Feb 5, 2016

Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction

The tradition comes from the German legend and Catholic feast day of Candlemas. "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again."

This year, "It is agreed, there will be early Spring." The Groundhog Club emcee proclaimed, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast." He added, "Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them." During the past 28 years, Phil was correct 13 times and incorrect 15 times. New Iberia's Pierre C. Shaddeaux (a nutria) agrees with Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia both concur with Phil that spring is coming soon.

The findings were independently verified by a groundhog in Canada, where Shubenacadie Sam, groundhog at Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Wildlife Park also saw no shadow. According to a Canadian study looking at 13 different cities’ groundhogs used for their respective festivals, the net accuracy was only 37%.

Ontario's Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter after spotting his shadow. Ohio's Buckeye Chuck agrees. Alabama's Sand Mountain Sam, who has been making appearances since 1993 also agrees and has only been wrong one year. West Virginia's French Creek Freddie also predicts six more weeks of winter.

In Manitoba, Groundhog Day celebrations have been cancelled following the death of Winnipeg Willow, who died last Friday at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

No word yet from North Carolina's Sir Wally Wally (wrong 7 out of the last 10 years), Louisiana's T-boy, the Cajun Groundhog (actually a nutria), or Alabama's Smith Lake Jake.

It appears these groundhogs are about equally as accurate as local weatherpersons.


Disinterested means unbiased and does not mean uninterested.
Correct: "The dispute should be resolved by a disinterested judge." / Why are you so uninterested in my story?

Enervate means to sap or to weaken and does not mean to energize.
Correct: That was an enervating rush hour commute. / That was an energizing cappuccino.

Hung means suspended and does not mean suspended from the neck until dead.
Correct: I hung the picture on my wall. / The prisoner was hanged.

Interesting word thought - If womb is pronounced woom and tomb is pronounced toom, why isn't bomb pronounced boom?

White Bread vs. Wheat Bread

Not all wheat breads are created equal. Most white bread is made with refined grains that skip much fiber and nutrients. However, there are whole-wheat white breads that are just as healthy as whole-wheat breads. Regardless of color preference, it is important that the bread contains bran, germ, and endosperm.

Victorian Words

The Victorians had much influence on common terms - The avoidance of plain terms for bodily parts commonly is associated with the prudery of our Victorian ancestors though many of the evasions predate Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1837.

People started saying darn instead of damn, to employ dashes (d – – –) when writing the harsher word, to perspire instead of sweat, to wear unmentionables  instead of trousers and breeches, to have stomachaches instead of bellyaches, to use nude rather than naked when referring to human figures in painting and sculpture, and to be laid to rest, not buried in a cemetery.

The taboo on breast was so strong that it was replaced by bosom in many contexts during the following century. Decorative breast knots on dresses became bosom knots, breast pins became bosom pins, and even otherwise earthy English farmers were known to refer to the breast, or forward part of the moldboard of a plow, as its bosom.

Most likely, the reluctance to say breast also explains why William Congreve’s line in The Mourning Bride, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” is often misquoted as “Music has charms to soothe a savage beast.”

Energy and Power

Energy is measured in Joules. Power is measured in Watts. Energy is how far you can run. Power is how fast you can run.

When it comes to batteries, Elon Musk says, "It’s really rare that there’s a big breakthrough because there are so many constraints. You can easily improve, say, the power, but then it’d make the energy worse."

Current electric cars have batteries that provide less power and less energy. This is why the Nissan Leaf has a range of only 84 miles (one-third that of the Tesla Model S) and takes three times as long to get to 60 miles per hour.

Musk's Tesla Gigafactory, being built outside Reno, Nevada, will be the second-largest building in the world by volume. It opens in 2016 and will be complete during 2020. His plan is to build enough batteries to reduce the price and improve the power and energy of batteries, so electric cars can go faster and farther. (The latest edition of the Model S received a score of 103 from Consumer Reports, which was a problem only in that Consumer Reports ratings are typically scored out of 100. The magazine had to revise its scale in response to the record-breaking result.)

In addition, the plant will produce large batteries that store energy in homes and even larger batteries that do the same for utilities and businesses. One of its goals is to make home and business solar power more practical. Current prices are already half what other battery manufacturers charge. Musk says, "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck. They’re expensive. They’re unreliable. They’re stinky. Ugly. Bad in every way." His new battery plane are on the path to fix those problems.

In addition to CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, Musk is also the chairman of solar energy provider SolarCity.

Whitening Toothpaste Myth

"Scientifically proven" labels on toothpaste containers are not entirely accurate. According to the American Dental Association, whitening toothpastes may be able to do something on the surface level. To get to the deep-down stains, you need more extreme treatments like bleaching. Several whitening toothpastes are available over the counter and have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

The ADA recommends that if you choose to use a bleaching product, you should only do so after consultation with a dentist. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains.

Since December 31, 2007, professionally (such as dentist) applied bleaching products are no longer eligible for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.

Travel Tip

If you travel, those little hotel room packets of coffee are perfect to use in your bag with dirty laundry and at home for room odors. Unwrap the foil covering and toss unused coffee packet in with your dirty laundry. When you get home your bag will be less stinky. Leave the coffee packet in your bag while storing it for your next trip.

Using Google Voice

Users of Google’s voice-control features such as OK Google are probably aware that the company stores the voice recordings it receives when they talk to it. Did you know it keeps a list of all the recordings the company has ever made of you. If you have or have ever had an Android phone with Google’s “OK Google” voice-control system, the link below will show a list of every command you have ever given it, including a play button next to it. https://history.google.com/history/audio

Google also has a location history, showing any location the company has tracked you to, through apps such as Google Maps as well as simply using an Android phone. It can be found here https://maps.google.co.uk/locationhistory/b/0

Happiness and Bars

Here is a quick read about how to "Spend Time at Your Local Bar to Build Community and Your Own Happiness." Researchers at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology explain there are social benefits to being a regular at a small local bar. LINK