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.

Mar 10, 2017

Happy Friday

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

I never fail to have the courage to successfully enjoy a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

Tomorrow night March 11, 2am is the time to change your clocks and the batteries in smoke and fire detectors. This time of year we again tear the bottom off the blanket and sew it on the top as we heed the political call to control time and change our clocks to Spring Forward. Lots of fun as we continue the semi-annual game to convince ourselves that we are indeed the masters of time. Meanwhile the birds and bees happily continue to forage, blissfully ignorant of our plight.

Happy National Pi and Potato Chip Day

Not sure how it happened these two are celebrated on the same day, March 14. Especially because Pi is infinite without repetition and eating potato chips is infinite with repetition. Regardless, I bet you cannot eat just 3.14 potato chips, especially if they are Better Made brand.

Artisanal, Bespoke, and Handcrafted

These words have increasing play on social media and are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences.

Artisanal is an adjective, pertaining to a person skilled in an applied art. Men were taught artisanal skills such as clothes-making and carpentry, etc. Also, pertaining to a high-quality or distinctive product made in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.

Bespoke is another adjective relating to goods, especially clothing made to order, such as a bespoke suit.

Handcrafted is a past participle verb meaning to make skillfully by hand, such as a handcrafted rocking chair.

Name Changes

When the Anglo-Saxons conquered Britain in the 5th Century, they transformed not only its society, but its language, which we now know as Old English. Remnants of their rule remain inscribed in maps of not only London, but Britain; the Anglo-Saxon suffix ‘-ham’ (as in Birmingham) meant homestead, for example, while ‘-ton’ (like Brighton) referred to a farm. The ending ‘-ing’, meant belonging to or associated with someone, or their followers. So Paddington was the farmstead belonging to Padda or his clan, Kennington was that of Cēna’s people.

When the Normans invaded in 1066, though, they seized Saxon properties to hand out among their loyalists and tacked on new names accordingly. One winner in the land-grab was the abbey of Bec-Hellouin, in Normandy, which was granted the land that once belonged to a Saxon chief named Tota. All of which turned into the name today, Tooting.

Around 190, London was Londinium.

Forth Bridge

During March 1890, the Forth railway bridge, connecting Edinburgh to Fife over the Firth of Forth, opened, becoming an internationally recognized Scottish landmark. So, the tongue twisting Forth bridge over the Firth of Forth connects to Fife.

Newts and Salamanders

Newt and salamander are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle distinctions between the two. Newts are a type of salamander, belonging to a subfamily called Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae. Both are able to regenerate nearly all parts of the body, such as limbs, tail, eyes, intestines, heart, and spinal cord.

Newts have three metamorphoses throughout their life, an aquatic larva, a terrestrial juvenile stage called an eft, and an adult stage. As adults, newts live a semi-aquatic to aquatic life. Most newts have webbed feet and a paddle-like tail, which make it easier to live in the water. Newts usually have rougher skin than salamanders. During the breeding season, they develop a flat tail.

Adult salamanders live a mostly terrestrial life except when breeding and laying eggs. A salamander is pregnant for only a few days. Salamanders typically have longer and more rounded tails with well-developed toes for digging in soil. Salamanders have smooth, wet skin like a frog. There are over 600 different species of salamanders.

All newts are salamanders, but not all salamanders are newts, just like a toad is a frog, but all frogs are not toads.

Picture-in-Picture Redo

Microsoft Windows 10 is coming out with a new update soon. It has a feature called Compact Overlay window. You can keep watching a movie or video chat on one corner of your screen, even when switching apps to check email or browse the web.

The compact overlay mode will be shown above other windows so it will not get blocked. Another way to be unproductive by watching and listening to YouTube videos or Skypeing while trying to get something accomplished.

Mar 3, 2017

Happy Friday

A smile is the seed of blooming happiness.

It is always blooming happiness for me, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy National I Want You to be Happy Day

Today, March 3.  This day was created as a day encouraging us to do something to make others happy. Putting a smile on someone’s face tends to put one on yours, too. How appropriate that it falls on a Happy Friday this year.

IHOP National Pancake Day

Unlike the worldwide pancake day we celebrated this week, IHOP has its own. It began as a charitable event during 2006. Head over to IHOP on Tuesday March 7 for a free short stack of pancakes. IHOP encourages a donation for its charities supporting children battling critical illnesses.

Statue of Liberty Fact

Statue of liberty seven spikes represent the seven oceans and seven continents.

Grass Art

Some things are as boring as watching grass grow. These artists take that idea to a whole new level. Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey make photographs using grass. They call it Chlorophyll Apparitions.

When grass is grown from seed on a vertical surface, it can record complex images much as photographic film does: Each germinating blade produces chlorophyll in proportion to the light that reaches it. Stronger light produces greener grass, and blades deprived of light grow, but produce no chlorophyll, leaving them yellow. “In a sense we have adapted the photographic art of producing pictures on a sensitive film to the light sensitivity of emergent blades of young grass.”

They shine negatives of a picture through a projector to produce a light onto a canvas that has been coated with a growing medium and real grass seeds. If you are interested in more of the process, here is a LINK

Seven More Peanut Butter Facts

Peanut butter more or less as we know it today was popularized at the 1893 World Fair. In the early 1900s, peanut butter made frequent appearances in tea rooms across the nation where it was billed as a dish for rich people. Back then, it was paired with items, such as cucumbers, cheese, celery, and crackers. At that point, peanut butter was still considered a “high end” food and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were not a commonly eaten food item.

Peanut butter spread to the masses during the 1920s and 1930s, shortly after pre-sliced bread came into existence. At that time commercial brands Skippy and Peter Pan began.

With the Great Depression, peanut butter on bread became a staple in many American households, because it provided a hearty, filling meal with a cheaper-than-meat substitute for protein.

During WWII the peanut butter and jelly sandwich became a popular meal among United States soldiers. When soldiers arrived home from the war, peanut butter and jelly sales skyrocketed.

The PB&J is a bigger hit in the United States than in most other countries.

The average American will eat around 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they turn 18.

Incidentally, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes (a type of plant with seeds that grow inside pods like peas or beans). Nuts are grown on trees, peanuts grow underground. March is National Peanut Month.


Many people use Nutella as an alternative to peanut butter. Its main ingredient is sugar, followed by palm oil, then hazelnuts. The label says that jars contain "over 50 hazelnuts per 13 oz. jar."

It is manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero that was first introduced in 1964, although its first iteration dates to 1946. It was originally sold as a solid block, but Ferrero started to sell a creamy version during 1951. Its composition was again  modified and it was renamed Nutella in 1964.

Ads highlight the fact that Nutella has no artificial colors or preservatives and it contains, sugar, modified palm oil, and hazelnut, followed by cocoa solids, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lecithin, and vanillin flavor. In the US, it also contains soy products.

According to its nutritional label, Nutella contains 58% of processed sugar by weight and 10.4 percent of saturated fat. A two-tablespoon (37 gram) serving of Nutella contains 200 calories including 99 calories from 11 grams of fat (3.5g of which are saturated) and 80 calories from 21 grams of sugar. The spread also contains 15 mg of sodium and 2g of protein per serving.

Incidentally, Nutella is marketed as "hazelnut cream" in many countries.         

Ms. Pearl the Squirrel

Speaking of nuts, outside of Austin, Texas, off of an uneventful stretch of Highway 71, sits a U-turn worthy site for the squirrel worshiper in us all.

Standing at 14 feet tall, Ms. Pearl beckons passersby from the highway to have their picture taken with her. If you are wondering why she is clutching a pecan, it probably has something to do with the nearby Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company, a family-owned business that includes a gift shop, a pecan orchard, and an adorable squirrel statue.

It was constructed in 2011 by Berdoll, Ms. Pearl received her name from a customer as part of a contest. In 2015, the statue received a facelift. She is available 24 hours a day and while the nearby gift shop has regular business hours, there is a vending machine outside the shop with fresh, full-sized pecan pies replenished daily for late night snacking.

Feb 24, 2017

Happy Friday

“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.” ~ Martha Washington

I always keep a happy disposition, especially on a Happy Friday!

Pancake Day

Pancake Day is celebrated primarily in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. It is also known as Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Ash Wednesday is March 1, 2017.

Pancake Day was originally a pagan celebration of the changing of seasons, a sort of recognition of the maddening battle this time of year between very cold and beginnings of Spring. Pancakes, in their roundness and warmth, symbolized the sun.

Incidentally, a Bristol-based design firm called Kinneir Dufort has come up with a
3-D printing machine that uses facial recognition technology to print your likeness on a pancake. The system utilizes both the high-tech and the low-tech to mirror your face, combining complex face-recognition and tracking software with the practice of layering strokes of pancake batter onto a hot plate to result in color gradation caused by the varied cooking times of different parts.

Snow White

One of the most famous fables, variations of Snow White appear in more than 400 versions of fairy tales around the world. The most well-known version is actually called “ Snowdrop” and comes from Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales . It was later tweaked into a more familiar format by the folklorist Andrew Lang and eventually adapted by Walt Disney.

In this version, the queen wished for a child and a baby girl was born; her hair was as dark as ebony and her skin was so fair and pure that her mother named her Snow White. After the queen died, her father married a woman who was vain and wicked, who would stand in front of a magic mirror asking who was the fairest woman in the land. The mirror always replied “My Queen, you are the fairest one of all”, until one day an answer came that threw her into a rage – Snow White was now the fairest woman in all the land.

Snow White’s step-mother, furious at what the mirror had told her, ordered a huntsman to take her into the forest and kill her, taking the girl’s heart as a proof. The huntsman felt sympathy for Snow White and let her free, bringing the Evil Queen a deer’s heart instead. Snow White came upon a small cottage and, feeling exhausted, collapsed into one of the beds and fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke, seven dwarfs were looking down upon her. They told Snow White she could stay with them as long as she cleaned and cooked.

Snow White and the dwarfs lived in contentment, until one day when the magic mirror told the Queen that Snow White was alive and was still the fairest of them all. The Queen disguised herself as an old woman and presented Snow White with a poisoned apple. After taking a bite of the apple, Snow White fell unconscious. The dwarfs, assuming she was dead, built a glass coffin and placed her inside.

In the animated movie, the prince convinced the dwarfs to let him give her one last kiss - that became the most popular version. She awakened and the prince declared his love for her.  They were married, and as all fairy tales go, they lived happily ever after.

Other versions include, "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree” - “Maria, the Wicked Stepmother, and the Seven Robbers” - ”Snow-White and Rose-Red“ and "The Young Slave."

Incidentally,  Disney announced a live-action feature retelling Snow White’s tale from her sister’s perspective, Rose Red.

Free Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City announced last week that 375,000 high resolution images of artworks in its collection are now under the Creative Commons Zero license. This means hundreds of thousands of artworks can now be accessed, downloaded, and used, without needing to ask for permission or being afraid of lawsuits.

Now you can download some real art, make it any size you like with your computer, go get a frame, and hang works from the masters on your wall for a fraction of the cost of an original. Some might like to use them for screen savers. You can search or peruse the collections here. LINK

Apple Museum

Speaking of art, there is an Apple Museum in Prague, Czech Republic. Not sure why this place was chosen, but seems like a full fledged museum dedicated to rare Apple devices and Steve Jobs' memorabilia, and rare Apple souvenirs from private collectors.

The memorabilia in the museum dates from 1976 to 2012. The artifacts on display include mostly every printer, joystick, mouse, and PC, as well as software representations. One exhibit includes
two long tables which showcase how the iPod and iPhone have evolved over time. The collections tell the story of Jobs along with the hardware.

Also included are high school yearbooks with Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder. Going beyond Apple, it includes Pixar and NeXT items which are representative Jobs time with those companies. Next time you are in Prague, might be an interesting side trip.

Zinc and Colds

It is one of the few ingredients linked to shortening a cold. Unlike Vitamin C, which studies have found likely does nothing to prevent or treat the common cold, zinc may actually be worth it. The mineral seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold.

In a 2011 review of studies of people who recently became ill, researchers looked at those who started taking zinc and compared them with those who just took a placebo. The ones on the zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms.

Online Jury Duty

Many do not like jury duty, but did you know you can perform jury duty from the comfort of your own home and make money doing it?
Lawyers will post a case summary and verdict questions to the OnlineVerdict, with the option of having 25 or 50 jury-eligible people review the case facts and provide feedback on the case issues. Registered jurors in the venue the case was filed will receive an email invitation to review the case, and when completed, will receive payment for their time. Juror feedback is tabulated and presented to the lawyer or legal professional who posted the case.

Each case review may take anywhere from 20-60 minutes to complete depending on the length of the case summary and the number of attorney-provided questions. Juror payment amounts ($20-$60) reflect the amount of time estimated to review a case. The web site for more info is LINK

Robo Marimba

Here is something you do not see every day. It is a robot that plays music in relation to what human musicians are playing.

Shimon, engineer Guy Hoffman’s robot musician, does not play programmed music, it improvises in ensembles with human players, communicating with a expressive head and favoring musical ideas that are unlikely to be chosen by humans, so as to lead the performance in genuinely novel directions.

The robot combines computational modeling of music perception, interaction, and improvisation, with the capacity to produce melodic acoustic responses in physical and visual manners. Shimon has performed with human musicians in dozens of concerts and festivals from DLD in Munich Germany, the US Science Festival in Washington DC, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle WA, and Google IO in San Francisco. Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology is Shimon’s patron.

Here is a three minute example of the pleasant outcome. LINK

Wordology, Roughshod

We see this word in the expression "to run/ride roughshod" over somebody or something, meaning to tyrannize or treat harshly.

It came about as a way to describe the 17th century version of snow tires. A "rough-shod" horse had its shoes attached with protruding nail heads in order to get a better grip on slippery roads. It was great for keeping the horse on its feet, but not so great for anyone the horse might step on.

Feb 19, 2017

Happy Friday

Smiles are like honey, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

I always share sweet smiles, especially on a Happy Friday!

Gravity Myth

Many believe there is no gravity in space. Astronauts appear weightless in space, so there is an assumption that space is a place with zero gravity. That assumption carries no weight.

There is less gravity in space, but the idea that there is none is factually incorrect. There is gravity on Earth, on the moon, and on the sun. It all around us. The reason why space allows humans to be weightless is because they are gravitating toward the Earth at the same rate as their ships.

Coffee Grounds Uses

Coffee grounds serve a dual purpose when it comes to cleaning pots and pans. Grounds attract and absorb grease and oil, making them an ideal candidate, with dish soap for removing excess grease from a pan.

Coffee attracts worms and their presence means a healthy garden. Also, the acidity in the grounds keeps snails and slugs away. The grounds alter the pH level of soil, which can result in new colors for flowers.

Sprinkling grounds over wood before setting a fire can stop ashes from flying around.

After rinsing your hands, scrub them with used grounds, and then wash
to remove the smell of garlic or fish from them. The grounds exfoliate your skin and remove dead tissue, which is where much of the smell resides.

Coffee grounds as a skin scrub can help revitalize your face and reduce cellulite.

Put a bowl of grounds in the back of the fridge, and another in the freezer. Some people argue that raw grounds work as the best deodorizer, while others claim used grounds are best. Try a half-and-half mixture.

Millennials overtake Baby Boomers

It finally happened, Millennials are now America’s largest generation according to population estimates from the US Census Bureau. Millennials, those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers, ages 51-69. Generation X, ages 35-50 in 2015 is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks. Boomers, whose generation was defined by the boom in US births following World War II are older and their numbers shrinking as their number of deaths exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country. With immigration adding more numbers to its group than any other, the Millennial population is projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million.

Pew Research Center established that the oldest Millennial was born in 1981 and the youngest Millennial was born in 1997.

Unseen World

A friend of mine, John Mascitti passed along this great Ted Talk. Fast and slow motion from the minute to the enormous. Seven minutes of wonder. LINK


It is a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/amethyst

1250-1300;  Latin amethystus, Greek améthystos not intoxicating, not intoxicated (so called from a belief that it prevented drunkenness)

The ancient Greeks wore amethyst and made drinking vessels decorated with it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz.

Wordology, Nasothek

A collection of noses is a Nasothek.

Classical statues tend to lose their noses, and during the 19th century museums would commonly replace them with “restoration” noses, to preserve the appearance of the original sculpture.

During the 20th century some museums changed philosophies and “de-restored” their collections, thinking it better to present each piece in its authentic state. This created a excess of noses, and some museums collect these into displays of their own. I make no claims about which one might resemble mine.

Incidentally, Gutzon Borglum, who also sculpted Mount Rushmore, sculpted the Capitol bust of Abraham Lincoln - with just one ear.  He believed that the dualities of Lincoln’s personality (hard as rock, soft as velvet) were reflected in the opposite sides of his face, with the right strong and masculine, the left soft and feminine.  Borglum said of Lincoln’s face, “You see half-smile, half-sadness; half anger, half-forgiveness; half-determination, half-pause; a mixture of expression that drew accurately the middle course he would follow.” If you look at the left side, you do not see an ear. Borglum explained that he purposely omitted the ear because he wished attention to be drawn to the stronger right side of the face.

Self Destructing Phone

From noses to ears to phones. Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a mechanism that, when triggered, can destroy a Smartphone or other electronic device. The self-destruct mechanism consists of a polymer layer that rapidly expands when subjected to temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius, effectively bursting the phone open from the inside. The mechanism can be adapted to be triggered in various ways, including remotely through a Smartphone app or when it is subjected to pressure.

Once triggered, power from the device's battery is directed to electrodes that rapidly heat, causing the polymer layer to expand to about seven times its original size within 10-15 seconds. This crushes the vital components inside the device, destroying any stored information.

One engineer believes the phone will see adoption in the intelligence and financial communities first, though it can also be retrofitted to existing phones for about $15.

Cold or Flu

This is the time of year there are many bugs going around to make us miserable. Worse yet, some come back during the same season. In general, flu symptoms tend to be more severe than cold symptoms, but do not last as long. Here are a few ways to tell whether you have a cold or the flu.

  • Symptoms of a cold usually come on gradually, but symptoms of the flu can appear suddenly.
  • Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are more common with colds than with the flu.
  • People with the flu usually develop a fever, but people with colds rarely do.
  • The flu often causes body aches and headaches, which can be severe. If you have a cold, aches are usually mild.
  • The flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections, but such compilations are rare with colds.
  • You can get a seasonal flu vaccine to reduce the severity of flu each year, but there is no vaccine to protect from the common cold.
  • Washing your hands frequently can help prevent either cold or flu.
There is no cure for the common cold, but relief includes: stay hydrated, get rest, soothe a sore throat, combat stuffiness, relieve pain. etc. All are common sense, and should help you feel better for the week or two it takes to shake that nasty cold. Antibiotics attack bacteria, but they are no help against cold viruses.

Antiviral medications do not cure, but can help alleviate some of flu symptoms, and many of the remedies for cold apply to the flu as well, including taking medicine for headaches. Flu symptoms usually are gone in a short time and do not linger as a cold does.

Regardless of whether you have a cold or the flu, the illness will usually go away on its own, but you should visit your doctor if your symptoms change or get worse. If you get either a cold or flu, please stay home and do not share.

Feb 10, 2017

Happy Friday

Laughter is like a push-up bra for your personality.

Now I understand why I like laughter so much, especially on a Happy Friday!

Apple TV

If you have a 4th generation Apple TV box and want to reduce the loud sounds to equalize volume during some parts of shows, press the microphone on your Apple remote and say to Siri, "Reduce loud sounds." It will change the internal settings until you change it again.

4k UHD, HDR-10 (Dolby Vision), OLED, Smart TV

Since the last time I wrote about TVs some new acronyms have popped up. If you are buying a TV for the future these are important, but if you are buying a TV for short term, (the next few years) almost all of these are not important. The reason they are not important is because almost no one is broadcasting to take advantage of 4K, HDR-10, (Dolby), except some Netflix and Bluray DVDs.

Smart TV - These sets are good to have now and the majority of new TVs are smart TVs. They allow access to the internet from your home WiFi and provide access to Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more without the need for a separate box.
Many Smart TVs give you a full web browser, so you can use a search engine or visit websites. Some let you play interactive online games.

4K UHD - these ultra-high-definition televisions offer four times the resolution of a standard 1080p HDTV. Instead of a screen that has about 2 million pixels, these televisions show about 8 million pixels.

HDR-10, Dolby Vision - I lump these two, High Dynamic Range and Dolby10 together, because they are competing technologies, kind of like the old Betamax / VHS argument. Some manufactures are using one vs. the other and some have both. HDR is currently winning, because it is open source while manufacturers must pay royalties to Dolby for its technology. Many advertisements refer to them simply as Dolby and HDR.

The first of the two major differences between Dolby Vision and HDR-10 is that Dolby uses 12 bits per color (red, green, and blue), where HDR-10 uses 10 bits per color. The second, Dolby Vision uses dynamic, or continuous metadata so that color and brightness levels can be adjusted per scene, or even frame-by-frame basis. HDR-10 uses static metadata that is sent only once at the beginning of the video. Both reproduce a wider range of brightness levels, higher contrast ratio, and richer colors. Contrast ratio is the measurement of the difference in brightness between the whitest white and the darkest black. When seen side by side with non-HDR content, HDR-enhanced video is incredibly bright and with vibrant colors. Samples show a very positive marked difference.

Some TVs use OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens for a superior image and other benefits. Televisions packed with organic light-emitting diodes are incredibly thin, because each pixel is its own light source, so backlighting is not required. These televisions are more energy efficient than other TV panel types. Some LG TVs are as thin as four credit cards.
Quantum dot  or QLED TVs can match the contrast ratio of OLED. Quantum dots are microscopic dots about a fraction of the width of a human hair.Samsung uses the term Quantum Dot.

Bottom line, you can get 4K UHD, HDR (Dolby), OLED on one TV. Every 4K is UHD by definition. Almost all TVs are LED, but very few are OLED or Quantum dot. Most TVs are now Smart TVs.

Incidentally, DolbyVision is for pictures and Dolby Atmos is for sound.