May 19, 2017

Happy Friday

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death." ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Happy days are always well-spent days, especially on a Happy Friday!

21 Gun Salute

The origin of gun salutes is usually attributed to soldiers or other armed types demonstrated peaceful intentions by placing their weapons in a position that rendered them ineffective. As cannons and small arms came into use, a good way to render them ineffective and demonstrating peaceful intentions, was to fire them, as reloading was a real pain. At sea, seven shots became the norm, probably because of superstition and mysticism about the number seven. On land, with a less limited supply of gunpowder, they could fire three guns for every one shot from a ship, so a salute from a ship of seven guns would be answered by a salute from the shore batteries of 21 guns. When gunpowder technology and storage improved, ships at sea adopted the salute of 21 guns.
There is a complex protocol for salutes. Twenty one guns are only used to salute a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and anyone who has ever been elected President of the US. A vice-president, speaker of the house, American or foreign ambassador, a premier or prime minister (unless sovereign), chief justice, cabinet member, state governor, secretary or ranking general of a branch of the armed forces, and president pro tem of the senate all receive 19 gun salutes on entering. Generals, admirals, the assistant secretary of defense, and chairpersons of House committees receive 17. There are 15, 13, and 11 gun salutes for people of descending rank, both military and civilian.

For a full-honor funeral at Arlington, a President gets 21 guns. A secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or other military officer given command over multiple branches of the service receives 19. Seventeen guns are fired for a four-star general, 15 for a three-star, 13 for a two-star, and 11 for a one-star.


This phone app tells you the best time during a movie to go relieve yourself.

Taco Bell Beef

Taco Bell 'meat' is made up of 36 percent beef. The other 64 percent includes: water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, as well as beef and seasonings.

Two Amazing Costco Facts

Costco sells over 100 million hot dogs a year, according to the Daily Meal. That is more than all the major league baseball parks combined sell in an entire season. I also think they are better dogs than sold in many of the stadiums, and they are cheaper.

 It is also one of the largest pizza chains in the US.

Natural Foods

Natural is a broad term used to describe products that are minimally processed, and free of synthetic dyes, coloring, flavorings and preservatives. Products labeled “natural” can still contain fructose corn syrup and GMOs. The term is largely unregulated by the USDA. Even meat, poultry, and egg products can still have antibiotics and growth hormones, and can be fed on GMO feed. The US FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.

The USDA says,  claims indicating that a product is natural food, such as “natural chili” or “chili - a natural product” would be unacceptable for a product containing beet powder which artificially colors the finished product. However, “all natural ingredients” might be an acceptable claim for such a product.
The UK FSA guidance states: "The term ‘natural’ without qualification should be used ... to describe single foods, of a traditional nature, to which nothing has been added and which have been subjected only to such processing as to render them suitable for human consumption."

Natural or all natural labels are more marketing than fact based. Naturally, this is all unnatural label mumbo jumbo that means little, but makes us feel good.

Divorce Rate

Just read that 67% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. The average divorce rate for first marriages is about 41% in the United States, and the divorce rate figures have been declining.

YouTube Tips

Here are a few YouTube keyboard shortcuts to increase your viewing pleasure.

K = pause or play
J = rewind 10 seconds
L = fast forward 10 seconds
M = turn off the sound
Number 0 = jump to the start of the video
Numbers 1 to 9 = jump to between 10% and 90% of the way through the video.

Find your favorite artist’s page - type # + the artist’s name (without spaces) in the search bar.
To use theater  or full screen mode, click on the small rectangle or the open box next to it in the lower right corner of the video.

To change the speed of a video, click on the gear symbol in the lower right corner of any video.

Thomas Edison Phonograph

This was written during 1877 about his phonograph. The same might be said about social apps and smart phones today.
“He has been addicted to electricity for many years,” the phonograph, with its ability to record speech, “will eventually destroy all confidence between man and man.”

Another paper of the time outlined ways phonographic technology might go wrong: greedy thieves might trick elderly millionaires into vocally amending their wills; sketchy neighbors might use opera recordings to lure women out of their homes; and wives might frighten their husbands out of sleep by playing a tape that yells “POLICE! FIRE!” over and over again. Editorial fear-mongering has not changed much during the past 140 years.

What is DLNA

TVs and many devices usually include DLNA as one of the features. For most of us, it is unimportant and we do not even know what it means. Since it is a standard, manufacturers and stores to not use it as a selling point, because almost all devices have the feature.

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, the trade group founded by Sony in 2003 to define the interoperability guidelines.

It separates multimedia devices into 10 certified classes subdivided into three broad categories: Home Network Devices (PCs, TVs, AV receivers, game consoles), Mobile Handheld Devices (smartphones, tablets, digital cameras), and Home Infrastructure Devices (routers and hubs). All DLNA-certified devices use Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to discover and talk to each other on the network.

May 12, 2017

Happy Friday

Family and friends are not our whole life, but make our lives whole.

Family and friends always make my life whole, especially on a Happy Friday!

National Limerick Day

It is observed annually on May 12 and celebrates the birthday of English artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear. He is known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry, prose, and limericks.
National Limerick Day also celebrates the limerick poem, a very short, humorous, nonsense poem. Within a limerick, there are five lines.  The first two lines rhyme with the fifth line and the third and fourth line rhyme together. The first, second, and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables while rhyming and having the same verbal rhythm. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables, and have to rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm. The limerick also has a particular rhythm which is officially described as anapestic trimeter
A limerick example of a nursery rhyme.
    “Hickory, dickory, dock,
    The mouse ran up the clock.
    The clock struck one,
    And down he run,
    Hickory, dickory, dock.”

There once was a man named Lodge,
who had seat belts installed in his Dodge.
When his date was strapped in,
He committed a sin,
without ever leaving the garage.

A bather whose clothing was strewed
By winds that left her quite nude
Saw a man come along
And unless I am wrong
You expected this line to be lewd.

Mother's Day

In the US, Mother's Day is celebrated May 14. In the UK, Mothering Day was celebrated March 26, where it is always celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, three weeks before Easter Sunday.

Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother's Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. During 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day in the US. It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you have ever known, your mother.

The day took off in Britain when a vicar's daughter, Constance Smith was inspired by a newspaper report of Jarvis' campaign and began a push for the day to be officially marked in England. Smith founded the Mothering Sunday Movement and even wrote a booklet, "The Revival of Mothering Sunday" in 1920. Interestingly, neither Smith nor Jarvis became mother’s themselves.

The French celebrate Mother's Day on the last Sunday in May. Mother’s Day in Spain is celebrated on December 8th.

Wordology, Donnybrook

A  donnybrook is a free-for-all or brawl and is usually a public quarrel or dispute. Usage of the word stems from history of a place in Ireland. The word donnybrook comes from Domhnach Broc, meaning 'The Church of Saint Broc'. A donnybrook is larger than a fight, but smaller than a brouhaha or hubbub.

The Donnybrook Fair was an annual eight to fourteen day event held in Donnybrook, Ireland from the 1200s to the mid 1800s. The fair was legendary for the vast quantities of liquor consumed, the number of hasty marriages performed during the week following it, and for the frequent brawls that erupted throughout it. From the 1790s on there were campaigns against the drunken brawl the fair had become. The event was abolished in 1855, but not before its name had become a generic term for a free-for-all.

Incidentally, there is an annual Donnybrook Fair held in Walsh, Ontario, Canada named after the Dublin fair.

Five Time Tips for Success

Planning for success is necessary for achieving success. Remember the old adage, "Failure to plan means planning for failure." Here are a few tips that might help increase your chances for success.

Take time at the beginning of each day tо рlаn your dау. If you do not know what you are going to do, you will never know if you achieved it.

Create your ToDo list with A,B,C priorities, with A being most important to you. Spend Eighty percent of your time on A items, fifteen percent of your time on B items, and the remainder on C items. If you do this each day, you can satisfy your own needs as well as others, but with the proper priority for your own success.

Take time before еvеrу call аnd tаѕk tо dесіdе what rеѕult you desire. Define success and you can achieve it. When on the phone smile, it will do wonders for your attitude.

Do not answer the phone, email, or text just because they happen. I call this letting others steal your time. In order to be the most productive, schedule time to put phone in airline mode and shut down email and text. When you are ready for others, turn them back on and answer with your priorities, not others'.

Every day, compliment at least one person. Also, try to smile at people more often. An engaging smile is a precursor to success.


Someone on the web made a picture for one of my quotes. In fact I found at least 12 sites that have reposted this quote.

HDMI Cable Facts

So, you bought a new 4k TV and the salesperson is trying to sell you new whizbang goochi goochi 4k, or Ultra HDMI, or HDMI-2 cables to handle the new high speeds. Do not listen. It is a scam to increase store profit.

It is important to understand that HDMI cables are pipes, just like water pipes. Liquid goes in liquid comes out. The pipe does not care whether it is water or soda or rum. In HDMI cables, data goes in and data comes out. No decisions are made, nothing is done to the data, it simply passes through the cable. The cable does not care what type of data it is.

A quote from "Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification does not define new cables or new connectors. Current High Speed cables (category 2 cables) are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth."

By definition, HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. There have been two HDMI cable standards, standard and high speed. Standard HDMI cables have been out of date since about 2010, but still support devices up to 1080. High speed cables support everything, including 4k, etc. They do not care whether the signal is standard, HDR, 4K, ULTRA, HDMI1, or HDMI2. HDMI cables are marked on the package and on the cable, so just avoid cables marked "standard" and you will be fine for 4K.

Gold ends, fancy cord wrapping, etc., are pretty, but not important for delivering signals to the TV. Manufacturing quality may have some slight affect and might not last long if abused. Of course, when was the last time you abused your cables. You plug them in, hide them behind the TV and forget about them.

The difference in cable quality does matter when you buy longer lengths. Usually HDMI cables are less than about 9 feet in length. If you want to string a 50 foot HDMI cable to a different part of the house, then quality is important, so the signal is not lost along the length. It still has nothing to do HDR, 4K, etc., it is simply manufacturing quality and potential signal loss.

Incidentally, there is a new standard coming out toward the end of 2017 called HDBaseT. The HDBaseT cable combines audio and video signals, USB, network, and even power into one single cable and is set to replace HDMI in the long run. It will be in the next generation devices, but that will likely take years.

Pay TV Dropout Rate

Over 750,000 American households ditched pay TV during the first quarter of 2017.

May 5, 2017

Happy Friday

Laugh at yourself and it will cure your depression. Laugh with others to ease their pain.

I love to laugh out loud, alone and with others, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy Cinco de Mayo

 It is celebrated May 5 and is a holiday commemorating the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.

Happy Obscura Day

It is celebrated May 6, 2017 and is dedicated to the celebration of exploration and discovery. Caution, it can be extremely addictive for the curious. LINK  As an example of the types of thing you might find on Atlas Obscura, here is Molly Lewis whistling Gluck’s Melodie “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”. LINK

Seven Facts about May

No other month begins or ends on the same day of the week during the year as May.

The Empire State Building opened fоr аll оn Mау 1, 1931. Thіѕ 443 mеtеr tаll buіldіng hеld the hоnоr оf bеіng the tаllеѕt buіldіng оf USA until the Wоrld Trаdе Cеntеr claimed the glory. Hоwеvеr, after the WTC аttасk оn 9/11, this buіldіng (including antenna) is the tаllеѕt building оf Nеw York, аgаіn.

May celebrates mаnу days, bеgіnnіng wіth the Mау Dау оn the fіrѕt dау of Mау. Thіѕ іѕ also knоwn аѕ international workers' day, a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movement, socialists, communists or anarchists, and occurs every year on May Day.

Mоthеr’ѕ Day іѕ celebrated on the second Sunday іn Mау. Memorial Day is сеlеbrаtеd on the lаѕt Monday іn Mау. Armеd Fоrсеѕ Dау іѕ the third Sunday іn Mау.

Nurses are heavily (and rightfully) honored during the month of May. There is National Nurses Day, May 6, National Student Nurse Day, May 8, and National School Nurse Day, Wednesday of National Nurse Week May 6 - 12. The American Nurses Association has designated 2017 as the "Year of the Healthy Nurse (ANA defines a healthy nurse as someone who actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal and professional well being.)

Wordology, Graffiti

Both "graffiti" and its occasional singular form "graffito" are from the Italian word graffiato 'scratched'. The term graffiti originally referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, etc., found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins, such as the Catacombs of Rome. Use of the word has evolved to include any graphics applied to surfaces in a manner that usually constitutes vandalism.

Graffiti are writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or painted, mostly illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view. Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and have existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.


Charlie Chaplin died during 1977, the year Apple was founded.
The Wright brothers made their first flight during 1903, just 66 years before the first man stepped on the Moon during 1969.

Twelve million penguins in Antarctica celebrated World Penguin Day April 25, 2017. 

They consist of five species: Emperor, Adélie, Chinstrap, Gentoo and Macaroni.

Nazism, Fascism, Socialism, Communism

These terms are found in the media and social web sites much too often lately. However, it seems most are unaware of what each term means as they call anyone with a different point of view any of these words interchangeably.

- Nazi was formed from the first two syllables of the German pronunciation of the word 'national' (na-tsi̯-o-ˈnaːl). Its political and economic doctrines were put into effect by the Nazis in Germany from 1933 to 1945, including the totalitarian principle of government, predominance of Germanic groups assumed to be racially superior, and supremacy of the leader. It arose from attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of 'socialism' as an alternative to both socialism and free market capitalism.
It is usually characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and anti-Semitism, developed from the influences of Pan-Germanism and the anti-communist movement. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous society, unified on the basis of racial purity.

Bottom line, Nazism is racist, anti-Semitist, anti democracy, anti capitalist, anti communist, and anti socialist.

Fascism - Originates from Italian fascismo, equivalent to fascio, meaning bundle or political group. The ideology originated in Italy and was established by Mussolini beginning during 1922 and is a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. He founded the National Fascist Party. His economic system intended to resolve class conflict through collaboration between the classes.

Bottom line, Fascism is militaristic, nationalistic, racist, anti democratic, anti liberal, anti Marxist, and organizes a country along hierarchical authoritarianism without ethical or legal restraints, and it is dedicated to increase its territory.

Socialism - Under Socialism, equality is the main focus. Instead of workers owning the facilities and tools for production, workers are paid and allowed to spend their wages as they choose, while the governing body owns and operates the means of production for the benefit of the working class. Each worker is provided with necessities so he is able to produce without worry for basic needs. Advancement and production are limited because there is no incentive to achieve more. Without motivation to succeed, workers' human instincts prohibit drive and desire due to no incentives.

"Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called 'socialism'." ~ Vladimir Lenin

Socialism and Communism are structures that promote equality and seek to eliminate social classes. Sometimes, the two are used interchangeably, though they are different. Communism is a political system, socialism is primarily an economic system. Both espouse everyone doing their share and working together to provide for the greater good. Each utilizes a planned production schedule to ensure the needs of all community members are met. They are utopian economic structures that some countries have tried, but most have failed or became dictatorships. Socialist philosophy is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution."

Bottom line, Socialism is mainly an economic system that espouses equality among the masses, dictated by leadership that owns all the resources. Two kinds of property: personal property, such as houses, clothing, etc. owned by the individual and public property including factories, and means of production are owned by the State, but with worker control.

Communism - From the French word communisme, a doctrine based on Marxian socialism and Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R. It grew out of the Socialist movement and is a system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, with actual ownership belonging to the community or the totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party. The communist philosophy embraces a communal lifestyle to share all economic and material products between inhabitants of the commune, so that all may benefit from everybody's work. Communist philosophy is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

The Soviet Union was officially dissolved on December 26, 1991. Currently, countries controlled by Marxist–Leninist parties under a single-party system include the People's Republic of China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea. Many other countries have Communist parties, that are not dominant.

Bottom line, Communism is totalitarian, anti individual ownership, and anti capitalist. It is equated with socialism and contrasted with democracy and capitalism. Communism is considered an extreme form of socialism. Private property is abolished. The concept of property is negated and replaced with the concept of commons and ownership with "usership".

Interesting to note that all four of these 'isms' promote equality, but all have a ruling class that is above the community and enjoys the riches denied to the masses.

Banana, Herb or Fruit

The banana plant is a hybrid, originating from the mismatched pairing of two South Asian wild plant species. Every Cavendish banana, the most widely known in the world, is genetically identical.

They are cultivated from cuttings under the ground. A banana (the yellow thing you peel and eat) is a fruit, containing the seeds of the plant. However, commercially grown banana plants are sterile and the seeds are reduced to little specks. The banana plant is called a 'banana tree' in popular use, but it is technically regarded as a herbaceous plant or herb, not a tree, because the stem does not contain true woody tissue.

Bottom line, a banana is both a fruit and herb.

Landline Call Blocking

AT&T, Verizon, and others have a feature for home landline phones that blocks 'Anonymous' and 'Private' callers. It will not block 'Unknown' or 'Out-of-Area' callers, so aunt Bertha's call will get through.

Pick up your phone and dial *77. This will activate the Anonymous Call Rejection feature on your landline. Anonymous and private numbers will not cause your phone to ring. When Anonymous Call Rejection is turned on, private callers will hear an automated message. The automated message will prompt them to hang up, unblock or “un-private” their number, and call again. If the caller makes their number visible and calls again, your phone will ring. If they remain private, your phone will never ring.

To turn off this feature, pick up your phone and dial *87.

There are also other options, such as dialing *60 for AT&T landline phones to block 10 local numbers, but the company charges a monthly fee for the privilege.

Apr 28, 2017

Happy Friday

Giving away a smile is an inexpensive gift that returns a wealth of joy.

I always like to give away smiles, especially on a Happy Friday!

Tai Chi Day

Last Saturday of April each year we celebrate World Tai Chi and Qigong Day in 80 nations. People come together, to breathe together and provide a healing vision for our world. Click the link to see videos of past events -

Talking Bandages

Bandages now can detect how a wound is healing and send messages back to a doctor. 3-D printing is used to manufacture the dressings. Nano-sensors within the bandages report to doctors about events such as detected infections and blood clotting.

The work on smart bandages is at Swansea University, and could be set for trials within the next twelve months. The smart bandage effort is part of a 5G test hub for digital innovation. Professor Marc Clement said experts at the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre are also involved in the project.

Routers and Modems

 Routers and modems perform different functions. Modems connect to the Internet and (MOdulate and DEModulate) the incoming signals and routers send/route wired (Ethernet) and wireless traffic around the house. Most home boxes contain both a modem and router and, because of this the terms are often used interchangeably.

Internet Speed

Here is a look as the average internet speed for selected countries. Interesting stuff.

Older is Better

Research has shown getting older could also mean getting happier. During 2016, research from the UK Office for National Statistics concluded the most joyful age bracket was 65-79.
The survey looked at more than 300,000 adults across the UK and found life satisfaction peaked at that age before declining over 80. However, those in their 40s were shown to be less happy and with the highest levels of anxiety.

In a blog post on Psychology Today, Dr. Romeo Vitelli says that happiness can be a tricky thing to define. It can mean the kind of joy that only occurs at key moments in our lives, or it can simply be the amount of positive emotion we happen to feel at any given time. There appears to be an upswing as we get older.

A United States research project found happiness was relatively stable for people in their mid-20s to late 30s, then it declined during the 40s and slowly rose to a peak from 60 to 69 years old.

It is all relative, and there is no set rule for how happy anyone will be at certain times in life. I believe, regardless of age, you can be as happy as you choose to be.

Need to Read

We just passed World Book Day and it reminded me of the pleasure of reading. In fact, reading is the cheapest and easiest form of intellectual pleasure. TV and movies may be fun, but are rarely intellectual.
There are various ways in which pleasures may be derived. It may be the pleasures of eating delicious food, listening to music, sitting in the cool shade of a tree and enjoying the beauty of nature, inhaling the perfume of flowers, or simply delighting in the soft touch of petals. These, basically, are pleasures of the senses.
Reading, however, is an Intellectual Pleasure and should be nurtured from an early age. Learning the truths of science or philosophy is also a form of intellectual pleasure.
There are various elements that make reading a pleasure. The reader may appreciate the style of the author, the language skills used in expressing ideas, or the arrangement of ideas. Logical sequence of thoughts or the thoughts themselves may also be appealing. The pleasures of reading are truly inexhaustible as there are a variety of books, essays, novels, dramas, sagas, poems, and speeches.
The sages of old recommend that whenever you feel dejected, depressed and under the weather, get into the company of great authors and read their books. Books can be your never failing friends and they can never get you into trouble.
Reading improves your vocabulary and enhances your imagination. The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. With more knowledge comes more confidence and confidence builds self-esteem. Reading widens your horizons. Finally, reading exercises your memory muscles. I hope my blog and my books provide fodder for great conversations.

Apr 21, 2017

Happy Friday

You can't find a recipe for happiness on the web.

My recipe includes a good mix of laughter, joy, and smiles spread on a Happy Friday!

National Pig in a Blanket Day

April 24th is National Pig in a Blanket Day. Pig in a blanket is a humble dish enjoyed throughout the world.

National Pretzel Day

April 26 was declared National Pretzel Day during 2003. This year there are a few places that serve free pretzels. Click on this LINK to find out where.

Wordology, MacGuffin

A MacGuffin is an object, event, or person that the characters in a story value greatly. Almost the whole plot revolves around it, even though the thing itself isn’t actually important to the unfolding story. The most common type of MacGuffin is a person, place, or thing, such as money or an object of value.

Think of the falcon in the Maltese Falcon movie. The black falcon statuette, called the “Maltese Falcon” is the MacGuffin in the movie and the plot revolves around ownership and finding it. The Rabbit's Foot in Mission: Impossible III is a modern MacGuffin.

Scenario editor Angus MacPhail established the term MacGuffin for the unknown plot objective which you did not need to choose until the story planning was complete. Some say it comes from the word guff, which is defined as meaning nonsense and MacPhail added Mac from his name to the front of it. Alfred Hitchcock adopted and used the word to the end of his career.

3D Printed Shoes

Adidas announced it is partnering with a 3D printing company to mass-produce a line of shoes with 3D printed mid-sole cushions. It plans to make 5,000 pairs by the end of the 2017, and up to 100,000 pairs during 2018. Adidas plans a single design to test the tech, but wants to eventually customize each shoe to fit the unique contours of a person’s foot.

Incidentally, Nike, Under Armour, and New Balance also have their own 3D printed shoe projects.

Uninsured vs. Insured

Did a comparison on the number of US uninsured vs. insured between 2007 (before Affordable Care Act) and 2016. Medicare and Medicaid added 18.7 million more people than the uninsured reduction.

In addition, this does not count the number of insured, whose premiums are being subsidized by the Affordable Care Act.

As the chart shows, Uninsured dropped by 18.4 million people. However, the number of people covered by Medicaid and Medicare increased by 37.1 million during the same period. Medicaid, alone added 5.7 million more people than were dropped from the uninsured rolls. At the same time, Medicare added an additional 13 million people.

Bottom line, the pea shuffle of uninsured numbers looks like all is well, except the rest of us are paying more for Medicaid, more for Medicare, more for subsidies to cover insurance for the poor - and more for increases in the cost of our own health insurance.

Eliminate Nasty Paint Smells

Add one tablespoon of imitation vanilla extract per quart of freshly-opened paint and mix thoroughly until well-incorporated. Your family will appreciate the fresh smell.

Russia and US Border

The news media usually fails to mention that Russia and the US share a border. There is no wall and not much traffic of refugees trying to pass illegally.

The Russia / United States maritime boundary follows the June 1, 1990 USA/USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement, but it has yet to be approved by the Russian parliament. The United States Senate gave its consent to ratification on September 16, 1991.

Two islands, Little Diomede, US and Big Diomede, Russia lie between Russia and the United States. The islands are only 35 km away from both Chukotka, Russia and Alaska, US. Because the international Date Line runs between them, the time difference between them is about 21 hours.

Incidentally, Russia's Eastern border is with China.

International Space Station Facts

The International Space Station if reduced to two dimensions is roughly the size of a soccer pitch, at about 73 meters (239 feet) in length and 109 meters (356 feet) in width. It orbits the Earth at an altitude of 330 to 435 km (205 to 270 miles).

Incidentally, In 2001, Pizza Hut paid the Russian space agency $1 million to send a pizza to the ISS, Including a Pizza Hut logo on a Soyuz rocket and a video of a cosmonaut Yuri Usachov​ giving a thumbs up after eating some of the pizza. The space pizza, per the BBC, “spending a long time in space has the effect of deadening the taste buds, so extra salt and spices were added to the pizza and salami had to be used as pepperoni lacked the necessary shelf life, growing moldy.​”

WiFi vs. Plugged In Speeds

Each Wi-Fi standard is rated according to its maximum theoretical network bandwidth. The newest, 802.11ac offers up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps). However, the performance of Wi-Fi networks practically never approach these theoretical maximums, usually performing at about half of peak speed. If you compare 300 Mbps WiFi to wired Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps, the Ethernet connection most often outperforms in real world usage.
Wi-Fi networks have a range that is limited by the transmission power, antenna type, the location, physical obstacles, such as walls, number of other devices sharing the signal, and the environment. A typical indoor wireless router might have a solid range of about 32 meters (105 ft). Distance from the source also degrades performance. The fastest theoretical WiFi 802.11 ac is maximum speed of 866.7 Mb/s.

Plugged in (Ethernet) offers advantages, such as faster speeds, lower latency, and no wireless interference problems.  A wired Ethernet connection can theoretically offer up to 10 Gb/s.

Bottom line, when it comes to speed necessary for streaming movies and TV WiFi may be more convenient, but is much slower and may cause delays and hesitations. Also, when looking at your speed, consider 10Mbs as the absolute minimum for streaming - and more is better.

Incidentally, no matter how fast your WiFi is within your house, it does not increase the speed of the connection between your house and the Internet.

Apr 14, 2017

Happy Friday

A smile is like a push-up bra for your face.

I always get a lift when I smile, especially on a Happy Friday and even more on a Happy Good Friday!

Happy Easter

Easter is celebrated on April 16 2017. Put on your Easter bonnet and read some of the traditions around the world.

The Ukrainian Easter tradition of Pysanka Eggs is a special craft. These highly-decorated eggs have been made during Holy Week for generations. While people once made eggs to ensure fertility and avoid fires and nasty spirits, today they take to the art form for the aesthetic allure.

After designing a pattern on an uncooked or empty egg, it is then dipped in a colored dye. Between the dyeing stages, the craftsman draws patterns on the egg with wax, so as to seal the color currently on the egg and create the intricate patterns you see on the final product.

Passion Plays - Villagers take part in an Easter Passion Play re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday at Gantang Village near Magelang, in the province of Central Java.

One of the longest running traditions of Easter is the Passion Play. Because a lot of people in medieval times could not read, plays were a great way to educate the masses about the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are passion plays held all over the world, but one of the most famous is the Oberammergau Passion Play. Its roots began during the black plague, when the residents of Oberammergau were on high alert to keep the disease out. A farmer coming home from a nearby village brought the plague back with him, which killed one-fifth of the town. With the disease ravaging the town, the elders declared that the church would hold a passion play every 10 years in exchange for God’s blessing and protection. The play has been performed every 10 years since 1633, with only a ban in 1770, World War I, and World War II stopping three shows.

Don't forget to decorate your Osterbaum - Easter tree with colorful decorated eggs.

Spring Cleaning with Beer

Wash wooden furniture to get the winter grime off, then pour a bit of flat beer onto a microfiber or soft cloth and rub it onto the surface of your favorite outdoor wood furniture. It works like a traditional furniture polish product, removing the dullness of years of wear and tear and instilling a shining, rich color. Works indoors. also.

Block My Name

If you do not want someone to know you are calling them. Just type *67 or #31# before the ten-digit mobile number of the person you are calling. Some providers will provide a confirmation beep or tone after you dial *67, so wait for the regular dial tone to return before dialing the 10-digit number you wish to call. Some countries have different codes, such as 141 in the United Kingdom or 1831 in Australia.

Drive C

Early PCs did not come with internal storage devices due to the expense. Instead, they generally had some form of a floppy disk reader, such as those used to read 5 1/4″ floppy disks, initially labeled as “A” in MS-DOS and certain other operating systems.

Some systems came with two such floppy disk drives necessitating the need for a “B”. When the 3.5″ floppy disk was commonly added, using both “A” and “B” for floppy drives was firmly entrenched.

When hard disk drives became standard in most PCs during the 1980s, since the first two letters were already commonly used for these floppy drives, they logically labeled the third storage device “C”, even though it now tended to be the main storage for the computer.

Even though no longer used, the drive designation remains, with A and B not used. Now you can easily change, remove or add drive letters for both physical and logical drives.

Freddie Mercury

Was just discussing Zoroastrianism with friends a few nights ago and it reminded me of this. The late Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury) was proud of his Zoroastrian heritage. “I’ll always walk around like a Persian popinjay and no one’s gonna stop me, honey,”  he once said. His sister Karishma Cooke also talked about the role of Zoroastrianism in the family. “We as a family were very proud of being Zoroastrian. I think what [Freddie’s] Zoroastrian faith gave him was to work hard, to persevere, and to follow your dreams.”

Texas Rangers Food

It is baseball season again and the Texas Rangers are changing their famous “Boomstick” and taking it up a notch for the 2017 season.

Here is the “Most Valuable Tamale”, a 2-foot tamale filled with the Rangers’ 24-inch “Boomstick” hot dog and covered with all sorts of foodie goodies.

Hottest Planet

Even though it is not closest to the sun (Mercury is), the hottest planet in our Solar system is Venus, second closest. The average temperature on the Venus does not go below 462 degrees while that of Mercury reaches only up to 420 degrees.

Taxi Medallion Value

New York taxi medallions that are tightly regulated by the city and allow yellow cabs to legally pick up fares on the streets have drastically come down in value during the past three years. The tags sunk from about $1.05 million in 2014 to $241,000 for one sold during March 2017. The main cause is rivals Uber, Lyft, Via, and Gett.

Also, during March, Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates the city's taxi industry, sold new medallions for $80,000  falling from last year with an initial asking price of $475,000, but received no bids. The value of taxi medallions in other cities, such as Boston and Chicago have also fallen sharply.

Good Neighbors

The Canada–United States border officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries. Eight Canadian provinces and territories and thirteen US states are located along the border.

At one point the border between Canada on the north and the US runs through the villages of Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec - and though the middle of the town library.

It physically snakes through side streets, in and out of houses, through the public library, and straight down the middle of a main road that residents affectionately call “Canusa Avenue." An apartment building in town has two addresses, one for each country.

Incidentally, Canada borders are east, west, north, and south of the US. In Alaska, Canada is directly East. In many northern US continental states, Canada is directly North. In Maine, it is directly West and North. In Detroit, Michigan, Canada is directly South. Part of Washington State is both North and South of Canada. See my blog 

Apr 8, 2017

Happy Friday

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I always try to be kind, especially on a Happy Friday!

Video Watching

It is estimated that around ten billion videos are watched online annually.  Of those ten billion videos, user created videos are most viewed, followed by news and movie trailers.

Wyatt Earp and John Wayne

Wyatt Earp was not satisfied sticking to one job for too long. During his life he was a lawman, buffalo hunter, brothel keeper, miner and boxing referee, among others. But he was best known for being an infinitely tough cowboy.
Earp took part in the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a 30-second gun battle that has inspired dozens of feature-length films. What you might not realize is that, unlike most people involved in that event, Earp lived long enough to see the earliest movies inspired by his exploits.

Toward the end of his life, Earp settled in California and tried to break into Hollywood. Perhaps noticing an alarming lack of westerns where his character was always surrounded by naked ladies, Earp decided he wanted to tell his story from his own perspective. Unfortunately, the closest he got was reportedly a background part in a single scene of an obscure 1915 film. However, Earp did get to befriend some Hollywood actors, including a 17-year-old nobody called Marion Morrison, whose stage name is John Wayne.

While hanging out on movie sets, casually choreographing historical gunfights for directors like John Ford, Earp would share stories from the Wild West with the actors. The future Wayne, then an extra and prop man, soaked them up. He also paid close attention to the way Earp talked and carried himself.

Six Interesting April Facts

1. The Romans called this month Aprilis which may derive from the verb aperire meaning “to open”, referring to flowers and fruits opening.
2. April was the 216th most popular name given to a baby girl in England and Wales in 2015 and the 191st most popular in Scotland.

3. Of the eight US presidents who died in office, three died in April.
4. April is the first month of the year with exactly 30 days and the only month with an “i” in its name.

5. In the UK, April is national awareness month for pets, mathematics, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, bowel cancer and jazz.

6. The Anglo-Saxons called April Eostre-Monadh, possibly named after a pagan goddess.

Windows no Longer King

The technology world passed a potentially huge marker during March 2017 as Google developed Android, with 37.93% overtook Microsoft's Windows at 37.91% software in terms of worldwide users. Apple IOS is at 13%

Google's mobile software tops Windows after almost 30 years as number one. The news comes from online research company StatCounter, which continually monitors the number of users worldwide.

Windows still dominates the worldwide desktop market, at 84%. Android had just 2.4% of all internet usage five years ago.

Hacking Browsers

Google Chrome is the least hackable web browser, the results of the 10th annual Pwn2Own event shows. The computer hacking contest is held each year at the Vancouver, Canada CanSecWest security conference and sees contestants desperately try to exploit popular software and hardware with previously unknown vulnerabilities.

Those who manage to successfully find an exploit win a cash prize, a jacket emblazoned with the year of their win, and, the device they broke into. During the three days of Pwn2Own, Microsoft Edge was successfully attacked five times – racking up $300,000 in bounties. Safari was exploited three times, Firefox was attacked twice, but only once successfully. Google Chrome had no attacks completed in time.

Library Tidbit

There are more libraries in Britain’s prisons than there are in its schools.

Movie Trailer Facts

The color of the background for movie rating cards is important. The rating for the film itself shows up in text, but is also indicated by the background color of the rating card splash screen.
There are three colors used - red, yellow, and green. The specific regulations surrounding what can be shown in the preview for each of these rating cards are set by the MPAA.
The most commonly seen one is the green rating card. Before April of 2009, a green background meant that the preview was approved for all audiences. Since April of 2009, the MPAA now states that the green card is for “appropriate audiences”. This basically means it is appropriate for audiences in theaters, taking into account what movie the audience is about to watch.
A yellow rating card indicates the preview is for age-appropriate Internet viewers and is used on internet trailers only. The red rating card indicates that content in the preview is only appropriate for mature audiences. These previews can only be shown in theaters where the movie about to be watched is R-rated, NC-17-rated, or unrated.

Theatrical trailers must be less than two minutes and 30 seconds, as mandated by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). The MPAA gives each movie studio one exception to this a year where they are allowed to show a trailer that is longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Trailers shown online can be any length. The rating system itself is entirely voluntary on the part of studios. However, having a film rated tends to boost revenues significantly, so nearly all major studios submit all their films for rating.

Wordology, Portmanteau

[pawrt-man-toh] It would be a terrible shame if portmanteau were not itself a portmanteau. The word originally referred to a large traveling case made of stiff leather, derived from a combination of the French porter, meaning "to carry," and manteau, meaning "mantle" or "cloak."

The word's literary significance is the work of Lewis Carroll. In Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice that the strange compound words she hears in Wonderland are "like a portmanteau--there are two meanings packed up into one word."

Deserts and Sand and Ice

The two biggest deserts are the Antarctic and the Arctic. Even though they are covered with ice, they are dry enough to be considered deserts.

The Sahara, spanning an area of 8.5 million square kilometers (covers 29.6% of Africa) is the world’s hottest desert and third in size. The Sahara is only twenty percent sand, the rest of it is mostly made up of  bare rock, gravel, and pebbles.

Happy Friday

The road to happiness passes through the sea of smiles.

I am swimmingly happy today, because it is Happy Friday!

Cheese Weasel Day

 It is the only Internet holiday to say thanks to Techies for all they do. It began in the early 1990s, is celebrated on April 3 or the first Monday after April 3, and has been dishing out great fun ever since then.
Legend has it the Cheese Weasel  travels the world, leaving a bit of cheese under keyboards or mouse pads of good techie boys and girls, men and women. Have some fun and surprise your favorite geek to some cheese on that day.

Give your favorite techie a Thank You shout out using #cheeseweaselday on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your favorite social site. If you are not close by on that day, send a picture of some cheese.

National Tartan Day

The US Senate Resolution on National Tartan Day was passed on March 20, 1998. Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage on 6 April, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320.

It commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the American Declaration of Independence was modeled. It also recognizes achievements of Americans of Scottish descent. National Tartan Day parades occur in major cities on or around April 6. They often feature bag-pipe bands playing Scottish music and people dressed in kilts with tartan patterns that represent their Scottish clans. 

Olympic Camera 1936

Nazi Olympics in Berlin in 1936 were the first to be televised. The six feet long zoom cameras were called "Fernsehkanonen" (television canon). Three of these cameras were used at that Olympics.

Snapping Windows

Windows 10 supports four window snap positions, one for each corner. You can use this feature to see two equal size windows at the same time. Useful if you want to compare things from. If you have Windows snap activated (It is usually default on), snapping a window into one of these quadrants with keyboard shortcuts takes a double move: Windows key plus left/right arrow, followed by Windows key + up/down arrow.

To snap a window into the upper-left quadrant for example, press Windows key + left arrow and then, while continuing to hold down the Windows key, press the up arrow.

Quick Clean Humor

I told my girlfriend she drew her eyebrows too high.
She seemed surprised.

What's the difference between in-laws and outlaws?
Outlaws are wanted.

And God said to John, come forth and you shall be granted eternal life.
But John came fifth and won a toaster.

I bought some shoes from a drug dealer.
I don't know what he laced them with, but I have been tripping all day.

I bought the world's worst thesaurus yesterday.
Not only is it terrible, it's terrible.

Wordology, Noisome

Noisome (noy some) It comes from Middle English noysome, from noy - shortened annoyance, alteration of anoi, from Anglo-French anui, from anuier to harass, annoy.

Noisome sounds like it might be a synonym of noisy, but it is not. Something noisome is disgusting, offensive, or harmful, often in its smell. Also
highly obnoxious or objectionable as noisome habits. English words annoy and annoyance are also related to noisome.

What's in a Name, Java Jacket

Your fancy coffee cup holder was originally named Java Jacket, and now it has been morphed into the modern-day names as a coffee sleeve, coffee cozy, coffee clutch, or a paper zarf. 

See my blog for another reference LINK         

Butter Types

The three main types are uncultured, cultured, and European-style.

Uncultured or sweet cream butter, churned from pasteurized cream is the supermarket standard.

Cultured butter is made from cream that has been fermented with 'good bacteria', and it is churned longer and slower, according to the American Butter Institute.

European-style butter is made similarly, but not all European-style butters are cultured.

Both cultured and European-style butter have less water, more butterfat (from 82 to 87 percent) and a tangier, deeper flavor than mellow, sweet cream butter. There are salted and unsalted versions of each.

There are other variations of butter, such as 'light' butter, which has more water and about half the fat and calories than regular butter, but because it is made to be spreadable, it also contains preservatives and emulsifiers. Whipped butter gets its light, spreadable texture from nitrogen whipped into it after churning. USDA-certified organic butter comes from cows raised on organic, pesticide-free feed, without antibiotics or growth hormones.

Salt adds flavor and extends the shelf life of butter. According to the US Butter Institute, unsalted butter has a two-week refrigerator shelf life and salted butter two months. The USDA is a bit more generous, giving a range of one to three months. What you buy from the store has probably been in cold storage for longer than that. If you are not using your butter quickly, it will stay fresher if you store it in the freezer, where it will keep for up to nine months.

Happy Friday

Happiness does not require acclimation.

I am firmly acclimated to Happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

World Bipolar Day

I went back and forth as to whether to include this, then decided I should. Seriously, the day, March 30 was chosen, because it is the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who is believed to have had bipolar disorder.

World Bipolar Day is a day to remember that those who have bipolar disorder are capable of achieving great things and to remind them that they are not alone. The vision of World Bipolar Day is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma.          

National Protocol Officer’s Week

I hesitated to include this one also, but it seemed like the right thing to do. It is celebrated, the week of March 26-April 1 (last week of month). A Protocol Officer is educated and trained to be a skilled advisor, expert, and leader who plans and orchestrates VIP visits and trips, meetings, ceremonies, and events. Leaders rely on Protocol Officers to guide them in U.S. and foreign order of precedence, customs, and cultural differences. I presume they need a week, because all those protocols difficult to accomplish in a day.


Prior to the US Marihuana (sic) Tax Act of 1937, phytocannabinoids found in hemp were prevalent in a vast majority of the food supply. Hemp oils and hemp proteins were used to fortify food formulations and consumed daily worldwide. Hemp was used as feed stock for nearly all animals that were consumed. Farmers would feed hemp to chickens, pigs, and cattle for its high protein and essential amino acids. The animals would then pass along to humans phytocannabinoids through their meat or milk and mothers would pass phytocannabinoids to their babies during breast feeding.

Cannabis Sativa, including hemp, is one of the only medicinal plants on Earth that grows naturally on nearly every continent of the world. The history of cannabis can be traced well beyond the beginnings of civilization. It has been used as both food and medicine since people began walking this planet. Humans and animals have evolved a system of cells that are nourished and replenished by phytocannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are active chemicals in cannabis that cause drug-like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system. They are also known as phytocannabinoids. At least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the Cannabis plant

Other plants that have cannabinoids include:  Coneflower (Echinacea), Electric Daisy (Acmella Oleracea), Helichrysum Umbraculigerum, Liverwort (Radula Marginata), Chocolate (Theobroma Cacao), and Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum).

See also my blog for more info LINK and LINK

Windows Ads

Have you noticed those annoying ads for Windows products while you look for files? They might just be small pop-ups for things like Office 365 subscriptions or Skype credits, but they annoy the heck out of me.

You can turn them off by following these steps:
Launch File Explorer and the click View > Options > Change folder and search options.
In the Folder Options dialog that pops up, select the View tab.
In the Advanced Settings box, scroll down and uncheck the option labeled “Show sync provider notifications.” Hit OK.
Done, ads gone.

There are also ads on the Start Screen. Some of these can be turned off by opening Windows 10 Settings app, go to Personalization, and click the Start tab. From there, switch off “Occasionally Show Suggestions in Start”. You are welcome.

Earliest Life on Earth

Scientists have recently discovered fossils of what look like red algae in Chitrakoot, India, which suggest that multicellular life arose several hundred million years earlier than previously believed.
Life can be traced as far back as 3.7 billion years or earlier, preserved in "mats" of fossilized single-celled microbes, but it took much longer for multicellular forms of life to emerge. Fossils appear to have been fairly common, beginning around 540 million years ago.

The new fossils, discovered by scientists from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, provide a clearer window into when advanced life began to form. Two types of fossils were found: one with a structure like thread, and the other with a more fleshy form. They are 400 million years older than the previously earliest known examples of red algae, making them the oldest plant-like fossils by a wide margin.


Blockchain is the world's leading software platform for digital assets, offering the largest production block chain platform in the world. The first blockchain was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented the following year as a core component of the digital currency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. A blockchain database is managed autonomously and registered transactions cannot be altered retroactively.
It is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the recorded data. Once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively. Blockchains are "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
Blockchains are suitable for the recording of events, medical records, other records management activities, identity management, and transaction processing. Various regulatory bodies in the music industry have started testing models that use blockchain technology for royalty collection and management of copyrights around the world. Previously unimagined applications, from digitally recorded property assets to regulatory compliance and trading are now actively being developed and deployed. Automated voting systems may prove to be the ultimate blockchain-based technology beyond bitcoin.

Blockchain is a large electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency, like bitcoin is one of those applications. Millions of users and hundreds of thousands of merchants currently use bitcoin digital currency. You can buy and sell bitcoins on PayPal and buy with your credit card or cash. Bitcoin is the decentralized, global, democratized, highly secure cryptocurrency. It use has grown immensely since it began and this global currency is completely separate from any government and its price is not subject to political manipulation. Last time I looked, one bitcoin was worth over a thousand US dollars.

Robot Growth

The International Federation of Robotics forecast that unit shipments for the global market for vacuum cleaning robots, lawn-mowing robots and other household cleaning robots will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33% through 2019.
Global medical robotics market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 21.43% during 2016 - 2021.
Agricultural robots forecast to increase from 32,000 units in 2016 to 594,000 units annually in 2024 and that the market is expected to reach $74.1 billion in annual revenue by 2024.

The Internet of Robotic Things market is expected to be $21.44 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 29.7% between 2016 and 2022.

Three Kinds of Bacon

They are: smoky, sweet, and funky.
Funky bacon is funky, because it is not necessarily made of pork, or it is cured or seasoned in a prominent way. Funky bacon can also be sweet or smoky.
A smoky bacon can be sweet, but a sweet bacon is qualified by its sweetness and has a lack of overall smokiness.

All bacon should be salty, without allowing the salt to overpower and should be cut in a way that is appropriate to its use and the bacon’s own fat-to-meat ratio.

The fat-to-meat ratio should be a one-to-one balance of fat to meat, one that errs on the fatty side. A 60 percent fat to 40 percent meat ratio is the limit of acceptability for a standard bacon slice (cut from 1∕16 to 1∕8 inch thick)

Personal Calendar

Here is an interesting fun site that shows what has happened since the day you were born. LINK

Mar 17, 2017

Happy Friday

Laughter is the best medicine, this is the day to take your medicine.

I always take my medicine, especially while celebrating a Happy Friday!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is celebrated March 17. Have fun, drink beer, kiss an Irish person, and generally enhance an already Happy Friday!

Happiness Day

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on March 20. It was founded by United Nations during 2012, when all 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution.

The General Assembly,[…] Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. . . Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner.

What's in a Name, Piccadilly Circus

The London landmark gets its name from the alternate meaning of ‘circus’ referring to a round junction where several streets meet.

(This also explains Oxford Circus, the Tube station just a half mile northwest). The other half of its name, meanwhile, is a centuries-old bit of snark.
A ‘piccadill’ is a large, ruffled collar that was the height of fashion in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries – think portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. Creating piccadills was how one London tailor, Robert Baker, made his fortune… and funded the construction of his grand house here in 1611. Apparently it was seen as a little too grand for a ‘lowly’ tailor, since it came to be known as Pickadilly Hall. The witty put-down stuck: when the junction was built there in 1819, it was called Piccadilly Circus. So, of course, was the Underground station when it opened in 1906.

Wordology, Resilience

A new non-dictionary political term for Climate Change. To be resilient now means to encompass all previous climate change strategies: to resist, to mitigate, and to adapt. Its use in climate research and US academic papers has multiplied over time.

The 2015 US PREPARE Act, a bill to help the federal government recover from extreme weather events, does not mention climate change or global warming, but it uses the term 'resilience' 40 times. The word has also begun to show up in individual state plans to 'mitigate flooding' rather than to 'deal with sea level rise affects of climate change'. A rose by any other name. . .


Different strains of cannabis have different and higher CBD or higher THC levels.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, the cannabinoid second only to THC when it comes to average volume. Recently, research has shown CBD to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects, such as getting high. Its use looks promising to combat  Crohn’s disease, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, and Dravet’s Syndrome.

THC is one of over 480 different compounds present in the cannabis plant. So far about 85 have been identified as cannabinoids The most well known of these compounds is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Bottom line, THC is the stuff in cannabis that makes us high, while CBD is the stuff in cannabis that is used for medicinal purposes and does not make us high. Neither has a lethal dose.

Incidentally, marijuana is the most-consumed illegal drug in Germany, but as of this month, March, cannabis has expanded medical and legal allowances. Now doctors can simply write their patients a prescription if, for example, they suffer from chronic pain or a serious loss of appetite due to an illness. German health insurance providers also now must cover the costs of cannabis treatments.

Facebook and Artificial Intelligence

Facebook is trying to use artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide. It recently introduced AI to be used a suicide-prevention feature to identify posts indicating suicidal or harmful thoughts. The AI scans posts and their associated comments, compares them to others that merited intervention, and, in some cases, passes them along to its community team for review."


It is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as nutritious food. The word comes from the Cree root word pimî, "fat or grease". It was invented by the natives of North America. It is often called the ultimate survival food and is still used today.

Specific ingredients used for pemmican were usually whatever was available. The meat was often buffalo, deer, elk, or moose. Fruits such as cranberries, choke cherries, blueberries, and saskatoon berries were sometimes added. Now, honey, maple syrup or peanut butter are also added.

The meat, with fat removed was cut in thin slices and dried, either over a slow fire or in the hot sun, until it was hard and brittle. About 5 pounds (2,300 g) of meat are required to make 1 pound (450 g) of dried meat suitable for pemmican. Then the meat and berries were pounded into almost powder-like in consistency, using stones. The pounded meat was mixed with melted fat in an approximate 1:1 ratio. Now it is made using food processors or blenders.

Pemmican was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers. The resulting mixture was usually packed into rawhide bags for storage. It can be safely stored for many decades. It is usually served raw, boiled in a stew, or fried. Pemmican beef jerky and pemmican energy bars are still sold in the US and Canada.

Incidentally, During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), British troops were given an iron ration made of four ounces of pemmican and four ounces of chocolate and sugar.

Michelin Stars

The first The Michelin Guide for French drivers in 1900 included maps, listings of hotels, gas stations and mechanics, and helpful information for repairing tires. At the time there were only 3,000 automobiles in all of France. The forward-thinking Michelin brothers thought providing information for car travelers, would increase interest in French automobile tourism, which would in turn increase demand for cars and tires. The first US guide came during 2005.

During 1920, the guide started sending anonymous reviewers out to rate restaurants. A few years later, Michelin began ranking restaurants using a rating system of one to three stars. Michelin stars are used to judge the quality of the food at a restaurant only, independent of any other aspects of the dining experience.
• One star = A very good restaurant in its category
• Two stars = Excellent cooking, worth a detour
• Three stars = Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

An additional designation of a small knife and fork, known as “couvert,” describes other aspects of the restaurant’s experience like comfort, venue décor, tabletop décor, and level of formality. A black fork and knife icon denotes a more basic experience, while a red icon indicates superior couvert.
Michelin inspectors, who have extensive training and experience in the field are required to hide their jobs from friends and even family members. They recruit dates to accompany them to romantic restaurants, so they do not stand out as solo diners. Some  visit a restaurant multiple times to most accurately judge the quality and consistency of the experience.

Incidentally, Bib is the Michelin Man’s nickname. He is also referred to as Bibendum or Bibelobis.