Dec 27, 2013

Happy Friday

Affliction is the teacher of humility; the parent of repentance; the nurse of faith; the strengthener of patience; and a guide to reflection.

I am constantly afflicted with the desire to celebrate a Happy Friday!

On this last Friday of 2013, be humble, keep the faith, repent if you must, be patient, and reflect on the accomplishments of 2013 as we guide ourselves into the joyous 2014 - Happy New Year!

Another use for Salt

One way to keep your clothes from fading is to turn them all inside-out before putting them through the wash. If yours have already faded, adding a couple of pinches of salt to your detergent will brighten your clothes in just one wash.

Benefits of Nuts

The holidays always include snacks for family and friends and now you can be good to them without cooking. A new study from November, 2013 in The New England Journal of Medicine, come from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together have followed nearly 119,000 women and men from 1980 - 2010. Both studies recorded what the participants ate and analyzed their diets in relation to the causes of death among the 27,429 people who died since the studies began.

The more often nuts ( pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, and walnuts) were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower. Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die. Among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was still 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.

Of course, moderation is key because an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories. However, findings revealed the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be. In a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese. One reason it found may be the fat, fiber, and protein in nuts suppresses hunger between meals. Every study has indicated that nuts make a contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account.

Nuts provide rich sources of unsaturated fat and also contain protein, fiber, plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, and micronutrients copper and magnesium. Nuts have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than olive oil. On average, 62 percent of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated, the kind that supports healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and does not raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides and blood pressure, slow the buildup of arterial plaque, and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Walnuts contain rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which is converted to heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds are good sources of vitamin E. Peanuts and pistachios are rich in resveratrol.

The nurses’ study also linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A Taiwanese study of about 24,000 people found a 58 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women who ate peanuts, although a similar effect was not found among men. The nurses’ study and a study of 64,000 women in Shanghai found strong evidence that frequent consumption of tree nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

As with all studies, especially many with exaggerated claims, no food is a panacea and eating nuts will not heal the sick or raise the dead. However, there seems to be enough evidence that adding a moderate amount of nuts to your diet is better for you than not.

Peanuts and Almonds are not Nuts

Notwithstanding the above, peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. The plant has seeds that grow inside pods such as peas or beans. Nuts grow on trees, peanuts grow underground. Peanut seeds flower above ground and then migrate underground to reach maturity. Peanuts are also called goobers, goober peas, groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, and grass nuts.

Also, almonds are not nuts. An almond is the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. The tree bears fruits with a seed within. Fruits with these characteristics are called drupes. A drupe is a fruit that has an outer fleshy part surrounding a shell that contains a seed. Other drupes include fruits from walnut trees and coconut trees. The seed inside the almond fruit is called an almond nut, even though it is not a nut. A nut is a hard shelled fruit that doesn't open to release its seed.

Pantone 2014

It is that time of year when Pantone decides for us what color we will wear, paint our rooms, buy curtains, add tiles, etc. The color of the year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, officially PANTONE 18-3224.

Pantone Color Institute says it is "An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple, and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm." Isn't that special.

Fascinating Reindeer Facts

Reindeer are the only mammals whose eyes are known to change color. The eyes are gold during the summer when the reindeer experience almost constant sunlight. During the darkness of winter their retinas become less reflective and their eyes appear blue.

They are also the only known mammals able to see in ultraviolet. During the Northern winter, when the sun barely rises above the horizon, snow reflects about 90 percent of UV. While that can cause snow blindness in humans, reindeer use it to their advantage.

Reindeer need their excellent eyesight when they run, because they can approach 50 miles per hour (80 km) at full run.

Difficult to Read

When looking up a particularly complex topic on Wikipedia, you might try replacing the “en” (for English) with “simple” in a Wikipedia URL. You will then get information written using simple English words and grammar that should make the most complex topics easy to understand.

Bye Bye Light Bulbs

As we say goodbye to 2013, we also say goodbye to more incandescent light bulb types. On Jan. 1, 2014, the most popular incandescent light bulbs, 40W and 60W will be no more. They join the already gone 75W and 100W incandescent bulbs as their domestic manufacture and import has been legislated away as part of the final phase-out stage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

An estimated 30 percent of informed consumers will be raiding the aisles of local stores, grabbing all of the 40W and 60W bulbs that they can get their hands on to delay the inevitable - and save big bucks in the process. Maybe by the time their final stash is gone the newer bulb prices will have come down from the stratosphere.

Another icon of the late 19th and early 20th centuries likely to become extinct soon is the landline telephone. This will not need to be legislated out, new technology has rendered them mostly unnecessary, even though the new technology has yet to achieve the clarity and dependability of the landline instruments. The number of home landlines in the US is dropping at a rate of 700,000 per month and currently just five percent of people depend solely on copper phone lines.

New Incandescent Light Bulbs

Fear not the demise of all of our incandescent bulbs, here is a place that makes (almost) the same old incandescent light bulbs many know and love. The bulbs are still available after the new law, because the company changed the way the bulbs are made. The new law says that incandescent bulbs for "rough" use are still allowed, so this company complied with the new spec and makes these bulbs for sale at reasonable prices. The web site is here