Sep 28, 2012

Happy Friday

"He who learns, but does not think, is lost. He who thinks, but does not learn, is in great danger." Confucius

I think I have learned to have a Happy Friday!


Who said there are no new inventions. Here is one to benefit mankind. It is a machine that shoots a popcorn into your mouth when you say the word, "Pop." It uses a sound system to determine your direction and distance and shoots one kernel of popped popcorn directly into your mouth. LINK Not sure if you can actually buy one, but it is fun to watch.

Kitchen Tip

Glue a few magnets under your upper kitchen cabinets to attach your frequently used metal items, like kitchen scissors, mixing spoon, etc. It keeps them handy, but out of site and reduces drawer clutter.

Tooth Patch

The Japanese have developed a tooth-patch made of an ultra thin bio-compatible film made from hydroxyapatitte, the main mineral in tooth enamel. The microscopically thin film can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter. It could also mean an end to sensitive teeth. They are aiming to create artificial enamel.

Researchers can create film 0.00016 inches thick by firing lasers at compressed blocks of hydroxyapatite in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out. These particles fall onto a block of salt which is heated to crystallize them, before the salt stand is dissolved in water. The film is scooped up onto filter paper and dried, after which it is robust enough to be picked up by a pair of tweezers. The sheet has a number of minute holes that allow liquid and air to escape from underneath to prevent forming bubbles when it is applied onto a tooth.

The film is currently transparent, but it is possible to make it white for use in cosmetic dentistry.

It might be five years before the film could be used in practical dental treatment such as covering exposed dentin, the sensitive layer underneath enamel, but it could be used cosmetically within three years. The technology is currently patented in Japan and South Korea and applications have been made in the United States, Europe, and China.

Origin of Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk was not just a clever ploy built up by a marketing team as a a way to sell more milk to children. In fact, Sir Hans Sloane first created chocolate milk over 350 years ago. He had tasted chocolate while in the West Indies, but said it made him nauseous, so he added milk and sugar to make it more appealing. By 1700, people would often go to 'chocolate houses' instead of coffee houses, where they could choose from a range of different chocolate milk mixes.

Farenheit Scale

Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736). In 1717, Fahrenheit became a glassblower, making barometers, altimeters, and thermometers. After 1718 he was a lecturer in chemistry. At that time, temperature scales were not standardized and everybody made up their own scale. He originally copied another thermometer, but adjusted his scale so that the melting point of ice would be 32 degrees, body temperature 96 degrees, and water boil at about 212 degrees. 180 degrees made for even spacing of his scale.

Other scientists later refined it to make the freezing point of water exactly 32 °F, and the boiling point exactly 212 °F. That is how normal human oral body temperature became 98.6°.

The Fahrenheit scale was replaced by the Celsius scale in most countries during the 1960s and 1970s when converting to metrics. Fahrenheit remains the official scale of the United States, Cayman Islands, Belize (by Guatemala), Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Scientists use Celsius in all countries.

The Fahrenheit and Celsius scales intersect at −40° (−40 °F and −40 °C represent the same temperature).

Sep 26, 2012

Tips for Separating Eggs

Here is a little video that shows two easy ways to separate eggs without trouble. Don't worry if you do not understand Chinese, you can just watch. LINK  The second way, with a bottle is a also good way to store the yolks. Just put the cap back on the bottle and put back in the refrigerator.

Cheap Tablets

Fry's now sells a 7 inch tablet for $56. It has a bunch of models under a hundred dollars. Prices are dropping faster than anyone could imagine. At that price they become an impulse buy. It has mail, front camera, internet, and uses Wifi. Toys R Us is even selling a tablet specifically for children.

The name Wifi is not an acronym, it is just a trademark term with no meaning. Some erroneously think it means wireless fidelity, because it sounds like the old HiFi term.

O. Henry

In September, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of O. Henry, born as William Sidney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina. At age three, his mother died of consumption, now called tuberculosis, and he was raised by his physician father and maternal grandmother.

Porter spent his first twenty years in Greensboro with a love of reading and a talent for sketching. After high school, he became a licensed pharmacist and worked briefly in his uncle's drug store. At age 20, worried about a chronic cough that might develop into tuberculosis so he moved to Texas.

Porter traveled with Dr. James K. Hall to Texas in 1882, hoping that a change of air would help alleviate a persistent cough he had developed. He took up residence on the sheep ranch of Richard Hall, James' son and helped out as a shepherd, ranch hand, cook and baby-sitter.

Porter's health did improve and he traveled with Richard to Austin in 1884, where he decided to remain and was welcomed into the home of the Harrells, who were friends of Richard's. Porter took a number of different jobs over the next several years, first as pharmacist then as a draftsman, bank teller, and journalist. He also began writing as a sideline.

During the next several years, he became a well-known member of the social scene as a result of his involvement in musical and theater groups. He played guitar and mandolin and had a great singing voice. It was around this time that he also began to dream up plots for short stories and imagine an assortment of characters, often brought to life in his drawings.

By 1891, while devoting all his spare time to a self-published magazine 'The Rolling Stone', he took a job as a teller and bookkeeper at the First National Bank of Austin. In 1894, be was abruptly fired for embezzling funds, although no charges were filed. He moved to Houston, where his pieces in The Rolling Stone helped land him a job as a writer for The Houston Post.

Two years later, after a federal audit of the Austin bank, formal embezzlement charges were brought against him. The day before his trial, he fled to New Orleans and then to Honduras. A year later, after learning that his wife Athol was dying, he returned to Austin and surrendered to authorities.

In 1898, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. While serving his sentence at Ohio Penitentiary, Porter worked as a night druggist in the prison hospital, given a room in the hospital wing, and even provided with access to a typewriter to continue his writing efforts.

He had fourteen stories published in national magazines under various pseudonyms while he was in prison, but became best known as "O. Henry." When asked what the O stood for, he said, "O stands for Olivier, the French for Oliver."

He was released from prison after serving three years and moved to Manhattan, where he lived until his premature death at age 47 in 1910. He died of cirrhosis of the liver, complications of diabetes, and an enlarged heart. During the last decade of his life, he wrote nearly 400 short stories.

In an interesting twist, like many of his stories, O. Henry Hall in Austin, Texas is named for him and it previously served as the federal courthouse in which he was convicted of embezzlement.

Free Google Calculator

When you type in any formula into the Google search box, like 1+1 or 20/40 (/ is for divide) or 2*2 (* is multiply), Google shows a calculator as the response and it includes the answer.

Sep 21, 2012

Happy Friday

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.

I have the perfect design for a Happy Friday!


September 22 is considered the beginning of Oktoberfest for 2012. The multi-week festival of beer, oompa music, and wurst always starts in late September. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture and has been held since 1810. Now Oktoberfests are celebrated in cities around the world.

The holiday started as a royal wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig, Beer must adhere to strict German Beer Purity laws (Reinheitsgebot) to be considered official Oktoberfest Beer.

Vanilla Truth

Vanilla comes from a special species of orchid. Consuming natural vanilla causes the body to release catecholamines, including adrenalin and for this reason it is considered to be mildly addictive.

When vanilla plants were first exported from Mexico to other tropical climes, they flowered, but wouldn’t produce vanilla pods. It was discovered that a bee native to Mexico was the only creature that could pollinate vanilla flowers.

Attempts to move the bee to other countries failed and it was not until a slave boy discovered a method of artificial pollination that Mexico lost its monopoly on vanilla. As well as being mildly addictive, vanilla has also been found to block bacterial infections. Ice cream with real flecks of vanilla beans (and maybe some bacon bits) is probably doubly addictive.

USA Today

The Gannett media empire published USA Today for the first time on September 15, 1982. The paper was called 'The Nation’s Newspaper'. Critics called the satellite-transmitted, colorful, splashy publication, 'News McNugggets', and 'The Nation’s Comic Book', but it has withstood the test of time while many others have failed.

Several books have been written about the newspaper that is read by millions each day. USA Today has editions throughout the world and has changed the game for newspapers everywhere. Many have imitated the fast-reading format pioneered by USA Today.

Top Ten Toys of All Time

There is minimal agreement on the top toys of all time among many adults. Some are obviously biased, such as the first poll which includes Star Wars Figures. They have not been in existence long enough to even be considered by others.

Poll 1 Poll 2 Poll 3
1. Hula Hoop 1. Bike 1. G.I. Joe
2. Barbie 2. LEGO 2. Transformers
3. LEGO 3. Teddy Bear 3. LEGO
4. G.I. Joe 4. Crayons 4. Barbie
5. Mr. Potato Head 5. Slinky 5. View-Master
6. Monopoly 6. Ball 6. Bike
7. Star Wars figures 7. Etch A Sketch 7. Cabbage Patch Kids
8. Yo-Yo 8. Yo-Yo 8. Crayons
9. Slinky 9. Barbie 9. Play-doh
10. Wiffle ball, bat 10. Hula Hoop 10. Monopoly

The only 2 toys included on all three lists, in order are LEGO (introduced in 1947) and Barbie (introduced 1959).

I tend to agree with the following list according to another source, which lists the best 5 toys of all time. They are: Stick, Cardboard Box, String, Cardboard Tube, and Dirt. I would add rocks, water, and snow. All have withstood the real test of time, are played with around the world, provide for endless enjoyment and evoke magnificent flights of imagination.

Print a Book While You Wait

Here is a concept that has been bubbling for a while and might be soon at a store near you. On Demand company has signed an agreement with Kodak that could make CVS, and other retailers into instant bookstore as well.

On Demand Books said it hopes to begin wrapping its Espresso Book Machine into Kodak's retailer-based photo kiosks. The unit can print, bind, and trim a softbound book within a couple of minutes. By adding in Kodak picture kiosks, the Espresso would also be able to turn out other photo-related merchandise like photo books. No word on pricing, but this is great technology.

Sep 19, 2012

False Folding Paper Fact Debunked

The statement that "you can’t fold a piece of paper in half more than 7 times has been around for a long time." Many still believe it.

However, in 2002 a US high school student Britney Gallivan bought a large roll of toilet paper on the internet and along with her family took it to the local mall, where they toiled for seven hours and folded it into 12 folds. She also folded a piece of thin gold leaf more than 7 times with the use of tweezers.

Download vs. Upload

These words seems to confuse many people when discussing computer usage.

Download is taking something on the Web/Internet or a main company computer and putting it on your personal computer, such as programs or updates. Think of the Web/Internet as the big computer in the sky that drops stuff down to your device.

Upload is taking something on your computer and putting it on the Web/Internet or company computer, such as photos or files.

Donut Bacon Burger Breakfast

This is a great twist on an old idea. Southern Californian burger chain Slater’s 50/50 now offers a Donut Burger on its weekend breakfast menu during regular season football.

It consists of two glazed donuts which sandwich their 50/50 half bacon, half beef burger with a sunny side up egg and cheese. It comes with a side of strawberry jelly. Mmmm.


Greetings to all my new best friends from Poland. I have seen many new people sign up recently.

Am interested in how you found my blog. Please comment below to tell me the source that sent you.

Thank you and welcome. I hope you continue to enjoy my posts.

The Butler Did It

The phrase "the butler did it" is commonly attributed to Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958). Mary was a very popular writer who authored over 50 books, many of which became best-sellers. Mary (also a playwright) at one point had three plays running simultaneously on Broadway.

She also created a super-criminal called The Bat in 1920, who was cited by Bob Kane as one of his inspirations for Batman. Mary's first book The Circular Stairs was published in 1908.

In 1930, her book The Door was published and in the story the butler really did it. Although Mary Roberts Rinehart is generally credited with the origin of the expression, the words "the butler did it" do not actually appear in the book. Mary used the "butler as criminal" device in other novels as well. After that, the bit became so popular it was considered a cliche and spawned many satirical jabs.

Sep 14, 2012

Happy Friday

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

You cannot fail when you have the courage to have another successful Happy Friday!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

The establishment of International Talk Like a Pirate Day took off in 2002 when Dave Barry mentioned us in his nationally syndicated newspaper column, and the date September 19th was based on someone’s ex-wife’s birthday. There is a Facebook page, Twitter account, and much more on the web. The official website provides lingo in English, German, Dutch, and more. LINK

Here are some origins of pirate words: A starboard is a steering paddle or rudder and in England, it was on the right side of the ship, hence starboard side.

The port side of a ship was originally called the larboard side, or loading side, but became verbally confusing, especially in bad weather or battles, so it was changed to port side.

Duffel is a sailor's personal belongings and the bag that carries them. It is named after the Flemish town of Duffel that produced the woolen cloth which the bags were made of.

Avast comes from the Dutch phrase 'houd vast' which meant 'hold fast' or 'stop'. Over time it became 'hou vast' and later 'avast'.

Poop deck originates from the French word for stern, la poupe. The poop deck is technically a stern deck, which in sailing ships was usually elevated as the roof of the stern cabin, also known as the 'poop cabin'. In sailing ships, an elevated position was ideal for both navigation and observation of the crew and sails.

Ink Jet Printer Origin

A Canon engineer discovered this one when he set a hot soldering iron a bit too close to his pen. The pen reacted by spitting out ink just moments later, and the principle behind a new piece of tech was born.

Why Crustaceans Turn Red

Crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, and some other crustaceans turn red/orange when cooked from their typical blue-green to grayish color.

The exoskeletons of such creatures are made up of several pigments, one of which is a carotenoid called astaxanthin, which provides it’s reddish coloring (astaxanthin is the same carotene that gives salmon its color). At normal temperatures and when alive the astaxanthin pigments are hidden because they are covered with other protein chains that give their shells the bluish-gray or brownish-green color we see.

Exposure to heat destroys this protein coating, while the carotenoid pigment, astaxanthin still remains stable. So when you cook a crab or lobster or other crustaceans,  the heat breaks down all the pigments except for astaxanthin, causing the bright red color we see in cooked lobsters, crabs, and crayfish or the reddish-orange color of cooked shrimp.

Only the albino crab and lobster do not turn red when cooked because they have no pigmentation, so they remain the same white color even when cooked.

A one pound lobster is about seven to eight years old, and a eight pounder may be 20 to 50 years old. Lobsters are capable of living over 100 years.

Swiffer Substitutes

Microfiber cloths are great and cheaper substitutes for disposable cloths. When one side is soiled, turn the cloth over and use the other side, same as with the disposables. Microfiber cloths can be tossed into the wash instead of thrown away and one package of reusable microfiber cloths cost less than a package of disposable wipes for the Swiffer.

Sep 12, 2012

Myth: Earth is Close to Overpopulation

This is a myth has been around since the 18th century, but the world is a really big place with plenty of space.

Let's look at how much land it really takes to hold 6 billion people. To give you an idea, consider the small nation of Japan, which has about 143,000 square miles of land. One square mile has 27.9 million square feet. Japan has a total of about 4 trillion square feet, enough to give each person on earth 670 square feet. If we housed people in families of four in simple two-level buildings (8 people per building, one family of four per level), each building could be on a lot of over 5300 square feet.

Using the American average of 8,000 square feet to house four people, the entire population of the planet would fit into a space the size of Texas and Nevada combined or less than the state of Alaska. That leaves a bunch of unused space for growing crops, sailing, and going on vacations.

Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards

She was the first woman to graduate from a scientific institute in the United States. She was the first female student and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She met her husband, Robert Richards at MIT.  Ellen Richards was also the first woman to be elected to the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.

In addition, she was a leading figure in the study of nutrition and hygiene. Ecology was a word coined by her. Ellen was an instructor in the laboratory of sanitary chemistry at the Lawrence Experiment Station. She also became the first president of the American Home Economics Association in 1908. In 2011, she was listed as #8 on the MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas from MIT. Ellen was born in 1842 and died in 1911.

Bacon Barter

They have finally done it.  Driving across country with no money and no credit cards. Josh Sankey is freeloading his way across the US armed with nothing more than a truckload of bacon.

Oscar Mayer supplied enough bricks of Butcher Thick Cut Bacon fill his refrigerated truck.

Sankey is literally hauling a trailer full of 3,000 pounds of bacon from New York to L.A., going coast to coast with zero cash, cards, or checks. He is relying only on the goodness of Americans and the goodness of bacon. He offers bacon to finagle whatever he wants from whomever he wants and so far it's working.

Sankey kicked off the cross-country adventure at the Jets' opener, crashing the tailgate party with a red wagon load of bacon. His goal was to get tickets to the game by trading bacon. He stacked his odds with Camille Burford, host of The Movie Show. They scored two seats. He went on to Maryland, and is now through Charleston. I imagine when he needs a snack, he just throws a few rashers on the engine block to heat them up.

Doughnut Crumbs

No one really knows when donuts were invented or who invented them. One theory suggests they were introduced into North America by Dutch settlers, who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts, including cookies, cream pie, and cobbler. Another theory is the English brought the recipes over when they settled in the US.

Doughnut is the more traditional spelling, and still dominates outside the US. Doughnut and the shortened form donut are both pervasive in American English.

Donuts were originally made as a long twist of dough. It was also common in England for doughnuts to be made in a ball shape and injected with jam after they were cooked. Both methods of cooking involved no human intervention as the balls and twists turn over when the underside is cooked.

Hansen Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring donut in 1847 when he was traveling on a steam boat. He was not satisfied with the texture of the center of the donut so he pressed a hole in the center with the ship’s tin pepper box. Excuse me, I feel the need to graze on a glazed.


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Sep 7, 2012

Happy Friday

Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

My circumstances always cause me to have a Happy Friday!

Hansel and Gretel

In the widely known version of Hansel and Gretel, we read of two little children who become lost in the forest, eventually finding their way to a gingerbread house which belongs to a wicked witch. The children end up enslaved for a time as the witch prepares them for eating. They figure their way out and throw the witch in a fire and escape.

In an earlier French version of this tale (called The Lost Children), instead of a witch we have a devil. Now the wicked old devil is tricked by the children (in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel) but he works it out and puts together a sawhorse to put one of the children on to bleed (that isn’t an error – he really does). The children pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse so the devil’s wife demonstrates. While she is lying down the kids slash her throat and escape.

Sliced Bread Fact

Hansel and Gretel remind me of breadcrumbs and here is a crumb about sliced bread. Claude R. Wickard, the head of the War Foods Administration as well as the Secretary of Agriculture, got the idea to ban pre-sliced bread in America, which he did on January 18, 1943.

He said it was about conservation of resources, such as to conserve wax paper and secondary goals of conserving wheat and steel.

However, there was no shortage of wax paper at the time the ban was put in place. He also thought that by banning pre-sliced bread, the amount of bread consumed would go down and reduce the demand for flour and wheat, and thus, decrease prices of those products while increasing stockpiles of wheat. However, at the time of the ban, the US had already stockpiled over 1 billion bushels of wheat, which would be enough to meet the United States’ needs for about two years, even if no new wheat was harvested.

After a severe consumer backlash, the ban was rescinded three months later on March 8, 1943. Upon rescinding the ban, Wickard stated, “Our experience with the order, however, leads us to believe that the savings are not as much as we expected…”

Automatic Bread Slicer

As long as we are talking of bread slicing, The world’s first automatic bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in Davenport, Iowa. He first built a prototype of his bread slicer in 1912. Unfortunately, his blueprints and machine were destroyed in a fire in 1917. It took him until 1927 to re-build the machine and produce a model ready to use in an actual bakery.

The first pre-sliced loaf of bread using his machine, was sold on July 7, 1928. A friend of Rohwedders installed a bread slicing machine  at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri. Sliced bread sales skyrocketed.

Pre-sliced bread became a national hit thanks to Wonder Bread, then owned by Continental Baking, who began commercially producing the pre-sliced bread in 1930 using a modified version of Rohwedder’s machine. Crumb is a term bakers use to define the part of bread inside the crust. Unrelated, Jackie Gleason called his drinking buddies crumb bums.

The Weeping Woman

The picture below was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1937. The model used for this painting is Dora Maar. She was a French photographer, poet and painter. She was also Picasso’s mistress, from 1936 until 1944. They were introduced when she was 29 and Picasso was 54.

In the course of their relationship, Picasso said, “Dora, for me, was always a weeping woman… and it’s important, because women are suffering machines”. Picasso also referred to Dora as his “private muse.” She spent her last years alone, in a house near Paris that Picasso had given her.

Sep 6, 2012

Weird Tracks

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover does not have built-in GPS. The only way to track Curiosity's whereabouts and how far it has traveled is by following the six explorer's wheel marks.

For this reason, engineers put holes in Curiosity's treads so that every time the wheels turn, they leave a unique imprint on Mars. Orbiters photograph the print and scientists can determine how far the rover has moved.

The track pattern spells out "JPL" in Morse code through a series of "dots" and "dashes." JPL is an acronym for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the agency arm in charge of Curiosity.

Bacon Coffee

Starbucks subsidiary brand Seattle’s Best have combed state fairs across the country and are officially gearing up to release a bacon coffee drink.

The new flavor combines Level 5 Seattle’s Best Coffee, caramelized bacon, and subtle hints of pumpkin pie spice. It is a result of a country-wide search for the most “imaginative new coffee drink.”

The winner was Des Moines native Eileen Fannon, who calls her concoction the “How to Win a Guy with One Sip.” The key to America’s collective male heart is apparently coffee with a hint of bacon.

According to a Starbucks press release, Eileen “will have the chance to see her coffee drink featured in participating Seattle’s Best Coffee locations across north America.”

PS - The Texas State Fair has breaded, deep fried, bacon crusted cinnamon rolls this year, Yumm.

Tiffany and Company

The jewelry and silverware company was originally a stationer called Tiffany, Young, and Ellis when it started in 1837. In 1853 Tiffany switched its core business and began focusing on jewelry.

Sugar Cure

Healers in Africa have been putting crushed sugar cane on wounds for generations. A study was conducted testing sugar on patients with bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations before dressing the wounds.

Results showed sugar can reduce pain and kill bacteria that slow healing. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs water which the bacteria need to survive. Sugar is also much cheaper than many antibiotics. Try giving that cut a sprinkle of sugar before putting on a band-aid.