Jan 29, 2010

Web Viewing Tip

Here is a tip that I use all the time. When viewing a web page that has small print, hold down the CTRL (control) key and move your scroll button on your mouse forward. It increases the size of print for easier viewing. It is temporary and only lasts for the page you are viewing. Moving your scroll button back reduces the size of print. It works in Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Robot Maids

South Korean scientists have developed a walking robot maid which can recognize people, turn on microwave ovens, washing machines, and toasters, and also pick up sandwiches, cups, and whatever else it senses as objects.

Mahru-Z has a human-like body including a rotating head, arms, legs and six fingers plus three-dimensional vision to recognize chores that need to be tackled. Below is a picture of the old and new models.

"The most distinctive strength of Mahru-Z is its visual ability to observe objects, recognize the tasks needed to be completed, and execute them," said You Bum-Jae, head of the cognitive robot center at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology.

The institute took two years to develop Mahru-Z, which is 4.3 feet tall and weighs 121 pounds.

It could also work with an earlier maid robot called Marhu-M which moves on wheels, since both can be remotely controlled through a computer server. Don't look for this in the mail order catalogs soon.

Older Brains and Remembering

A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.

Other research has already shown that aging is associated with a decreased ability to tune out irrelevant information. The current study showed that older brains are less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains and can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together to use this knowledge for subsequent memory tasks.

The older adults showed a 30% advantage over younger adults in their memory. Because this type of knowledge is thought to play a critical role in real world decision-making, older adults may be the wiser decision-makers compared to younger adults because they picked up so much more information. I knew that.


Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.

World Record No Sleep

The world record for time without sleep is 264 hours (11 days) by Randy Gardner in 1965.

John J. Ross, who monitored his health, reported serious cognitive and behavioral changes. These included moodiness, problems with concentration and short term memory, paranoia, and hallucinations. On the fourth day he had a delusion that he was Paul Lowe winning the Rose Bowl, and that a street sign was a person. On the eleventh day, when he was asked to subtract seven repeatedly, starting with 100, he stopped at 65. When asked why he had stopped, he replied that he had forgotten what he was doing.

On his final day, Gardner presided over a press conference where he spoke without slurring or stumbling his words and in general appeared to be in excellent health. "I wanted to prove that bad things didn't happen if you went without sleep."

After completing his record, Gardner slept 14 hours and 40 minutes, woke naturally, stayed awake 24 hours, then slept a normal eight hours. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Jan 27, 2010


Winners have simply formed the habit of doing things losers don't like to do.

Jan 26, 2010


If you have integrity, nothing else matters.
If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.

See Through Refrigerator

Here is a great idea I just saw on the web. In order to save opening the door a hundred times a day, simply push a button and the door turns transparent so you can see what is inside before you open the door. 

The idea is to save energy by keeping the door closed until you want to take something out.

World Front Pages

Here is a web page of newspaper front pages from around the world. A great way to see the real big stories beyond your hometown. You can sort by region of the country or international, etc. Sure opens your perspective about what the rest of the world thinks is important.  LINK


Why is poop brown? I know you have all wondered it, but were afraid to ask. Well, here is the answer. Stools can come in several different colors. Brown happens to be the color of good health. Bile comes from your gall bladder and helps your body digest food. It is metabolized by the bacteria in your large intestine, leaving behind a byproduct called stercobilin, which gives stool a brown pigment.

The color of poop can offer some surprising insights into what's going on within your body. Changes in stool colors are frequently the first sign that something is wrong. There's three main bad colors your poop can be. Red means internal bleeding, or that you have recently eaten beets. Yellow means there is fat in your poop and this is the kind that floats. Usually it means you are eating too much fat and not digesting it. Green means that you probably have a bacterial infection.

 That is enough details for now and aren't you glad I did not include pictures.

Free ebooks

For you book readers in the crowd, here is a web site that has a bunch of sources for free ebooks. LINK

Magnificent Eagles

A bald eagle’s nest grows with each year of use. They usually start with one of the taller trees in a given area, with a network of strong supporting branches. While the nest may start out only a couple of feet wide, after a few years of use, the nest can grow to more than six feet wide and ten feet deep. The male usually brings nest material to the nest site where the female will arrange it to suit her. Softer material, such as grasses and leaves, will be used to line the center of the nest.

Copulation usually occurs at the nest. The male will simply mount the female to make contact. The whole thing lasts just seconds. After copulation the pair might perch next to each other for a half hour or so, sometimes preening themselves and each other.

Bald eagles generally lay two eggs, although one or three are not that uncommon. The eggs are laid about two days apart and will normally hatch in the same order as they were laid, with approximately the same intervals between hatchings as there were between layings. The eggs are bluish-white, about 3 inches in length, and roughly oval-shaped. Through time, the eggs will discolor until they appear to be more of a mottled, or dirty, white.

Incubation lasts 34 to 36 days with both the male and female birds incubating. Females will incubate the eggs about 60 percent of the time. During incubation, the male will bring food for the female, many times to one of the supporting branches of the nest and she will usually come off the eggs to eat, with the male taking her place on the nest.


Some people will hold anything except their tongues, keep anything except their word, and lose nothing except their patience.

I don't hold back, and lose nothing by keeping pleasant thoughts of a Happy Friday!

Jan 23, 2010

Edgar Allen Poe

The mysterious visitor who left roses and a bottle of Cognac at the original Baltimore grave site of Edgar Allan Poe failed to appear this year for the first time in 61 years.
Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House, tells  The Baltimore Sun that the visitor, whose identity is unknown, has shown up every Jan. 19 since 1949. The visitor left notes some years. In 1993, the visitor left a note that read: "The torch will be passed." Years later, another note indicated the man had died in 1998 and had handed the tradition to his two sons. Nevermore?

Thoughts to Speech

Scientists have successfully tested a system that translates brain waves into speech, raising the prospect that people left mute by stroke, Lou Gehrig's disease and other afflictions will one day be able to communicate by synthetic voice.

The system was tested on a 26-year-old man left paralyzed by a brain stem stroke, but with his consciousness and cognitive abilities intact. The condition is known as "locked-in syndrome." In this condition, communication by eye movement or other limited motion is possible, but extremely cumbersome.

Scientists implanted an electrode about 5 millimeters deep into the part of the subject's brain responsible for planning speech. After a few months nerve cells grew into the electrode, producing detectable signals. It took several years, however, to develop a computer system that could discriminate elements of speech from the busy backdrop of neural activity.

The first "words" detected from the subject's brain were three vowel sounds, but the speed with which the speech thought was transmitted into audible sound was about 50 milliseconds -- the same amount of time it typically takes for naturally occurring speech.

The embedded electrode amplifies neural signals and converts them into FM radio waves which are then transmitted wirelessly across the subject's scalp to two coils on his head that serve as receiving antennas. The signals are then routed into a system that digitizes, sorts and decodes them. The results are fed into a program on a PC that synthesizes speech.

World Database of Happiness


Ripcord Charger

Wouldn't it be great if you could charge your cell phone or MP3 player the just by pulling a string?

The $40 YoGen Mobile Charger could provide emergency power in a pinch. Like today's solar chargers, the ripcord device isn't a viable alternative to the good old AC adapter, but it's handy for campers, or those who have talkative friends that use up that last few minutes of charge on your phone, while you are away from home.

Wasp Spray

A receptionist in a church in a high risk area  was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection.  She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote.  She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn't attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one at home for home protection.

Live TV on the Internet

This is very cool stuff. Justin.tv (link below) is a site that allows people to send in live streams from their phone or other device directly to the net and you can watch. One channel had a football game that was blacked out locally that was sent directly from a guy in another area. It also has online chat, so you can share comments with others about the show being played live.

It has multiple feeds and I can see foresee family events for the holidays, where a few people in different cities show live video and add comments. What a great way to keep in touch and better than picture phone. I made need to upgrade my phone to play with this one.


Jan 22, 2010

Eyewitness to History

For you history buffs, this web site will take you to places it is hard to imagine. It has detail stories and pictures ranging from the old west, civil war, world wars, presidents and kings. A wonderful place to waste a great number of hours. LINK

Glen Bell Jr.

Glen Bell Jr., an entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Taco Bell chain, died this week. He was 86. Bell died Sunday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.  He started Taco Bell in California in 1962. He sold his 868 Taco Bell restaurants to PepsiCo for $125 million in stock, in 1978.

Taco Bell is now owned by Yum Brands and is the largest Mexican fast-food chain in the nation, serving more than 36.8 million consumers each week in more than 5,600 U.S. locations.


OK, it's time to think about that home phone you are paying for.  The number of people in the US who have eliminated their home landline phones in favor of cell phones doubled between 2006 and 2009, according to a government report. Twenty five percent of US households have no landline.

In December 2009, AT&T proposed that the government develop a plan and set a date to eliminate all telephone line service for the country. Interesting to see something that was once so vital to our comfort and convenience be made redundant.

Some may remember the beginning of phones in the home and 'party' lines. Amazing that in one generation an amazing technology can come and go. I have a feeling many things we have seen the birth of will die before we do. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to keep up. Of course it helps if you love technology, like I do. . . almost as much as potato chips and bacon.

Economic Recovery

Here is an interesting site that shows where the recovery money is being spent. It shows many of the projects funded by the ARRA. Interesting that, as of today, it is last updated last year. Still, it is a fun read if you want to scare yourself with details or where your tax dollars are being spent, like waterless latrines in Arkansas and a picnic shelter at Turkey Point Park in Kansas.

A good deal were for construction projects as they were supposed to be, but pork always finds its way in. A few more goodies, $5 million and another $1.75 million, the Jennie-o Turkey Store, MN, (the only description for both is "small turkey deli breasts". $3 million to Accenture to help construct a data warehouse for the Farm Service Agency. $707,000 to increase demand for the National Health Service. $90 million to Leland Stanford University to develop 3 x-ray instruments. $27.9 million for "The purpose of this procurement is to obtain the services of a broadband industry consultant to implement the statutory requirements of the American Recovery Act and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Especially interesting are the amounts to outlying areas, such as the $2 Billion to Puerto Rico, $93 million to the Virgin Islands, $78,000 to the American Samoa Coalition against domestic and sexual violence (that is a real jobs booster). Guam received money for Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, Guam coalition against social assault, Soroptimist Club of Guam, an organization of business women, and more. Seems some folks like pork more than I do.


Here is a very slick and flexible reader. E-Readers are proving to be all the rage  and here is one called Skiff from Skiff LLC. Flexible screens have been promised for the past 3 or 4 years, and now we actually have one.

With an unannounced released date or price, the flexible Skiff will deliver content on Sprint's 3G network.

We found that the e-reader, which uses resistive touch, had better and faster reactions than the similarly sized Que from Plastic Logic (which is capacitive). Both are basically the size of a sheet of paper and are marketed at readers of traditional newspapers and magazines.

The Que will come to the market in April, retailing in two versions that cost $649 or $799. I have been waiting for this for a few years, since I first saw the prototype.

Electronic Greeting Cards

For those folks who do not use the internet, here is a great solution. A mini electronic picture book. The self contained digital greeting card is a digital frame with a 2.4-inch LCD that springs to life when the card is opened. It has battery life for about three hours of playback and storage for fifty images or five minutes of MP3 audio. The cards can be recharged via USB and are priced at $19.99. I can see many new grandparents getting these for the next holidays.

Jan 15, 2010

Look Young, Die Old

A study published December, 2009 in the British Medical Journal reports that longer survival of 1,826 twins correlated with the “perceived age” of the subjects. Perceived age was significantly associated with survival, even after adjustment for chronological age, sex, and environment. The bigger the difference in perceived age within a pair, the more likely that the older looking twin died first.

The study began in 2001 and concluded in 2008. There are a variety of factors which are instrumental, including smoking status, body mass index, and sun exposure. 

Physicians traditionally compare perceived and chronological age, and for adult patients the expression "looking old for your age" is an indicator of poor health. The study indicates that this practice, which has existed for centuries, is actually a useful clinical approach especially given that in a clinical setting perceived age is based on an array of indicators in addition to facial appearance. The next time someone says 'you look good for your age', make sure they know how old you really are.


The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875. If you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the tub for 25 years without the phone ringing once.

What to do with your old Christmas Tree


Norman Rockwell

 His illustrations of small town American life looked so photographic because his method was to copy photographs that he conceived and meticulously directed, working with various photographers and using friends and neighbors as his models.

“The Runaway” (1958) is one example from the recently published Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera (Little, Brown and Company, 2009). More about Rockwell’s photo realism, including an image gallery, is currently on NPR’s web site. Rockwell’s digitized photographic archive  LINK .


Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, passed away last week at age 89.

Jan 13, 2010

Fifty Years Ago

As we approach the new decade, let's look back at the decade of the 1960s to see the grand food things that were invented then.

1960, Coffee Rich, aluminum cans used for food and beverages, Domino's Pizza, Granny Smith apples introduced to the USA, and single-serving ketchup packets.

1961 Total breakfast cereal, Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup, Green Giant frozen peas, Sprite, Coffee-Mate, Hardee's

Frozen bread dough, Pet-Ritz Frozen Pie Crusts, Diet-Rite Cola, tab-opening aluminum cans for soft drinks, Taco Bell

Tab soda, Wundra flour, Cremora

Pop-Tarts, Buffalo Wings (Anchor Bar, Buffalo NY), Coca cola in cans, Ruffles potato chips, Lucky Charms breakfast cereal, Bugles, Chiffon Margarine, Seven Seas Salad Dressing, Yoplait Yogurt, Awake synthetic orange juice, Maxim freeze-dried instant coffee, Carnation Instant Breakfast

Shake 'n Bake, Cool Whip, Tang, Rock Cornish game hens, Apple Jacks breakfast cereal, SpaghettiOs, Cranapple Fruit Juice, Gatorade, Diet Pepsi

Bac'Os, Product 19 breakfast cereal, $100,000 candy bar, Caravelle candy bar, Taster's Choice freeze dried coffee, Doritos, instant oatmeal, Easy Cheese

Lawry's Taco Seasoning Mix

Red Lobster restaurants, Legal Seafoods restaurants

Chunky Soups, Kaboom breakfast cereal, Frosted Mini-Wheats breakfast cereal, Chipos snack food, Pringles potato snacks, Wendy's restaurants, Long John Silver's Fish 'n Chips restaurants

Credit Card Non-Use Fees

I have heard of overdraft fees, but this is a new one. Fifth Third Bank began charging a $19 fee if credit card borrowers had no account activity in 12 months. Also, there are quasi-inactivity fees -- Citigroup has a policy on some cards where if you don't spend up to a certain amount you'll be charged a fee up to $90.

Bank of America will start experimenting with new annual fees from $29 - $99. Citi now has a policy where credit card borrowers who pay late, have to pay a reinstatement fee in order to redeem accumulated rewards points and you may be charged if you get a paper statement instead of an electronic one. Hmmm! Pay me if you use me, pay me if you forget to pay me, pay me if you don't use me, pay me for paper.

Half Cocked

Back in the days of loading flintlock pistols and rifles, the hammer had to be cocked halfway back in order to load the weapon and put in a new fuse. Sometimes a person would make a mistake and the hammer would come down after loading the powder and the gun would go off. That is how we get the saying to "not go off half cocked."

Trees Are Bad?

I read that cutting the rain forest is part of causing global warming, because trees absorb Co2, and greenies say we should plant trees. Well, here is an article that says trees can cause warming.

"Although temperatures have risen throughout the globe, they've gone up most dramatically in the Arctic. Past warm periods indicate that deciduous tree (deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter) expansion into the Arctic is a common occurrence when the region warms up, so a new study has looked into the impact trees could have on the regional climate.

As expected, the increase of the leafy trees would result in less reflective ground, but the study suggests they could also induce more cloud cover and an increasingly warm surface and ocean that have more turbulent weather patterns. The simulation indicated that the expansion of leafy trees, by their ability to increase water vapor and absorb light, would result in an increase of the surface temperature in the Arctic region of about a Kelvin (1K is about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next 20 years. "  Taken from ARS Technica Dec, 30, 2009.  Trees cause clouds, warm up the earth and are bad - trees are good and eat Co2. Hmmm, The trees I sit under in the summer seem to cool me off quite nicely and their leaves drop in the fall, so they don't block the sun in the winter.


When confusion ceases, tranquility comes;
when tranquility comes, wisdom appears; and
when wisdom appears, reality is seen.

Cultured Pork

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it. Scientists from Eindhoven University in The Netherlands have for the first time grown pork meat in the laboratory by extracting cells from a live pig and growing them in a petri dish.

The scientists, led by Professor of Physiology Mark Post, extracted myoblast cells from a living pig and grew them in a solution of nutrients derived from the blood of animal fetuses (although they intend to replace the solution with a synthesized alternative in the future).

Professor Post said artificially cultured meat could mean the meat of one animal could be increased to a volume equivalent to the meat of a million animals, which would reduce animal suffering and be good for the environment. As long as the final product looks and tastes like meat, Post said he is convinced people will buy it. Wow, pork with no methane. . .

At present the product is a sticky, soggy and unappetizing muscle mass, but the team is seeking ways to exercise and stretch the muscles to turn the product into meat of a more familiar consistency. Post described the current in-vitro meat product as resembling wasted muscle, but he is confident they can improve its texture. Nobody has yet tasted the cultured meat because laboratory rules prevent the scientists tasting the product themselves.

The research is partly funded by the Dutch government, but is also backed by the Dutch sausage-making firm Stegeman, which is owned by Sara Lee. The scientists (and presumably, the sausage makers) believe the meat product may be available for use in sausages within five years.

Other groups are also working on trying to produce cultured meat. NASA has funded research in the US on growing fish chunks from cells and meat from turkey cells, with the idea that the technology could have wide application in future space travel, since growing edible muscle would allow future astronauts to avoid a range of problems associated with using live animals in space. In a June, 2009 paper in the journal Tissue Engineering another group of scientists proposed new techniques that could lead to industrial production of meat grown in cultures.

The reaction of vegetarian groups has been mixed. A representative of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said as long as the meat was not the flesh of a dead animal there would be no ethical objection. Last year PETA even offered a prize of $1 million to the first person or group who could come up with a commercially viable cultured meat product.

Deep Fried Strawberries

Some folks are out to prove that you can deep fry anything. here are some deep fried strawberries. Yumm!

Pig in a Poke

It is an offering or deal that is foolishly accepted without being examined first. 'Don't buy a pig in a poke' might seem odd and archaic language. It's true that the phrase is very old, but actually it can be taken literally and remains good advice.

The advice being given is 'don't buy a pig until you have seen it'. In British commercial law it is 'caveat emptor' - Latin for 'let the buyer beware'. This remains the guiding principle of commerce in many countries and supports the view that if you buy something you take responsibility to ensure it is what you intended to buy.

A poke is a sack or bag. It has a French origin as 'poque' and, like several other French words, its a diminutive is formed by adding 'ette' or 'et' - hence 'pocket' really means 'small bag'.

Poke is still in use in several English-speaking countries, notably Scotland and southeastern USA, and describes a type of bag that would be useful for carrying a piglet to market.

A pig that's in a poke might not be a pig. If a merchant tried to cheat by substituting a lower value animal, the trick could be uncovered by letting the 'cat out of the bag'.  Many other European languages have a version of this phrase, with most of them translating into English as a warning not to 'buy a cat in a bag'. The advice has stood the test of time and people have been repeating it for at least five hundred years.


The socialization of robots was an important area of research during 2009. Researchers believe that giving robots social skills will make them better at assisting people in homes, schools, offices, and hospitals. Andrea Thomaz created robots that can learn simple grasping tasks from human instructors who use social cues, such as verbal instructions, gestures, and expressions.

Another robot, made by a group at Carnegie Mellon University, guides conversations by making "eye contact" to suggest that it's time to speak.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, created a machine-learning program that lets a robotic head develop better facial expressions. By looking in a mirror, the robot can analyze the way its motors move different parts of the face, and create new expressions.

Some robots developed a quirky social skill, knowing when humans are angry. Researchers at the University of Calgary used a headband with physiological sensors to program a modified Roomba (that automated vacuum cleaner) to move away from a user when it detected stress in the form of muscle tension.

Researchers created a robot to check for signs of breathing and to deliver oxygen, if needed. The robot, based on a system originally developed for heart surgery, attaches to a stretcher so the patient can be monitored during transport.

Researchers from Harvard and Yale Universities have developed a simple, soft robotic hand that can grab a range of objects delicately, and which automatically adjusts its fingers to get a good grip. The new hand could also potentially be useful as a prosthetic arm.

Scientists at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) made a robotic "skin" out of a thin, flexible carbon that changes its resistance depending on pressure. This allows the robot hand to tell the shapes of an object, the amount of force placed upon it, and the direction of that force.

There is even a mini-robot vacuum picks breadcrumbs and more from your table.

Miniature robots will soon see the inside of our human bodies, and will send back images to everyone else, as the Technion company have created one of the world's smallest robots for use in surgery. Reminds me of an old Raquel Welch movie.

The ViRob robot, measuring 1mm in diameter, has been designed to move its way through spaces within the body as small as 3mm wide. It will be able to travel through veins, which can have a width of 6mm, and other passages with ease. It is powered by external magnetic fields and uses its 'arms' to crawl along the innner linings of the body.

A project was launched in 2005 and aims to make available to the general public at an affordable price, a humanoid robot with mechanical functions, electronic, and cognitive worthy prototype research. Nao should be available to the general public soon. It comes standard with basic behaviors, and is slated to become an autonomous companion for the whole family.

Japanese researchers said they have developed a "hummingbird robot" that can flutter around freely in mid-air with rapid wing movements. The robot, a similar size to a real hummingbird, is equipped with a micro motor and four wings that can flap 30 times per second. It is controlled with an infrared sensor and can turn up, down, right or left.

Jan 8, 2010

Canadian Healthcare

Couldn't help but share this one about our neighbors to the north. Seems like we are not the only ones with healthcare woes. 

Health records scandals making all Canadians sick
Posted By LORRIE GOLDSTEIN Nov, 2009

Nine years ago, the feds and Canada's 13 provincial and territorial governments announced a $10-billion plan to develop computerized medical records for every Canadian.

Federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser will report next year on the progress of the Electronic Health Records (eHealth) project, based on her audit of federal efforts and similar probes by her counterparts in five provinces. But what we already know suggests billions of taxpayers' dollars may have been wasted.

Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter has just issued a scathing report on his province's EHR efforts, concluding the government lost control of the project, which began in 2002, and has spent $1 billion with little to show for it, leaving its future mired in controversy.

The scandal included the awarding of untendered contracts to high-priced consultants, in which public servants broke rules, similar to the federal sponsorship disaster. It has prompted the resignations of the health minister and chairperson of the agency in charge of the project, and the firing of its CEO.

Now, opposition parties want the head of the previous health minister, who oversaw the project from 2003 to 2008.

In Alberta, Auditor General Fred Dunn recently issued a report sharply critical of that province's EHR project, on which an estimated $615 million has been spent.

Dunn cited the province's inability to calculate the total cost of the initiative, make a business case for it or demonstrate it's achieving the expected results.

In British Columbia, a former top health ministry bureaucrat who oversaw that province's $200-million (at least) EHR project, is under investigation by the RCMP for alleged breach of trust, while a contractor is being probed for fraud. B. C.'s auditor general and comptroller general are also investigating.

These fiascos are not what Canadians were promised in 2000 -- a seamless EHR system allowing doctors and hospitals across Canada to instantly and securely access a patient's medical records, saving $6 billion annually by eliminating unnecessary duplication in diagnostic testing, while dramatically reducing deaths and suffering caused by prescription drug errors.

It's time to either fix or scrap EHR -- before Fraser uncovers even more horrors.

Holidays are Finally Over

Did you take your medicine?


In politics, there has never been a crisis that a larger crisis can't fix.

Bottled Water

The smug greenies have done it to themselves again. Many folks are back to opting for  tap water, or filtered tap water, because of the nasty environmental effects of producing and shipping bottled waters and the cleanup of the bottles themselves.

An increasing number of restaurants are offering only filtered tap water to customers these days. Mario Batali (from TV fame) stopped selling bottled water at his New York City restaurants in 2009, and eateries in Florida and Massachusetts are also serving only tap.

New York is the 11th state to require a bottled-water deposit, and the list is expected to grow. Americans last year threw away an estimated 2.5 million bottles an hour, according to data provided by the Clean Air Council.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors voted in June, 2009 to recommend that City Halls stop serving bottled water even at special functions. I always said bottled water was the pet rock of the decade, now it looks like some folks are beginning to agree with me.

Speaking of greenies

I heard of a new bumper sticker. "Go Green - Recycle Congress." Seems like great advice.


Great group doing shadow dancing and the music is good too. LINK

Cheese is not Green

Cheese of any type, made from the milk of cows, or goats, or sheep has a significant impact on the environment compared with other food products according to some "researchers." According to them, sheep cheese is especially bad.

Environmentalists are saying cheese may do as much harm to the environment as some kinds of meat. Based on figures from Sweden, the production of a 1.5 ounce serving of cheese might be expected to produce around 16 ounces of carbon dioxide equivalent. Depending on which study you consult, a 2 - 3 ounce serving of cooked, boneless chicken meat should yield between 4.3 and 31 ounces of CO2-equivalent, although you get about the same number of calories from each.

According to them, raising a milk-bearing animal puts out a significant amount of greenhouse gases, thanks in large part to the methane the animals emit. Feed production also contributes to global warming, and animal waste has implications for both water and air quality.

Steve Zeng, a dairy researcher at Langston University, says feta cheese is one of the best options in terms of processing impacts and notes that Chèvre, Brie, and Camembert are also pretty green. John Beck, from Papa Murphy's, will be pleased to know that mozzarella is also on the 'green' list, since it doesn't require aging.

Sheep cheese is going to be worse for the planet than cow or goat varieties according to researchers from MTT Agrifood Research, Finland. They estimated that greenhouse gas emissions per unit of cheese would be roughly the same for cows and goats, but sheep might emit twice the amount of methane as a cow or a goat, per unit of milk produced.  Soon we may all be required to eat grass. Wait, that is what causes methane emissions from livestock. I think we need to tell these "environmental researchers" to get a life! Next I am expecting a study that compares which is worse - cutting the cheese or making cheese.

Speaking of Cheese

I just saw a New York Times statistical map from the latest data in 2008 that shows Americans spend more (.3% of their income) on cheese than  (.2%) on computers. Cheese spending was up 12.5% for the year, while spending on computers went down 12% for the year. It comes from an interactive diagram of all spending.  LINK

Jan 7, 2010


A friend is: a push when you've stopped;
a word when you're lonely;
a guide when you're searching;
a smile when you're sad; a song when you're glad. . .
and someone who knows enough to end an email before you are totally bored.


An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the single brain cell it occupied.

TV History

As we look to the new year, it is interesting to look back on how TV has changed our lives, for better or worse.

Philo Farnsworth, Idaho, invented television and filed for patent in 1927.

The first commercial TVs were produced in the US in 1938.

RCA 12 inch TV, 1939. Cost $600 (that would be like $9,337.00 in 2009).

The first public broadcast was made in London in 1936 and 1939 (on a 6 inch screen) in New York.

The FCC declares 1941 as the actual first broadcast and declares anything before that as 'experimental'. Also, the first commercial, from Bulova watch was seen in 1941. Maybe that is what made the FCC change its mind.

TVs were not produced from 1942 - 1945, due to the war, and tv stations broadcast only 4 hours per week.

Howdy Doody premiered on TV in 1947, The Lone Ranger in 1949, and the first coast-to-coast TV broadcast was 1951.

Commercial color TV was first seen in 1953, but less than 1 percent of TVs could view color. Most of the country had 4 VHF stations to watch, and none were available 24 hours a day. They ended the day with the national anthem, or the following. Then they showed test patterns until the next day's broadcast.

Do you remember -  "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of . . . " John Gillespie Magee Jr.

LINK to "High Flight" above from KSAT TV signoff. Poem begins at about 1 minute in.

Ronald Reagan was host of "General Electric Theater" from 1953 - 1961.

1955 ushers in the first TV remote control from Zenith. Whoopee!

NBC announced in 1965 that 96% of its programming was in color, but it wasn't until 1977 that 75% of TVs in homes could receive color. Color TV sales first outsell black and white in 1972.

First pay TV was 1972 and it caused an uproar.

Cable TV broadcasting came in during the 1940s and 1950s for stations owners, first home cable, 1948, and was deregulated in 1984. Cable reaches 50 percent of households in 1987. CNN is first cable 24 hour programming. UK produces first 24 hour broadcasts in 1987.

1991 begins the first real-time commercial broadcast of war (the Persian War) and most major advertisers pull their spots as they were not willing to sponsor war coverage. NBC lost millions in advertising. Viet Nam coverage was all from film, not live broadcast.

18 inch satellite dishes are introduced in 1996. First web TV is introduced in 1996.

98% of households have at least one TV in 1998 and 67% have cable.

In 2005 A 42" Plasma HDTV usually retails for $4,500.00 - $7,000.00, with regular plasma flat screen of 42' at about $1,400.

LCDs surpassed sales of old CRT type televisions in 2008.

All digital TV is the only type of TV available as of 2009. As of 2009 you can also watch TV on your cell phone.

Third World Countries

Did you ever wonder what the 'third world countries' are? Here is a picture of the first, second, and third world countries.

Now you know.

Audio Books

There is a web site, LibriVox, that makes audio books from public domain books and they are free to download. The range is wide, from Aesop to Emile Zola.  LINK

Nice to have when you are driving, or just seeking a pleasant diversion. Also, great if you have someone in the family that does not see as well as they used to. I sampled "The Importance of Being Ernest" and it was read by a cast, just as if it were being acted on stage. Good stuff.

Ebook Reader

This is a picture of a new ebook reader from Plastic Logic to be announced at CES this month. Looks like it is about as thick as a cover from a real book.

Another ebook reader, Skiff will be announced this week, also. It is 9 x 11 and is .268 inches thick. It also is bendable, with stainless steel substrate, instead of glass. Prices have not been announced yet, but will likely be in line with the other readers. Awesome technology.

Look for a spate of new readers this year and don't be surprised when your school age children call home and request one, so they do not have to lug around their backpack stuffed with paper books. A number of school book publishers are already making text books available for the readers.


A dirty book is rarely dusty.

Jan 2, 2010

New Year's Eve

The last day of the year is New Year's Eve. Many people see the old year out with a party, welcoming in the New Year with toasts of champagne, and exchanging good wishes for a 'Happy New Year'. This celebration is particularly dear to the Scots. They call it Big Ben Hogmanay. All over Britain there are parties, fireworks, singing and dancing, to ring out the old year and ring in the new. As the clock Big Ben strikes midnight, people link arms and sing a song called 'Auld Lang Syne' to remind them of old and new friends.

A New Year superstition in Yorkshire, England - people say 'Black rabbits, black rabbits, black rabbits' during the closing seconds of the old year. Then they say, 'White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits,' as their first utterance of the New Year. This is suppose to bring good luck.

Blue Moon

On December 31st, will be the second full moon of the month, or the 13th full moon of the year. These rare occasions are called a blue moon, as in “once in a blue moon.” There will also be a partial lunar eclipse on the 31st (visible in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia).


Last year I made a list of things to do.
I’ll use that list again this year,
It’s still as good as new.

1959 Inventions

Looking back to fifty years ago, here is what was invented in 1959 -
Royal Crown Cola
Frosty O's (General Mills)
Ocean Spray brand products (name changed from National Cranberry Assn)
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream (nonsense name that was chosen for its sound)

Christmas Gift

Here is something left over from Christmas. Time to put it away!