you ate a doughnut a second for the rest of your life you would not grow as fast as the internet. There was more data transmitted over the Internet in 2010 than the entire history of the Internet through 2009.

There are currently 4 billion connected devices around the world, Intel expects that number to increase to 15 billion by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020.

Wow -  48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded each minute, 200 million tweets sent per day and 7.5 billion photos uploaded to Facebook each month. Also, think about the billions of spams sent each day and billions of emails.

It used to be that the internet added the equivalent of the entire Library of Congress every fifteen minutes and now it does so in less than half that time, and 24 hours a day. I like to think I am doing my share by adding these postings, just to keep the world from taking itself too seriously.

Say Cheese

The Center for Retail Research claims that cheese is the world's most frequently stolen food and it has been labeled a "high risk food." There is growing interest in the more expensive cheese such as Parmesan. Next in line as most stolen are fresh meat, chocolate, alcohol, seafood, and infant formula.

Overall, retail 'shrinkage', which includes theft is up to $119 billion in 2011, up 6.6% since 2010. 35.9% of retailers reported that actual and attempted shoplifting rose last year and 24% had higher employee theft. Shoplifters are highest in the Asia pacific and Europe. Organized crime theft is highest in the US.

Almost four percent of the world's cheese supply ends up stolen, putting cheese on top of the list. Shoplifting rates as a whole are going up, because of the current economic situation. Now we can say with certainty that shoplifting is a cheesy crime.

SIRI

The new voice application for the iPhone that was just announced is very cool, but do you remember that Feb 26, 2010 Friday Thoughts, I told you it was coming. Wow, what a long gestation. Also, Android phones have had voice response for a long time.

Oct 26, 2011

Canned Food Day

Darn, I missed it a few days ago. We eat what we can and what we can’t we can. Nicolas Appert probably didn't say that, but he did invent the canning process. I know Campbell's likes him.

He was born in Chalons-Sur-Marne, France and was destined to become a great chef and confectioner -- and chemist and inventor. In 1809 the French government awarded Appert with twelve thousand francs for his contribution to the world.

Nicolas Appert had, in his search to preserve food, invented a process of heating foods and sealing them in airtight containers. In 1812 he was bestowed with the title, Benefactor of Humanity. We still use his methods of food preservation today!

Also, can't forget another invention of Appert’s: the bouillon cube.

Rubic's Cube

Just a quick video of a computer, powered by a phone solves a Rubic's cube in just over 5 seconds.It beat the human record of 5.65 seconds. LINK  I love technology.

Fast Computer

A new computer, K, built by Fujitsu and located in Kobe, Japan, represents a giant leap forward in speed.

The latest ranking of the top 500 computers is determined by running a standard mathematical equation. The winning computer was able to make 8.2 quadrillion calculations per second, or in more technical terms, 8.2 petaflops per second. It makes thousands of calculations faster than you can say calculation.

The performance of K is equivalent to linking about one million desktop computers. Supercomputers are used for earthquake simulations, climate modeling, nuclear research and weapons development and testing, among other things.

The fastest computer in the United States, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., placed third.

Oct 21, 2011

Happy Friday

If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it.

I have imagined and dreamt about having a Happy Friday!

Cloning is Still Alive

Korea has found a useful way to make cloning work. It has been cloning dogs for a specific purpose. Dogs are a integral part of security in airports around the world, helping detect narcotics, explosives, and other banned substances. Inchon Airport in South Korea says some of their best drug-sniffing dogs are clones.

It cloned genes from a prized security dog named Chase and produced seven cloned Labrador puppies. They are part of an ongoing study about how genetic reproductions of prized work animals may revolutionize their use in the field. Only 30% of normal dogs pass the tests to become drug-sniffers, all of Chase’s clones passed.

Here in the US, The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is working on a cell phone attachment. It is a sensor capable of detecting deadly chemicals with minimal drain on the phone’s battery life. It works like an antivirus software that bides its time in the background and springs to life when it spies suspicious activity. The device, named Cell-All regularly sniffs the surrounding air for certain volatile chemical compounds and shows an alert.

Facebook Address Book

If you use Facebook on your phone, it is likely that all of the addresses from your phone address book are now on Facebook. This would have happened sometime during the past few months when Facebook changed the software.

Luckily, there is a way to fix it.
1. Visit Facebook.com from a PC and log in

2. in the top-right corner of the screen, click on Account and then Edit Friends

3. In the menu on the left side of the screen, click on Contacts

4. Here, you will see your contacts in Address Book are listed along with their phone numbers

5. On the right side of the screen, click on the “this page” link

6. Follow the instructions on this page — you’ll have to disable contact-sync in Facebook’s mobile app if it’s enabled — Click the Remove button

Some people like phone numbers on Facebook, but I do not. If you don't care one way or another, but my name is on your list, at least please delete it. Thanks.

Caffeine Shots

This is a bit scary. Aeroshots are caffeine inhalers. They contain a quick-dissolving powder.

Take a puff and you get an instant burst of caffeine. Each cartridge contains 100mg of caffeine, or about as much as a large coffee. Each holds about 6 to 8 shots. They look like shotgun shells and the target audience is college students trying to stay up late to cram for exams, or to supplement drinking binges. It is legal, but not what you might want to see around your children.

Birthdays October 18

I was looking at an almanac and saw the number of famous people born on October 18. The list is long, so I won't provide details, but most will know many. Lotte Lenya, Bobby Troup, Pierre Trudeau, Chuck Berry, George C. Scott, Inger Stevens, Mike Ditka, Willie Horton, Laura Nyro, Pam Dawber, Martina Navratilova, Thomas 'hitman' Hearns, Erin Moran, Wynton Marsalis, and more.  The births range from 1898 to 1962. The planets must have aligned.

Blue Angels

The Blue Angels team was formed in 1946 by order of Admiral Chester Nimitz in order to boost morale and demonstrate the Navy's fighting prowess. The original team flew modified Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats and has flown a total of nine aircraft. The F/A-18 Hornet is the latest and has been used since 1986 when it replaced the A-4 Skyhawk.

The Hornets in the Blue Angel Squad have been significantly modified from those that see active combat. In addition to an extra inverted fuel pump allowing for longer inverted flights without the engine becoming fuel-starved. The ultra high-gloss, low-friction paint reduces drag.

The M61 Vulcan machine gun in the nose cone has been replaced with a tank that holds the jet's supply of smoke oil. The colored smoke that the jets produce is made by injecting a biodegradable paraffin-based oil into the plane's exhaust nozzles, instantly vaporizing it. It is not only fun for spectators, the smoke trails increase each pilot's visibility to the rest of the team.

The Blue Angels planes have a small spring on the command stick that applies 40 pounds of nose-down pressure to make the plane easier to fly in formation and upside-down.

Because of space restrictions in the cockpit the Blue Angels pilots don't wear G-suits, but since the flights are coordinated, the pilots know when high G maneuvers are coming up and can perform the same task manually by clenching their stomach and leg muscles to prevent blood from rushing from their heads to their lower bodies, causing them to black out.

The Angels run on a 50-50 mix of plant-based bio-fuels and conventional fuel, making it the first and only full Navy squadron to fly with biofuels.

3D Printer for Home

Origo may be the last toy you ever have to buy for your child. The prototype 3D printer under development by Artur Tchoukanov and Joris Peels allows children aged ten and up to design figurines and shapes on a computer, and then print them out to play with.

It will likely have a USB port, wireless connectivity, a price around $800, and it will use 3Dtin as its design software. The printer will be able to produce objects about the size of a large mug. Depending on complexity, Origo should be able to produce a small object (like a ring) in a manner of minutes, but larger objects, like a baseball could take a few hours.  Material costs for 3D printing are high as you might imagine. Instead of buying your children more toys, let them make their own.

Google Flights

This is very interesting. Go to LINK and check prices from airlines, all in one place. This is sure to provide some competition from other sites that do the same. I would think Google has more sources. Anyway, good way to get fast comparisons and hopefully save a few bucks.

Oct 14, 2011

Happy Friday

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.
I suspect that I believe and know I will have a Happy Friday!

Fast Food Surprise

Many of us suffer the guilty (not me) pleasures of enjoying fast food. Some try to make up for it by buying the wonderfully healthy salads that have been added to the menus for those trying to watch diets. However, many fail to watch the real facts. For men, you can feel vindicated that meat is better for us.

Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad has more fat, sugar, carbs, and total calories than a quarter pound Wendy's Double Stack cheeseburger. No wonder they taste so good.

McDonald's Double Cheeseburger has less calories, less sugar, less sodium  as the Asian Chicken Salad w/Crispy Chicken and Newman's Own (Low Fat) Sesame Ginger Dressing.

Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad has more calories, more carbs, more sugar more fat than a chicken grilled stuffed burrito.

Wendy's Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad has more sugar than 8 ounce Coke.

Burger King's Tendercrisp salad has 210 more calories than a Whopper Jr.

Touching Braille

Louis Braille invented Braille, an alphabet using raised dots, at the age of 15. Prior to that, each letter was raised and to read, one had to feel out each letter. The books were heavy and took a long time to read.

Braille was actually born with sight, but became blind at age three after an eye injury. At the age of 10, he entered the Royal Institute for the Blind in Paris and five years later, invented Braille. He was offered a full-time teaching job at the institute at age 19. The Braille method didn’t become widely used until after he died at the age of 43.

What's in a Name, Spooning

When Welsh couples talk about “spooning,” they’re not discussing cuddling. Since at least the 17th century, the Welsh have exchanged “lovespoons,” intricately hand-carved wooden spoons, as signs of romantic intentions. Young men spent hours meticulously crafting their spoons so they could offer their favorite girl the most magnificent utensil imaginable. If she accepted the spoon, the courtship was on.

The courtship aspect of the spoons has since faded, but lovespoons are still given on special occasions as tokens of admiration and affection.

Natural Flavors

'Natural flavor' can, literally be anything. It can be made in laboratories, like chemicals or gasses, or taken from animals, or boiled from bats.

Here is the actual definition from the federal regs, “The essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

That was a mouthful. No wonder we get full when foods and drinks have natural flavors. The natural flavoring in orange juice could actually be pigs feet, as long as they were ground, distilled, etc. The good news is that anything not listed in the reg above must be listed as 'artificial'. I feel so much better.

Artificial flavorings are safety tested and natural flavorings are not. This is our government at its finest. For the curious, there are more FDA definitions here LINK

if you have children in school and they are looking for jobs for the future, tell them to become a 'flavorist'. It is more fun than being just a chemist and pays well, especially for flavorists in the perfume industry. The need for flavorists is growing. Luckily, bacon still does not contain any natural or artificial ingredients.

Winnie the Poo

Honey is a natural flavor as any Poo Bear knows. A.A. Milne's book, Winnie-the-Pooh, about the adventures of his son, Christopher and his stuffed animals made its debut on this day in 1926. The great actor Sterling Holloway was Winnie's voice for years, among the many other voices he did for Disney.

Casmir Pulaski Memorial Day

I hope you celebrated General Pulaski Memorial Day this past Tuesday. It is a United States holiday in honor of General Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish hero of the American Revolution. This holiday is held every year on October 11 by Presidential Proclamation, to commemorate his death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779 and to honor the heritage of Polish Americans.

It is also celebrated as a legal holiday in Illinois on the first Monday of March with street parades and celebrations. Illinois has a large Polish population.

The observance was established in 1929 when Congress passed Public Resolution 16 of 1929 designating October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. Every President has issued a proclamation for the observance annually since (except in 1930). His death was October 11, 1779 and he was buried at sea.
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Bacon Candy

Speaking of natural flavors, for the true bacon lovers, bacon candy has arrived. 

If you want something smoky, meaty, and sweet you should try Bacon Candy. 12 bacony treats for $5.95. Mmmm.

Oct 11, 2011

Solar Windows

3M has developed a see-through film that turns ordinary windows into solar panels. It will go on sale next year.

The solar film, on display at the Ceatec electronics conference in Japan, is arrayed in narrow, translucent green strips with clear gaps between and then glued to windows in large patches. A square meter of the film can generate roughly enough electricity to charge an iPhone under peak sunlight, but still allows for high visibility.

The film might cost about half as much as solar panels, but will produce less electricity. It is easier to install and takes up no additional space.

"An average person could go to the store, buy some of this, and then bring it home and install it themselves," said Yasuhiro Aoyagi, a senior manager in the company's construction markets division.

The film blocks or absorbs about 80% of visible light and over 90% of infrared light, so it also acts as a sunshade. Demonstrations showed a difference of 10 degrees Celsius between two sides of a window it was attached to.

What's in a Name, Pennsylvania

William Penn was born in London.  He studied briefly, was thrown in jail a few times for his religious beliefs and became a Quaker. He sailed to America, while still in his thirties, along with others searching for religious freedom.

By coincidence, he later received a large piece of land as repayment for a debt that King Charles II owed his father, Admiral William Penn. The King's charter named the piece of land Pennsylvania. He preferred the name Sylvania so that people didn't think he chose the name after himself.

He was a prolific writer and many of the ideas in Pennsylvania's constitution found their way into the US Constitution.   Sylvania means 'forest land' in Latin.

Oct 7, 2011

Happy Friday

Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.
I am healthy and steering in the direction of a Happy Friday!

Bacon Bandages

A friend of mine, Jeff Flanagan came back from a recent trip and gave me a gift he picked up along the way. (Likely after a few beers.) Anyway, the gift was a tin of real bandages. These are no ordinary bandages, these are bacon bandages.

I quickly went home to administer a small cut to test the 'die cut sterile strips' and see how they worked. Below is a picture of my hand with the beautiful medical strip attached.

It really is a good mini bacon replica. Alas, it does not have the bacony goodness smell, but it is a true bandage. However, it also makes me hungry just looking at it. Time for breakfast. Thanks Jeff.

IgNobel Awards

Each year for the past 21 years, the Ig Nobel Prizes are given. Last week, they were presented at Harvard University, 10 awards in the fields of Physiology, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Peace and Public Safety.

It points out the ridiculousness of real research that we have to scratch our heads and wonder why would anyone actually spend money to study that. Naturally, much of it is government funded and that should end the lingering doubt about why.

Winners researched such areas as a safety alarm that sprays wasabi and beetles that mate with beer bottles. One study was conducted to find out about contagious yawning of red footed turtles. Another all wet study sought to uncover why people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things when they have a strong urge to urinate.  If you are truly curious you can read more at the following link, or just be happy that somebody else studies these studies.  LINK