Nov 30, 2012

Happy Friday

Side-trips are occasionally great fun, often educational, and sometimes invaluable.

I am having a great fun trip enjoying another educational and invaluable Happy Friday!

New Monkey Species

This monkey was discovered in 2012 in the mountains of Myanmar (Burma) by a group of scientists who were originally participating in surveys on gibbons.

Its nose is upturned to such an extent that it actually sneezes when it rains. Local hunters say that ‘Rhinopithecus strykeri’ can be seen on rainy days with its head down between its knees to avoid inhaling water.

Caught Red Handed

This means to be caught doing something wrong. It originated because of a law. If someone butchered an animal that did not belong to him, he had to be caught with the animal’s blood on his hands to be convicted.

More Uses for Marshmallows

Stash a few marshmallows in a box of brown sugar or the sugar bowl to prevent the sugar from hardening or clumping.

Make ice cream cones less messy by sticking a few marshmallows in the bottom of the cone to prevent the ice cream from leaking out.

Eat three or four marshmallows to sooth a sore throat. Apparently, the gelatin is very helpful when it comes to relieving irritation and soothing pain in your throat.


Scientists announced that they have mapped the entire genome of the domestic pig, revealing that besides providing tasty bacon and sausages, the animal may also be useful in fighting human diseases.

The study published in the journal Nature found that pigs and humans share more than 100 DNA mutations that have previously been linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, dyslexia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, according to US and European researchers.
"In total, we found 112 positions where the porcine protein has the same amino acid that is implicated in a disease in humans," researchers wrote.

Researchers said that because pigs share many of the same complex genetic diseases as humans, the animals would serve as excellent models for studying the underlying biology of human disease.

A domestic pig breed is already being used extensively in medical research because of its anatomical similarity to humans, and pig heart valves have been used by doctors to replace faulty human ones.

Scientists can use the new genome map to improve meat production by breeding a new generation of super-pigs that will grow faster, survive longer, produce more offspring and yield more meat for less feed.

"This new analysis helps us understand the genetic mechanisms that enable high-quality pork production, feed efficiency and resistance to disease," Sonny Ramaswany, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture said, according to Reuters.

Scientists in the sequencing project compared the domestic pig's genome to that of the wild boar, human, mouse, dog, horse, and cow.

A recent study also revealed that pigs had the most olfactory receptor genes, which highlights the importance of smell in the scavenger animal's lifestyle, and that pigs also had fewer bitter taste receptors meaning that "pigs can eat food that is unpalatable to humans," which is one of the reasons why pigs have become such a highly valued farm animal. I am still trying to figure out how they will know if a pig has Alzheimer's.

Presidential Trivia

One person has the distinction of being vice president without ever being elected and also president without ever being elected. Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.) was the 38th President of the United States and the 40th Vice President of the United States. He was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency by Richard Nixon after Spiro Agnew resigned. He became President after Richard Nixon resigned. It is difficult to think about Gerry Ford without thinking of Chevy Chase doing an impression of him.

Nov 28, 2012


The clear white liquor with the unique taste that people either love or hate, tequila is thought to have been first produced around the second half of the 16th century in Mexico. It is made from the blue agave plant that grows so abundantly around the city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. Tequila is said to have been a result of the Spaniards running out of their own brandy. Upon hearing the Aztecs had once used the blue agave plant to produce an alcoholic drink (known as octli or pulque), the conquistadors set about distilling the plant to produce a drink they could use to replace their beloved brandy.

Mexican law dictates that tequila can only be produced in this and a few other very select areas if it is to carry the name of tequila. Over 300 million agave plants are harvested each year for the production of tequila.

It is distilled after fermentation and the end product is usually 38% to 40% alcohol. That brings it in at 76% to 80% proof.

Wordology, Hysteria

From the Greek "hystera" = uterus. For a few thousand years until the late nineteenth century, hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus.

Definitions include: uncontrollably emotional; irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock; very funny as from hysterical or uncontrollable fits of laughter.

In psychology they say it is a disorder in which a psychological conflict is converted into a bodily disturbance.

During the 1800s it was decided that men could also be hysterical. In time it could be applied to anyone as the definition expanded to be an emotional state, rather than a physical state.

Incidently, the Oxford English Dictionary says the colloquial term 'hissy fit' for someone would go into hysterics and throw a tantrum if they didn't get their way. comes from hysteria.


6 Million were using Facebook in 2005, now it has over a 1 billion users
67.2 million watched the last presidential debate and 111.3 million watched the Super Bowl in 2012
There are 500 million Twitter users

Titanic Numbers

It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million dollars to make a film about it. The ship sank and the movie is still floating.

Ponzo Illusion

Have you ever wondered why the Moon looks bigger on the horizon? It is an illusion, known as the Ponzo Illusion. What is happening is actually something that your brain does all the time. The yellow lines are the same size, but the top one appears larger.

Think about what happens when you see one of your friends on the horizon. Although they appear to be very small, your brain doesn’t actually interpret them as being that tiny. This is what happens when we look at the moon. Your brain inflates the size of the Moon to make it appear larger than it really is. Next time you are looking at an over-sized moon, block everything else out with your hands and watch it appear to shrink.

Nov 23, 2012

Happy Friday

There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

My philosophy tells my brain and my heart to always have a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Racking

Rack likely comes from the Middle Dutch “rec”, meaning 'framework', and the Old English 'recken', meaning 'to stretch out'. Usage became the word used for a frame that you put things on to dry or to stretch something out on.

Later the word also came to mean a frame for putting people on for torture. This expanded the meaning to include causing mental or physical harm or suffering or to stretch or strain. So, when someone says they are racking their brain, it means they are straining their brain. I reckin this stuff is true.

John Josefa Moe

Born in India to Samoan father Pulu Moe and Filipino-Hawaiian mother Louisa Moe while his parents were touring in Hawaii. He performed with Hawai'i notables Don Ho, Kui Lee and Ed Kenney between the 1950s and 1970s, did a vaudeville act in England, carved tiki, created a then-innovative koa Hawaiian Kepi bracelet with names etched in old-English lettering, and designed restaurants and clubs on the East Coast of the US.

He had other skills including: one of the best fire knife dancers in the world; comedian; musician and singer; middleweight Golden Gloves boxing champion; did custom airbrush art on t-shirts; surf boarding instructor.

Moe was Samoan, but had a thick British accent because he attended an English boarding school while his parents toured. Another famous Samoan with an accent is Dwayne, the rock, Johnson, although his is American English. At one time, Josefa was roommates with Sir Roger Moore of James Bond fame and was once considered the most photographed Samoan in the world.

He passed away Nov 3, 2006 at 73 years of age in Summerlin, Nev. (near Vegas), his home. He had 12 children.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

It is not just for people. Some other famous characters with stars include Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Tinker Bell, and more, including most recently Shrek. Dubious achievement to be able to say, "Yes I am right up there with Mickey Mouse."

Dolphins and Porpoises

Many people confuse the two, so here is a summary of the differences of these mammals.

Top Porpoise, bottom Dolphin
Feature Dolphin Characteristic Difference in a Porpoise
The nose A dolphin usually has a pointed snout (beak)

A porpoise snout is short and blunt like a cartoon fish sketch
(never strongly pointed)
The fin
(Some species of both have no fin on their back)
The leading edge of the fin on a dolphin's back is shaped like a curling wave
(Called the dorsal fin)
The leading edge of a porpoise's back fin is straight.

The porpoise's fin is also triangular like a shark's

The teeth

Dolphins have pointed cone-shaped teeth

Porpoise teeth are flat, spade shaped, with upper edges that are long and sharp
Size Dolphins grow up to 12 feet long Porpoises are usually less than 7 feet long
Shape Dolphins are longer and sleeker in shape Porpoises are shorter and more compact
Sounds Dolphins produce sounds we can hear (and are talkative!) Porpoise sounds are inaudible to us
Behavior Dolphins have much less fear of humans - will ride the waves alongside boats Porpoises are shy - you are much less likely to see one - wild or captive.
Rarely seen at surface unless up to breathe.
Groups Dolphins live in large groups Porpoises live in pods of 2 - 4
Lifespan Dolphins can live for more than 50 years Porpoises do not live long past the age of 15

Dolphins are some of the only animals known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction.

Nov 21, 2012


There is a common saying: "If you think that, you have another thing coming" However, the correct phrase is “If you think that, you have another think coming.” It describes “what you think is wrong so think again.” Lazy English has changed the phrase over time. I think there is another thing following this.

Drinking and Antibiotics Myth Debunked

This one should be a relief for some folks as we begin the holiday season. With the advent of antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted diseases came a word of advice: don’t drink while taking the pills. The reason given for this is that it will stop the medication working. This advice is untrue for most antibiotics.

Alcohol does not reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics. Antibiotics and alcohol can cause similar side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness and drowsiness, so combining them can increase these side effects. Less than five of the more than one hundred types of antibiotics do have adverse effects when taken with alcohol. Obviously, moderation in all things is the key.

Speaking of Drinking

This is just in time for the holidays. Now you can eat all the ham you want and save calories by drinking this new diet drink.

Nov 16, 2012

Happy Friday

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

I gain strength, courage, and confidence every time I have a Happy Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving

Next Thursday November 22 is Thanksgiving this year. Hope you have a great Holiday!

Another November Holiday

The day after Thanksgiving this year, November 23rd is National Day of Listening.

It is sponsored by oral history nonprofit StoryCorps. This year’s National Day of Listening honors teachers. The organization has asked everyone to participate by taking a few minutes to thank a teacher. Other ways to commemorate National Day of Listening is by recording interviews in veteran’s hospitals, senior centers, homeless shelters, and other community centers.

Wordology, Stock, Broth, Soup

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Stock is water or other liquid in which vegetables, meat, bones or all of them are simmered over a long period to extract flavors, then the solids are removed. Stock normally contains no salt and is not soup. Stock is not meant to be eaten until it is combined with seasonings. Dried stock cubes are called bouillon cubes.

Broth differs in that it is a basic soup where the solid pieces of flavoring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches.

Soup is a liquid savory food which can be thin, as in broth, or thick with other ingredients added.

MSG Facts

It is a common misconception that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is bad and must be avoided. That is not exactly true, MSG is a naturally occurring substance found in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, and more. It was first isolated and presented in pure powder form in 1909 and is a flavor enhancer that excites the fifth taste sense umami, like sugar enhances sweet.

Most good chefs use natural MSG by using tomatoes or mushrooms, etc., but many will also use the powder directly. MSG does not make you ill. It is found in seasonings, chips, many fast-food and pre-packaged foods, and sauces.

Potato Facts

One of the ingredients of almost all Thanksgiving and other holiday meals is the potato. The starchy, edible tuber was introduced to the world around 400 years ago from regions around the Andes. Originally they were grown almost 10,000 years ago in Peru and Bolivia and are now found growing in most countries around the world, although the Andes continues have major production.

Currently potatoes are the fourth largest food crop in the world and there are more than a thousand different types. They are versatile and can be enjoyed baked, boiled, or fried. They can be mashed, sliced, chopped, diced or eaten whole. They can be eaten cold or hot, raw or cooked. I will need some chips to hold me over until next Thursday and mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon. Mmm!

Smart Credit Cards

Here is something coming to your wallet, a new MasterCard that has LCD screen and keyboard. The credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard has been launched in Singapore by MasterCard  The card will be available from January before being rolled out globally.

The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a one-time password. Future versions of the card could display added information such as the remaining balance or display information such as loyalty or reward points or recent transaction history.

Last year, Visa announced a similar card with interactive functions. Smartphone manufacturers are hoping that enhanced credit cards will be quickly replaced by near-field communication feature that many smartphones already have.

Nov 13, 2012

Crowns While You Wait

Instead of making a mold and sending it to a lab for scanning, dentists are now using a small camera to scan misshapen teeth. The digitized scan is then sent to an on-site milling machine that carves a crown from a block of porcelain. After preparation the crown is ready to be implanted.

The whole process is not much different than currently done. The area is numbed, and the dentist drills the tooth to shape it for the crown. Then the dentist uses a tiny camera to create a three-dimensional image of the drilled tooth. A computer program uses that to construct an image of what the tooth will look like with the crown in place. The image is transmitted to a machine on site mills the crown which is then glued on in the same process currently used.

Currently, the process is in use by about 10% of dentists, but will be used by more as the price of equipment comes down.

What's in a Name, Gräfenberg

Gynecologist Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg came to the US from Nazi Germany in 1940. He ran a successful gynecology practice in New York until his death in 1957.

Gräfenberg researched the subject of stimulation and stated in a study, ”An erotic zone always could be demonstrated. . ." Although others had studied this before him, he is usually given credit for its 'discovery' and the name “G-spot” named for him came from a 1981 paper published in the Journal of Sex Research.

He also invented the first known Ring IUD birth control device, the Gräfenberg ring.

Facts About Plants and Oxygen

Plants do not turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. The way this happens is a complex process called photosynthesis. Plants convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrate precursors and water as fuel for the plant. This does not require any light.

Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis where the plant uses light and converts it to potential energy.

Nov 9, 2012

My Latest Book

If you like this blog, you will love my latest book, "Amazing Facts and Bite Sized Brain Food. It is my 49th book and is now available on Amazon.

Thousands of amazing facts about things you don’t know but want to know, and facts you think you know but don’t. Nestled in among the facts are bite sized pieces of brain food you can use to spice up any conversation.

Here is the LINK

Happy Friday

Every object is beautiful in motion as a ship under sail and a tree gently agitated with the wind.

It is time to get up, get the wind at your back, and set sail toward a Happy Friday!

Presidential Drinking

Our 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant had a reputation for drinking heavily while still a young man. When President Lincoln was warned about Grant’s drinking habits during the civil war he is supposed to have responded “If it makes fighting men like Grant, then find out what he drinks, and send my other commanders a case.”

Ten Four, Roger That

The ten-codes or ten-signals are code words used as stand-ins for common phrases in radio communication, such as ten-four, meaning message received. Charles Hopper, a communications director with the Illinois State Police, developed them in 1937 to combat the problem of the first syllables or words of a transmission being cut off or misunderstood. Preceding every code with “ten” gave the sometimes slow equipment time to warm up and improved the likelihood that a listener would understand the important part of a message. The codes also allowed for brevity and standardization in radio message traffic.

The codes were expanded by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) in 1974 and were used by both law enforcement agencies and civilian CB radio users. Over time, differing meanings for the codes came about in different agencies and jurisdictions, undoing the codes’ usefulness as a concise and standardized system. The problem came to a head in 2005 during rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina. After several instances of inter-agency communication problems, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discouraged the use of ten-codes and today the federal government recommends they be replaced with plain, everyday language.

In the days of the telegraph, the Morse code letter R (dot-dash-dot) was sometimes used to indicate “received” or “message received/understood.” When radio voice communication began to replace telegraphs, Roger, the code word assigned to the letter R in the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet (the radio alphabet used by all branches of the United States military from 1941 to 1956), took on the same role.

Roger means “last transmission received/understood.” Wilco (Will Comply) is the code used if the speaker intends to convey “message received and will comply.” The phrase Roger Wilco, often heard in the movies, is redundant and not really used since Wilco alone covers all the bases and acknowledges receipt of message and states intent to comply.

Interesting Country Facts

Most Lakes in the World – Canada: With over 3 million lakes 9% of Canadian territory is actually fresh water and over 60% of all the lakes in the world are found in Canada. It also has 50% of its population educated at the post secondary level, making it the most educated in the world.

Country Covered with the Highest Percentage of Desert – Libya: With 99% of the country covered in desert, Libya is one of the most arid places in the world and in some regions decades may go by without a drop of rain.
Russia: Siberia is home to approximately 25% of the world’s forests that span an area larger than the continental United States.

Least Densely Populated– Mongolia: With 4 people per square mile, Mongolia is the least densely populated country on Earth. Compare this to the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong that has the highest population density in the world with 340,000 people per square mile.

Suriname: It has 91% of its land covered in jungle.

Wordology, Skid Row

The term “Skid Road” or “Skid Row,” a slang term for a run-down or dilapidated urban area, was an actual road in Seattle, Washington during the late 1800′s. The real name of the road was Yesler Way (now better known as Pioneer Square),  and it was the main street along which logs were transported.  It soon became a rather sketchy street that loggers began to call “Skid Road.” It also became the dividing line between the affluent people of Seattle and the mill workers along with the more impoverished population of the city. It didn’t take long for the name to catch on and eventually stick.

Honest Criticism

Need to share this about the sincerity and wonder of children's criticism. Maurice Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who passed away in May, 2012 at 83. He was particularly known for 'Where the Wild Things Are', a 1963 children's picture book.

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters, sometimes very hastily, but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I have ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.” The wonder and beautiful sincerity of children never ceases to amaze and amuse me. Adults would do well to eat up and drink in the great things we see every day.

Nov 6, 2012

Drinking and Intelligence

The next time you're inclined to enjoy an extra glass of wine, consider that it may be a reflection of your intelligence. That is one of the findings from data from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from "very dull," "dull," "normal," "bright" and "very bright."

The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.

More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits' case, "very bright" children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their "very dull" cohorts.

Researchers controlled for demographic variables, such as marital status, parents' education, earnings, childhood social class and more, that may have also affected adult drinking. The findings held true that smarter kids were drinking more as adults.

Psychology Today takes an evolutionary approach. It argues that drinkable alcohol is a relatively novel invention of 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors had previously received their alcohol kick through eating rotten fruits, so more intelligent humans may be more likely to choose modern alcoholic beverages.

Although increased alcohol consumption could be a reflection of exceptional brainpower, drinking more will certainly not make you any more intelligent than you already are. I'll drink to that.

No Name, Colorado

This place can be found west of Denver along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The origin of the town lies in its location, the unincorporated area lies between No Name Canyon and No Name Creek.

The town received its name when the Colorado Department of Transportation was improving the signage along the interstate, when a CDOT employee noticed that there was no sign for Exit 119 he simply wrote "no name" on the map to indicate that there was no name for that exit.

Wordology, Melissophobia

This phobia is a fear of bees.

More November Holidays

Here are a few more November Holidays that you might want to celebrate.
November 13th brings us 'World Kindness Day' founded in 1998 by an organization called the World Kindness Movement, this international holiday encourages everyone to look deep into their hearts past religion, race, and other differences to do something nice for their neighbors and/or humankind.

This followed on November 15th with 'Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day'. It was probably started as a way to make room to stock up on Thanksgiving goodies. November 15th also shares the spotlight with 'I love to Write Day'. I will refrain from writing about the things I find growing in my refrigerator.

Nov 2, 2012

Prescient President

Our 13th president, Millard Fillmore refused an honorary degree from the University of Oxford on the basis that he was not classically educated and so could not read the diploma, written in Latin. He said, “No man should accept a degree he cannot read.”

He is contrasted with James Garfield, who could write Latin with his left hand while simultaneously writing Greek with his right.

Electrically Charged

Thomas Edison publicly electrocuted dogs and cats in order to demonstrate to people how AC electricity was more dangerous than DC. He even once electrocuted an elephant in order to kill it. The elephant had previously trampled and killed a few people and a method was needed to put her to death, so Edison agreed to do it using AC electricity as a publicity stunt.

Edison is also credited with inventing the electric chair to be used on those sentenced to death, although, it was invented by employees of Edison, Harold Brown and Arthur Kennelly.

Thomas Edison held 1093 patents in the United States. One of his sons, Theodore Edison, who died in 1992 held 80 patents in his lifetime.

Traffic Sign Tip

To check for left and right exits, check the exit number sign.

Hawaiaan Punch

Hawaiian Punch was originally supposed to be used as an ice cream topping. it was originally called 'Leo’s Hawaiian Punch'.

The recipe for the confectionery was created by Tom Yates, A.W. Leo, and Ralph Harrison in a garage in Fullerton, California in 1934. They started out by selling the tropical fruit flavored ice cream topping to local restaurants, stores, and ice cream makers.

Over the next decade as the syrup’s popularity spread, people started using it not just as an ice cream topping, but also mixing the syrup with water to make a tropical drink. By 1946, this was a common practice. In 1946 Reuben P. Hughes and other investors purchased the company and began offering it in the drink forms most commonly associated with it today. In 1955 it became a national selling brand.

The name Hawaiian Punch came from several of the original recipe ingredients, which included apple, apricot, guava, orange, papaya, passion fruit, and pineapple, being imported from Hawaii. Hawaiian Punch is currently owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.