May 29, 2010

Eight Celebrity Name Changes

Michael Keaton was born Michael Douglas (no relation).
Comedian Albert Brooks was born Albert Einstein (no relation)
Krishna Pandit Bhanji is now Ben Kinglsey
Demi Moore was Demetria Guynes
Miley Ray Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus
Bono was born Paul Hewson
Audrey Hepburn was Audrey Kathleen Ruston
Whoopi Goldberg was Caryn Johnson.


Floppys are not always bad things. If you have some old floppy disks laying around and you happen to live in snow country, throw one in your glove box and use it for an excellent ice scraper. They also work well to prop up wobbly tables or book shelves.

Tito Beveridge

He is the guy behind Tito's hand made vodka that Texans have come to love. Tito's is corn vodka

His thoughts about vodka, potato vodkas are real lean, corn has more body, rye has tartness, and wheat is all over the map. His favorite drink - Tito’s and seltzer, soda, sparkling water or any other bubbly water with a lime and an orange.

When to Text

Here are the results from a survey from Mashable. Not sure I can add anything to this one, except SCARY!.

Speaking of Toilet Texting

A Japanese man found a new use for Twitter. While sitting on the toilet in a Tokyo store, he discovered there was no toilet paper, so he tweeted an urgent message and someone brought him some. Now that is practical use of technology.

May 25, 2010

Nix the Lowfat Dressing

Contrary to dieters inclinations, research shows that pairing a salad with full-fat or olive oil-based dressing helps your body absorb the nutrients in the salad.

Six Great Google Tricks

We all know Google is great for searches, but here are a few tips to make your online life simpler.
If you want to track a USPS, UPS, or FedEx package, no need to go to their site, just type in the tracking code to find out where your package is.
How about that flight? Just type in an airline flight number to get its arrival/departure status.
If you need a quick stock quote, just type in the stock symbol.
Are you looking for a movie? Type in movies followed by your city name.
Wondering if it will rain today? Type in weather followed by your zip code.
Last, don't forget to use the quote marks for names, like "chuck norris" or "liberty bell" to get the whole name.
If you want to buy my books, you don't need Google, just click Amazon

Bacon Flavored Popcorn

It is better than you might think. When we were growing up, our mother always had a jar of bacon grease on the stove. She used it to cook many things and also to pop popcorn (the old fashioned way, in a pan) and it gave the popcorn a hint of bacon flavor. 

Now you can buy microwave popcorn with the bacon flavor already in it. Wow, I know she would approve.


This new polymer fixit stuff is something Billy Mays would have loved. It is a product from England that is just coming to market and sells for about $15. You can use it to repair many household items or use it to make flexible models.

It sticks to glass, metal, wood, plastic, etc. It air cures and remains semi soft and is diswasher safe.  SUGRU  

Nine Interesting Food Facts

1 Apple is made of 25% air, that is why they float.
2 Avocado has the highest protein and oil content of all fruits.
3 Carrots were originally purple in color, changing in the 17th Century to orange with newer varieties.
4 Cherries are a member of the rose family.
5 Corn always has an even number of ears. It only makes up about 8% of the weight in a box of corn flakes.
6 Honey is the only edible food for humans that will never go bad.
7 Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
8 Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite.
9 Pear is a fruit that ripens from the inside out.

Copies of Antique Manuscripts

A remarkable archive of antique manuscripts which opens a window on to the experiences, hopes, fears and interests of people who lived during the 15th to 18th centuries has been put online.

The University of Cambridge Scriptorium Project features thousands of pages taken from 20 different handwritten "miscellanies", some of which date back as far as the Wars of the Roses.

The books were used to record snippets of information that people had read, been told, or overheard, at a time when paper was a scarce and expensive commodity.

The collection includes a notebook in which Edward VI wrote down various Biblical passages and a miscellany kept by William Rawley, chaplain to Francis Bacon, in which he recorded Bacon's sayings and a number of his (rather bad) jokes.

Perhaps more significantly, however, it features copious amounts of material reflecting the day-to-day lives of other people. Recipes, accounts, sonnets, quotations, prayers, sermons, legal tips and medical instructions were all added to the compendia as they were passed down through the generations.

Over a period of decades, their owners recorded everything from poems by Shakespeare and Milton, to plague remedies, laundry lists, or, in one case, the contents of their fish pond. As a result, the books provide an insight into sections of the population of whom we would know far less without them, not least the women of the era.
The website also includes a complete and interactive online course in deciphering medieval and early modern handwriting as well as further resources for manuscript studies.

"The idea is to enable other researchers to decipher their own manuscripts even if they have not encountered early modern handwriting before," Dr. Beadle added. "Hopefully this project will help to open up the literature, history, theology and philosophy of this period to a new generation of students and scholars all over the world."

May 21, 2010

Melting Icebergs

We read a lot about melting icebergs and rising ocean levels, but what is the real story. This has nothing to do with global warming or cooling. That is another argument for another day. This is about the facts regarding ice and water.

Archimedes' principal states that a floating object displaces its own weight of fluid and should not add more water when it melts. Also, the weight of the displaced fluid is directly proportional to the volume of the displaced fluid. Of course there is some land based ice that is also melting, and it would raise the level of water if it is not absorbed by the land on which it sits.

Melting icebergs cause sea levels spread evenly across the globe to rise by just 49 micrometers a year, about the width of a human hair. At that rate, it would take 200 years for the oceans to rise by a centimeter (an inch is 2.54 centimeters).

If all the floating ice was to melt, sea levels would rise by only 4cm (less than 2 inches), according to scientists published in the journal of Geophysical Research Letter, April 2010. So, if the climate folks are correct, it will take a bit less than 800 years to raise the sea levels by a bit less than two inches. Hmmm. . .

Speaking of Ice

When you are making your favorite summer drinks for the pool party, make it ahead of time and freeze some of it in trays or small containers. Put the drink-ice in just before taking that pitcher outside. That way, when the ice melts in the drink, it does not dilute it.

Better Marriage Blanket

I can't even make this stuff up. Here is a blanket that is billed to make your marriage better. LINK There go all those cheesy fart jokes.

Speaking of Marriage

Here is a great video of a marriage ceremony guaranteed to make you laugh. LINK

Sausage vs. Steak

A recent study suggests that eating processed meat such as sausages increases the likelihood of heart disease, while red meat does not seem to be as harmful.

A Harvard University team which looked at studies involving over one million people found just 50g of processed meat a day also raised the risk of diabetes, but there was no such risk from eating even twice as much meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork, even though the two forms of meat have a similar fat content.

The researchers speculated that given the similar quantities of cholesterol and saturated fats, the difference may be explained by the salt and preservatives added to processed meats. This is defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting and includes bacon, sausages, salami and other luncheon meats.

The team from Harvard School of Public Health looked at 20 studies involving more than one million participants from 10 countries. On average, each equivalent of a sausage or a couple of rashers of bacon was associated with a 42% higher chance of developing coronary heart disease and a 19% higher risk of diabetes.
Go for lean cuts and aim to cook from scratch using healthier cooking methods like grilling or baking.

"Although cause-and-effect cannot be proven by these types of long-term observational studies, all of these studies adjusted for other risk factors," said Renata Micha, lead author. I love the disclaimer - the results of these studies can't be proven. Hmmm. Maybe I will put a bit less salt on my bacon and sausage, just in case. . .

Song Stuck in Your Head

I am sure you have had a song in your head for hours, but can't remember the title, or artist. There are a few web sites that can help. Midomi lets you sing or hum the song into your computer or phone mike and it gives you the name and artist. It also plays a clip of the song, just to verify. The best part is that it is free. Wow, there is something that Google doesn't do.

May 19, 2010

How Tall is. . .

Jeff Flanagan challenged me to find the height of an actor, and I got carried away. Although there is some discussion on the web, with varying heights (especially for the shortest actors), and I did a bunch of digging and these are the best estimates I can find. The  heights listed are without shoe lifts, which many of the men wear. 

Michael 'Sylvester' Gardenzio Stallone 5'7, Halle Berry 5'5, Gary Coleman 4'8, Tom Cruise 5'7, Dame Judi Dench 5'1, Nicole Kidman 5'10, Carlos Ray 'Chuck' Norris 5'9 (born 1940), Angelina Jolie 5'7, Dustin Hoffman 5'5, Mel Gibson 5'8, Salma Hayek 5'1, Walter 'Bruce' Willis 5'11, Mike Meyers 5'6, Jack Nicholson 5'9, Regis Philbin 5'4, John Travolta 6'0, Ray Van Damme 5'8, Tina Turner 5'4, Rene Zellweger, 5'4 Jon Stewart 5'7, Dolly Parton 5'0. That is the tall and short of it.

What is the Althing

Iceland, whose parliament, the Althing was formed by the Vikings in 930, is the oldest democracy still in operation.

Email Photo Frame

Pandigital came out with a $149 Photo Mail Frame in February that gives you a dedicated e-mail address to send images to. They go from your e-mail account to the Pandigital server, which then routes them to the frame via AT&T's cellular network and onto the picture frame.

There is room for 300 images. When the frame gets full, you can delete images.

Bacon Roses

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? It would if it was bacon.

Famous Drummers

This is for the oldies in the bunch. In the summer of 1969, the New York Post Office received a letter with no address other than "The World's Greatest Drummer."

With no return address, the sorter wasn't sure what to do. Fortunately, a former drummer worked in that post office. He found Gene Krupa's address and forwarded the letter to him.

Krupa read the envelope and thought, "This isn't for me" and forwarded it to Max Roach. Roach thought, "Somebody must have made a mistake" and forwarded it to Buddy Rich, renown for his incredible ego. Grinning from ear to ear, he ripped open the envelope and it began, "Dear Ringo. . ."

Lost Cursor

Have you ever been looking at a page on the screen and forgot where the cursor was. Here is a trick, hit the CTRL (Control) key on the right or left bottom row of your keyboard and a big circle shows up where the cursor is. If it doesn't work, go to the control panel, click on mouse, then mouse pointer options, then click on the box that says "show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key'.

May 16, 2010

Top Nine Uses for Coffee Filters

Clean windows and mirrors, because they are lint-free and leave windows sparkling.

Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave.

If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods, like tacos.

Keep in the bathroom for razor nick fixers or strips for waxed eyebrows.

Prevent a popsicle from dripping, poke a hole as needed in a coffee filter.

Put a few in a plate to soak up grease from fried bacon, french fries, chicken fingers, etc.

Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale to weigh.

How Many Emails

Did you know that everyday 247 billion emails are sent. By 2013 it will reach 507 billion emails sent every day. Gee, I hope my Friday Thoughts don't get lost in the pile.

How Much Weight Can You Lift

In the heaviest dead lift recorded, British weightlifter Andy Bolton lifted 457.5 kilograms (1,008 pounds) from the floor to his thigh.

What is the maximum weight a human could ever lift? Todd Schroeder at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles thinks we are already close to the maximum. "If you look over time at the records for maximal lifts, they have crept up but are starting to plateau," he says. "Today's weightlifters, including those that use steroids, are near the limit of human potential."

It is the muscles that set the limit. When something does give way, it is usually the muscle fibers that tear, often near the tendon. It is control of the muscles that gives weightlifters their advantage. The body has natural inhibitory mechanisms designed to keep us from hurting ourselves by trying to lift too much. These work by controlling how many muscle fibers are activated at any one time. Weightlifters learn to suppress these signals, enabling them to use a larger fraction of the muscle's potential in lifting.

The key to success is training and genetics plays a role. Short limbs favor strength and some people have more muscle fibers than others.

Rosetta Books

For those of you with little children or grandchildren, Rosetta has been adding books to its online library HERE. They are free full color copies of the original children's books and very interesting to see and read.
Maybe grandpa can get out his iPad and read a nighttime story from the original book, with pictures. You might call it high tech retro.

Staying Awake Too Long

Rats that are continuously kept awake, die after two weeks and that is less time than it takes them to starve to death.

Human theory is when you finally run out of body fat, protein, and carbohydrates, your body runs out of energy and stops functioning. However, fat people would only be able to survive that long if they had enough vital water-soluble B vitamins in their system to help metabolize fat stores. So it is possible that a person could die of starvation and still be fat.

The longest recorded starvation was by the Irish hunger-striker Kieran Doherty in 1981, who died after fasting for 73 days.

With a supply of vitamins and water, people have been known to survive over a year without eating.

With vitamins but without water, survival time is sharply reduced. A human can be expected to survive for weeks without food, but a thirsty person deprived of water might only last a matter of days. Without water, the volume of blood in your body drops, and with it your blood pressure. Blood becomes thicker and stickier, making it harder to pump around the body, so your heart rate increases to compensate. Even in a cool environment, you wouldn't last for more than a week without water. Hmmm, a week without bacon might possibly kill a person, also.

May 11, 2010

Tennessee Bumper Sticker

Did You Know

Sixty million rolls of toilet paper are flushed away in Europe every day. The average American uses 57 sheets a day, six times the global average. Although usage in the US has remained stable, third world countries are catching up. China usage has increased 11% in the last ten years.

Environmentalists are concerned and someone actually calculated that TP usage equals 27,000 trees being flushed down the, um, drain. We can't go back to corn cobs or we will deprive cattle of food or fuel for the new eco cars.  So, if we use less toilet tissue, are we being green, or . . .

Populations by Country

We keep hearing about other countries and their relative size. Joe Dougherty, a freind of mine sent me the following and it sure gives a good perspective of where we fit. It is a bit out of date, as we have over 300 million now, but the others have also grown proportionately.

Breakthrough Nanotechnology

North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store enough data to hold an entire library's worth of information on a single chip. The new chip stems from a breakthrough in the use nanoscale magnets, and represents a significant advance in computer-memory technology.

Magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allows storing over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch. The nanodots can be made as small as six nanometers in diameter. Where did I put my glasses?

How to Find Stuff on a Web Page

You are looking for a specific name on a web page that is way too long and has too much information. Here is a trick. Hold down the "ctrl' (control) key on the lower left or right of your keyboard and hit the "f" key. Then type in the word or name that you are looking for. Your browser will find the word and highlight it for you (look at the very top or very bottom of the page to see it). Just one more cool trick to make your web travels easier.

May 7, 2010

Mother's Day is May 9. Don't forget to do something special for the person who spent her life doing special things for you.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in May, but also in February, march, and April in some places. In the United States it was nationally recognized as a holiday (on the second Sunday in May) in 1914 after a multi-year campaign by Anna Jarvis (she died in 1905 and her daughter Anna Marie carried on the campaign). We use the singular (mother's) as opposed to the plural (mothers') to commemorate family mothers vs. all the mothers in the world.

As the US holiday was adopted by other countries and cultures, the date was changed to fit already existing celebrations honoring motherhood, like Mothering Sunday in the UK, or the Orthodox celebration of Jesus in the temple in Greece. In some countries it was changed to dates that were significant to the majority religion, such as the Virgin Mary day in Catholic countries, or the birthday of the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic countries. Bolivia uses the date of a certain battle where women participated. Many Arab countries celebrate on March 21, the day of the vernal Equinox.

Traditionally carnations represent Mother's Day. Many religious services copied the custom of giving away carnations or wearing a carnation on Mother's Day. Florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living, or a white one if she was dead and this has remained popular.

Interesting iPhone App

True - For mothers-to-be, there is an iPhone application that sends ovulation alerts to your phone. It sends a series of 18 text messages (3 per menstrual cycle) that let you know when you are most likely to be fertile and provide helpful fertility advice. The name is 'booty caller'.

Stealing From Prisoners

True - Couldn't resist sharing this one. Seems Dutch prisoners have it better than some others. Who would expect that criminals would try to break into a prison? Thieves broke into a Dutch prison to steal the inmates’ televisions.

Twice in the last six weeks, burglars broke into a minimum-security prison and stole TVs from cells while prisoners were away for the weekend, a spokesman for the justice ministry said on April 21, 2010. Hmmm. . . TVs and 'away for the weekend'.

How Long Can You Hold Your Breath

Most people find it hard to hold their breath for more than a minute, but Stephane Mifsud held his breath for 11 minutes and 35 seconds last year, setting a new world record for stationary breath-holding, or "static apnoea".

Competitors float face down in a chilled pool to induce the mammalian diving reflex. When your face is submerged in cold water, outer blood vessels constrict, directing blood away from the extremities and towards the heart and brain. Your heart rate slows, reducing the rate at which oxygen is pumped around the body. With training, experienced breath-holders can drop their heart rate by twice that of non-divers upon immersion in cold water.

Hyperventilation before a prolonged breath-hold is also vital. This is because the brain monitors the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood to decide when to trigger the gasp reflex. Of course, having large lungs is a natural advantage.

Queen Elizabeth and Stamps

The world’s first adhesive postage stamps were issued by Great Britain in 1840, as the “Penny Black” depicting Queen Victoria. It began designating British stamps by the depiction of the country’s sovereign. Great Britain is the only country allowed by international postal regulations to omit a text name of the issuing country.

In 1966 Arnold Machin sculpted a bust of Queen Elizabeth for the Royal Mail. It has been in continuous use since then, and has been reproduced some 320 billion times.  Three copies of the original bust were known to exist, but recently a fourth one was discovered at the Machin family home.

Google TV

Later this month, May 2010, Google is expected to announce Google TV. It will begin with a box using its android operating system (like windows, but open source) to be attached to your cable box or TV and allow internet activities via remote control. It could even replace your cable box. Wow, if we could do other things during commercials, can you imagine how much we could get done. I vote for split screen. Hmmm. . . the possibilities are endless.

May 5, 2010

Yamaha Recall

Yamaha recently recalled 10,000 grand pianos due to sticking pedals that cause pianists to play too fast, resulting in a dangerous number of accidentals. The pedal problem also makes it harder to come to a full stop at the end of a piece. Although there have been some accidentals, so far there have been no deafs. Analysts expect this to put a damper on their bass market.

When Congress heard about the treble, they called in the president of Yamaha for questioning. He gave a sharp response, playing down the scale of the problem, before taking the fifth. "Only a few modals are affected by this relative minor problem," he said. With no progression towards resolution, piano sales are flat. Analysts predict an interval of diminished revenue for the company.

Yamaha plans to fine-tune their marketing to augment sales to arrive at a more harmonious A-chord as this development is hammered out and the situation plays out.Ha.

Good Salt

In response to the Food and Drug Administration's thoughts of regulating the amount of sodium food manufacturers can include in consumer goods, Frito-Lay is redesigning the salt molecule to make it healthier.

The salt crystals on potato chips only dissolve about 20 percent of the way on the tongue, while the center of each tiny cube-shaped crystal remains intact until after it's swallowed. Thus, most of the salt you're eating on your chips is not contributing to the taste of the chip, but it is dissolving further down your digestive tract.

The redesigned salt crystal, with more surface area, should dissolve completely on the tongue, so chips should just as salty with less salt. If they come after bacon, there will be a civil war.

recycled Glass

Thai monks from the Sisaket province have used over one million recycled glass bottle to construct a Buddhist temple. They used the recycled bottles to build everything from the toilets to their crematorium.

The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, also referred to as “Wat Lan Kuad” or “Temple of Million Bottles" is about 400 miles northeast of Bangkok in the city of Khun Han close to the Cambodian border. Using green Heineken bottles and brown Chang Beer bottles, the monks were able to clean up the local pollution and create a useful structure. 

The water tower and tourist bathrooms are also made from recycled beer bottles. The temple also has large intricately crafted mosaics made entirely from the left over bottle caps.

School Dress Code Violation

Mark Ashby was allowed to get a blue Mohican hairstyle by his parents as a reward for hard work at school in Omaha, Nebraska. The school then suspended him for breaking the dress code. Some days you just can't win.