Nov 30, 2010

Medical Myth

Contrary to the myth, fingernails and hair do not continue to grow after death. What does happen is that the cuticles and skin shrink after death, making it appear as if the nails and hair were lengthening.

Rickets Returns

More than 20% of children tested for bone problems by an orthopedic surgeon in Southampton, England showed signs of rickets. This is a disease which causes bowed legs as well stunted growth and comes from too little vitamin D, basically too little sunlight. The reason this is happening is because dermatologists have made us so afraid of the sun and because children are just sitting inside all day playing on the internet. The doctor in the piece said that his results were "very reminiscent of 17th Century England".

Free Books, Pictures, and Videos

There are many free text books at Wikibooks and pictures and videos on the Wikimedia Commons.

Detroit Lions Started Thanksgiving Football

In 1934, radio executive G.A. Richards bought the Portsmouth, Ohio Spartans NFL team, moved them to Detroit, and renamed them the Lions.  Unfortunately for him, nobody in Detroit cared much for watching the Lions.  Despite winning all their games but one before Thanksgiving, having several stars of the day, and one super star in Earl “Dutch” Clark, the average turn out for each game was only around 12,000 people.

At the time, it was fairly traditional for various football programs in high schools and colleges to hold particularly significant games on Thanksgiving.  So Richards decided to try to bring this same tradition to the NFL, convincing the NFL to allow the Lions and the defending World Champion Chicago Bears to play for the Western Division championship on Thanksgiving.

Richards then used his considerable influence in radio to convince NBC that they should broadcast this game on the radio all across the United States, something that had never been done before for an NFL game.  The game ended up being a huge success, being played at the University of Detroit Stadium in front of a sold out crowd of 26,000 fans and broadcast across the nation on over 94 different radio stations.  In the end, the Bears won 19-16, but the game was such a success, as far as ratings and fan turn-out went, that Richards fought to be allowed to continue having the Lions play on Thanksgiving going forward and to continue to have that games broadcast out on the radio nationwide.

    * The Dallas Cowboys have played their traditional Thanksgiving Day game since 1966, missing games in 1975 and 1977.
    * The first televised Thanksgiving Day game was in 1956 the Green Bay Packers with the Lions losing 24-20.
    * In order to appease fans of other teams who also wanted their favorite team to take part in Thanksgiving NFL games, in 2006, the NFL instituted a third game, on top of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboy traditional games.  This third game has no fixed teams, as in the previous two.

Nov 27, 2010

Happy Friday

If you want to touch the past touch a rock.
If you want to touch the present touch a rose.
If you want to touch the future touch a life.

I am holding a rock in one hand, a rose in the other, and plan to touch another Happy Friday!


It is hard to find the actual 'first thanksgiving' in the US. Of course Texas, never one to miss an opportunity, claims to be first with the story of the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated in 1598 in El Paso, Texas by Don Juan de Oñate – 22 years before the English colonial Thanksgiving.

By early March 1598, Oñate's expedition of 500 people, including soldiers, colonists, wives and children and 7,000 head of livestock, was ready to cross the treacherous Chihuahuan Desert. Almost from the beginning of the 50-day march, nature challenged the Spaniards. First, seven consecutive days of rain made travel miserable. Then the hardship was reversed, and the travelers suffered greatly from the dry weather. On one occasion, a chance rain shower saved the parched colonists.

Finally, for the last five days of the march before reaching the Rio Grande, the expedition ran out of both food and water, forcing the men, women and children to seek roots and other scarce desert vegetation to eat. Both animals and humans almost went mad with thirst before the party reached water. Two horses drank until their stomachs burst, and two others drowned in the river in their haste to consume as much water as possible.

The Rio Grande was the salvation of the expedition, however. After recuperating for 10 days, Oñate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition. Included in the event was a feast, supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition. And finally, Oñate read La Toma -- the taking -- declaring the land drained by the Great River to be the possession of King Philip II of Spain.

Some historians call this one of the truly important dates in the history of the continent, marking the beginning of Spanish colonization in the American Southwest.

There's no doubt that today's Thanksgiving tradition is New England born and bred. It's not a single tradition, however, but a combination of traditions, according to a researcher for Plimoth Plantation Inc., which operates a model 17th century village at Plymouth, Mass., who says today's celebration is a cross between a British harvest festival and a special day of religious thanksgiving, both originally observed by pilgrims in New England.

In 1621, just months after their arrival from England, residents of Plymouth celebrated a harvest festival, which was indistinguishable from those observed throughout Britain at the time. It was a secular event with feasting and games. The only religious observance was the saying of grace before the meal.

Two years later, the governor of Plymouth colony called for a special day of religious thanksgiving for the end of a drought that plagued the colony. This was an extra day of prayer and religious observance. Special days of religious thanksgiving were called throughout the colonial period.

Connecticut is given credit for initially adopting an annual day of general thanksgiving. The first for which a proclamation exists was called for Sept. 18, 1639, although some may have been held earlier. Another on record was held in 1644, and from 1649 onward, these special days of general thanksgiving were held annually.

Massachusetts Bay Colony began annual observances in 1660.

Several other states also claim the first thanksgiving. Puritans who arrived to establish Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 observed a special day of prayer that is often called the 'first Thanksgiving'. Even earlier in Florida, a small colony of French Huguenots living near present-day Jacksonville noted a special thanksgiving prayer. The colony soon was wiped out by the Spanish.

Maine stakes its claim to the first Thanksgiving on the basis of a service held by colonists on August 9, 1607, to give thanks for a safe voyage.

Virginians are convinced their ancestors celebrated the first Thanksgiving when Jamestown settlers in 1610 held a service of thanksgiving for their survival of a harsh winter.

Free Reverse Phone Number Lookup

Doing a reverse number lookup on Google is free and easy. You use Google's main search box and add the phrase "phonebook:" in front of the number. Sometimes it shows the address of the owner as well. Works for cell and home phones, as long as they are not  unlisted.

Your search should look like this (no spaces) phonebook:xxx-xxx-xxxx

If you would like to remove yourself from Google's phonebook, do a reverse number lookup on yourself, and you'll see a link to remove your entry.

Berkshire Hathaway

The sprawling holding company run by Warren Buffett was originally a textile manufacturer that took off in 1839. Buffett took control in 1962, though, and by 1967 he started to move outside of textiles into insurance and other sectors.

Nacho Facts

The invention of nachos is credited to Ignacio 'Nacho' Anaya in 1943. Then maître d’ at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras (across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas), Anaya improvised a dish of tortilla chips, melted cheese, and jalapeños for traveling U.S. Army wives who were hungry. Nachos were first introduced in Los Angeles in 1959.

A modified version of the dish, with permanently soft cheese and pre-made tortilla chips was marketed beginning in 1977, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This version of nachos became known as "Ball Park Nachos" and during a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks and introduced it to a whole new audience.

Nacho World Record

Volunteers from the Northstar Church, Frisco, TX in July, 2010, made 3,556 pounds of nachos in a 48-by-4-foot trough. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Nov 23, 2010


Tires and sneakers are both made of rubber and fabric, so it was only a matter of time before tire companies got into the shoe business. In 1892, Goodyear manufactured a rubber-and-canvas sneaker. The company decided on the name Peds, but someone else already held the trademark. So, Goodyear used the name Keds. The rest of the world started calling them “sneakers,” after an ad man remarked the shoes’ soles were quiet on most surfaces. In England, they call them trainers.

Book of Bacon

Just came across these five Baconic Laws from the Holy Book of Bacon. These were part of the salty scrolls translated by a scholarly team of the Bacon Baron and Lord Bacon of Sizzlingham, their work was studiously overseen by his holiness the Bacon Bishop of Porkland.

1 Thou shalt not consider Bacon on the same level as any other food, as it is above all.
2 Thou shalt not consume imitation Bacon.
3 Thou shalt not stop pursuing Baconlightenment until it is reached.
4 Thou shalt not forget to consume Bacon for ten days.
5 Thou shalt spread the word of Bacon to all.

Sounds like they need to be taken seriously.

Holiday Bacon Pumpkin Pie

The recipe calls for adding seven pieces of bacon into the pumpkin mixture before baking, then crumbling a few pieces on the top after it comes out of the oven. An alternative filling is Rhubarb, one of my favorites. Mmmm!

White Chocolate is Not Chocolate

This tidbit came up in a recent conversation and Jeff Flanagan suggested it might be a good topic for Friday Thoughts. In order to be labeled chocolate (as defined in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration) a product must also contain cocoa solids from chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is not real alcohol, but is the thick liquid produced when fermented, dried, and roasted cocoa beans are shelled, then ground. The chocolate liquor is the key ingredient in all of the chocolates on the market, except for white chocolate.

When the chocolate liquor is pressed, the fat can be removed from it. This fat is called cocoa butter, and it is the primary ingredient in white chocolate. In plain chocolate, the cocoa butter is re-blended with the cocoa solids from the separation process in order to make unsweetened chocolate. It may also be sweetened and blended with additional ingredients such as milk to make the chocolate confection we commonly eat.

However, with white chocolate the cocoa butter is not reunited with the cocoa powder. Instead, sugar and milk are added to create the final treat. Also, since the caffeine in chocolate is in the cocoa solids and not the cocoa butter, white chocolate does not contain any caffeine.

Since white chocolate labels are not standardized, some manufacturers market products that do not even contain cocoa butter as white chocolate. Usually, these contain vegetable oil and taste different.

The cocoa butter used to make white chocolate is a very stable fat and has a long lifespan without spoiling. It contains several natural antioxidants and it has a shelf life of several years. It is also used in other products, such as soaps, moisturizers, and other skin care products.

Companies Against Christmas

True - According to the American Family Association, the following companies "may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it". As of 11-17-10

Barnes & Noble
CVS Pharmacy
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret

Nov 19, 2010

Windows 1

November 20, 2010, represents a significant milestone. Those of us in the PC industry who placed an early bet on a then-nascent PC graphical UI will toast that day as being the 25th anniversary of the launch of Windows 1.0. Wow, what a long way we have come in such a short time.

Big Spenders

Did you ever wonder who the big political spenders are? Here is a list of the largest spenders to influence votes. Notice that half are labor unions.
Total '89-'09
Rep %
AT&T Inc
Amer. Fedn of State, Cnty & Municipal Employees
National Assn of Realtors
Goldman Sachs
American Assn for Justice
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
National Education Assn
Laborers Union
Service Employees International Union
Teamsters Union
Carpenters & Joiners Union
American Federation of Teachers
Communications Workers of America
Citigroup Inc
American Medical Assn
United Auto Workers
Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union
National Auto Dealers Assn
United Parcel Service

Wow, over 331 million bucks of union dues that did not go for the members welfare.

Speaking of Big Spenders

Three bottles of Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild 1869 were just sold at a Hong Kong auction by Sotheby’s. The hammer price of $232,692 a bottle set a record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction. That's about two grand a sip.

More Spending

The average American family has 13 credit cards. Household debt rose from $680 billion in 1974 to $14 trillion in 2008. Looks like I am not average.

Turkey Facts

Here are some interesting Turkey tidbits as we approach Thanksgiving.

Turkeys can fly for short bursts at up to 55 mph. However, domestic turkeys are usually too fat to fly.

Turkey eggs are not usually sold for eating because farmers have learned that they make more raising turkeys for meat rather than eggs.

It's not the turkey that makes you sleepy. Although turkey contains a natural chemical called tryptophan, and  tryptophan is related to the production of serotonin, which helps us sleep. All meat has about the same amount of tryptophan. What really makes you sleepier after a Thanksgiving meal compared to other meals is eating too many carbohydrates, from potatoes to pies. Alcohol can contribute, too.

The wishbone, called a furcula, is the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. It's where a turkey’s flying muscles hook up and is very elastic and great for flapping.

Another Google Tip

When you look at Google results, check the left side of the page and click on "show search tools" button. A list of options about time will appear. These are very handy if you are just looking for some news or other items that are current or maybe even older. Since web pages seem to live on forever, it is a quick way to get information that is timely for the subject.

Display a Collection

Do you collect stuff? Is it difficult to show your collection, or is it in a cupboard, or closet/ here is an interesting idea. Take pictures of individual items in your collection and put them together in a digital photograph, then put it in a frame and show it off for the world to see. Take a picture of each with a different background color that matches your decor to add some visual interest.

Think about all those cool mugs you have, or dolls, or other collections that are just too large to display. How about pictures of each of the houses you have lived in or all the cars you owned. Don't forget to think of that sentimental clutter you have in your closet. Take it out, take a picture, then dispose of the items and frame the montage, so you can enjoy the memories every day.

One Dollar Bill Facts

Did you know one dollar bills are made in twelve different cities? They are made in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Each has a letter associated with the city. They are, in order, A Boston, B New York, C Philadelphia, etc. Those letters are all associated with the numbers printed four times on the bill. The black letter in the seal on the left side of the bill tells us which city it is printed in.

The four black numbers toward each corner correspond to the letter. So, a bill printed in Philadelphia has a C in the seal and would have the number three printed, because C is the third letter of the alphabet. Incidentally, they print 16,600,000 bills a day. I just checked my pocket and had bills printed in four different cities.

Twitter and the Stock Market

The mood on Twitter predicts what's going to happen in the stock market with 87 percent accuracy. Researchers from Indiana University analyzed the tweets of 2.7 million Twitter users in 2008, dividing them into six categories of emotions. They were surprised to find that the higher percentage of "calm" tweets on a given day, the higher the Dow Jones Industrial Average was in the following two to six days. This method yielded a 87.6 percent rate of accuracy.

Whats in a Name

According to Chicago, it doesn't matter, as long as you pay. Next spring, 2011, the commuters of Chicago may no longer be taking the Red Line to Addison if they want to catch a Cubs game. If the Chicago Transit Authority has its way, they could be riding on the Budweiser Express and getting off at Pizzeria Uno Station. The CTA announced last week that it intends on selling off the naming rights to just about everything it possibly can, including rail lines and stations, bus routes, retail concessions, and special events. Even the venerable CTA logo will be on the auction block. "We want to find new ways to generate revenue," said the CTA president. Maybe during election years, politicians can get their name plastered on every bus and train in town. Take the Obama express downtown.

Black Friday Under Ten Dollar Deals

Here are some cheap appliance deals:
• Chefmate 2-slice toaster, $3.00 (Target)

• Sunbeam 4-slice toaster, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Black & Decker 5-quart coffeemaker, $9.88 (Target)

• Cooks 12-cup coffeemaker, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Hamilton Beach 12-cup programmable coffeemaker, $9.97 (Walmart)

• Chefmate 5-speed electric hand mixer, $3.00 (Target)

• Rival hand mixer, $2.97 (Walmart)

• Cooks 1.5-quart slow cooker, $7.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Cooks 6-quart slow cooker, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Hamilton Beach 3-quart slow cooker, $8.99 (Target)

• Hamilton Beach 5-quart oval slow cooker, $9.97 (Walmart)

• Dirt Devil Versa Power Stick Vac, $9.00 (Target)

• Bissell 3-In-1 Stick Vac, $8.62 (Walmart)

Nov 12, 2010

Friday Thought

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

I see it coming and feel the need to achieve a Happy Friday!

Psychologically Satisfying

PayScale surveyed 10,800 workers who graduated college between 1999 and 2010 on their level of job satisfaction. It found that only 26 percent of psychology majors are satisfied with how their career is going. It is the lowest satisfaction percentage among all college majors. The second-lowest-rated of the 20 majors surveyed were people who studied environmental engineering and economics. Forty percent of college graduates holding those degrees stated they were satisfied with their career.

The majors with the highest rate of career satisfaction were chemical engineering and management information systems, both at 54 percent. PayScale only included in its survey folks who actually had jobs. One of my degrees was in Psych and now I am glad I didn't pursue it as a career.

Crow Bar

The word crowbar with the bird-name "crow", due to the crowbar’s resemblance to the feet or beak of a crow. The first use of the word shows up around 1400. They were called simply crows, or iron crows, and sometimes Jimmy Bars. William Shakespeare used the term iron crow in many places, including his play Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 2: 'Get me an iron crow and bring it straight unto my cell'. I thought a crow bar was a place where politicians hang out and talk about themselves.

Big Government, Small Government

Many discuss the size of big government, but most do not realize that the local governments are much larger than the federal government. During the past year, state and local employment has been reduced, mostly through not filling vacancies, by 258,000, or 1.3%, to 19.2 million workers, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation for government workers accounts for half of the $2 trillion spent annually by governments. For workers who remain, compensation increased 2.5% compared with 0.8% for private-sector workers for the year ended June 30, 2010.

The federal workforce, meanwhile, grew 3.4% to 2.2 million during the past year and promises to keep growing.   The worst part of having this many federal and state workers, is that when they retire, we get to pay for them for the rest of their (and our) lives.

Government Signs

Recently the Federal Highway Administration decided that it takes way too much time for us to read road signs printed in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. So, the newest FHA Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices says that all such signs must be replaced by those with an initial capital letter, followed by the remaining letters in lower case.

According to a September article in the New York Post, New York City has already begun the process of changing its 250,900 signs. City officials estimate it at $110  each, that amounts to $27.6 million, just for New York City. Maybe it is a secret 'shovel ready' project to keep prisoners busy.

Bacon Soda

It finally happened, Jones Soda has come out with a new flavor drink. It is vegetarian friendly and kosher bacon soda. How's that for an oxymoron?

Tasters have mixed reactions. We'll see how this one goes. Some other flavors in the Jones line-up, Blue Bubble Gum, Pizza, and WhoopAss energy drink. I have tried a number of the drinks and love the Black Cherry.

Two Turkey Myths

Some things to think about as we approach the great Turkey Day.
MYTH No. 1: The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear or when the leg pulls away from the bone.

FACT: Color is not an indicator of safety or doneness. Turkey juices do change from raw-meat pink to a clear color as the bird cooks, but that doesn't equate with safe eating because color doesn't show the temperature that the salmonella or campylobacter are killed (165 degrees).

MYTH No. 2: You should cool your turkey to room temperature for a while before putting it in the refrigerator.

FACT: Decades ago, when people plopped a hot turkey into the refrigerator, the heat would overload the system and lead to spoiled milk, but refrigerators today are now built to keep the temperature constant. The safest thing to do is get the leftover meat in the fridge within two hours of removing it from the oven.

Nov 11, 2010

What's in a Name, Refrigerator

From the Latin re frigerare - to make cool again. The first known artificial refrigeration was demonstrated by William Cullen at the University of Glasgow in 1748. Between 1805 and 1902 when Willis Haviland Carrier demonstrated the first air conditioner, many inventors contributed advances in cooling machinery. In-home refrigeration became a reality in 1834 with the invention of the cooling compression system by the American inventor Jacob Perkins.

The absorption refrigerator was invented by Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters from Sweden in 1922, while they were still students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It became a worldwide success and was commercialized by Electrolux. In 1923 Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained unit. The 1950s and 1960s brought in technical advances like automatic defrosting and automatic ice making and, as of 1955, 80% of American homes had a refrigerator. The Chinese cut and stored ice in 1000 BC.

Warming Thought

According to a September ScienceDaily, the first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record worldwide. Meanwhile, the June-August summer was the second warmest on record globally after 1998, and August was the third warmest August on record. Separately, last month's global average land surface temperature was the second warmest on record for August, while the global ocean surface temperature tied with 1997 as the sixth warmest for August. What all that means is that global warming (now politically called global climate change) has caused the world to be almost as warm as it was about twelve years ago.

Most Popular Cell Phone

The Nokia 1100 cell phone is in the hands of over a billion people (as of 2009) around the world. The iPhone gets most of the press and has sold millions, but the Nokia 1100, which has been around since 2003, just keeps selling and selling. It has also been named the best consumer electronics device in the world. BTW - Android phones are currently outselling the iPhones by almost two to one. Much has to do with the high cost of the iPhone.

A Penny for your . . . Birdbath

Prevent algae from growing in a birdbath by tossing a few pre-1982 pennies into the water. The copper keeps the organisms from multiplying so fast.

Nov 6, 2010

Friday Thought

It is better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.

I looked ahead and am prepared to have a Happy Friday!

Adidas and Puma

German brother Adi and Rudolf Dassler founded their shoemaking firm in 1924. Twelve years later, Adi drove cross-country to Berlin, where he convinced Jesse Owens to wear his handmade running shoes in the Olympics. Owens won four gold medals, and the Dasslers’ white shoes became coveted by runners everywhere. But in 1948, after many years of feuding, the brothers split. Rudolph opened up a shop across the river and named his new enterprise Puma, while Adi renamed his company Adidas (the first three letters of his first and last names).

Top Six Things Found in College Refrigerators

Beer, part of a pita sandwich, ranch dressing, text books, expired milk, hard liquor. I think the books come from not having much beer or liquor remaining.


FAA identifiers for airports aren’t technically acronyms, but the three-letter codes can give rise to their own headaches. Just ask the Sioux City Gateway Airport, which the FAA saddled with the unfortunate designator “SUX.” Airport authorities petitioned for a new code, and the FAA, not a joke, offered them “GAY” as a nod to the “Gateway” part of the airport’s name.

Sioux City decided that switching to GAY probably wouldn’t save them any taunting, so officials decided to make the best of the SUX situation. Now the airport markets playful t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “Fly SUX.”

SUX might not even be the worst code. According to a 2008 LA Times story, Fresno’s is FAT, and Perm, Russia’s is PEE. The big winner has to be Fukuoka, Japan, though. Hmmm, how does that one get abbreviated.

Hospital Art

Believe it or not, art in hospitals has actually been found to aid the healing process while gloomy walls or the wrong kind of art can cause physical distress.

American Art Resources, a health-care art-consulting firm, says scientific studies show that art can aid in the recovery of patients, shorten hospital stays and help manage pain. Of course it has to be the right art. Vivid paintings of landscapes, friendly faces and familiar objects can lower blood pressure and heart rate, while abstract pictures can have the opposite effect.

In 1984, scientists found that postoperative patients healed more quickly and successfully if they had park-view windows. Through the 1980s, scientists became more interested in the role of art in hospitals.

Art can also be used to help patients on a more practical level. Autumn Leaves in Flower Mound, Texas, an Alzheimer's and dementia facility uses artwork to keep patients oriented to their surroundings.

Each of the four hallways has a different theme, which helps patients remember where their rooms are. Among them is a landscape hallway covered in outdoor settings and a Western hallway depicting images from the Old West.

Veterans Day

November 11 is Veterans Day. Kiss a vet. it will make you both happy.

Other countries today also still recognize November 11th as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in honor of the Armistice treaty which ended World War I. The war officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" In 1938 Armistice Day was enacted as an official American holiday. In 1954 Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all veterans. Recognized spelling is Veteran's Day, Veterans' Day, and Veterans Day. Veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning "old") is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field.

Cocker Spaniels

Spaniels have been around as far back as the 14th century, and these popular pets also had their start as gun dogs. English hunters prized the dogs’ particularly skilled tracking of woodcocks, so the dogs became known as “cockers.”

Gummi Bear Trick

An Australian high school has installed "secure" fingerprint scanners for roll call for senior students, which savvy kids may be able to circumvent with sweets from their lunch box. The system replaces the school's traditional sign-in system with biometric readers that require senior students to have their fingerprints read to verify attendance. The school principal says the system is better than swipe cards because it stops truant kids getting their mates to sign-in for them.

Students can make replicas of their own fingerprints from gelatine, the ingredient in Gummi Bears, to forge a replica finger. The attack worked against a bunch of scanners that detect electrical charges within the human body, since gelatine has virtually the same capacitance as a finger's skin."

Nov 2, 2010

Religion Survey

Based on a Gallup survey of more than 550,000 people, the most religious Americans also have the highest rates of well-being.

Overall, the very religious received a score on Gallup's well-being index of 68.7 percent, while both the moderately religious and the nonreligious received a score of 64.2 percent. The very religious were defined as those who said religion is an important part of their daily lives and they attend worship services at least every week or almost every week.

Taxi Facts

After being charged an exorbitant rate by a horse-drawn hansom cab in NYC in 1907, Harry Allen decided to start his own service and charge per mile. Partnering with businessmen from France, England, and New York, he brought in a fleet of 65 brand new red cabs and started the New York Taxicab Company. Two years later, the W. C. P. Taxicab Company introduced the yellow cab to compete with him.

A yellow cab driver on average makes $100 - $150 per 12 hour shift. Over 80% of cab drivers are foreign born.

Male Drivers Lost

English car insurance company Sheila's Wheels calculated that 30 percent of male drivers will pull over and ask for directions immediately. Another 26 percent of lost male drivers will wait more than a half-hour before asking for directions, whereas 12 percent refuse to ask at all. The average man drives an extra 276 miles in his car each year because he cannot find his way.

Among female drivers, 37 percent will pull over immediately, when lost. (The average woman drives 256 miles a year while lost.)

The proliferation of GPS devices may soon change all the statistics. Women will still make everyone late by taking way too long to get ready.


The word comes from the Latin word for lead, which is plumbum. Plumbing by definition is a utility that we use in our buildings consisting of: the pipes, which were mostly lead in US households, and fixtures for the distribution of water or gas, and for the disposal of sewage. The word sewer comes from the French word essouier, meaning "to drain".

Toilets and sewers were invented in several parts of the world, and Mohenjo-Daro circa 2800 B.C. had some of the most advanced, with lavatories built into the outer walls of houses. These were "Western-style" toilets made from bricks with wooden seats on top. They had vertical chutes, through which waste fell into street drains or cesspits.

The word "toilet" came to be used in English along with other French fashions. It originally referred to the toile, French for "cloth", draped over a lady or gentleman's shoulders while their hair was being dressed, and then,  by extension, to the various elements, and the complex of operations of hairdressing and body care that centered at a dressing table. The room became the toilet room. For those so inclined, there is the Toilet Museum website.