Dec 20, 2019

Happy Friday

"We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh." ~ Agnes Repplier

Every day is good to have a hearty laugh, especially on a Happy Friday!

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice 2019 in Northern Hemisphere will be on Saturday, December 21. It is officially the shortest day of the year. The first full day of winter, a full moon will shine like a beacon on the long dark night. The December full moon, also known as the Cold Moon or Long Night’s Moon, arrives less than a day after the solstice, on December 22.

Yea! From now on days will be getting longer and that means more sunshine and that means warmer weather is coming.

Reindeer Sex

Here is something appropriate for the season. Both male and female reindeer grow antlers, and despite the depiction of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph as males in media; they are most likely females.

Most male reindeer lose their horns in the winter when Christmas occurs. Females lose their antlers during the warm summer months. Males are much less nourished and fattened than the females at this time of year. Santa’s reindeer must be big and strong enough to pull a sleigh full of toys and would need to be in peak physical condition. Hmmm!

Slovak Christmas Drink

Hriatô (Pronounced hree-AH-two-oh) is traditionally served around Christmas and is easy to make. It is a mouthful even before the pork fat hits your lips, but this honey-infused, bacon-dappled hot brandy cocktail graces the upper echelons of winter warmers in Slovakia.

Home cooks begin by frying up bacon in a healthy dollop of lard. Once it is crisp, they drizzle in honey, allowing the sweet and salty blend to mingle. Finally, they add a good amount of potent fruit brandy. Hriatô’s base brandy, often the plum-based slivovka, is a potent distillate (usually more than 50 percent alcohol by volume).

Hriatô can indeed look a bit unappetizing on first glance. As the cloudy liquid begins to cool, the fat separates, initially forming glistening droplets on the drink’s surface, then a layer of settled fat. When enjoyed fresh, the fried bacon bobs in the boozy brew, balancing the honeyed liquid with a savory umami pork flavor. Pork is central to Slovakian cuisine, and even the national dish, bryndzové halušky, a rich meal of gnocchi-like dumplings and sheep’s milk cheese, receives a healthy smattering of bacon.

Ingenious Gift Wrapping Tips

Here are a few great tips. Only a minute to watch. LINK

Bacteria vs. Germs

Bacteria are tiny, one-celled creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. Bacteria can reproduce outside of the body or within the body as they cause infections. Bacteria is a type of germ and can be either good or bad. There are bacteria that live in water, soil, air, clouds, carpet, the ocean, and inside your body. There are bacteria types ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of different species.

Germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease. The four major types of germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. They can invade plants, animals, and people. Viruses need to be inside living cells to grow and reproduce. Fungi are multi-celled, plant-like organisms. Unlike other plants, fungi cannot make their own food from soil, water, and air. Instead, fungi get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. Protozoa are one-cell organisms that love moisture and often spread diseases through water. Some protozoa cause intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea, nausea, and pain.

All bacteria are germs, but not all germs are bacteria.

Waste Management, San Francisco

San Francisco committed to eliminating the modern landfill. The idea, concocted in 2002, was to reach a “zero waste” existence by 2020, which “means that we send zero discards to the landfill or high-temperature destruction,” said the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “The city and county of San Francisco believes achieving zero waste is possible.” Does the name Sisyphus come to mind?

An environmental code was developed in 2003, then six years later the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, which requires everyone in the city to separate recyclables, compostables, and landfill garbage, was passed. Noncompliance is a finable offense.

In addition to mandatory recycling and composting, San Francisco also requires “any site that generates more than 40 cubic yards of waste per week to complete waste audits every three years,” says Waste Dive. Those that fail are “required to hire on-site facilitators at their own expense for one year.” More than 400 sites are subject to the reviews, as well as the $1,000-per-day fines that can be levied on those not meeting the standard.

Despite the efforts and expectations, Politico reported last month that San Francisco is “nowhere close to that goal.” After falling for years, the amount of garbage being sent to landfills has been growing. Officials have tried to push residents into generating less waste by cutting the size of curbside containers by half, from 32 gallons to 16.

As of December 2019, it has still not met the goal. In fact, sensing the inevitable, during September 2018, San Francisco updated the zero waste goals to these two pledges:
    Reduce municipal solid waste generation by 15% by 2030 (reducing what goes to recycling, composting, and trash).
    Reduce disposal to landfill and incineration by 50% by 2030 (reducing what goes in the black trash bins).

Incidentally, According to author and journalist John Tierney, “All the trash generated by Americans for the next 1,000 years would fit on one-tenth of 1% percent of the land available for grazing.” 

Wordology, OMG

The first use of "OMG" was in a letter to Winston Churchill. It is not a modern acronym. The first appearance was in a letter to Winston Churchill during 1917. Lord Fisher, an admiral and naval innovator, wrote to the British prime minister and was obviously excited about a possible honor for himself and those in his line of work. He wrote, "I hear a new order of Knights in on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!"

Incidentally, tapis is a heavy textile with a woven design; used for curtains and upholstery.

Medical Education Progression

People in the US begin as a medical student who is in medical school and is not yet a doctor. Other countries have similar, but different terms for medical professionals.

After medical school they become an intern, then resident. Interns are people in their first year of residency. All interns are residents, but not all residents are interns.

Residents have officially completed their medical degree and are medical doctors, but do not have a specialty or license. A resident still needs to work under an attending doctor. Residency is where they learn to become a specialist, such as a surgeon. Residents typically work 3-5 years in specialty training. They do not get their medical license to practice until after residency.

Everyone needs a license to practice as a regular doctor aka attending. Attendings are people who can independently practice in a particular area without anyone supervising them. They can be either a D.O. (Osteopath) or a M.D (Allopath) and both pass the same board exams.

In order to become a specialist they need to be an attending doctor first. Fellowship is sub-specialty training after residency. They are specializing even further, into things, such as cardiac surgeons must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, a 5-year general surgery residency and a 2-3 year specialized cardio or cardiothoracic fellowship.

Doctorate Degrees

A doctorate degree is the highest level of academic degree in most fields. For research or university teaching, the degree is usually a PhD. Applied professional doctorates include the Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Theology (Dth), and the Juris Doctor (JD), among others.

Difference between two degrees, such as MD and PhD are: PhDs advance knowledge and MDs apply existing knowledge. The MD does not need to produce original research; the PhD must produce original research and write it up in a dissertation, which must be approved by a review committee before achieving a PhD.

Incidentally, in the US, a thesis is the final project for the master's degree and a dissertation leads to a doctoral degree. A thesis is a compilation of research that proves knowledge about the information learned throughout the graduate program. A PhD dissertation must contribute something completely new and undiscovered to the field. The dissertation must contribute original knowledge to the subject. In short, a thesis (MA) proves someone else's point and a dissertation (PhD) proves your own point.

What's in a Name, Rubik's Cube

When Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 to teach his students about 3-D geometry, even he could not solve the puzzle he had created.

He famously wrote that it was like, "staring at a piece of writing written in a secret code, but for me, it was a code I myself had invented! Yet, I could not read it. This was such an extraordinary situation that I simply could not accept it." He eventually learned to master the cube and could solve the puzzle in under a minute.

Incidentally, Yusheng Du, beat the previous world record of 4.22 seconds with the jaw-dropping time of 3.47 seconds earlier this year.

Happy Friday

Work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; dream while others are wishing; and smile while others are frowning.

I like to smile, dream, prepare, and work every day, especially on a Happy Friday!

Night of Radishes

Every December 23, crowds gather in Oaxaca, Mexico’s main square to celebrate the Night of the Radishes, or La Noche de Rábanos. It is a competition between artists who use the purple produce to make sculptures and, hopefully, win the big prize of the night.

The competition’s origins date back to when holiday market vendors tried to make their vegetables more enticing by making sculptures with them. It was such a hit that the governor, Francisco Vasconcelos, decided to create an official contest in 1897. It has been a tradition in Oaxaca ever since.

Incidentally, Oaxaca is pronounced Wah haw kah.

Eight Ways To Burn Calories

Time to burn a few calories before the holidays.
Singing in the shower can burn an extra 10-20 Calories per song, depending on the volume and pitch of your voice.
Brushing your teeth for three minutes will burn 10 Calories.
One hour spent sitting in front of the TV burns about 65 Calories.
Constant texting can burn 40 Calories per hour.
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 Calories an hour.
Hugging for one hour can burn 70 Calories.

A one minute kiss can burn between 2 and 4 Calories, depending on how intimate it is.

Laughing for 10 minutes burns between 20 and 40 Calories.