Aug 30, 2014

Happy Friday

Make your smile change the world, don't let the world change your smile.

My smile gets wider when I celebrate a Happy Friday!

International Bacon Day

August 30th, 2014 is International Bacon Day. (Homer Simpson: I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body. Waitress: How about I just shove a pig down your throat? (Homer looks excited) Waitress: I was kidding. Homer: Fine, but the bacon man lives in a bacon house.) Enjoy!

More Egg Facts

Since it is the day before International Bacon Day, thought it would be appropriate to discuss eggs. Hens lay eggs whether they have mated with a rooster or not. Eggs produced without help from a rooster will never become a chicken. These become our breakfast eggs.

A hen must mate with a rooster in order for her egg to contain both the male and female genetic material necessary to create an embryo inside the egg. An egg laid after mating may or may not become a chicken.

Chickens develop only from eggs that have been incubated (heated). When a fertile egg is incubated under precise, steady temperatures and humidity levels for 21 days, a chick may be developed.

A fertile egg that is never incubated will never contain an embryo and will never look like anything other than common breakfast food. In fact, we all likely have eaten fertilized eggs. There is no harm and we cannot tell the difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs, unless the fertilized eggs have been properly incubated. There is no difference in look, taste, or nutritional value between fertilized and unfertilized eggs. All foods, including eggs go well with bacon.

Email Tip

One way to reduce marketing emails is to create a filter. Filter for the word 'unsubscribe' in the body of the email and send the email directly to trash.

Wordology, Napkin

When eating bacon with your fingers, you need a napkin. The word comes from Middle English, borrowing the French nappe, a cloth covering for a table and adding kin, the diminutive suffix. The English word napkin means, “A usually square piece of cloth, paper, etc., used at a meal to wipe the fingers and lips and to protect the clothes”

That same “nappe,” led to the English “apron,” which was originally “napron.” Through a linguistic process the initial “n” of “napron” in the phrase “a napron” shifted and produced “an apron.”

The use of paper napkins is documented in ancient China, where paper was invented in the 2nd century BC. In Roman times, each guest supplied his own mappa and, on departure it was filled with delicacies leftover from the feast. German-speaking people were reputed to be such neat diners that they seldom used a napkin.

In the United Kingdom and Canada both terms, serviette and napkin, are used. In Australia, 'serviette' generally refers to the paper variety and napkin refers to the cloth variety.

There is no relation to taking a nap or snooze during the day, that 'nap' comes from the Old English word 'hnappian', meaning “to doze or sleep lightly.”

Interesting Thought

Think about it, the oldest person in the world was born with a completely different set of humans than now are alive.

Smart Cards Coming

Beginning in October 2015 in the US, liability for credit card fraud will sit with whichever entity, the issuer or the merchant is using the less secure equipment. A merchant would be penalized if it doesn't have the equipment to accept chip cards and suffers an unauthorized purchase with a card that had a chip in it. The bank would be liable if it doesn't issue chip cards and one of its customers makes an unauthorized transaction with a traditional card at a store that accepts chip cards. Finally the US is beginning to catch up to the many countries that have had this technology for years.

Salt Tips

If you do not use milk for a while, it goes bad. Add a pinch of salt to a gallon of milk to keep it from spoiling as fast.

Salt reduces bitterness. It is the sodium ion that interferes with the transduction mechanism of bitter taste. Add a pinch of salt to coffee grounds before brewing and it will reduce the bitter flavor. Add a small pinch of salt to tonic and it will reduce the bitterness.

Apples, pears, and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water after they are peeled will not brown.

Salt can deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Sprinkle a little salt in the pan before frying fish to prevent sticking.

To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Spread salt between patio bricks, then sprinkle with water to kill and prevent weeds.

Super Computer TrueNorth

This month, August 2014, IBM unveiled "TrueNorth". It is the most advanced and powerful computer chip of its kind ever built. This neurosynaptic processor is the first to achieve one million individually programmable neurons, sixteen times more than the current largest neuromorphic chip. It is designed to mimic the structure of the human brain and is uniquely different from other computer architectures.

TrueNorth is the largest IBM chip ever fabricated, with 5.4 billion transistors at 28 nanometers (A human hair is approximately 80,000- 100,000 nanometers wide) and it consumes orders of magnitude less power than a typical modern processor. IBM hopes this combination of ultra-efficient power consumption and entirely new system architecture will allow computers to far more accurately emulate the brain.

TrueNorth is composed of 4,096 cores, with each of these modules integrating memory, computation and communication. The cores are able to continue operating when individual cores fail, similar to a biological system.

Free Hearing Test

Here is a site that offers a free minimal hearing test. Came across it while reading about free smartphone apps that are said to deter mosquitoes by putting out a high pitched sound from your phone that humans cannot hear. Further reading debunked those apps as useless.

Turn up your speakers. LINK

Labor Day

Labor Day is annually held on the first Monday of September in the US, Canada. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882. In many countries, it is celebrated around May 1 and called May Day. It was originally organized to celebrate various labor associations' contributions. It is a mostly day of rest in modern times.


Only 19 now

Aug 22, 2014

Happy Friday

What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression.

What we do with inclination makes for a stronger impression of a Happy Friday!

Opt Out

There is a web site that will scare the heck out of you, but will also help you. The ad industry website for opting out of ads from multiple companies goes a long way to keep companies from dropping cookies on your computer, then bombarding you with ads that have become more and more personalized to you. Increasingly, these companies also track your location, contacts, calls, texts, etc., through your smartphone. Check what an app can look at each time before you agree to download. (If it wants access to your contact list, please remove me or change my name to John Doe.) If you like these ads, skip to the next topic.

If you do not like ads, go to the site using the link below and follow the instructions to opt out. These are only the specific companies that target ads to you, based on your cookies. Other companies that do not directly target can be eliminated through various add-ons to your particular browser. In my case, I had only one company showing, although 117 companies were participating. My browser is so locked down, I usually do not see any ads on most pages, but I am vigilant with my lockdown practices. After opting out, a few of the companies added a preference in my browser to not show me ads. LINK

My mother used to tell me that too many cookies were not good for me. Now I understand she must have meant both physical and electronic.

Another Salt Study

Adding to the library of salt studies is yet a new one which again finds that salt is not that bad and that too little salt may be as bad for us as too much salt. The same can be said for calories or carbohydrates.

More than 100,000 people from the general public in 17 countries were observed for nearly four years and sodium levels were determined from urine tests. The researchers found people who consume 3 to 6 grams of sodium a day (salt contains about 39% sodium by weight) had the lowest risk of heart problems or death from any cause. About three-fourths of the world's population is in the ideal range, including the US, which averages 4 grams a day salt consumption.

The new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the US's daily consumption of about 3,400 milligrams is not only perfectly fine, but may be healthier than abstaining. It suggests eaters should shoot for between 3,000 and 6,000 mg of salt each day. Dr. Suzanne Oparil, a cardiologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who wrote an editorial accompanying the publication, added, "Japan, one of the highest salt consumers, has one of the longest lifespans."

Table salt also contains iodine, and desiccants to keep it from clumping. Sodium is essential for human nutrition, but too much sodium or too little sodium raises health risks. Sodium levels generally correlate with the risk of high blood pressure, but correlation (are related) is not causality (one causes the other). Chlorine is also important to overall health. Our bodies, like salt water swimming pools separate sodium from chlorine for use.

Potassium, found in vegetables and fruits appears to lower blood pressure and heart risks, and offsets sodium's effect. Potatoes, bananas, avocados, leafy greens, nuts, apricots, salmon, and mushrooms are high in potassium.

Determining that worldwide deaths are caused by one ingredient, without relation to complete diet, or other factors, is like saying global warming is caused only by CO2, or that drinking only diet soda makes us fat.

As with all studies, results 'should be taken with a grain of salt'. Reducing or increasing one item from the panoply of food we ingest is interesting fodder for highly funded studies, but taking results too seriously can be hazardous to our health.

Three Quick Hacks

Put a few of those small ketchup packs in the freezer. They stay soft and can be used for small bruises or bumps.

Use the microwave to soften some chocolate in an ice cube tray, then add strawberries for an easy and clean way to make chocolate covered strawberries with no mess (not as pretty, but taste just as good).

If you mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a gallon of paint, the smell will be much more pleasant and it will not change the color of the paint.

Internet Radio

Many of us think the radio is for the car, or background music while at home, but do not think of listening to the radio on the Internet. Some internet radio stations require free signup, some require nothing but your ears. Since these are Internet based, they are available on your PC, tablet, smartphone, etc. A few require an app for your phone, but most are just available as a web site.

Below are a few free (most accept donations) stations you can tune into while derping around the net. You can find many more by Googling "Internet Radio Stations."

Many genres available, but some have commercials embedded -

Large collection of stations -

Smartphone favorite -

Very cool option to check real radio stations that also broadcast live. Check by hometown, country, or genre.

Was going to add links to specific stations, but thought why limit you to my musical proclivities. Enjoy!

Wordology, Cappuccino

Espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam are ingredients for making a cappuccino. Cappuccino comes from German/Austrian 'kapuziner', and is the diminutive form of cappuccio in Italian, meaning 'hood' or something that covers the head, thus 'cappuccino' reads 'small capuchin'. The Capuchin monks of the 16th century, an offshoot of the Franciscan Catholic order wear long and pointy hoods, known as capuche. The monks subsequently received a formal nickname, Capuchin, for their hoods. The color of cappuccino resembles the brown shade of the hoods and thus the naming of the coffee drink.

Cappuccino differs from latte in size. Cappuccino is traditionally small while latte traditionally is large. Latte is often served in a large glass and cappuccino mostly in a cup with a handle. Here is some Java Jive music to listen to while sipping your cappuccino.

Voicemail Tips

In each of the following, ignore the quote marks as they are used as a separator. You can halt an incoming message by pressing "33". You can still press "4" to replay the message. You can also use "#" so message will be ready to listen to again as a "skipped message" after you heard the rest  of your messages. Some carriers allow you to press "7" mid message to eliminate, if not, press "77" to immediately erase.

Some carriers allow you to press "*" to interrupt the recipient's greeting and go right into leaving your voicemail.


By the end of 2014, US carriers will be required to route all of our emergency texts to 911. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to require all mobile carriers to route text messages sent to 911, to local emergency response centers, just like phone calls.

The problem is most emergency services agencies are not yet equipped to receive them.

The big four operators have already implemented text-to-911 voluntarily, but many smaller operators have not. In fact, only about 2 percent of 911 response centers are capable of receiving SMS, so most emergency messages just get sent into the cloud.

The FCC also now requires messaging apps linked to phone numbers must all support 911. That means an app that works within the phone’s SMS client must be able to send 911 texts, but a social messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp does not. Am having difficulty understanding how someone with a phone finds it easier to text than to call, especially when 911 usually requires a series of questions and answers. Thumbs may not be faster than lips, but apps like EVA, SIRI, Skyvi, and Jeannie, etc. might be more linguistically understandable.

Sunburn and SPF

SPF is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor. SPF is actually a measure of protection from amount of UV-B exposure and it is not meant to help you determine duration of exposure. Sunbathers often assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection is negligible. Properly applied SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV-B rays; SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of sunburn rays. Dermatologists recommend using a SPF15 or SPF30 sunscreen. Higher SPFs do not actually give much more protection.

Sunblock and sunscreen block the rays from the sun being absorbed by our skin. Ninety five percent of the UV (Ultra violet) energy hitting the earth’s surface is UV-A. The other 5% is UV-B. Most of UV-B radiation is absorbed by our atmosphere. UV-A penetrates the skin more deeply than UV-B. However, UV-B causes more problems generally associated with exposure to the sun’s rays, like skin cancer, aging, and DNA damage. UV-B waves are primarily responsible for sunburned skin. Scientists know less about the dangers of UV-A radiation, but the general consensus is that it is less obvious than UV-B damage, but possibly more serious.

Sunscreens generally only block UV-B rays, and not UV-A. To get broad spectrum protection, sunscreen must contain both the organic compounds associated with UV-B absorption and an inorganic associated with UV-A reflection.

Sunburn reactions usually begin about 4 hours after exposure and peak between 8-24 hours, so what we feel while being exposed is just the beginning.

Free Friday Smile

To all my siblings

Aug 15, 2014

Happy Friday

Only the pessimist thinks good morning is an oxymoron.

No one could possibly think that, when waking up to a Happy Friday!

Biggest, Longest, Tallest

The tallest living person is Sultan Kosen from Ankara, Turkey, at 8′ 3″ tall. He also holds the record for the widest hand span at 12 inches. The tallest man in history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was 8 feet 11.1 inches (2.72 m) tall. His feet were the largest in history at US Size 37AA, or 18 ½ inches long.

Jyoti Amge, from Nagpur, India, is the world’s shortest woman and stands 24.7 inches tall (she has been selected to join the cast of American Horror Story season 4). Chandra Bahadur Dangi  was declared the shortest human adult ever documented and verified, measuring 21.51 in (54.64 cm).

Matthew McGory had a big toe that was 5 inches long and his little toe was 1.5 inches.

Mehmet Ozyurek from Artuin, Turkey has the longest nose ever at 3.46 inches from the bridge to the tip.

The person born with the most fingers and toes was Akshat Saxena of India. He was born with 14 fingers, 7 on each hand, and 20 toes, 10 on each foot.

The longest tongue belongs to Stephen Taylor from the United Kingdom. From the middle of his closed lip to the tip, it is 3.86 inches long. The longest female tongue belongs to Chanel Tapper of California, at 3.8 inches. The widest tongue belongs to Jay Sloot of San Remo, Australia and is 3.1 inches wide.

The widest mouth belongs to Fransisco Domingos of Angola, at 6.69 inches. The record for the most teeth in a human mouth belongs to two people, Kanchan Rojawat of India and Luca Meriano of Italy, who each have 35 adult teeth.

The longest legs belong to Svetlana Pankratova, who has 51.9 inch legs.

The longest natural head hair belongs to Xie Qiuping of China whose hair measured 18 feet 5.54 inches.

Hans Langseth of Norway had the longest beard ever recorded, at 18 feet 6 inches long.

Mark Lyleate ate 54 Pieces of Bacon in 5 Minutes at the 2010 Beggin' Strips World Bacon Eating Championship. In 2013, Molly Schuyler, Bellevue, Nebraska, was the first person to eat 3 pounds of cooked bacon within less than 5 minutes. Peter Czerwinski of Mississauga, Ontario holds the record for drinking a bacon shake the fastest at 47.72 seconds. It contained five pounds of bacon. I know, these last facts have nothing to do with body records, but are about bacon and I couldn't resist.

What's in a Name, Spumoni

Spumoni originated in Naples and is the ancestor of Neapolitan ice cream. Spumoni ice cream, like Neapolitan ice cream is a molded Italian ice cream made with layers of different colors and flavors. The difference is that Spumoni usually also contains candied fruits and nuts. The name Spumone comes from spuma or 'foam'. The plural form is spumoni.

Typically it is of three flavors, with a fruit/nut layer between them. The ice cream layers are often mixed with whipped cream. Cherry, pistachio, and either chocolate or vanilla are the typical flavors of the ice cream layers, and the fruit/nut layer often contains cherry bits, causing the traditional red/pink, green, and brown color combination. It is popular in places with large Italian immigrant populations such as the United States and Argentina. August 21 is National Spumoni Day in the United States. November 13 is National Spumoni Day in Canada.

National Senior Citizens Day

This is celebrated on August 21 with various events and activities held across the United States, in recognition of National Senior Citizens Day. This day was created as a day to support, honor, and show appreciation to our seniors and to recognize their achievements and the contributions they make to our communities.

On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847 declaring August 21 as National Senior Citizens Day. Someday I may be forced to grow up and celebrate this day, but for now, every day is a good day to celebrate the achievements of others.

USB Business Card

Here is a novel use of high tech and low tech. It is a folding business card that turns into a USB drive. Currently it is still in the Kickstarter stage, but is planned to be available October, 2014.

A swivelCard is a premium paper business card that includes a USB drive and analytics that can be updated even after giving it out. LINK

French Fry Facts

The origin of French fries is Belgium. According to some historians, potatoes were being fried by 1680 in the Meuse Valley of Belgium. Locals often ate small fried fish, when the river was frozen they used potatoes as a substitute. They used to cut potatoes lengthwise and fry them in oil to use them as a fish substitute.

Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing French fries to America when he served them at a White House dinner in 1802 after reportedly requesting, "Potatoes, fried in the French manner.

The average American eats thirty pounds of French fries per year.

The earliest known reference to fries in English literature is in A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens refers to, “Husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil”.

In general, potatoes cooked with the skin on are healthier, as most of the nutrients in a potato come from the skin

French fries are eaten all over the world and every culture has its own preferred condiment. Americans dunk them in ketchup, Brits eat their chips with salt and malt vinegar, mayonnaise is a popular accompaniment in Belgium and they look forward to steamed mussels and fries, in Vietnam they serve fries with soft butter and a sprinkling of sugar. "Clams and chips" is a very popular dish in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. French fries served with hot mustard is very popular in Ireland

There is a museum in Belgium entirely devoted to the classic fast-food snack frites.

French Fries in France are known as frites, patates frites, or pommes frites in French. These names are also used in many non-French areas.

About seven per cent of the potatoes grown in the US are sold by McDonald’s. It sells more than one third of all the French fries sold in restaurants in the U.S. each year.

According to the Agricultural Research Service in Navarre, potato skins are packed with 60 phyto-chemicals, many of these are flavonoids which help lower bad cholesterol and keep arteries clear.

Belgians may or may not have invented the French fry, today, they do consume the most French fries per capita of any country in Europe.

Belgians, who are the world’s connoisseurs when it comes to French fries, occasionally will serve French fries with egg as a topping. The raw egg is cracked over the French fries immediately after the fries have been pulled from the fryer. This tends to mostly cook the egg, but leaves the yoke somewhat runny for dipping the fries in.

Google Tools

Google has a handy feature that allows you to set up a countdown timer. Type in set timer x minutes or hours and it will show a countdown clock. You can continue to surf and an alarm will sound when the time has expired. Handy if you want to limit your activities to a fixed time.

Type " sky" without the quotes, to look around the sky the same way you look at a map of the earth. It shows objects in the sky, such as stars, constellations, planets, the Earth's moon, and galaxies.

Cat Scan Origin

The Beatles were indirectly responsible for funding the development of the CT (CAT) scanner. Their record label, EMI, also operated a computer research facility that once employed Godfrey Hounsfield, who had been developing X-ray computerized tomography (CT) in the late '60s. Researchers and radiologists claim that EMI invested the profits they earned from the Beatles' music into Hounsfield's technology, allowing for the invention of a commercial CT scanner (then known as an EMI scanner) by the early 1970s.

Social Security Checks

A friend asked me when Social Security checks are mailed, so it sent me to the dot gov site to find out some details. If you were born on the:  1 – 10th of the month, your Social Security check is deposited on the 2nd Wednesday of each month

11 – 20th of the month, your Social Security check is deposited on the 3rd Wednesday of each month

21 – 31st of the month, your Social Security check is deposited on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

However, if you started receiving benefits before 1997, or you get SS and SSI payments, then your Social Security check is paid on the third day of the month.

If the day your Social Security check is supposed to be deposited is a holiday, it is deposited the day before. Very simple formula for very complicated system.

Youtube Tips

 If you are annoyed by the ads when you watch YouTube videos or songs, change "youtube" in the URL to "youtubeskip" (do not use the quote marks) to skip the ads.

To repeat videos or songs without hitting the replay button, type "youtuberepeat" in place of "youtube" in the URL (also without the quotes).

To control volume after you click on a video or song, use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard. You can use the keyboard spacebar to pause or play. Also use the left and right arrows for rewind and fast forward.

If you can not seem to get enough of an artist or group, type and it serves up a page where you can search and you can string together a personal playlist. I am listening to ABBA now.

Bacon Fueled Motorcycle

Hormel created a motorcycle that is fueled by bacon grease and is sending it on a journey from Minnesota to the San Diego Bacon Fest just in time for International Bacon Day, August 30, 2014. Should be some interesting exhaust fumes coming from the bike.

Free Smile Friday

Aug 8, 2014

Happy Friday

The difference between the optimist and pessimist is that the optimist never uses the snooze button.

I do not even wait for the alarm, especially when waking up to a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing was named “Kumo,” during development, but Microsoft went with Bing after focus groups said it reminded them of “the moment of discovery.”

Yelp  -
The “yel” in “Yelp” comes from “yellow,” and the “p” comes from “pages.” The business listings and ratings site is like an Internet version of the Yellow Pages.

Twitter - It is a microblogging site and users’ posts cannot exceed 140 characters. Those short messages reminded company founders of birds chirping or twittering. Individual posts are known as tweets and the logo is a bird.

Wikipedia - “Wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick,” and “pedia” comes from “encyclopedia.” It is a quick encyclopedia added to and edited by almost anyone.

The Onion - It began as a college newspaper, and founders Tim Keck and Chris Johnson had so little money they ate onion sandwiches. While planning the paper, Keck’s uncle saw them eating onion sandwiches and reportedly said, “You should call the newspaper The Onion.”

Skype - The video phone via Internet service got its name from a shortening of the phrase “sky peer-to-peer,” as users connect person-to-person via the cloud (Internet).

Etsy - Rob Kalin, founder of the marketplace where users buy and sell vintage and handmade goods, wanted a nonsense word, but as he was watching an Italian film, he noticed characters often said “etsi”, which means “oh, yes.”

Pinterest - The name is a combination of “pin” and “interest,” which reflects how the site functions. It is a social network where users share pictures of things they find interesting by “pinning” them on their pin board.

Lonliness vs. Being Alone

Being lonely increases the risk of everything from heart attacks to dementia, depression and death. People who are satisfied with their social lives sleep better, age more slowly, and respond better to vaccines. Those who have rich social lives and warm relationships do not get as sick and they live longer. A person can be lonely in a crowd or be alone and not be lonely.

Research shows, our bodies have evolved so that in situations of perceived social isolation, they trigger branches of the immune system involved in wound healing and bacterial infection. Differences relate most strongly to how lonely people think they are. Ending loneliness is not about spending more time with people, but about our attitude to others. Changing this attitude reduces loneliness more effectively than giving people more opportunities for interaction.

Meditation is typically done while a person is alone and there is evidence that meditation boosts the immune response in vaccine recipients and people with cancer, protects against a relapse in major depression, soothes skin conditions, and even slows the progression of HIV. As with social interaction, meditation works largely by influencing stress response pathways. People who meditate have lower cortisol levels.

In a study of fifty people with advanced lung cancer, those judged by their doctors to have high “spiritual faith” responded better to chemotherapy and survived longer. More than forty percent were still alive after three years, compared with less than ten percent of those judged to have little faith.

Some think that what matters is having a sense of purpose in life. Having an idea of why you are here and what is important increases your sense of control over events. Spending more time doing what you love, whether it is gardening or volunteer work has a similar effect on health. Bottom line, loneliness is more of an attitude than a state of physical being. You have the power to be happy, alone or with others.

Attitude Changers

Here are some ideas to perk up your attitude.

Asking people to list three things they are grateful for in life or three events that have gone well during the past week can significantly increase their level of happiness for about a month.

People become much happier after the smallest acts of kindness.

Adding plants to an office results in a fifteen percent boost in the number of creative ideas and helps produce more original solutions to problems.

Lightly touching someone on their upper arm makes them far more likely to agree to a request. In one study, the touch produced a twenty percent increase in the number of people who accepted an invitation to dance in a nightclub and a ten percent increase in those who would give their telephone number to a stranger on the street.

Praising a child’s effort rather than their ability encourages them to try.

Visualizing taking steps required to achieve a goal is more effective than dreaming about the goal.

Tricorder Xprize

Qualcomm started a global competition in 2012 that will award ten million US dollars to revolutionize digital healthcare. The idea is to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime.

The device it is seeking will be a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of fifteen diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements. The only stated limit on form is that the mass of its components together must be no greater than five pounds. The name comes from the medical device used in Star Trek.

This week, August 4 is the qualifying round for review and selection of the ten finalist teams. The final award will be held in January 2016.

Gluten Free Finally Defined

The FDA finally passed a rule about what it means to be 'gluten free'. "A gluten-free claim means the food contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten, the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye."

The three million, roughly .008% of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease are at risk of nutritional deficiencies, infertility, and intestinal cancer if they do not follow a strict gluten-free diet.

The rules do not apply to restaurants, although the FDA was urging them to comply. The agency also warned consumers that some products labeled gluten-free that do not meet the new standards may still be on the shelves.

Last year, gluten-free products accounted for more than $10.5 billion in sales in what has become an overblown fad for many people, for which gluten free may be more harmful to them.

Do Not Call

Go to the website and enter your landline or cell number. There is an e-mail verification and you are done. You can also call 888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list. Your number stays on the list until you ask for it to be removed or you give up the number.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to work at the Do Not Call Registry or Federal Trade Commission and they offer to sign you up if you provide some personal information, do not respond. This is always a scam.

The Do Not Call list keeps you off of for-profit business call lists, but it can take up to 31 days before it goes into effect. If you receive an unexpected sales call after you registered your number, and you have been on the list for 31 days, you may file a complaint. Go to the site above or call 888-382-1222. You will be asked to provide the date of the call and the company's name or phone number.

Unfortunately, political organizations, charities, and survey takers are still permitted to call you. Businesses you purchased from or made a payment to in the last 18 months also have a right to call. If you ask them not to, they must honor your request.  Political and informational robocalls, such as those from health care providers, banks, and schools, are still allowed.

The fine print on free product offers may say the company may send you telemarketing calls.

In spite of frequent email hoaxes, mobile telephone numbers have never been in any danger of being made public or released to telemarketers. The FTC says that unsolicited telemarketing calls or robocalls to cellphones are illegal. If you get unsolicited marketing calls on your cellphone, tell them you do not want to be contacted and you can file a complaint using the information above.

If you sign up and still receive a telemarketing call, it is most likely the person on the other end is a scammer. Legitimate telemarketers do not want to risk a $16,000 fine for disregarding a number on the list.


Pope John Paul II was named an honorary Harlem Globetrotter in 2000.

The number of words posted each day on Twitter would fill a ten million page book.

The chance of dying on the way to purchase a lottery ticket are greater than the chance of actually winning.

Not True - The average mattress weight doubles every ten years from mites and mites poop.

True - There is a mattress sale every day of the year.

Wordology, Ambulance

The word 'ambulance' derives from the Latin 'ambulare', meaning 'to walk or move about'. This gave rise to the French hôpital (sic) ambulant, meaning mobile hospital. It used to refer to a temporary medical structure that could be easily moved, such as movable army medical hospitals. In English, ambulance first appeared around 1798 and also referred to temporary hospital structures.

Ambulances were first used for emergency transport in 1487 by the Spanish, and civilian variants were put into operation in the 1830s. Mobile medical transport vehicles were also called ambulances in French and were designed to get injured soldiers off the battlefield and to medical aid during battle. One of the first instances of this was during the Crimean War. During the American Civil War they were known as ambulance wagons.

The first known hospital-based ambulance service was based out of Commercial Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, US, in 1865.

National Hobo Convention

For some odd reason, the ambulance reminded me that beginning this week, August 7-10-2014 is the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa (close to Mason City and Clear Lake). There is a parade on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.  "Some in rags, some in tags, some in velvet gowns."

Hobos are migratory workers, some with a special skill or trade, others ready to work at any task, but always willing to work to make his way. The tramp is a traveling non-worker, moving from town to town, but never willing to work for the handouts he begs for. A bum is the lowest class, too lazy to roam around and never works.

There will be marching bands, queens, business floats, children, adults, and hobos all come down the streets in one long line and share the fun that only a Hobo Convention can provide. Following the parade, mulligan stew is available. Other events during the weekend include a 5K & 10K Walk/Run, Hobo King & Queen coronation, Hobo Museum, Hobo Auction, Hobo Memorial Service, Vagabond Craft show, and Outdoor Classic Car Show.

Free Friday Smile

Yumm! Bacon Ice Cream for a hot summer day.

Aug 1, 2014

Happy Friday

A smile provides an easy facelift.

I get them for free by enjoying a Happy Friday!

Stores Meet Iternet

Home improvement giant Lowe’s just bought 42,000 handheld point of sales devices for its 1700+ outlets. Its competitor Home Depot spent $64 million placing 30,000+ of its First Phone Motorola mobile devices. Nordstroms has 6,000 devices. Urban Outfitters and Pacific Sun are following. Mobile and tablet technology is changing the way we shop.

Smaller businesses use Square, a free tiny box like card reader that plugs into smart phones or pads to transform them into registers on the go. In fact, there are a host of other companies offering ways for stores and vendors to capture sales without using a cash register. Great for those who have small stores or do kiosk type shows to now accept credit cards and sales with little expense and no hassle.

Major chains like Whole Foods Market, Gap, Patagonia, Sears, and Kmart are now using mobile devices to email receipts to customers instead of handing them paper. Of course, they are also tacking on email alerts and advertisements, which may explain why only about one third of customers are opting in. Customers can now try and buy in the store and have stuff shipped home for free. Better than lugging it around the mall as they continue shopping.

Amazing how, in a few generations telephones, cash registers, typewriters, incandescent light bulbs, etc., once revolutionary, have already become obsolete. For techies in the crowd, the Singularity has begun.

Selfie Toast

Here is a company that will produce and deliver a reasonably priced personal toaster that will create toast with your picture etched on every piece. More designs also available. LINK  Fun stuff to impress your guests.

High Tech Meets Low Tech

An inexpensive diagnostic test made from paper has been developed that can assess liver health in 15 minutes and for only pennies a test. The test uses a single drop of blood from a finger prick to measure the presence of liver enzymes, and doesn't require the presence of a laboratory, instruments, or syringes. If liver enzymes are present in the blood, wells within the paper will show a color change, which are be color matched to a scale to determine approximate degree of concentration. A color change indicates the concentration range of enzymes present. Though this can be checked by eye, greater accuracy could be achieved by scanning the paper with a smartphone, which are incredibly prevalent throughout regions in which the kit would be used.

Liver damage can be a consequence of taking antiretroviral drugs, which are prescribed to HIV patients. Because of the high HIV infection rates in poor countries, liver problems are on the rise, so the ability to cheaply monitor blood is important to prevent potentially fatal side effects of the drugs meant to save people’s lives.

The paper uses patterns, channels, and assay zones (or wells) of water-repellent materials on a piece of paper about the size of a postage stamp. Biological and chemical assay reagents are then deposited in the wells. When blood, urine, saliva, sweat or other biological samples are applied to it, the paper wicks the sample through the channels to the assay zones, without external pumps or power. Upon contact, the assay zone quickly changes color and results are then easily read by comparing the color change with a printed reference scale. After use, it can be easily disposed of by burning.

These patterned paper-based devices can be embedded with electrical circuitry to enable resistive heating, electrochemical assays, or initial processing of assay results. Multiple sheets of patterned paper can be stacked to generate three-dimensional devices capable of automatically performing a variety of complex fluid operations such as splitting, filtration, mixing, and separations.

The postage stamp-sized paper diagnostics system was developed in the laboratory of Harvard Professor George Whitesides seven years ago. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Professor Whitesides started the non-profit organization, Diagnostics For All., and looked to improve the health of the poorest areas of the world. The team is also working on malaria and dengue fever tests.

An ink jet printer using wax ink prints a pattern on two sheets of paper. One sheet contains reagents that react with liver enzymes, the other dyes that change color if a reaction occurs. The two sheets are fused together by heating, so that channels or wells that can be used as miniaturized test tubes for reactions are produced. A plasma filter is added and the three are laminated together, and cut into postage stamp size squares. The rest of the world could also benefit from this low cost efficient healthcare.

Toilet Paper Origami

Speaking of low tech, I was floored when I came across a site on Pinterest that is dedicated to making origami figures from toilet paper. It has everything from flowers to boats, and more. Almost was afraid to share this, but couldn't help myself. If you really want to waste some time, here is the LINK.

Email and Productivity

If you want to be efficient, do not open your email until at least 10am. Do not peek. Do not IM. Do not check Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter, or anyplace else on the web.

Productive people get up and get on with doing the things they have decided are important. Reacting to someone else is not productive, nor is it efficient or effective. It is difficult to read an email without reacting and you are reacting to someone's priority, not yours.

Next, decide the clock time and a certain amount of action time to read and react to email. Quickly scan your inbox and prioritize, file, or delete as necessary. This should take no longer than ten minutes. Then go back and react to the priority items and attack them. When one hour has elapsed, go back to your priorities.

You might need to get into your email to finish some of your most important to-dos, but can you get 80 or 90 percent done before you go into email and waste your time on other people's priorities

Research shows email: Creates stress, can be more addictive than alcohol and tobacco, and checking email frequently is the equivalent of dropping your IQ ten points. It also interrupts your progress. Happiness is also important, so after you have finished your high priority projects, reward yourself by reading my Friday Thoughts.

Real Credit Score Report

Finally, here is a site that provides your actual credit score for free. That is no credit card info required to sign up. No fees. It does ask to link your cards and offers other add ons for fees, but you can get the basic info, including your credit score for free. There are free credit reports from each of the big three, transunion, etc., but they only give transaction info once each six months, and do not provide the credit score.

I never could understand how companies could take my information from wherever they choose, then try to sell that information about me to me. This one is different.

Uses for Aloe Vera

A friend recently dropped off some Aloe Vera for the garden. I knew it had some great medicinal properties, but found more on the web. Also found it survives the winter in Texas. It is antibacterial and contains vitamins and minerals. Here are a few topical and other uses.

  • Slice aloe leaves lengthwise and use the inner sides as a biodegradable body scrub in the shower
  • Rub on to treat burns from grease splatters or hot utensils
  • Rub on to reduce sunburn sting
  • Rub on to eliminate sting or itch from insect bites and allergic skin reactions
  • Rub on to fight Athlete's Foot
  • Rub on as moisturizer for dry skin, remove makeup, or for shaving
  • Soothe Psoriasis, Rosacea, Eczema, blisters, bruises, and rashes
  • Prevent scarring and stretch marks
  • Reduce facial wrinkles
  • After washing, apply to eliminate acne
  • Decrease skin pigmentation and dark spots
  • Drink to relieve indigestion, but not too much or can cause diarrhea
  • Take aloe orally to relieve heartburn, arthritis, and rheumatism pain
  • Boil leaves in a pan of water and breathe in the vapor to reduce affects of asthma

Friday Thought