Feb 26, 2016

Happy Friday

Happiness is the last defense of old age.

Happiness is also a great offense for enjoying a Happy Friday!

Texas Independence Day

March 2 is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document signed by 59 people, settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.

Still More Yogi Berra Quotes

Here are my last bunch of his many famous quotes:

  •     Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.
  •     The future ain’t what it used to be.
  •     We have deep depth.
  •     Pair up in threes.
  •     Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.
  •     Even Napoleon had his Watergate.
  •     It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too     much.
  •     I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it         keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not       hitting, how can I get mad at myself?
  •     So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.
  •     The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.
  •     Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents         off the streets.

Wordology, Escalumps

People who stand on the left while riding escalators, hindering others from passing.

Mourning Colors

Many colors are used around the world to signify mourning. Important information to know when traveling to avoid a potential faux pas.

In South Africa, red is the color of mourning.

In Iran, blue is the color of mourning.

In Egypt and Burma, yellow signifies mourning.

The ancient Egyptians and Romans used black for mourning, as do most Europeans and Americans today.

Filipino people wear black or white for mourning.

Japanese wear  black traditional Japanese clothing at funerals and Buddhist memorial services. Other colors, particularly reds and bright shades, are considered inappropriate for mourning dress.

In Thailand, black is the traditional mourning color. Purple is worn by widows mourning their husband’s death.

In continental Europe and the UK, black is the mourning color. The color of deepest mourning among medieval European queens was white.

In Asia many people dress in different colors such as indigo, ruby-red and many more. In China, during the period of mourning family members of the deceased wear a piece of cloth on their arm for 100 days. A color of the cloth tells the relationship to the deceased. The children of the deceased will wear a black cloth, blue by the grandchildren, and green by the great grandchildren.

In the Middle East it is the norm that white symbolizes time of mourning and funerals.

In India the members of the mourning family and the people who come to participate in mourning all wear white clothes.

Violet and purple became the color of demi-mourning, worn after a widow or widower had worn black for a certain time, before he or she returned to wearing ordinary colors.

Greatest Love Letter

A heartfelt birthday message from Johnny Cash to his wife June has been voted the greatest love letter of all time. It was hand written and the text is below.

We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other's minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.

    Happy Birthday Princess.


TV Set Top Box Changes

On February 18, this year, the FCC voted to propose formally an open standard for set-top boxes. Proponents say that could mean one box bringing you cable channels, premium TV channels and streaming TV. The process could lead to TV viewers being able to own their cable TV set-top boxes.

It still will be several months before any final action is taken. Debate is expected regarding how the new devices would collect and handle viewers' data and what kind of access the new competitors would get to video content, for which cable companies and their existing competitors have to negotiate contracts.

Nine Plants to Clean Stale Air

We all know indoor plants are good to have for a variety of reasons. Some are better than others to help clean stale air.

Many of these plants remove toluene, which is a raw material used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam and TNT. Toluene is also a common solvent for paints, paint thinners, silicone sealants, many chemical reactants, rubber, printing ink, adhesives, lacquers, leather tanners, and disinfectants. Inhalation of toluene in low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss.

Areca Palm - Helps to remove toluene and xylene from the air and can help to increase overall air purification. Great for those who may have asthma or require effective air purification.

Money Plant - Helps to reduce the toxins benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene from the air. It can also help to increase overall air quality and purification.

Moth Orchid - Ideal for helping to increase purification of the air within homes. They are suitable for removing xylene and toluene and can increase air quality.

Dwarf Date Palm - Helps to reduce common toxins xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde from the air. This plant can also help to promote increased oxygen levels, and is able to improve air quality in highly exposed areas.

Spider Plant - Promotes high air purification. It is suitable for helping to decrease exposure to formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.

Lilyturf - Helps to remove ammonia, toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde from the air. This plant is capable of increasing oxygen levels and can help to improve air quality. Great for people who are exposed to cleaning products, paint fumes, city or factory smog, or vehicle fumes. This plant can help clean the air for those with common lung conditions including emphysema and asthma.

Boston Fern - Helps to remove formaldehyde from the air and is said to act as a natural type of air humidifier. This plant can also remove xylene and toluene. It is said to be one of the best houseplants for air purification. Great for those living or working in areas where exposure to gasoline exists. They are ideal for homes exposed to city smog, and are suitable for those who may have asthma or breathing conditions.

Purple Waffle Plant - Helps to remove formaldehyde from the air. It can help to increase overall air purification, and is suitable for increasing the quality of the air within any home. Great for city homes that are exposed to smog and car fumes. It may also help those who live near industrial factories.

Bamboo Palm - Helps to remove formaldehyde and is suitable for acting as a natural humidifier for most indoor areas. It can also help to remove xylene and toluene. Great for those who live in high air pollution areas and areas where car fume exposure exists. Suitable for placing in homes or shops which may be exposed to gasoline.

Feb 19, 2016

Happy Friday

Savor the happiness, because today will never happen again.

I always savor the happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Blue Bears

Many have heard of black bears, brown bears, cinnamon bears, and white bears, but there are also blue bears. The Tibetan bear or Tibetan blue bear is a subspecies of the brown bear found in the eastern Tibetan plateau, western China, Nepal.

It is also known as the Himalayan blue bear and Himalayan snow bear and is one of the rarest subspecies of bear in the world and rarely sighted in the wild. The blue bear is known in the west only through a small number of fur and bone samples. It was first classified in 1854.

Tibetan blue bears are black with a tinge of blue gray. They often have a beige or white collar and chest. It is common for their face to be a reddish yellow.

Nostalgia Machine

Here is an interesting site that plays songs by year from 1960s - 1990s. Original sounds and a good read, even if you do not want to listen to all the music. Fun diversion. LINK

Seven Super Brain Foods

Whether it is a new dance or a foreign language, the older you get the harder it is to learn new things. Some foods have been found to be beneficial to keeping the brain sharp. Alzheimer's researchers like to say what is good for your heart is good for your brain.

Blackberries can get the conversation flowing again. They provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap inflammation and encourage communication between neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information according to a Tufts University study.

A recent Finnish study of 1,400 longtime coffee drinkers reveals that people who sipped between three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent compared with those who downed fewer than two cups a day. Researchers believe that coffee's caffeine and antioxidants are the keys to its protective affects.

Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells. According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline. To get the most quercetin bang for your buck, eat apples with the skins on.

Chocolate can lower blood pressure and it can also keep your mind sharp. A Journal of Nutrition study found that eating as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate a day (the size of about two Hersey's kisses) helps protect against age-related memory loss. They credit polyphenols in cocoa with increasing blood flow to the brain.

Cinnamon research from the University of California at Santa Barbara reveals that two compounds in cinnamon, proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde may inactivate tau proteins that can cause brain cells to die.

Spinach is packed with nutrients that prevent dementia, such as folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Just one-half cup of cooked spinach packs a third of the folate and five times the amount of vitamin K you need in a day. A 2006 Neurology study revealed that eating three servings of leafy green, yellow, and cruciferous vegetables a day can delay cognitive decline by 40 percent. Of these three, leafy greens were found to be the most protective. Try spinach drizzled with a little olive oil. Its healthy fats boost absorption of fat-soluble vitamins E and K.

Scientists found the heart-healthy polyphenols in red wine and Concord grape juice can also give your brain a boost. When researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine gave twelve older adults with declining memory a daily drink of Concord grape juice or a placebo drink for three months, they found that the volunteers who drank the grape juice significantly improved their spatial memory and verbal learning skills. Researchers believe that, just like blackberries, grape juice polyphenols improve communication between brain cells.

Self Parking Office Chair

I had to go searching for more sources, because I thought this was a joke, but it is not. Nissan Motor Co Ltd announced the first Intelligent Parking Chair, a concept inspired by its intelligent park assist technology that allows drivers to easily park their vehicles using automatic steering. You can see a demo on YouTube. LINK

Read Old Newspapers and Magazines Online

Below are a few more ways to get your favorite reading online and for free.

Google News – Google News indexes thousands of newspaper websites from around the world and organizes news in clusters for easy reading. In addition to current news, Google News also offers access to stories published in old newspapers that you can search for free.

Google Books – If you are looking for an older issue of a magazine, Google Books might be the best place to find it. The magazines are scanned and searchable and can be read online using the standard Google Book interface. Decades worth of material are available, and the magazines are laid out just as they were when they were originally printed, including the original articles, index, cover, and advertisements.

Trove – The National Library of Australia has a large selection of newspapers from across Australia archived online that anyone may read for free. All the newspapers are completely scanned and can be viewed online in any modern browser, or you may download them as a PDF for offline reading.

Library of Congress – The Library of Congress has a large repository of historic newspapers published in America between 1880 and 1922, available as PDFs. Though the library has made available newspapers from 14 states and Washington, DC., these states contain some of the largest newspapers and thus the archives are still a very valuable resource. Additionally, the site has a database of records of all newspapers printed in America from 1690 to the present.

The Olden Times – If you are looking for a popular article about a major historical event, the Olden Times may be a good place to look for it. Although it does not contain entire newspapers, it does have snippets including popular news articles, print advertisements, and personal information sections such as births and obituaries. All content is free, and the content ranges from 1788 to 1920.

OMA – Old Magazine Articles contains magazine pages covering from famous historical events. The articles can be downloaded as PDF files for free. They have been edited to remove advertisements from the original magazines.

BBC – The 'On This Day' section of BBC offers an online archive of some of the most significant stories broadcast by BBC News since 1950. You can select any date from the menu at the top of the page, and view the news from that date as well as today’s historical news.

More Yogi Berra Quotes

Here a a few more of his many famous quotes:

    If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.
    When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
    It ain’t over till it’s over.
    It’s like déjà vu all over again.
    No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.
    A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
    Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
    We made too many wrong mistakes.
    Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.
    You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
    I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.
    Never answer an anonymous letter.
    I’m lucky. Usually you’re dead to get your own museum, but I’m still alive to see mine.

Ten German Inventions

MP3 - A German inventor, Karlheinz Brandenburg is responsible for an invention that has revolutionized how we listen to music.

Ring binder, ink eraser, hole punch, glue stick - Confirming the stereotype that Germans like to keep orderly records of everything, some of the most useful office supplies have been invented by Germans. Friedrich Soennecken invented ring binders and hole punches in the late 19th Century. Another German, Louis Leitz, then improved on the invention by putting a finger hole in the binder to make it easier to remove from a crowded shelf.

Aspirin - The world's favorite painkiller made from willow bark was developed by Felix Hoffmann in August 1897 for pharmaceutical giant Bayer, and although a US company claimed the patent for the drug after the First World War, 12,000 of the 50,000 tons of aspirin produced each year are still made by Bayer.

Carabiner - The most important piece of gear in any climber’s equipment was invented by Otto Herzog, a Bavarian climber and inventor. The carabiner has many uses, but this metal loop with a spring-loaded gate is most commonly used to allow a climber to safely scale or descend a steep cliff with the aid of a rope.

Lithography - Invented by Alois Senefelder in Bavaria in 1796, lithography has given the world some of its finest art. Most famously, Edvard (sic) Munch used the printing technique, but Picasso, Monet, Manet and more have also used the technique.

Accordion - When asked to think of Germany, one often thinks of a portly man wearing lederhosen, and a green hat, playing folk tunes on a huge accordion. In fact, early versions of the instrument date back to third century BC China. But the first 'true' accordion was invented by a German, Christian Friedrich Buschmann, who in 1822 attached bellows to a portable keyboard with vibrating reeds, naming it a 'hand-aeoline'.

X-ray machine - The first X-ray machine was invented by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, physics chair at the University of Würzburg. He apparently discovered the unknown radiation, which he marked with an x, while investigating cathode rays. He noticed that the radiation could pass through human tissue, but not bones.

Contact lens - Although Leonardo da Vinci is said to have been the first man to come up with the idea of a contact lens, it was a German by the name of Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick who first made a contact lens and successfully fitted it to the human eye. Fick’s prototype is could only be worn for an hour or two at a time due to its unwieldy size.

Playmobil - Playmobil was invented by Hans Beck in the 1970s with the idea to make a flexible toy that was still simple enough for young children to understand. With the original toys being an American Indian, a cowboy, and a builder, the little figures were a hit as soon as they came on the market.

Airbag - Walter Linderer came up with the idea of using compressed air in a bag which would inflate when the bumpers of two cars made contact. He patented it in 1951, although his design did not inflate fast enough and had little practical value at the time.

Feb 12, 2016

Happy Friday

A good smile and hearty laugh are the honey to which all are attracted.

I always try to spread some honey, especially on a Happy Friday!

Valentine's Day

February 14 is Valentine’s Day; the second most celebrated holiday around the world, second to New Year’s Day.

Also celebrated on Feb 14 is National Condom Day, originally started on campus at the University of California, Berkeley. It is celebrated every year in California and is designed to raise awareness of safe sex practices and encourage the use of condoms in a humorous, educated way, and to educate people about the serious risks from having unprotected sex.

For the interested few, there are J&D’s Bacon-Flavored Condoms that look like and taste like bacon.

National Flag Day of Canada

Since 1996, February 15 is the day it is celebrated. The day commemorates the inauguration of the Flag of Canada on that date in 1965. The day is marked by flying the flag, occasional public ceremonies, and educational programs in schools. It is not a public holiday, although there has been discussion about creating one.

The Maple Leaf flag replaced the Canadian Red Ensign, which had been in conventional use as the Canadian national flag since 1868. Canada is the second largest country in the world.

Canada U.S. War of Pork and Beans

Canada and the United States have not fought a war against each other officially since 1814, but in 1839, there was a ‘war’ of sorts fought mainly with fists and axe handles. It was along the New Brunswick–Maine border and the warriors were lumbermen. It is known as the 'war of pork and beans', or the 'Aroostook Controversy'.

Logging along both sides of the border was controlled by powerful lumber barons who were not always careful about the areas into which they sent their lumberjacks. Most of the trouble was in the rich Aroostook Valley pines. The worst battle broke out on February 8, 1839. Under normal circumstances, the fighting among loggers might not have caused much alarm, but the situation was dangerous, because of the dispute about the location of the border.

Maine and New Brunswick called out the militia. Nova Scotia passed an appropriation for defense, and British troops were rushed from Halifax to guard the border along St. Croix River. The United States Congress voted $10,000,000 to raise a force of 50,000 men if required.

London and Washington realized the seriousness of the situation and President Van Buren persuaded the Governors of Maine and New Brunswick to arrange a truce.  Britain and the United States finally agreed on a border. The Ashburton-Webster Treaty provided a settlement in 1842.

Canadian Inventions

Did you know the following were all invented in Canada: peanut butter, Wonderbra, Trivial Pursuit, the car odometer, Imax, egg cartons, McIntosh apples, discovery of insulin, sports instant replay, luggage bag tags, electric wheelchair, and more.

Global Internet Speeds

The US is still slipping behind the rest of the world when it comes to download speeds, with an average of 10 Mbps it ranks just 55th worldwide.

For coverage, US subscribers get an LTE signal 81 percent of the time, or seventh best in the world. By comparison, Romania offers only 61 percent coverage for its LTE network, but has speeds as fast as 33 Mbps.

The global average for download speeds on LTE is 13.5 Mbps. Singapore offers the fastest networks, with downloads as fast as 40 Mbps. During 2015, America's average download speed was a paltry 9 Mbps.

Top 5 fastest countries average speeds:
    New Zealand, 36 Mbps
    Singapore, 33 Mbps
    Romania, 30 Mbps
    South Korea, 29 Mbps
    Denmark, 26 Mbps.

Mondegreens, Malapropisms, and Eggcorns

A mondegreen is a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of another word or phrase that we hear. Mondegreens sound like the original wording, but often change the meaning of the word or phrase entirely. The term mondegreen is usually applied to misheard song lyrics or lines of poetry, but can also refer to other types of speech. For example, someone might hear the sarcastic saying “Thank you, Captain Obvious” as “Thank you, Katherine Obvious.”

A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsense, or humorous utterance. Yogi Berra was a master of this, saying things, such as "Texas has a lot of electrical votes," rather than "electoral votes". Another example is “dance the flamingo” instead of “dance the flamenco.”

Eggcorns are an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker's dialect. The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context, such as "old-timers' disease" for "Alzheimer's disease" or "mating name" instead of "maiden name."

If a person stubbornly sticks to a mispronunciation after being corrected, that person has committed a mumpsimus.

Yogi Berra Quotes

Here a just a few of his many famous quotes:
•    You can observe a lot by just watching.
•    He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.
•    Take it with a grin of salt.
•    Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.
•    You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
•    It gets late early out here.
•    You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.
•    I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
•    If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.
•    If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.
•    I never said most of the things I said.

Garbage Technology

This tickled me, so thought I would share. Seems Peru is mixing hi-tech and low-tech to solve an age old problem of garbage.

Officials in Lima are strapping GoPro cameras and GPS trackers to vultures to help map the area’s illegal dumping problem. With about twenty percent of the Peruvian capital’s garbage ending up in places other than one of its four landfills, officials hope the project brings more attention to the issue.

more hi-tech-low-tech - Dutch police are using eagles to solve the problem of unauthorized drone flights in restricted areas such as airports and over crowds. Dennis Janus said, "We use the birds' age-old hunting instinct to intercept and neutralize drones." Police released video footage of the tests, which shows an eagle in flight firmly grasping the drone with its talons before landing a few metres (yards) away. The eagles are trained by 'Guard from Above', which describes itself as the "first company in the world that uses birds of prey to intercept drones."

Six Ways to be Happy

A recent study found: "When participants physically discarded a representation of their thoughts, they mentally discarded them as well, using them less in forming judgments than did participants who retained a representation of their thoughts." If you have pervasive negative thoughts, write them down on a piece of paper, and physically throw them away, or burn them. This strategy can be employed as a quick way to clear your head of negativity.

Another just-released study found that the human imagination is powerful to a scary and exciting degree. "This is the first set of experiments to definitively establish that the sensory signals generated by one's imagination are strong enough to change one's real-world perception of a different sensory modality." Exercising your imagination will generate creative ideas, motivate you, and make you happier if you use it well. Happiness is a perspective, and using your imagination is an effective way to alter your perspective in a positive way.

Experiences have been shown to make us happier than material possessions. A study from Cornell says, "Consumers spend more time thinking about material purchases they didn't choose than they spend when they buy an experience." When it comes to spending money, experiences are almost always a better value than possessions. Material possessions tend to make us happy initially but quickly wane, but the happiness gained from experiences can last a lifetime. If you want to be happier in the long term, consider taking a trip instead of buying a new TV.

A few studies show that you can be much happier by giving, such as volunteer, pay for the person behind you at the tool booth, cook a surprise meal for someone, or give someone an unexpected gift. We are incredibly powerful in our ability to make someone else's day with very little effort on our part. One study found that toddlers before the age of two years old "exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves." Another study by a Harvard scholar found that happiness can be bought, so long as you are spending the money on someone else. Giving brings real happiness results. If you truly want to maximize your happiness, then find ways to give to others.

Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, is sometimes called the happiest man in the world. "There is a possibility for change because all emotions are fleeting. That is the ground for mind training. Mind training is on the idea that two opposite mental factors can't happen at the same time. You cannot in the same gesture shake a hand and strike a blow. There are natural antidotes to emotions that are destructive to our well-being."

Ricard says that mind transformation is achieved through meditation on unconditional compassion and loving kindness. "Some of [the monks] who came to the labs did 20-40 thousand hours of meditation. When the monks were tested for happiness using tests that measure brain activity for happiness, it was found that the monks were four standard deviations from the norm in favor of happiness; in other words, they were off-the-charts happy. If you want to multiply your happiness results, meditate on compassion and loving kindness. The monks' theory on opposite mental factors holds true. They spend so much time thinking of positive things, that negativity and angst are pushed out of their mind, and they become very happy.

Perhaps the most surprising and 21st century relevant happiness factor is focus. A study found that people's minds wandered 47% of the time on average and it had a more negative impact on their happiness than what they were doing. There is a direct connection between focus and happiness. Focusing your skills and energy on fewer areas is a simple formula that brings big results. The more you focus on what matters, the more your life becomes as you desire, and the happier you will be. True happiness is not being a slave to a piece of technology. It is deciding what is most important in this moment and focusing all of your energy on it. So, if you want to be happy, toss out negativity, think good things, do good things, give to others, imagine being happy, and focus on being happy.

Feb 5, 2016

Happy Friday

“I think the only way to get through this life is laughing hard and constantly, mostly at myself.” – Shannon Hale

No need to over think it, just be happy and laugh, because it is a Happy Friday!

National Weatherpersons Day

Every February 5th, the world collectively expresses their appreciation for meteorologists everywhere, mostly with tongue firmly in cheek.

National Weatherpersons Day commemorates the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. He was one of America’s first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and he took the first balloon observation in 1784. This is a day to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with weather, water, and climate forecasts, and warning services.

Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction

The tradition comes from the German legend and Catholic feast day of Candlemas. "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again."

This year, "It is agreed, there will be early Spring." The Groundhog Club emcee proclaimed, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast." He added, "Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them." During the past 28 years, Phil was correct 13 times and incorrect 15 times. New Iberia's Pierre C. Shaddeaux (a nutria) agrees with Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia both concur with Phil that spring is coming soon.

The findings were independently verified by a groundhog in Canada, where Shubenacadie Sam, groundhog at Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Wildlife Park also saw no shadow. According to a Canadian study looking at 13 different cities’ groundhogs used for their respective festivals, the net accuracy was only 37%.

Ontario's Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter after spotting his shadow. Ohio's Buckeye Chuck agrees. Alabama's Sand Mountain Sam, who has been making appearances since 1993 also agrees and has only been wrong one year. West Virginia's French Creek Freddie also predicts six more weeks of winter.

In Manitoba, Groundhog Day celebrations have been cancelled following the death of Winnipeg Willow, who died last Friday at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

No word yet from North Carolina's Sir Wally Wally (wrong 7 out of the last 10 years), Louisiana's T-boy, the Cajun Groundhog (actually a nutria), or Alabama's Smith Lake Jake.

It appears these groundhogs are about equally as accurate as local weatherpersons.


Disinterested means unbiased and does not mean uninterested.
Correct: "The dispute should be resolved by a disinterested judge." / Why are you so uninterested in my story?

Enervate means to sap or to weaken and does not mean to energize.
Correct: That was an enervating rush hour commute. / That was an energizing cappuccino.

Hung means suspended and does not mean suspended from the neck until dead.
Correct: I hung the picture on my wall. / The prisoner was hanged.

Interesting word thought - If womb is pronounced woom and tomb is pronounced toom, why isn't bomb pronounced boom?

White Bread vs. Wheat Bread

Not all wheat breads are created equal. Most white bread is made with refined grains that skip much fiber and nutrients. However, there are whole-wheat white breads that are just as healthy as whole-wheat breads. Regardless of color preference, it is important that the bread contains bran, germ, and endosperm.

Victorian Words

The Victorians had much influence on common terms - The avoidance of plain terms for bodily parts commonly is associated with the prudery of our Victorian ancestors though many of the evasions predate Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1837.

People started saying darn instead of damn, to employ dashes (d – – –) when writing the harsher word, to perspire instead of sweat, to wear unmentionables  instead of trousers and breeches, to have stomachaches instead of bellyaches, to use nude rather than naked when referring to human figures in painting and sculpture, and to be laid to rest, not buried in a cemetery.

The taboo on breast was so strong that it was replaced by bosom in many contexts during the following century. Decorative breast knots on dresses became bosom knots, breast pins became bosom pins, and even otherwise earthy English farmers were known to refer to the breast, or forward part of the moldboard of a plow, as its bosom.

Most likely, the reluctance to say breast also explains why William Congreve’s line in The Mourning Bride, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” is often misquoted as “Music has charms to soothe a savage beast.”

Energy and Power

Energy is measured in Joules. Power is measured in Watts. Energy is how far you can run. Power is how fast you can run.

When it comes to batteries, Elon Musk says, "It’s really rare that there’s a big breakthrough because there are so many constraints. You can easily improve, say, the power, but then it’d make the energy worse."

Current electric cars have batteries that provide less power and less energy. This is why the Nissan Leaf has a range of only 84 miles (one-third that of the Tesla Model S) and takes three times as long to get to 60 miles per hour.

Musk's Tesla Gigafactory, being built outside Reno, Nevada, will be the second-largest building in the world by volume. It opens in 2016 and will be complete during 2020. His plan is to build enough batteries to reduce the price and improve the power and energy of batteries, so electric cars can go faster and farther. (The latest edition of the Model S received a score of 103 from Consumer Reports, which was a problem only in that Consumer Reports ratings are typically scored out of 100. The magazine had to revise its scale in response to the record-breaking result.)

In addition, the plant will produce large batteries that store energy in homes and even larger batteries that do the same for utilities and businesses. One of its goals is to make home and business solar power more practical. Current prices are already half what other battery manufacturers charge. Musk says, "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck. They’re expensive. They’re unreliable. They’re stinky. Ugly. Bad in every way." His new battery plane are on the path to fix those problems.

In addition to CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, Musk is also the chairman of solar energy provider SolarCity.

Whitening Toothpaste Myth

"Scientifically proven" labels on toothpaste containers are not entirely accurate. According to the American Dental Association, whitening toothpastes may be able to do something on the surface level. To get to the deep-down stains, you need more extreme treatments like bleaching. Several whitening toothpastes are available over the counter and have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

The ADA recommends that if you choose to use a bleaching product, you should only do so after consultation with a dentist. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains.

Since December 31, 2007, professionally (such as dentist) applied bleaching products are no longer eligible for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.

Travel Tip

If you travel, those little hotel room packets of coffee are perfect to use in your bag with dirty laundry and at home for room odors. Unwrap the foil covering and toss unused coffee packet in with your dirty laundry. When you get home your bag will be less stinky. Leave the coffee packet in your bag while storing it for your next trip.

Using Google Voice

Users of Google’s voice-control features such as OK Google are probably aware that the company stores the voice recordings it receives when they talk to it. Did you know it keeps a list of all the recordings the company has ever made of you. If you have or have ever had an Android phone with Google’s “OK Google” voice-control system, the link below will show a list of every command you have ever given it, including a play button next to it. https://history.google.com/history/audio

Google also has a location history, showing any location the company has tracked you to, through apps such as Google Maps as well as simply using an Android phone. It can be found here https://maps.google.co.uk/locationhistory/b/0

Happiness and Bars

Here is a quick read about how to "Spend Time at Your Local Bar to Build Community and Your Own Happiness." Researchers at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology explain there are social benefits to being a regular at a small local bar. LINK