May 30, 2014

Happy Friday

The constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness.

I never fail to catch it on a Happy Friday!

Laughter Studies

We all know laughing is good for you, and now, here are some studies that prove it. Laughing in the face of tragedy seems to shield a person from its effects. A 2013 review of studies found that among elderly patients, laughter significantly alleviated the symptoms of depression. Another study, published early this year, found that firefighters who used humor as a coping strategy were somewhat protected from PTSD. Laughing also seems to ease more-quotidian anxieties. One group of researchers found that watching an episode of Friends was as effective at improving a person’s mood as listening to music or exercising, and more effective than resting.

Laughter even seems to have a buffering effect against physical pain. A 2012 study found that subjects who were shown a funny video displayed higher pain thresholds than those who saw a serious documentary. In another study, postsurgical patients requested less pain medication after watching a funny movie.

Other literature identifies even more specific health benefits: laughing reduced arterial-wall stiffness, which is associated with cardiovascular disease. Women undergoing in-vitro fertilization were sixteen percent more likely to get pregnant when entertained by a clown. A clown improved lung function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A study of Norwegians found that having a sense of humor correlated with a high probability of surviving into retirement. Not new news, but always good to get reinforcement.

Fresh vs. Frozen

In two recent studies from Britain, researchers purchased a half dozen different kinds of fruit and vegetables, all of which came in two varieties: fresh and frozen. After buying them and then having them chill out in either a fridge or freezer for three days, researchers conducted 40 tests to compare their nutritional content.

Turns out the frozen varieties were richer in health-boosting vitamins and antioxidants. In fact, frozen broccoli had four times more beta-carotene than its fresh counterpart, while frozen carrots had three times more lutein and double the beta-carotene as well as greater levels of vitamin C and polyphenols. Raspberries and peas performed about the same, whether they were fresh or frozen.

While it is true that foods gradually lose nutrients as they move through the supply chain, that chain is far longer for fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables are regularly held in storage for up to a month before you ever see them. Plus, according to study author Graham Bonwick Ph.D., a professor of applied biology at the University of Chester, once they hit your refrigerator  the nutritional loss escalates. It is probably due to the plant's continuing metabolic activity and how cells react to oxygen and exposure to artificial dark-light cycles.

A recent study from Rice University and the University of California at Davis found that the fluorescent lights of supermarkets and the constant darkness of your refrigerator affects fruit and vegetable circadian clocks so that they excrete fewer glucosinolates, compounds with cancer-fighting properties.

"Produce's degradation reactions are very much slowed by lowering the temperature to freezing levels," Bonwick says. "Furthermore, when you freeze produce, the water present in the cells of the food is locked up as ice, slowing or preventing these processes that require the presence of free water." Since produce in the freezer section was frozen solid almost immediately after being picked, it is preserved at its nutritional peak.

German Inventions

Although it has now been replaced by the Celsius temperature scale in almost all countries except for USA and Belize, Fahrenheit (in which water's freezing point is 32 degrees and boiling point is 212) was the world standard until relatively recently. It was invented by German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1724.

Aspirin, made from willow bark was developed by Felix Hoffmann in August 1897 for pharmaceutical giant Bayer, and although a US company claimed a patent for the drug after World War One, 12,000 of the 50,000 tons of Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) produced each year are still made by Bayer.

After using blotting paper from her children’s school books to remove unwanted coffee grounds, Dresden housewife Melitta Bentz had the idea to patent her invention in 1908. She then founded a company selling over a thousand coffee filters by the next year.

German clock manufacturer Junghans Uhren Gmbh developed a watch that automatically adjusts itself to an atomic clock using radio signals. It was invented in 1990 and will remain accurate to the second for at least a million years.

The first true working car was invented by Germans Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in 1886, 22 years before the Model T Ford went into production in the USA.

The first true accordion was invented by a German, Christian Friedrich Buschmann. In 1822 he attached bellows to a portable keyboard with vibrating reeds and called it a "hand-aeoline".

In 1977 after nine years of development, German inventors Jürgen Dethloff and Helmut Göttrup created the first card with a built in programmable microprocessor, the ancestor of the chip and PIN cards in our wallets today.

What's in a Name Sherry

This fortified wine is named for the Anglican version of its town of origin, Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Like champagne, sherry is a Protected Designation of Origin, and only wine from that area of Spain can be labeled sherry in Europe.

Taming Odor Tips

Leave bar soap in the package and rest it somewhere out of sight. Hide an extra bar near your kitchen garbage can. Soap also lasts longer when it is dried. Open the your new soap bars and place them in closets, under the bed, in your armoire, in clothes drawers, or any place else you want to smell fresh, but not overpowering. Since it does not pick up odors, you can use it to shower after it becomes a bit hard.

Cat litter is good for eliminating cat odors, but can also be used to reduce other odors. Use cat litter in closets to reduce odors or put some in a coffee filter and stick in smelly shoes. If you have cats, be careful, as they might use the litter for their own purpose.

Put a large bowl of vinegar in a smelly room, such as the kitchen to eliminate unwanted odors. Put out a large bowl when you leave for work and when you arrive home at the end of the day, you will be surprised how well it works. Vinegar also works for wood furniture. Mix a 50-50 solution with water and wipe down the wooden furniture with a damp (not wet) cloth of the mixture.

I put used dryer sheets in clothes drawers and the pantry. They work for months. You can also put them in shoes to make them fresh. It is a good way to get a second use. They also work well in gym bags and luggage.

Baking soda is great to unstink a clothes hamper. Sprinkle on top of clothes. When ready, toss clothes into washer as usual. The baking soda also helps clean the clothes during washing. In fact, baking soda can replace detergent for washing clothes. Baking soda is also good for carpet stains or furniture odor. Sprinkle on, wait a while, then vacuum. Do not leave on for too long, or it may tend to bleach the fabric.

Coffee is the favorite of airlines to unstink airplane restrooms. Leave a dish of fresh, ground, unused coffee on a table and within hours the room smells better. If you travel, those little room packets of coffee are perfect to use in your bag with dirty laundry and at home for room odors.

Eye Goop

Other names include; eye crusties, eye gunk, sleepy dust, sleepy boogers, eye discharge, eye goop, eye crud, eye jelly, eye crust, eye bogeys, eye boogers, eye-sand, sleepy dirt, eye sand.

It is a type of  'rheum', which is the name for discharge from your nose, mouth, or eyes during sleep. More specifically, eye rheum is known as gound. Gound is made up of a mixture of dust, blood cells, skin cells, etc., mixed with mucus secreted by the conjunctiva, as well as an oily substance from the meibomian glands (named after German, Heinrich Meibom).

The meibomian glands are a type of sebaceous gland that line the rim of the eyelids with about fifty on the top and twenty five on the bottom of each eye. They secrete an oily substance called meibum that performs a variety of functions including: helps seal your eyes in an air tight fashion when they are closed; prevents tears from spilling onto your cheeks; and helps keep tears that coat your eyes from evaporating. It is this oily substance that is one of the primary components in gound, mixed with mucin from the conjunctiva and various foreign particles in your eye.

Normally, when you are awake, the gound is naturally washed away via tears and the blinking motion. As you sleep, the meibomian secretions and other components of the gound tend to gather in the corners of your eyes, as well as along your eye lines and dries out. Sleepy eyes suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.


The color orange may have been named for the fruit, but the irony is that oranges usually are not the color orange. The color orange wasn’t defined until 1542, when it was cobbled together from words that had previously been used to refer to the fruit. Its first form was the Arabic word naranj and the Persian narang, which were both derived from a Sanskrit word, naranga.

Most oranges that come from their native tropical countries are not orange. In their natural, ripe state, in the warmer countries where they are grown, the outside of the orange is full of chlorophyll, making it green. In colder areas, the chlorophyll is killed by the cold weather, and similar to the leaves on a deciduous tree, the orange color of the flesh inside emerges through the green.

It is actually the green oranges that are ripe, and those that turn orange are on their way from their peak ripeness. Many people in the United States and Europe think of green fruit as being unripe, so some orange crops are turned orange unnaturally, exposed to flash freezing or ethylene gas to eliminate the chlorophyll in the skins.

Eight Interesting Body Facts

More germs are transferred shaking hands than kissing.

The aorta, the largest artery in the body, is almost the diameter of a garden hose.

Capillaries are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.

Your body has about 6 quarts (5.6 Liters) of blood. It circulates through the body three times every minute.

The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime.

The human body can function without a brain (although not long).

Humans are the only primates that do not have pigment in the palms of their hands

A mans testicles manufacture 10 million new sperm cells each day, enough to repopulate the entire planet in 6 months.