Sep 30, 2011

Happy Friday

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

I have the confidence to think I will profoundly love creating a Happy Friday!

Eight Track Museum

The world's first Eight Track Museum is now open in the Deep Ellum arts district of Dallas. Twenty years after he made the 8-track collectible by selling a Sex Pistols 8-track for $100, Dallasite Bucks Burnett took the 8-track fully into the realm of the historical with the opening of The Eight Track Museum.

Johnny Appleseed

I have a friend who will like this. Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts, 1774. He was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Many of us grew up reading about interesting characters like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny's story was about him spreading apple seeds randomly across the country. He actually planted nurseries and built fences around them to protect them from livestock. Much less interesting than the stories, but also much more profound in his influence of the apple industry.   Johnny left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares. His trips were much more concentrated to a small area, rather than around the whole country as the stories told it. He returned  to check up and tend his trees every so often to make sure they were thriving.

When he wasn't spreading his apple seeds, he was spreading religion as a traveling minister. He would read stories to children and adults for a way to earn a nights rest and a meal. He did not accept money for his seeds, gospels, or his stories. He actually converted many Indians during his travels. Because of his eccentricities, it is not know for sure exactly what year he died, or where he is buried. He did leave about 1,200 acres of land to his sister.

Fort Wayne, IN. has a Johnny Appleseed Festival each September.

About that pot on his head for a hat. It was true, he did wear the pot and used it to scoop up water and to cook his vegetarian dinner. I think I will have an apple today to keep the doctor away


Google has digested over 15 million books to date and has come up with an interesting way to plot the usage of words over time. Ngrams are line charts that show the usage of words over time.  Try some neologisms, like 'went missing' , which is relatively new to American English or laser, etc., to track when they came into everyday use. You can also pick two words to compare and you get to decide the time-line.

It does not filter out any words, including four letter words. It also has proper names. Think about interesting words and see how they relate to each other. There is a timeline on the bottom that lets you click to read the books used in the analysis. It is a fun way to pass some time and may be a site to bookmark so you can go back when a new word intrigues you, like extoplasm.

Willie Mays

He was the youngest baseball player to hit fifty home runs in a year, when he was 24. He was also the oldest baseball player to hit fifty home runs in a year, when he was 34, in 1965. Am sure many remember say hey, Willie Mays!

What You Look Like on Facebook

Many people innocently spend way too much time on Facebook and tell way too much about their personal lives. Now researchers have found a way to determine your personality by your Facebook friends and the things you like. It might be time to think about what you say electronically before your fingers hit the keyboard.

Researchers have created a website that combines the Facebook profiles of fans of companies and public figures with personality testing to create a sophisticated new marketing tool.

Barack Obama, Adam Sandler, and Family Guy all attract the same type of personality on Facebook, according to a newly-launched website, , which has been designed by two researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Sarah Palin appeals to a rather different personality type. Her followers are likely to be more traditional in mindset, disciplined, dutiful, and older than the average Obama fan. Unsurprisingly, her typical Facebook followers are not hockey-mums, but men. Long before the internet or Facebook, my mother told me to be careful about the people I hung around with. How prescient she was.

Sep 27, 2011

Muffins and Granola

We have been told muffins, especially bran muffins are good for us. They keep us regular and help us flush out the bad stuff. There is a bit more to the story. The main ingredient in muffins is fat. Check the wrapper and you can see the grease soaked into it.

Here is a scary comparison. A medium-sized blueberry muffin has more calories than a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin that's the same size. Almost half of those calories are from fat equal to a third of the fat you are supposed to eat in an entire day. Bran muffins have only slightly less calories.

The Quaker Oats True Delights Bar contains raspberries and chocolate and has almost the same amount of fat and calories as a much larger Snickers bar.

Of course, if you stick to chocolate muffins with bacon on top, everything will be fine.

Color of Money

Check your wallet - now we know what they really think.

Collective Intelligence

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. You will be hearing much about this soon. It adds what people are good at with what computers are good at and shares with many unrelated people and machines. Because of each unique idea of how to solve problems combined with other unique views, the power of collective thought is much more profound than any few combinations. In other words, we get smarter quicker.

A recent study proves how powerful this can be. Researchers at the University of Washington have successfully leveraged the power of gamers to determine the folding structure of a complex protein related to the development of AIDS.

The team had been working on the puzzle for years without success and decided to use a new computer program called Foldit. It is a simulation game where individuals can seek new solutions for how genes fold and get points We all need rewards) for correct answers. The whole problem does not have to be solved, just individual pieces.

The collected individual little bits are put back into the researchers model and recomputed with all other bits to come up with an new overall model. The problem was solved in three weeks. Let's go think about that for a while.

Sep 24, 2011

Happy Friday

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

I think I will say to everyone that I am doing a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Scotchguard

Patsy Sherman, a chemist for 3M was assigned to work on a project to develop a rubber material that would not deteriorate from exposure to jet aircraft fuels.

She accidentally dropped the mixture she was experimenting with on her shoe. While the while the rest of her shoe became dirty and stained, one spot remained bright and clean. She retraced her steps and identified the stain resistant compound, known today as scotchguard.

Aspirin the Wonder Drug

Most of us know to take an aspirin immediately at onset of a heart attack and that it is good to cure headaches, hangovers, and relieves modest aches and pains, but this old wonder drug is good for many more things.

One crushed aspirin in a gallon of water helps keep plants alive during transplanting, or cutting. Stressed plants can't absorb nitrates and phosphates but the aspirin solution is easily absorbed. It also works to prolong cut flower arrangements.

Salicylic acid is in many acne treatments, and is an ingredient in aspirin. Crush an aspirin or two and mix with water to make a paste to put on a pimple. In a few minutes and rinse without rubbing. The size and redness should diminish soon.

Finding Pain

A team at Stanford University in California used computer learning software to sort through data generated by brain scans and detect when people were in pain.

"The question we were trying to answer was can we use neuroimaging to objectively detect whether a person is in a state of pain or not. The answer was yes," Dr. Sean Mackey of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, whose study appears in the journal PLoS One.

Currently, doctors rely on patients to tell them whether or not they are in pain. And that is still the gold standard for assessing pain, Mackey said.

Some patients, the very young, the very old, dementia patients or those who are not conscious, cannot say if they are hurting, and that has led to a long search for some way to objectively measure pain.

"People have been looking for a pain detector for a very long time. We're hopeful we can eventually use this technology for better detection and better treatment of chronic pain."

His team used a computer algorithm invented in 1995 to classify patterns of brain activity and determine whether or not someone is experiencing pain.

To train the computer, eight volunteers underwent brain scans while they were touched first by an object that was hot, and then by one that was so hot it was painful. The computer used data from these scans to recognize different brain activity patterns that occur when a person is detecting heat, and which ones detect pain.

The computer was more than 80 percent accurate in detecting which brain scans were of people in pain, and it was just as accurate at ruling out those who were not in pain.

Sep 21, 2011

Another Use For Bacon

Cook other meals with bacon as a nonsticker. One bacon strip is all you need to keep your meatloaf from sticking to the pan while it cooks. Place a strip on the bottom of a cooking pan to stop meatloaf and other casseroles from sticking. Works great for flour or bread dishes to also make them less sticky.


It has been described as the wonder drug in many countries. You will be hearing more about this in the future. Moringa trees are mostly grown in Africa, India, and many Eastern countries. They are also grown in Mexico, California, Arizona, and Florida. In Haiti and other Caribbean islands it is sometimes referred to as Marango.

Research shows Moringa contains:
    7 times the vitamin C in oranges
    4 times the calcium in milk
    4 times the vitamin A in carrots
    2 times the protein in milk
    3 times the potassium in bananas

The World Health Organization has been studying and using the plant for the last forty years as a low cost health enhancer in the poorest countries around the world. It is mostly taken as a powder or made into tea, but lately some firms are selling powder capsules. Leaves can be cooked like spinach, or used in salads. Many Asian supermarkets sell fresh Moringa leaves.

It has been used as an antibiotic, help with liver disorders, an anti diuretic, used to lower blood pressure, and more. It has no known side effect, even with overuse.

Roadkill Festival

Sept 27, Marlinton, WV, With taglines like “You kill it we grill it; featuring some of the highway’s finest” and “Eating food is more fun when you know it was hit on the run,” Marlinton, West Virginia, knows how to bring a little humor into a good food festival. Featuring any animal often—but in this case, not actually—roadkill, contestants cook up recipes using possum, beaver, raccoon, snake, deer or armadillo. Care to try some “Deer Smear Quesadillas” or “Bumper Bruised Barbecued Bear”?

Sep 16, 2011

Happy Friday

First comes thought; then organizing that thought into a plan, then transforming that plan into reality.
I think I shall plan for the reality of a Happy Friday!

Bacon Bash

Do not forget to attend the annual bacon bash tomorrow if you are in Pittsburgh. The Harris Grill is hosting the event. Fun events and even some Maple Bacon Gelato will be on hand. Last year almost two hundred people made it to the event. For the adventuresome, here is a LINK

Consume Carbs

British researchers found that eating concentrated doses of carbohydrates and protein after some "over indulgence" can speed up your metabolism and provide the amino acids needed to start feeling better. BLT for breakfast, anyone?

Any amateur college biologist will suggest "heavy" or "greasy" food the morning after a long night out, as it "soaks up" the remaining alcohol in your system, or something like that. Newcastle University researchers suggest that age-old remedy is rooted in how the protein provided by bacon and other meats is broken down into amino acids, which in turn replenish the neurotransmitters depleted by a long night of drinking.

CFL Light Bulb Facts

CFLs burn out rapidly when they’re not allowed to rest at least 15 minutes between being cycled off and on. They overheat and fail if they are used in recessed ceiling canisters

CFL floodlights in outdoor motion-sensor systems is bad because of how fast the bulbs expire when they have to flick on and off so quickly. CFLs contain mercury, enough that the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup instructions for a broken bulb run three pages and start with a warning to open windows and evacuate people and pets.

Sep 13, 2011

What's in a Name, Three Dog Night

The group's name originated from an Australian practice. In Australia, the aborigine tribes of several regions slept outside all year. As the temperatures becomes colder, the tribesmen sleep with a dog to keep warm. In colder weather, they huddle with two dogs, etc.

Seven Uses for Coffee Grounds

Soften and add shine to hair. When washing your hair, rub coffee grounds through wet hair and rinse.

Use coffee grounds as an exfoliant for skin. Pat on skin, massage over skin, rinse.

Old coffee grounds are nutrient-rich for plants that thrive in an acidic soil. Grounds also repel snails and slugs

Use coffee grounds to repel ants.

Place a bowl with used coffee grounds and a few drops of vanilla in the freezer to remove unwanted odors.

Rub coffee grounds on hands to get rid of smells from chopping or cutting up smelly foods.

Remove furniture scratches with damp coffee grounds.

Project Gutenberg

I have been a fan of Project Gutenberg for years and always looked forward to Michael's regular emails detailing the number of books in the expanding library and progress toward his goal of providing a million free eBooks to the world. Back when devices were rudimentary and no official standard was set for electronic books, he produced pure text book that could be read on any device. He even hand typed the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the U.S. Constitution. Here is the link to the site which offers digital versions of those documents and over 100,000 free eBooks. LINK

Below is from his obituary.

"Michael Stern Hart was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8, 1947. He died on September 6, 2011 in his home in Urbana, Illinois, at the age of 64. His is survived by his mother, Alice, and brother, Bennett. Michael was an Eagle Scout (Urbana Troop 6 and Explorer Post 12), and served in the Army in Korea during the Vietnam era.

Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart's life's work, spanning over 40 years."

Sep 9, 2011

Interesting McDonald's Facts

Thirty Three percent of all french fries sold in the US are from McDonald's. It will buy 54 million pounds of fresh apples this year. One in eight working people are work at or have worked at a McDonald's. More than 50,000 students from all over the world have earned a "Bachelor of Hamburgerology" at McDonald's "Hamburger University," in Illinois. China has a wedding package for couples who wish to be married at a McDonald's. It has sold over 100 Billion hamburgers. I could not find out how many of those were bacon burgers. I am getting hungry.

Laughter and Chocolate

We have all heard that laughter is good for the heart and recently there have been studies that dark chocolate is good for you. These two facts have been confirmed again.
more than 300 measurements were made with a 30-50% difference in blood vessel diameter between the laughter (blood vessel expansion) and mental stress (blood vessel constriction) phases. “The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use” “The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so it is very possible that laughing on a regular basis may be useful to incorporate as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease

the second team of researchers, from the University of Cambridge, may add chocolate to that list, as well. Of course, we’ve long known that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and boasts numerous health benefits, including the ability to help lower blood pressure and even cause a significant increase in insulin sensitivity. But these researchers have an added perk to throw on the laundry list of health benefits -- after conducting a large-scale review on recent evidence (the results were published in the British Medical Journal), these scientists found that regular chocolate consumption (they didn’t differentiate between dark or milk) can slash cardiovascular risk by a third.

That proves it, if you want a healthy heart, start with a good hardy laugh and have chocolate for desert.

Dagwood and Blondie

This week in 1930, Dagwood and Blondie comic strip was created. It was originated by Chic Young (d.1973) and continues with his son, Dean.

They have been in cartoons, TV series, movies, and on radio. The strip featured newspaper man Dagwood Bumstead as the playboy son of a railroad tycoon. He dated Blondie Boopadoop, a flapper. They married had a son, Alexander (Baby Dumpling) and daughter Cookie.

The strip is still running with Herb Woodley, Mr. Dithers, Tootsie, and more. Blondie Bumstead went back to work after the children grew up and works with Herb’s wife, Tootsie in a catering service. Time to sit back, reminisce, and have a piled high Dagwood sandwich.

Colonel Harland Sanders

 He was born September 9, 1890. At 12, he went to work and had many jobs. Finally he operated a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. At forty, he began cooking at the station. His dishes became so popular that he finally had to open a restaurant. It was there that he developed his famous 11 herbs and spices chicken recipe.

In 1935, he was made a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Ruby Laffoon for his contributions to Kentucky cuisine. In 1955 an an interstate highway bypassed Corbin, Kentucky, so he took his chicken recipe on the road to sell it across the country. His deal was to get a nickel for every chicken sold using his recipe. Years later, he sold his interest for two million dollars and stayed on as spokesman until he passed away in 1980.

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, was offered a chance to turn around a failing Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. He helped save the restaurant, and revolutionized the fast food industry by simplifying its menu from nearly one hundred items to just basic fried chicken and salads.

Three Keyboard Tips

Sometimes a hitting a few keys is quicker than using the mouse or touchpad. Here are a few of my favorites that I use almost every day.

Hold down the CTRL key and hit F. This will automatically bring up Find. It is useful if you are looking for a specific name or word in a long document or on the web or even in emails.

CTRL and P is useful to print the screen you are looking at. It brings up the print box.

One of my favorites is CTRL Z. It reverses what you have just done. For instance in Word, or in an email, you just deleted something by mistake. Hit CTRL Z and it brings it back.

Sep 7, 2011

Red Cross

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with almost 100 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide, which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering. It is called a 'movement' and has two major independent organizations. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 and coordinates activities between the 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The International Federation Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

In addition, there are 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. Thirty Three Islamic states use the Red Crescent symbol.

The first disaster relief provided by the American Red Cross benefited thousands of fire victims of the Michigan Great Fire of 1881. The fire raged for three days, scorching over a million acres. 282 people died in the blaze, which burned much of the thumb area of Michigan.

The American Association for the Relief of Misery on the Battlefields was a result of the International Red Cross and the forerunner of the American Association of the Red Cross. Clara Barton was instrumental in establishing the American Red Cross chapter in September 1881.

Seven Unique Uses for Nail Polish

Dab a bit of clear nail polish on the screws on the side of your glasses to keep the screw from getting loose. Also good to put on cupboard door screws to tighten them up.
Dip the end of shoelaces in some to keep them from raveling.
Put on labels to smudgeproof them.
Put different colors on keys to distinguish. Also put a dot of the same color on door locks to match.
Cover costume jewelry to keep it from losing its luster.
Use it as a band aid for small cuts. It is close to what hospitals use instead of stitches.

Waffle Bacon

According to some people, waffle irons make the best bacon. They point out that  in a pan, the fat and meat shrink and cook at different rates. The waffle iron pulls away bacon grease in its nooks and notches. You can easily pour it off or leave a thin layer of bacony goodness on for seriously delectable home-style waffles. Mmmmm!

Sep 3, 2011

Happy Friday

Where there is life, there is hope. Where there are hopes, there are dreams. Where there are dreams there are goals. Where there are goals there is action.

I hope and dream to act on my goal of having a Happy Friday!

Happy Pheidippides Day

Legend has it that, on this day in the year 490 B.C., a trained runner by the name of Pheidippides (or Phidippides or Philippides) of Athens, was dispatched to seek help against the invading Persian army. He ran for two days and two nights to the city of Sparta, about 125 miles away. Because of a religious festival, he could not get the needed help until after the next full moon, so he ran back without reinforcements.

Fortunately, they won the battle against the Persians at Marathon. After the battle and victory, Pheidippides ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to carry the news of the victory. His last words before he collapsed and died, were something like, "We have won."

In honor of Pheidippides, the 26-mile marathon became part of the Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896. Seventeen runners began, but only nine finished the race. Hamilton Ontario’s 30k Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest long-distance race in North America. It was first run in 1894 – two years before the first Olympics and three years before Boston.

At the Olympic games in London in 1908, King Edward VII asked to have the race begin near Queen Victoria’s statue at Windsor Castle. The revised distance of 26 miles to the stadium, plus a 385-yard lap of the track was established. This is the distance each race honors today.

Unknown Phone Numbers

Have you ever received a call from a number you do not recognize? Usually these are companies trying to sell you something. There is a place to look up the number to see if it is a scam. Also, if your phone has the feature, you can block the number. One place to look is at this LINK. It is a web site where you can look up these numbers to see if others are receiving calls.

You can also report the number. You do not need to leave your name or phone number. I received a call from 505-506-1046 and found it was a scam from a company based in Albuquerque, with Indian operators trying to sell credit card interest rate reductions. Worth the few minutes it takes to rid the airwaves of pushy sellers.

Sep 2, 2011

Hot Dog Chips

7-Eleven, has produced a new product - Big Bite Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chips. They are ketchup, mustard, and relish spiced chips. 

Others have been making hot dog chips for a while, Like Shearer's rippled hot dog chips, and Humpty Dumpty that are loaded hot dog with onions and relish flavors. Even Snyder's of Hanover produces hot dog chips. Go ahead, be daring.

Salt is Good

Salt is good for us. According to the Salt Institute, there are more than 14,000 uses for salt, including flavoring food, like potato chips.

If you have an overflow of soap suds, sprinkle salt on top of the suds and they disappear.

Take a zippered plastic bag, place some salt in the bag along with dirty artificial flowers and shake. The flowers are clean when the salt begins to turn dark.

Rub dampened salt on bee stings and mosquito bites.

If you drop an egg on the floor, just sprinkle enough salt to cover the mess and let sit for about 20 minutes and sweep it up..

Salt will smother a kitchen grease fire if you have enough of it. (A large dampened towel works better).

Fresh cut flowers last longer with a pinch of salt in the water.

If you run out of toothpaste, brush your teeth with equal parts baking soda and salt.

Weeds and grass in sidewalk cracks can be killed with a little salt and warm water.

Gargling with warm salt water is good after dental work and also soothes a sore throat.

After Party Beer Tip

After the crowd leaves and you are left with a few dozen almost empty beer cans, pour the remaining drops from each can into a container and use it every now and then to fertilize your house plants. They love the sugars.  More is better for outdoor veggie gardens.

Kissing Facts

Human lips are different from most other animals, because they are everted, meaning that they purse outward.

Great apes press their lips together to express excitement, affection, or reconciliation.

Scientists are not sure why humans kiss, but some think it might actually be a learned behavior. I wonder where these people went to school.

The Roman military introduced kissing to many non-kissing cultures.

The earliest literary evidence for kissing comes from Sanskrit texts, written 1,000 to 2,000 years ago. One mentions lovers setting mouth to mouth.

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of desire and reward, spikes in response to novel experiences, which explains why a kiss with someone new can feel so special. Kissing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby lowering blood pressure and optimizing immune response.

A passionate kiss makes our pupils dilate.

Men are far more likely to prefer sloppy tongue kisses than women.

Women pay much closer attention than men do to the breath and teeth of their partner.

The last fact most of us already know - It's fun.