Feb 25, 2011

Happy Friday

The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret to freedom is courage.

I have the courage and freedom to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Google Art

If you like ancient masterpieces, Google has a real treat for you. Google staff have been photographing art from various galleries around the world the pictures are available for free on the web. It is called the Google Art Project and it is spectacular. You can zoom in on pictures to great detail. It is like going to a museum with a magnifying glass. It is worth a look and a good link to share with children going to school. Here is the LINK.

Art in Sweden Subway

Here is a site of pictures that show the Swedish subway. A beautiful blend of natural and new. LINK

Worlds Fastest Computer

The fastest computer in the world belongs to the Chinese. The Tianjin National Supercomputer Center's Tianhe-1A system benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops (A petaflop is 1,125,899,906,842,624 calculations per second - a thousand trillion or quadrillion), surpassing the U.S. Department of Energy's Cray XT5 Jaguar system at a slow 1.75 petaflops. IBM is building two mega machines, a 10 petaflops and a 20 petaflops system, both to be running in 2012. We are approaching the Singularity faster than predicted.

A human brain's probable processing power is around 100 teraflops (100 trillion calculations per second), according to Hans Morvec, principal research scientist at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. We do have one edge over computers, they have not been able to build a computer that fast as small as our brain. . .  yet.

Less than forty years ago, we were wondering when the computer would be able to do a million operations a second. Less than three years ago we hailed the fastest computer for running teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second).

BTW, IBM's Watson, of Jeopardy fame, runs at a miserably slow speed of 80 teraflops.

Modern Healthcare

According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, one of every three people who died in the U.S. in 2007 died in a hospital. The leading principal diagnosis for patients who died while receiving inpatient care was septicemia, or infection of the bloodstream. That does not speak well for modern medicine.

Electric Nose Lift

For those who might feel probiscisally challenged, here is the answer. You need only three minutes with the Beauty Lift High Nose and the handy gadget will give you a beautiful nose.

Slip the gadget onto your nose, turn on the switch and you can feel gentle electric vibrations coming from the bottom and thus lifting your nose up and up. I tried one and it was too small. Hmmm!

What's in a Name

US soldiers in World War 1 were called doughboys. The name is believed to have originated in reference to large round brass buttons worn by American infantrymen which looked like little round doughnuts called doughboys. The term was first used to describe the buttons and then became the common slang for the infantrymen themselves and was especially popular during World War I.

'Sieg Heil' means 'Hail to Victory.'

Also D-Day comes from 'Designated Day' for Operation Overlord, the code name for the Allied invasion of Northern France on June 6, 1944, during World War II.

Feb 24, 2011

Historic Photos

Historypin is a very interesting website that is a global project in partnership with Google. The site allows people to view and share historic places pictures online. It’s an open community, which means everyone can upload an old photo, locate the place on a Google Map and Google Street View and pin it.

When uploading a photo you’ll need to enter date and location. The site then pins the historic picture to a current picture in an overlay, to show past and present. There is a timeline across the top so you can look for pictures during various years. Great for history buffs, or those interested in genealogy. it also allows you to add a story to the picture. LINK It only has about 32,000 pictures so far, but this is the type of site that gets better as more folks add pictures.

What's for Breakfast

You can make approximately 11 1/2 omelets with 1 ostrich egg. Hmmm, I wonder if there is Ostrich bacon?

Speaking of Breakfast

How about something for that new child or grandchild. Here is just the thing, Bacon flavored formula. Mmmm!

Eyeball Closeups

Here is a fascinating look at the human eye in extreme closeup. Never knew the eye was so complex. A quick look at stunning pictures all on one page. LINK

Feb 18, 2011

Happy Friday

A bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t resist.

 I absolutely need and cannot resist having a Happy Friday!

What's a Whip

Both the Senate and House have majority and minority whips. A whip is a person, whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy.

A whip's role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term 'whipping in', such as preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

Robot Goes to School

 Freshman Lyndon Baty attends classes at his high school in Knox City, Texas every day by using a robot. Vgo is a four foot tall bot on wheels with a small screen, camera, speakers and microphone at the top.

Baty logs into the robot remotely from his home, using his PC and a webcam to teleconference into his classes. He moves Vgo around school, switching between classes just like regular students. He has polycystic kidney disease and recent treatments have left his immune system so damaged that he can’t risk being surrounded by people

What's the Internet

Came across this funny clip LINK from the Today Show in 1994. The hosts are trying to find out that "funny little a with the ring around it" is. Bryant Gumbel actually asks the staff what the Internet is. It shows how far we have come in such a short time. Here is another interesting one with children looking at old technology.    LINK 

Ten Uses For Vicks Vaporub

It's always fun to find new uses for old stuff, especially when there does not seem to be any way to ever finish it before it hits the expiration date. Here are ten interesting uses for Vicks.

The most common use of Vicks is to uncongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.

Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it all over the aching area. (Be sure to warn your bed-mate.)

Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.

Cats are notorious for scratching every hard surface they get their claws on. To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.

If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.

Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.

Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.

To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.

If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.

Vicks wards off mosquitoes. Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.

Find Your iPhone

Here is a free app that you download to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Just download it and you are ready. Great if the device is misplaced, or stolen. It can find it, lock it, erase data, or whatever else you want to do. LINK

See With Your Tongue

 An experimental device that uses the tongue instead of the eyes to "see" is here. Researchers say their BrainPort device does not replace the sense of sight, but lets the blind perceive images, making it easier for them to navigate their surroundings.

The device is comprised of an inch-long video camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses. The camera sends signals down a cable to a handheld control unit about the size of a cell phone, which converts the image into a low resolution black, white and gray picture. That picture is then recreated as a square grid of 400 electrodes, approximately the size of a postage stamp, on the lollipop-shaped stick. Each electrode sends pulses based upon the amount of light detected, with strongest pulses for white, and no signal for black.
Those who could see before they went blind describe the sensations as similar to vision -- although the resolution is not the same, they say.

The idea started with Paul Bach-y Rita, a neuroscientist at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bach-y-Rita was convinced that the brain, not the eye, is what enables humans to see and can rewire nerve impulses from anywhere, not just the eye, to generate vision.

After 10 hours wearing the device, people have been able to find and walk down a hallway and avoid obstacles, said Aimee Arnoldussen, a neuroscientist who is leading the research. With the device, people also have distinguished a men's room sign from a women's room sign and found doorways, she said.
You don't put the device on and magically see and it isn't a substitute for a cane or a guide dog.

Related technologies: The U.S. Navy is developing a system that will allow divers to find their way through murky waters by interpreting infrared through their tongues.

NASA is creating sensors to enable astronauts to feel objects on the outside of their space suits.

The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is working toward making vests that will alert pilots to other planes or incoming missiles by sending pulses.

Did You Know

Australia has no official national animal, but the red kangaroo is the unofficial acknowledged, along with the Emu. Both are on the national coat of arms. They represent moving forward, because neither can walk backward easily. 95% of the world's opals are mined in Australia.

Largest Picture in the World

It is almost the size of a football field. of course it was done by a German and it a panorama of Dresden, Germany. The site allows you to click on individual shots, like a statue, and the camera zooms in to show the detail.  LINK

Fascinating statistics: It was taken with a 400 mm lens camera and is a composite of 1,665 photos each about 21 megapixels in size. A robotic stand was used to capture the city in a rotation that took 172 minutes to complete. A  computer with 4 terabytes of hard disk space took 94 hours combine the individual photos together. Not sure why anyone would want to do such a thing, except for posterity or just so I might have something to share with you.

What's in a Name

Have you ever driven a Chevy? There are many stories and articles that mention Chevvie, Chevie, and Chevy and even Shevvie. The spelling of Chevy was not standardized until Chevrolet introduced the Chevy II in the early 1960s and officially approved that spelling.

Feb 11, 2011

Happy Friday

The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

I plan to let go of yesterday and hold on to a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name

Adobe founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke were working for Xerox during the late 70s and early 80s, and living in Los Altos, CA, and Adobe Creek just happens to run through the town. The creek was named for the nearby house of a 19th Century governor.


Chemist Robert Chesebrough at the 22, in 1859, left his father’s dry goods business to try the oil industry. He found men working on oil rigs were plagued by what they called “rod wax,” a kind of gooey jelly that would get into machinery and cause it to seize up. Chesebrough noticed that the workers often smeared the substance on burns and rough skin and that it appeared to help in the healing process, so he brought some of the stuff home.

He spent the next 10 years experimenting on it and refined the rod wax down to the clear, smeary petroleum jelly we now know today. He applied the goo to self-inflicted wounds to track their healing process.

He began marketing Vaseline (supposedly a mash-up of the German word for water, vasser, and the Greek word for olive oil, ‘e’laion) in 1870. He patented the product in the US in 1872 and formed the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company, based out of Brooklyn, in 1875. According to stories, he was at first unable to find any pharmacists willing to take a chance on the weird, greasy stuff, so he traveled the countryside, snake oil salesman style, preaching the magic of Vaseline.

It worked, probably because Vaseline was kind of magic: People used it for everything from rescuing chapped skin and protecting baby bottoms from diaper rash to preserving eggs. Long-distance swimmers rubbed it on themselves to save body heat; American Commander Robert Peary brought Vaseline with him on his arctic adventures because it was one of the few things that wouldn’t freeze.

By the late 1880s, Vaseline was selling nationwide at a rate of a jar a minute.

According to posthumous reports, he swallowed three spoonfuls of it every day. Once, when he contracted pleurisy in his 50s, he had his nurse rub him down with Vaseline every day. He, obviously recovered and died at the age of 96.

The Chesebrough Manufacturing Company merged in 1955 with Pond’s, the makers of popular cold creams, to become Chesebrough-Pond’s; 32 years later, in 1987, the company sold out to massive personal care company Unilever.

Little Book, Little Price

Amazon has created a sweet spot for many would-be authors. It now offers Amazon Singles, which allows writers, thinkers, scientists, and others to submit original material of 5,000 - 30,000 words for publication. These relatively short works, beginning at about 30 pages, allow those folks who do not have enough information to fill a book, but more than might fit in a magazine, to get published. Pricing is intended to fall between $.99 and $4.99. This niche fits nicely with the current short attention span of the internet generation, who want to finish a book on the commute to work. or become an an almost expert on the latest technology or scientific process. Many 'How To' books fit nicely into this length. Taken to the extreme, I can visualize describing the history of the world on one page as we progress back to petroglyphs.


Milking It

For years I have been buying milk in half gallons. That way, I use it up before it goes bad. Last year I noticed the the gallon size was a few cents cheaper than a half gallon. The spread continued to increase. Last week, the gallon size was less than half the cost of the half gallon. This means I can buy a gallon and throw half of it away and still come out ahead (not that I plan to do it.) Not sure what has prompted this change, but is something to watch for the next time you are shopping. The store is my local Walmart. A trick my mother taught me is to put the remaining milk in the freezer if you are planning to be away for a while. Freezing does not harm the milk or make it taste any different. However, it may take 24 hours or more to completely thaw.

The Telephone

During the 1870s, engineers were working to find a way to send multiple messages over one telegraph wire at the same time. Alexander Graham Bell was reading a book by Hermann Von Helmholtz, and got the idea to send sounds simultaneously over a wire instead, but Bell’s German was a little rusty, and the author had mentioned nothing about the transmission of sound via wire. He continued to pursue the solution, based on his false assumption, until he and his mechanic, Thomas Watson, built a device that could transmit sound over wires. The telephone was born in 1876, because Alexander Graham Bell didn't know it couldn't be done.

Feb 8, 2011

Artificial Veins

Scientists can grow blood vessels in a lab for use in coronary bypass or dialysis. The process involves taking smooth muscle cells from a human cadaver and grafting them onto tubes made of the material used in making dissolvable stitches.

Within eight to 10 weeks, the tubes degrade and a "fully formed vascular graft" remains. The veins have been successfully tested in animals and are soon to be tested in humans. They can last for a year in controlled conditions and have decreased potential for infection, obstruction, or clotting.

Our Globe

Forests cover 30% of earth's land surface, land covers 29.22% of earth surface, water covers 70.78% of earth surface (98% of that is in the oceans) (326 million trillion gallons of water) 1.6% in ice caps, .3.6% under land wells aquifers, .036 lakes and rivers,

80% of atmosphere is nitrogen most of the rest is oxygen
People occupy less than 2% of land mass - It mathematically does not seem possible we create pollution that changes the whole earth and the atmosphere above the earth.

Cashing in on a Name

James Cash Penney got his start as clerk working for a small Colorado chain called the Golden Rule. In 1902, his bosses offered him an ownership stake in the company if Penney would move to tiny Kemmerer, Wyoming, and start a Golden Rule store there. Penney took the offer and his store was so successful that by 1907, he was able to buy out the other two stores in the Golden Rule chain. By 1912, Penney had over 30 stores in the region, and he incorporated them all under a new name—the J.C. Penney Company.

Of Mice and Men

The ubiquitous computer mouse is 43 years old. It took six years to develop and was unveiled in December, 1968, although it did not become commercially available until the 1980s, with the advent of the personal computer. Douglas C. Engelbart and a group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute came up with the revolutionary way to communicate with computers.

In the fast changing computer world, it is almost unheard of to have one technology last this long. Its demise has been predicted for almost twenty years, but all the great minds have yet to find a way to replace it. Even the trackball, joy stick, and touch pad have not been able to replace the mouse. Touch screen is coming, as is voice control, but it will be a few more years until they find the right technology to unseat the mighty mouse. BTW - Mighty Mouse came along in 1942 and Mickey Mouse has been around a bit longer, since his debut in 1928 and he is still going strong.

Feb 5, 2011

Happy Friday

It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts. Jack LaLanne

I always run toward counting on a Happy Friday!

Bottled Water Causes Cavities

That's a headline I recently read. The reason shown was that those who drink only bottled and filtered water do not get the fluoride that is in tap water. Governments began adding fluoride in water in the 1940s and incidents of cavities dropped almost by half. Lately, some researchers have concluded that their might be too much fluoride in water and are discussing the appropriate amounts to be added. Seems like another unintended consequence of the green movement.

Happy Birthday Robots

The word is 90 years old. In 1921, a play about robots premiered at the National Theater in Prague, then capital of Czechoslovakia. The word stems from the Czech word robota meaning forced labor, drudgery, and servitude. The robots in Capek’s play were molded out of a chemical batter, and they looked exactly like humans.

Even before the word was invented, Leonardo da Vinci's 1495 sketch of a mechanical knight, which could sit up and move its arms and legs, is considered to be the first plan for a humanoid robot.

Robots do many things these days, such as clean floors, build and paint cars, harvest crops, play chess, act as prosthetics, and perform operations.

Isaac Asimov developed what have become the three universal rules for robots.

# A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
# A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
# A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Danger, danger Will Robinson, this is beginning to ramble.

Killed by a Robot

In 1979, A 25-year-old Ford Motor assembly line worker is killed on the job in a Flat Rock, Michigan, casting plant. It’s the first recorded human death by robot. Williams died instantly in 1979 when the robot’s arm slammed him as he was gathering parts in a storage facility, where the robot also retrieved parts. His family was awarded a generous sum in compensation.

Cheesburgers in a Can

The world’s first cheeseburger in a can is sold by Katadyn’s Trekking-Mahlzeiten, a subsidiary company that develops specialist ready-meals for the outdoor, expedition and extreme athlete markets.

Instructions say to simply throw the can into a water container over a fire, give it a minute or two, fish it out, open the lid, and eat. It has a shelf life of twelve months without refrigeration and is billed as the ideal fast food treat for the wilderness. This is probably the fifth best thing since canned bacon.

Photo Tagging

Google and Facebook have options called photo tagging. When someone posts a picture, then names you as being in the picture, you have been tagged. Behind this is new cutting-edge facial-recognition software to enhance their photo editing and sharing services.

Both firms encourage users to assign names to people in photos. Facial-recognition software then goes to work indexing facial features like a fingerprint expert indexes swirls in a thumbprint. Once you are tagged in a photo, the software looks for similar facial features in untagged photos. This allows users to quickly group photos in which you appear. Google and Facebook say privacy is protected because photo tagging is designed strictly for use by individual consumers within their personal accounts. May be fun, but also scary. Caveat Emptor.

Speaking of Tagging

Did you know smartphones equipped with GPS location finders "geotag" photos and videos. It embeds images with the longitude and latitude of the location shown in the image. If you take a picture in your house and post it on the web, you are actually giving away your address to the world. If someone takes your picture with a non-descript background, the information in the photo still shows where you were when the picture was taken. Another reason for not getting your picture taken if you are someplace where you should not be. GPS for driving instructions Good. GPS for anything else Bad.

Bacon on Steroids

That's the only way to describe these videos. My niece Kalyn sent me this LINK from a site that is the baconiest, manliest, greasiest bunch of goodness this side of heaven. Their meals make turducken seem like tofu. OK, I know only 1% of you will go look, but I had to share.

Jack LaLane

He passed away at age 96 a few weeks ago and he probably never had a cheeseburger, much less than a burger in a can. I used to watch his TV show while growing up. His only prop was a chair and he used it to do numerous exercises. His thoughts about warming up before exercise, "Warming up is the biggest bunch of horseshit I've ever heard in my life. Fifteen minutes to warm up! Does a lion warm up when he's hungry? 'Uh-oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.' No! He just goes out and eats the sucker."

He was the first to have a nationally syndicated exercise show on television and the  to have athletes (men and women) working out with weights. He was also the first to sell vitamins and exercise equipment on TV.

Here are a few of his feats.
He could do 1,033 push-ups. In 23 minutes. At the age of 42.
Age 40: Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks.
Age 44: Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.
Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes.
At 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf while handcuffed and pulling a 1,000-pound boat.
On his 70th birthday, he swam a mile and a half through the Long Beach Harbor while towing a flotilla of 70 boats. His hands and feet were shackled.

Money Fact

If we spent a dollar a second, it would take more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars. A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times. In 2010, the U.S. government issued almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined. The latest budget anticipates $5.08 trillion in deficits over the next 5 years.