Oct 20, 2017

My Latest Book

I have recently had my 53rd book published. A great read. "Amazing Facts IV - Tantalizing Trivia". If you enjoy this blog, you will love the book. you can pick one up at Amazon.
PS - After you read it, please leave a comment on the page. Thanks.

Happy Friday

When we are young, beauty is on the outside, when older it comes from within.

Happiness always shines through, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Lenticels

(LEN-tih-sells) These are little pin size spots on apples, pears, and potatoes. Plants need a constant stream of fresh air, just like people, and that “fresh air” means carbon dioxide. Flowers, trees, and fruit all take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, but unlike people, plants do not have nostrils.

The lenticel functions as a pore, providing a pathway for the direct exchange of gases between the internal tissues and atmosphere through the bark, which is otherwise impermeable to gases. The name lenticel derives from its lens-like shape. The shape of lenticels is one of the characteristics used for tree identification

Each little speck is an opening in the fruit or tuber’s skin or the tree’s bark. Carbon dioxide goes in, and oxygen comes out. Like any opening, lenticels are vulnerable to infection and sickness. In an apple disease called lenticel breakdown, a nutrient deficiency causes the apples’ spots to darken and turn into brown pits. This does not hurt the inside of the fruit, but it does make the apple look unattractive.

Salt Quickie

One third of all the salt produced in the US is used to melt ice on roads.

Dawn, Sunrise, Twilight, Sunset, and Dusk

Dawn occurs before sunrise, before the top of the Sun reaches the horizon.

Twilight is the name given to the period between dawn and sunrise, or between sunset and dusk, when light is still visible in the sky due to sunlight scattering off the atmosphere.

Sunrise and sunset are the points at which the top edge of the Sun reaches the horizon; the only difference between them is the direction in which the Sun is moving at the time. It actually occurs when the top of the Sun is 0.57° below the horizon due to refraction of the Sun’s light by the atmosphere.
Dusk occurs after sunset, once the top of the Sun has passed the horizon.

Dawn, dusk, and twilight can also be separated in astronomical, nautical, and civil sections by how far below the horizon the Sun is (18°, 12° and 6° below the horizon respectively).

Health Care Cost

The US has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the US pays for paperwork, overhead, and other non direct-health related expenses.

The US spends 17.6 percent of its GDP on healthcare. The Netherlands is the next highest, at 12 percent of GDP. Ten percent of Canada’s GDP is spent on health care. The average among OECD countries was almost half that of the US, at 9.5 percent of GDP.


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has a mission to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It was established in 1961 and has membership of 35 countries. Its annual budget is EUR 374 million and has a staff of 2,500. It publishes 250 new titles per year.

The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. It works with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. It analyses and compares data to predict future trends. It sets international standards on things, such as agriculture and tax, to the safety of chemicals. It seeks to foster globalization and promote the 'green agenda' by working with the countries involved in the Paris climate agreement.

It looks at issues that directly affect everyone’s daily life, like how much people pay in taxes and social security, and how much leisure time they can take. It compares how different countries’ school systems are readying their young people for modern life, and how different countries’ pension systems will look after their citizens in old age.

In addition, it tries to make life more difficult for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen, and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.

From its web site "Today, we are focused on helping governments around the world to:
    Restore confidence in markets and the institutions that make them function.
    Re-establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth.
    Foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly ‘green growth’ strategies and the development of emerging economies.
    Ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow."

Cutting the Cord

Cord cutting refers to those who give up their cable TV plan and find TV and movie watching over the internet, TV antenna, smart phone, computer, etc. The research firm eMarketer says that by 2016 year end, 16.7 million U.S. adults had already cut the cord and that by the end of 2017 it will be 22 million. The five biggest TV providers are projected to have lost 469,000 customers during the third quarter of 2017.

Sixty one percent of 18 to 29 year olds say the primary way they watch television now is with streaming services on the internet, compared with thirty one percent, who say they mostly watch via a cable or satellite subscription and five percent, who mainly watch with a digital antenna, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August 2017.

The main cause for cord cutting has been the high cost of cable, bad service, annual price increases, and lack of competition in many areas of the country. Cost reductions average about 50% savings and range from a few dollars a month to as much as a 90% drop in monthly fees.

In addition, many are finding better picture quality and more diversity of offerings. Even TV antennas provide a sharper picture than offered by any of the major cable companies, because the signal is not compressed. With the coming proliferation of reasonably priced 4K TVs, picture quality is even more important and cable companies offer virtually no 4K content, with the exception of some sporting events.

Light Me Up

We have all read the light fixture warning not to use anything higher than a 60-watt bulb, or 75, etc. The newer LED bulbs still fall under that fixture rating, however since the equivalent LED bulbs use much less wattage, you can choose a watt equivalency that is higher than that of the old bulbs. As an example, a 60 watt bulb equivalent is a 9 watt LED. They both put out 800 lumens.

You can replace an old 60 watt bulb with a 100-watt equivalent LED bulb (or higher), which is about 17 watts and therefore well under the safety limit of a 60-watt maximum fixture. You get lower energy bills and almost twice the light. One limiting factor might be bulb size, so be sure to check the physical size of new bulbs to make sure they fit the socket. Every now and then I come up with a bright idea.

Oct 13, 2017

Happy Friday

Happiness on the whole, soothes a sad soul.

I never have a sad soul, especially on a Happy Friday!

International Day of Failure

October 13th is International Day for Failure. A new holiday intended for people to share stories of failure and learn from them. The goal of the people organizing the event is to have it be an internationally-recognized holiday by 2020. The holiday was created in Finland in 2010.

Office of Planetary Protection

This department is part of NASA and is responsible for preventing outer space organisms from contaminating Earth and simultaneously stopping Earth-based organisms from contaminating outer space. NASA has been employing a planetary protection officer since the Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967.

A candidate must have at least one year of experience as a top-level civilian government employee, plus have "advanced knowledge" of planetary protection and all it entails. Planetary protection officers are tasked with making sure humans do not contaminate planets, moons, and other objects in space. The salary is $125,000 to $187,000 annually.

NASA and the European Space Agency currently hire permanent planetary protection officers.

Pizza Hack

When ordering, remember that one 18 inch pizza contains more pizza than two 12 inch pizzas.

A Road by any Name

The difference between names like street and avenue are the size of the path, what surrounds it, and how it intersects with other roads. Road is a general term for any throughway that connects two points. Streets and avenues are types of roads.

Streets are public roads that have buildings on both sides. They are often perpendicular to avenues, which historically were grander and wider. These days, the difference tends to be directional.

Denver, Colorado dictates that Streets run north-south and avenues run east-west.

In Manhattan, New York avenues run north-south and streets run east-west. In Washington, D.C., avenues run diagonal to the street grid.

Tucson, Arizona named some roads as stravenues, which run diagonal to the normal north-south/east-west grid.

Boulevards are grander than avenues and designed to funnel high-speed traffic away from residential and commercial streets. Boulevards have trees on either side and a sizable median.

Smaller roads are named way and they are a smaller side street that splits off from a road. A place has a dead end, as does a court (UK close), which usually ends in a cul-de-sac. A lane or byway is narrow and lacks a median, usually found in rural areas. A drive tends to wind around a natural landmark, like a mountain or a lake. A circle usually circles around an area and is an open road intersected by multiple roads.


Was originally a book published during 1883. The story of the little wooden boy with a nose that grew if he told a lie was one of the best-selling books in the world, with 35 million copies sold.

Wireless Charging

To fully understand how wireless charging works takes understanding the concept of an electromagnetic field and electromagnetic induction. Electromagnetic induction is an energy transfer system, meaning that it can be stored or used.
Think of a person making waves with the rope, the other person will receive the waves as they travel down the rope. This is like electromagnetic induction: a force sends energy from one point to another. The base unit (powered by electricity) transmits energy to the smartphone via electromagnetic fields. The sensors on the smartphone recover the energy and channel it to the battery for storage.

Qi is the most popular wireless charging technology. It is not restricted to a particular manufacturer. Qi uses electromagnetic induction charging and magnetic resonance technology.

Kentucky Fried Recipe

A Sanders-signed copy of the recipe is inside a vault in KFC’s Louisville headquarters, and even the manufacturers do not know what goes into it. Half of the mix is made by Griffith Laboratories, and then it is sent to McCormick, where the rest of the mix is added.

What's in a Name, Knocker-Upper

There were a lot of ways to wake up before the alarm clock was invented. People living in towns had chimes from the church bells, and people living on farms had roosters to crow them awake. In some places, people made getting up in the morning a much stranger experience.
Native Americans would make sure they got up early by drinking as much water as physically possible before falling asleep. That way, the water would fill up their bladders while they were sleeping. Pretty soon, they would be so full that they needed to get up. So they would get up early.

In England, you could pay a “knocker-upper” to get you up in the morning. Your knocker-upper would come to your house first thing in the morning and bang on your window with a long stick. If he wanted to make his shilling, he would keep banging until you got up and shared with him the money (about 12 pence) and customary curse words of morning.

Boston Cream Pie

Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian was credited for creating the first Boston Cream Pie in 1856 at the Parker House Hotel. The dessert acquired its name when cakes and pies were cooked in the same pans, and the words were used interchangeably.
It is really a cake, a yellow butter cake that is filled with custard or cream and topped with chocolate glaze.

The Boston Cream Pie was proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert on December 12, 1996.

Oct 6, 2017

Happy Friday

It is impossible to fill your heart with happiness, love, and joy. There is always room for more.

Expand your heart with happiness, love, and joy by celebrating a Happy Friday!

World Smile Day

Every year on the first Friday in October we celebrate World Smile Day. It was created by Harvey Ball, creator of the Smiley Face during 1963.

After his death, the “Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation” was created to honor his name and memory. The slogan of the Smile Foundation is “improving this world, one smile at a time.” The Foundation continues as the official sponsor of World Smile Day each year. It is easy to participate on this unofficial holiday. Just do acts of kindness to spread good will and cheer.

Smile, it improves your beauty 1,000%.

Also on this day is German-American Day. It first gained a spot on US calendars over 130 years ago. An annual holiday on October 6th, it marks the day in 1683 when 13 German families arrived in Philadelphia to set up home. Of course, there was no Germany until 1871, instead separate German-speaking states mostly ruled themselves as parts of the Catholic Holy Roman Empire.

National Emergency Nurses Day

Wednesday, October 11, 2018. Show them some love. They have an extremely difficult job and deserve much credit.

National Pizza Month

This month, October is the one for the Pizza goodness. Have it your way, but please no pineapple.

Debit vs. Credit Card Liability

Most credit cards offer fraud liability, which means you will not be out any money, or at least not more than fifty dollars if you are a victim of fraud or theft. Of course, you need to be current on your payments and are required to report any loss or theft as soon as you discover it.

Debit card users need to notify the bank or credit union within two business days of discovering the loss or theft of the card. The bank or credit union cannot hold you responsible for more than the amount of any unauthorized transactions or $50, whichever is less. Also for debit cards, if you wait more than two days, but fewer than 60 days after receiving your statement, you can be liable for up to $500 in charges. If you wait more than 60 days to report debit card fraud/theft, you could be liable for all the money taken, plus funds in a savings or other account linked to your debit account.

A recent survey showed 66 percent of Americans say they are more likely to trust debit cards than credit cards. Those folks should think a bit more about what it could cost them to use a debit card vs. a credit card.

Nine Hot Dog Facts

The hot dog is as quintessentially American a food as any other, and one of the staples of summer cookouts. Even though the long days of Summer are fading, hot dogs are still a wonderful treat.

During the 1690s – Legend is that the popular sausage was created by Johann Georghehner, a butcher living in Coburg, Germany. It is said that he later traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new product.

During the early 1800s, the people of Vienna (Wien), Austria point to the term “wiener” to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog. It is said that the master sausage maker who made the first wiener got his early training in Frankfurt, Germany. He called his sausage the wiener-frankfurter, but it was generally known as “wienerwurst.” The wiener comes from Wien (the German name of Vienna) and wurst meaning sausage in German.

Did you know the difference between a wiener and a frankfurter? Wieners are a mixture of pork and beef. Frankfurters are made entirely with pork. Seasonings may include coriander, garlic, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and white pepper.

Wieners and frankfurters do not become hot dogs until someone puts them in a roll or a bun. During the late 1800s, a German peddler, Antonoine Feuchtwanger, sold hot sausages in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. He had his brother-in-law to make up soft rolls, slit longways to fit the meat he called red hots.

Singing waiters named Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante convinced Nathan Handwerker to go into business on his own selling hot dogs for five cents. Thus was born Nathan's.

Hebrew National are 97% Fat Free Beef Franks (not frankfurter).

In Dubai, they have camel meat hot dogs.

The earliest use of the term “hot dog” appeared in the December 31, 1892 edition of the Paterson (New Jersey) Daily Press. The story was about a local traveling vendor known as “Hot Dog Morris.”

Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York. Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. New York System dogs are popular in Rhode Island. Texas hot dogs are popular in New York and Pennsylvania, but not Texas. Skin or no skin, dogs are still a favorite. I prefer a solid skin pop when I bite down on a hot dog.


Though the term blackboard has a color in its name, most of them are now not actually black. We still use the term interchangeably with chalkboards. Now they are more often green.
A few hundred years ago, blackboards were black. They were large boards of connected slates that teachers could write on for the whole class to see. The name blackboard was not used until 1815. They were usually made with slate, but in rural areas, they were often wooden boards painted dark with egg whites mixed with the remains of charred potatoes. Later, they were also made of wood darkened with a commercially made porcelain-based ink.
During the 20th century, manufacturers began to make chalkboards using a green, porcelain enameled paint on a steel base. By the 1960s, the green chalkboard trend was becoming universal. Teachers had discovered that a different colored paint was a lot more comfortable to stare at all day, because green porcelain paint cut down on glare.

During the 1990s, schools began converting their classrooms to whiteboards, which produce less dust and eliminate that telltale screeching noise.

Did You Know

Harry Truman was the only president of the 20th century without a college degree.

Cancer Stages and Grades

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.
Too many of us are aware of the prevalence of cancer in our society. Two words often come up, but are not universally understood. Staging is for the cancer itself and grade references the actual tumor. There are different grading systems for different types of cancer. For instance, there is Gleason for prostate cancer, Bloom-Richardson for breast cancer, Fuhrman for kidney cancer, etc.

Cancer stage refers to the size and/or reach of the original (primary) tumor and whether or not cancer cells have spread (metastasized) elsewhere in the body. Stages do not change from initial diagnosis, even if the cancer becomes more aggressive. This is important for consistent statistical analysis.

Stage 0 (zero) Abnormal cells are present, but have not spread to nearby tissue. Stages I, II, and III indicate cancer is present. The higher the number, the larger the cancer tumor and the more it has spread into nearby tissues. Stage IV shows the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.
Staging is usually based on the TNM system of classifying cancer. In the TNM system, each cancer is assigned a letter or number to describe the tumor, node, and metastases. T stands for the original (primary) tumor. N stands for nodes and tells whether the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. M stands for metastasis.
Tumor grade is the description of a tumor based on how abnormal the tumor cells and tumor tissue looks under a microscope. There are four grades G1 Well differentiated (low grade), G2 Moderately differentiated (intermediate grade), G3 Poorly differentiated (high grade), and G4 Undifferentiated (high grade). Grade 3 and 4 tumors tend to grow rapidly and spread faster than tumors with a lower grade.

Low-grade cancer cells look more like normal cells and tend to grow and spread more slowly than high-grade cancer cells. Cancer grade may be used to help plan treatment and determine prognosis.
In addition, there are two tumor types, benign, such as moles and warts and malignant, where the cells invade the surrounding tissue and organs.

Generally, there are five cancer stages, four tumor grades, and two tumor types, benign and malignant. Unlike school, a high stage or grade is not good.