Nov 6, 2010


FAA identifiers for airports aren’t technically acronyms, but the three-letter codes can give rise to their own headaches. Just ask the Sioux City Gateway Airport, which the FAA saddled with the unfortunate designator “SUX.” Airport authorities petitioned for a new code, and the FAA, not a joke, offered them “GAY” as a nod to the “Gateway” part of the airport’s name.

Sioux City decided that switching to GAY probably wouldn’t save them any taunting, so officials decided to make the best of the SUX situation. Now the airport markets playful t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “Fly SUX.”

SUX might not even be the worst code. According to a 2008 LA Times story, Fresno’s is FAT, and Perm, Russia’s is PEE. The big winner has to be Fukuoka, Japan, though. Hmmm, how does that one get abbreviated.

Hospital Art

Believe it or not, art in hospitals has actually been found to aid the healing process while gloomy walls or the wrong kind of art can cause physical distress.

American Art Resources, a health-care art-consulting firm, says scientific studies show that art can aid in the recovery of patients, shorten hospital stays and help manage pain. Of course it has to be the right art. Vivid paintings of landscapes, friendly faces and familiar objects can lower blood pressure and heart rate, while abstract pictures can have the opposite effect.

In 1984, scientists found that postoperative patients healed more quickly and successfully if they had park-view windows. Through the 1980s, scientists became more interested in the role of art in hospitals.

Art can also be used to help patients on a more practical level. Autumn Leaves in Flower Mound, Texas, an Alzheimer's and dementia facility uses artwork to keep patients oriented to their surroundings.

Each of the four hallways has a different theme, which helps patients remember where their rooms are. Among them is a landscape hallway covered in outdoor settings and a Western hallway depicting images from the Old West.

Veterans Day

November 11 is Veterans Day. Kiss a vet. it will make you both happy.

Other countries today also still recognize November 11th as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in honor of the Armistice treaty which ended World War I. The war officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" In 1938 Armistice Day was enacted as an official American holiday. In 1954 Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all veterans. Recognized spelling is Veteran's Day, Veterans' Day, and Veterans Day. Veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning "old") is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field.

Cocker Spaniels

Spaniels have been around as far back as the 14th century, and these popular pets also had their start as gun dogs. English hunters prized the dogs’ particularly skilled tracking of woodcocks, so the dogs became known as “cockers.”

Gummi Bear Trick

An Australian high school has installed "secure" fingerprint scanners for roll call for senior students, which savvy kids may be able to circumvent with sweets from their lunch box. The system replaces the school's traditional sign-in system with biometric readers that require senior students to have their fingerprints read to verify attendance. The school principal says the system is better than swipe cards because it stops truant kids getting their mates to sign-in for them.

Students can make replicas of their own fingerprints from gelatine, the ingredient in Gummi Bears, to forge a replica finger. The attack worked against a bunch of scanners that detect electrical charges within the human body, since gelatine has virtually the same capacitance as a finger's skin."

Nov 2, 2010

Religion Survey

Based on a Gallup survey of more than 550,000 people, the most religious Americans also have the highest rates of well-being.

Overall, the very religious received a score on Gallup's well-being index of 68.7 percent, while both the moderately religious and the nonreligious received a score of 64.2 percent. The very religious were defined as those who said religion is an important part of their daily lives and they attend worship services at least every week or almost every week.

Taxi Facts

After being charged an exorbitant rate by a horse-drawn hansom cab in NYC in 1907, Harry Allen decided to start his own service and charge per mile. Partnering with businessmen from France, England, and New York, he brought in a fleet of 65 brand new red cabs and started the New York Taxicab Company. Two years later, the W. C. P. Taxicab Company introduced the yellow cab to compete with him.

A yellow cab driver on average makes $100 - $150 per 12 hour shift. Over 80% of cab drivers are foreign born.

Male Drivers Lost

English car insurance company Sheila's Wheels calculated that 30 percent of male drivers will pull over and ask for directions immediately. Another 26 percent of lost male drivers will wait more than a half-hour before asking for directions, whereas 12 percent refuse to ask at all. The average man drives an extra 276 miles in his car each year because he cannot find his way.

Among female drivers, 37 percent will pull over immediately, when lost. (The average woman drives 256 miles a year while lost.)

The proliferation of GPS devices may soon change all the statistics. Women will still make everyone late by taking way too long to get ready.


The word comes from the Latin word for lead, which is plumbum. Plumbing by definition is a utility that we use in our buildings consisting of: the pipes, which were mostly lead in US households, and fixtures for the distribution of water or gas, and for the disposal of sewage. The word sewer comes from the French word essouier, meaning "to drain".

Toilets and sewers were invented in several parts of the world, and Mohenjo-Daro circa 2800 B.C. had some of the most advanced, with lavatories built into the outer walls of houses. These were "Western-style" toilets made from bricks with wooden seats on top. They had vertical chutes, through which waste fell into street drains or cesspits.

The word "toilet" came to be used in English along with other French fashions. It originally referred to the toile, French for "cloth", draped over a lady or gentleman's shoulders while their hair was being dressed, and then,  by extension, to the various elements, and the complex of operations of hairdressing and body care that centered at a dressing table. The room became the toilet room. For those so inclined, there is the Toilet Museum website.