Dec 27, 2014

Happy Friday Christmas Thought

Christmas is the day to skip the past, skip the future, and enjoy the present, presents, and presence of family and friends.

Merry and Happy Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas in any language sounds as sweet. Happy Christmas, Joyeaux Noel, Froehliche Weihnachten, Mele Kalikimaka, Blithe Yule, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Buone Feste Natalizie, Buon Natale, Bon Natali, krismas mubarak, Feliz Navidad, Glædelig Jul,  Hyvää Joulua,  Meri Kirihimete, Maligayang Pasko, Linksmu Kaledu, Craciun fericit, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva s Novim Godom, Schöni Wiehnachte, Z Rizdvom Khrystovym, Cestitamo Bozic, Vrolijk Kerstfeest.

Xmas vs. Christmas

Some people use Xmas as shorthand for Christmas, the abbreviation is not modern and was not invented for the purpose of being disrespectful to Christians. It is not supposed to eliminate the word “Christ” and the X is not meant to stand for anonymity. The X is actually considered to represent the letter Chi from the Greek alphabet, the first letter in the word Christos. The “-mas” part on the end of Christmas and Xmas comes from the Old English word for “mass”.

Xmas is sometimes pronounced xmas, but it and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation of Christmas. There is a common misconception that the word Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the 'Christ' out of 'Christmas', but its use dates back to the 16th century.

In the United States, in 1977 New Hampshire Governor Meldrim Thomson sent out a press release saying that he wanted journalists to keep the 'Christ' in Christmas, and not call it Xmas, which he called a pagan spelling of Christmas. Many of those who dislike abbreviating the word are unfamiliar with a long history of Christians using X in place of 'Christ' for various purposes.

The word 'Christ' and its compounds, including 'Christmas', have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. Christ was often written as "Xρ" or "Xt" as far back as 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for Christ), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The two Greek letters shown as ☧, is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches. Bottom Line; it was once positive to use xmas, but has now become bad form to use anything but Christmas.

Santa Claus in Canada

Santa Claus has his own postcode in Canada: HOH OHO.

The Yule Lads

Jolasveinar, or Yulemen, or Christmas boys are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently is thirteen. They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children on window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts for good children or rotting potatoes for bad children.

In 1932 the poem "Jólasveinarnir" was published as a part of the popular poetry book "Christmas Arrives" by Icelandic poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum. The poem reintroduced Icelandic society to Icelandic Yuletide folklore and established what is now considered the thirteen Yule Lads, their personalities, and connection to other folkloric characters.

The Icelandic Santas first appeared in the 17th century as the sons of two trolls. Gryla and Leppaludi are frightening creatures, and have a reputation for stealing and eating naughty children. Grýla is a dreadful character, described as part troll, part animal, and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). Grýla lives in the mountains with her third husband, Leppaludi, her thirteen children, and a black cat. Every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. She can only capture children who misbehave, but those who repent must be released.

The first Jolasveinar arrives Dec 12 and leaves Dec 25, the second arrives Dec 13 and leaves Dec 26, etc. Below are the names and mischief they cause. They sound like a fun bunch.

Sheep-Cote Clod - Harasses sheep, but is impaired by his stiff peg-legs.
Gully Gawk - Hides in gullies, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal milk.
Stubby, abnormally short - Steals pans to eat the crust left on them.
Spoon-Licker - Steals spoons to lick and is extremely thin due to malnutrition.
Pot-Scraper - Steals leftovers from pots.
Bowl-Licker - Hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their bowl, which he then steals.
Door-Slammer - Likes to slam doors, especially during the night.
Skyr-Gobbler - A Yule Lad who loves skyr (like yogurt).
Sausage-Swiper - Hides in the rafters and snatches sausages that are being smoked.
Window-Peeper - A voyeur who looks through windows in search of things to steal.
Doorway-Sniffer - Has an abnormally large nose and an acute sense of smell which he uses to locate laufabrauð (Christmas bread).
Meat-Hook - Uses a hook to steal meat.
Candle-Stealer - Follows children in order to steal their candles, which are made of tallow and thus edible.

Christmas and New Year Movies

Miracle on 34th Street - LINK 
Dinner for One
(traditionally shown in many countries on New Year's eve and one of my favorite short movies) LINK

Origin of Christmas Stockings

The tradition of Christmas stockings is said to have originated from the actions of a kind noble man named Nicholas, who was born in March, 270 AD, in Patara, at the time Greek, but now Turkey. While still young, his wealthy parents died in an epidemic. Nicholas became a Christian priest and used all his riches to help the poor, the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He was made Bishop of Myra (modern Turkey) at a young age and became known for his kindness and generosity. He traveled across the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day - St Nicholas Day, December 6 in Western Christianity and 19 December in Eastern Christianity. He died December 6, 343 AD. Many still observe December 6 as a St. Nicholas holiday. I grew up enjoying the candy treats thrown on my porch the evening of December 6.

Nicholas was so widely revered that thousands of churches were named for him, including three hundred in Belgium, thirty-four in Rome, twenty-three in the Netherlands and more than four hundred in England.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of Saint Nicholas' life and deeds. One popular account (with many variations) tells us of a poor peasant who lived happily in a small cottage in Saint Nicholas' hometown, with his wife and three daughters. The wife suddenly died of an illness, leaving the poor man and his three daughters in despair. All the burden of household chores now fell upon the daughters.

When the daughters reached a marriage age, the poor father became depressed for he knew he could in no way marry them off to good men. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value - a dowry, which he could not afford.

Saint Nicholas found out about peasant and his daughters and decided to help him. He went to the peasant's house the night before the eldest daughter came of age, with a bag of gold and waited for the family to go to bed. That night, after finishing their washing for the day, the daughters hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry. As they turned off the lamps and fell asleep, St. Nicholas tiptoed to the cottage window and saw the daughters' stockings hanging close to his reach. He carefully put in his bag of gold in one of the stockings and went away.

When the father found the bag the next morning and opened it, he was delighted to find enough gold in the stocking to pay for the dowry of one daughter. The father was able to provide for his eldest daughter and saw that she got married to a nice groom.

Soon after, Saint Nicholas took another bag of gold, and threw it carefully into another stocking. The next morning the man opened the stocking and found enough gold to marry off his second daughter.

The father had grown eager to discover his mysterious benefactor, and each night he stayed awake. When Saint Nicholas came up with another bag of gold, the man recognized him. He fell on his knees and cried of gratitude and thanked him with all his heart.

This is how the tradition of Christmas stockings is said to have begun.

And below, my Christmas stockings.

Origin of Santa Claus

 It is believed that Santa Claus is actually an alteration of this same Saint Nicholas, Santa for Saint and Claus for Nicholas. The original Santa Claus (and many current European) outfits resemble a Bishop's clothing, hat, and staff. The modern figure of Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, whose name is a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas.

The 19th century was a time of cultural transition and many wanted to domesticate the Christmas holiday. Through the first half of the 19th century, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, and others continued to regard December 25th as a day without religious significance.

In 1809, Washington Irving published the satirical fiction, Knickerbocker's History of New York, with numerous references to a jolly St. Nicholas character. This was not the saintly bishop, rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe. Irving's work was regarded as the "First notable work of imagination in the New World."

In 1810, the New York Historical Society commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for St. Nicholas Day. Nicholas was shown in a gift-giving role with children's treats in stockings hanging at a fireplace.

During 1821, the first lithographed book in America, the Children's Friend described how "Sante (sic) Claus" arrived from the North in a sleigh with a flying reindeer. The anonymous poem and illustrations proved pivotal in shifting imagery away from a saintly bishop. Sante Claus rewarded good behavior and punished bad. Gifts were safe toys, "pretty doll . . . peg-top, or a ball; no crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets to blow their eyes up, or their pockets. No drums to stun their Mother's ear, nor swords to make their sisters fear; but pretty books to store their mind with knowledge of each various kind." The sleigh had a bookshelf for the "pretty books." The book also marked Sante Claus' first appearance on Christmas Eve, rather than December 6th. The book may have actually been penned a few years earlier according to some accounts.

In 1823, a poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was penned. It is now better known as "The Night Before Christmas."

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. . . .

This is how St. Nicholas was transformed into Santa Claus.


Here is a thought as we ponder our place in the universe. "Put three grains of sand inside a vast cathedral, and the cathedral will be more closely packed with sand than space is with stars." James Jeans

How Many Kisses

A popular study showed that kissing as a greeting is healthier than a handshake because you don't know what someone has just been touching.

What we call the 'Eskimo kiss', or rubbing noses is called a kunik by the Inuit. It is an expression of affection, usually from an adult to a child. The Inuit also kiss on the lips as we do. The myth of rubbing noses grew out of a Hollywood silent documentary.

French disagree on the number of greeting kisses, but mostly for central France it's two kisses, and for the North, four. There are exceptions - in Finistère, one kiss is normal - and even disparities within the same area: half the population of Calais prefer deux bises, while the other half will greet you with quatre. The number of kisses can depend on whether someone is a friend or family member, and varies between generations. To the upper-class French any more than two kisses is a faux pas.

Of course, it is not just in France that people greet each other with a kiss; in the Netherlands three is normal, and in Belgium it's one kiss for your peers, but if someone is 10 years older than you, then three is respectful. In Spain, two is normal, but you must kiss the right cheek first.

The French don’t necessarily French kiss more than anyone else; the term probably comes from our belief that French sexuality is more sophisticated. In France, it's known as baiser anglais ('English kissing'), baiser florentin (Florentine kiss) or rouler une pelle (to roll a spade). In Quebec, it is frencher.

Kissing in public is illegal in India and a similar law has been proposed in Russia and Indonesia.

Dec 12, 2014

Happy Friday

Even a quantum smile produces exponential benefits.

It is difficult to calculate the exponential benefits of a Happy Friday!

Free Microsoft Books

Came across this site recently and thought it is worth passing along. The site offers over one hundred Microsoft e-books for free. Topics like Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Keyboard shortcuts, CRM, PowerShell, etc. Likely will appeal more to the technical bunch, but also useful to get the most out of software you may already be using. For instance, instructions for using Windows voice commands to tell your computer to perform many actions.  LINK

Six Tape Types

Beyond duct tape (Duck tape is a brand name), scotch tape, packing tape, and others are a few relatively unknown to many. Here are a few of the more interesting types of tape.

Speed tape is an aluminized adhesive tape used to do minor repairs on aircraft, and as a temporary repair material until a more permanent repair can be carried out. It has an appearance similar to duct tape, with which it is sometimes mistaken, but its adhesive is capable of sticking on an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds. It is resistant to water, solvents, and flames, and will reflect heat and UV light. It is also able to expand and contract through a wide range of temperatures.

Bondage tape adheres to itself without using adhesives. Bondage tape is a 2-to-3-inch-wide (51 to 76mm) and 0.0051 inch-thick (0.13mm) strip of thin plastic material, usually latex. It is typically intended to be used for erotic bondage. Since it does not stick to the hair or skin, a person can be tightly bound or gagged without causing harm when the tape is removed

Elastic therapeutic tape, also known as K tape and kinesiology tape, is an elastic-cotton strip backed with acrylic adhesive. It is used for treating various physical disorders. It is claimed to be able to stretch up to 140% of its original length. As a result, if the tape is applied to a patient with a stretch greater than its normal length, it will recoil after being applied and therefore create a pulling force on the skin that it is being applied to. This elastic property allows much greater range of motion compared to traditional white athletic tape and can also be left on for long periods of time.

Gecko tape is being designed with directional adhesion properties, which is the ability to grip a load in one direction and to release its grip when the direction is reversed. The same structures on Scotch tape revealed that this material could support a shear stress of 36N/cm2, nearly four times higher than a gecko foot. This new material can adhere to a wider variety of materials, including glass and Teflon. When pulled parallel to a surface, the tape releases, not because the CNTs lose adhesion from the surface, but because they break, and the tape cannot be reused. It only works for small area (approximately 1 cm2). Researchers are currently working on a number of ways to strengthen the nanotubes.

Lingerie tape, also called cleavage tape or fashion tape is double-sided adhesive tape used to keep clothing in place.  It is used to secure the edges of a strapless dress or top to the cleavage or side of the breasts or on shoulders to secure bra straps from slipping, in order to keep the item of clothing in place. It may also be referred to as toupee tape or wig tape, a similar double-sided tape intended for a different function.

Road marking tape is reformed polymer tape that can be applied permanently or temporarily on pavement to create road surface markings.  It is heavy-grade material with reflective beads embedded in the plastic. It is commonly used to mark crosswalks, stop bars, and traffic guidance, such as turn lanes, HOV lanes, train crossings, pedestrian crossings, taxi lanes, bus lanes, etc. 

Holiday Meal Cures

This also a bit tacky, but it is a real product. Pills to change the smell of flatulence to something less offensive. Just in time for the holidays.  LINK

Searing Meat

A 19th century German chemist Justus von Liebig was one of the first people to propose that by applying very high temperatures to meat you would create a 'sealed' layer of cooked meat through which liquid inside the meat couldn't escape.

Liebig's experiment compared the liquid and nutrients from a piece of meat submerged in cold water which was gradually heated in that water and simmered in the cooking liquid with a dry piece of meat applied to an extremely hot surface. Liebig thought that searing meat "sealed in juices," because the resulting meat was juicier than the meat that was essentially boiled to death.

However, in the book On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee makes a direct comparison between a seared piece of meat and an un-seared piece, both cooked with identical methods. The result was that the seared piece of meat actually retained fewer juices than the un-seared piece, and at the very least the searing did nothing to preserve the moisture inside the meat. This debate still continues. Many people think that searing meat does result in moister meat, while others dispute it.

In reality, the best thing about searing meat is that when applied to high heat, the surface of the meat undergoes the Maillard Reaction, which results in some delicious browning on the surface of the meat. Bottom line; sear your steaks, not because it locks in juices, but because it is tastier.

Which Sandwich

The Earl of Sandwich is purportedly the first to put a slab of meat between two slices of bread.

The existence of the club sandwich comes from a cook named Danny Mears, who worked at the Saratoga Club House in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. during the 1800s.

During the 1920s, Reuben Kulakofsky, who was playing poker at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, ordered a sandwich with corned beef and sauerkraut. Bernard Schimme made the sandwich by draining the sauerkraut and mixing it with Thousand Island dressing then layering it with corned beef and Swiss cheese on dark rye bread. He then grilled the sandwich and served it with it a sliced kosher dill pickle and potato chips.

A French myth says croque monsieur was accidentally discovered in 1910 when some French workers left their lunch pails full of cheese and ham sandwiches too close to a hot radiator. The sandwich was originally made with ham and Gruyère cheese, later evolving into other variations like the the croque madame, the croque Provencal, the croque tartiflette, and the Monte Cristo (my favorite).
The grilled cheese sandwich was first widely eaten as a cheap meal during the US Great Depression, when cheese and bread were some of the least expensive food items.

In 1901, Julia David Chandler published the first known recipe for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter is not widely consumed in Europe and is almost never mixed with jelly. In the US peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple.

Joe Lorenza added cheese to a popular chopped steak sandwich creating the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich during the 1940s.

The bacon chip butty is made with handfuls of French fries and large pieces of crispy bacon between two slices of soft buttered bread. It was originally considered a working-class meal and was served in English pubs. Yum!

The most likely story of the origin of the  New Orleans po' boy belongs to Clovis and Benjamin Martin, who had a restaurant on St. Claude Avenue during the 1920s. When streetcar drivers went on strike in 1929, the brothers created an inexpensive sandwich consisting of gravy and bits of roast beef on French bread that they served unemployed workers out of the back of their restaurant. A worker would come to get one and the restaurant employees would yell, “Here comes another poor boy.” which eventually transferred to the name of the sandwich, po’ boy.

Wordology, Lector

The word ‘lector’ usually makes us think of university lecturers and public speakers, but in the 1900s, a lector was actually a form of entertainment. A factory lector was employed to entertain workers in cigar factories by reading out loud, usually newspapers and sometimes novels. The profession started in Cuba, later becoming more prominent in New York and Florida.

Life in a cigar factory was mostly manual labor, such as rolling cigars by hand, so the lectors proved to be good for the morale of workers. The employees would pool money together to help pay the lector’s salary. Lectors had a huge influence on the workers, providing an education for them through their reading. Lectors were eventually replaced by radios during the 1920’s.

Expired Milk Dates

That date on the carton of milk could mean very different things depending on what US state you are in. Some states require a sell by date, which indicates the last day a store can legally sell the milk. It is calculated to give the consumer a reasonable amount of time to enjoy. Other states have a use by date that indicates the date milk is believed to be at peak flavor. For instance, milk cartons in Montana are labeled with a sell by date 12 days after pasteurization, Washington requires a use by date that is 21 days after pasteurization.

While the pasteurization of milk kills most of the harmful bacteria, precautions always need to be made by the consumer to keep the milk from going bad. One way to keep milk as fresh as possible is to keep it on a shelf, never in the door of your fridge, where temperature fluctuates the most.

Depending on whom you ask, the refrigerator temperature should be 34-38 °F or 38-40 °F. Warmer temperatures give bacteria more of a chance to develop.

One rule of thumb is that if you are properly refrigerating it, whole milk's expiration date is five days after the "sell-by" date. If it is non-fat, skim, or reduced fat, you will have a bit less time. Ultra pasteurized milk has a longer shelf life than other types of milk and can be left in the pantry until opened, and then it must be chilled.

Free Friday Thought

Dec 5, 2014

Happy Friday

Happiness is its own reward.

I plan to reward myself by having a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Gnurr

It is the official name of the lint that collects at the bottom of your pockets.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes have nothing to do with time, but rather small, as in minute (my-newt). Minutes in this sense first appeared in the early 18th century, possibly directly from the Latin “minuta scriptura”, meaning small notes.

Minutes as in 'meeting notes' references condensing something, such as information down, as in the 'my-newt' pronunciation, not as in 'seconds, minutes, hours'.

Straight Teeth Talk

Though fillings do crack and decay over time, you rarely need all of them replaced at once. Some dentists claim that old silver fillings need to be removed for safety reasons, because they leech mercury, but that idea is a myth.

There is enough fluoride in our drinking water and in over-the-counter toothpastes to prevent cavities in most people, so additional fluoride from a dentist is additional cost, with little benefit.

Circadian Rhythms

These are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow an approximately 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology.

The master clock that controls circadian rhythms consists of a group of nerve cells in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. The SCN contains about 20,000 nerve cells and is located in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain just above where the optic nerves from the eyes cross. SCN controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. When there is less light, like at night, the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin so we get drowsy.

Circadian rhythms can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature, and other important bodily functions. They have been linked to various sleep disorders, including insomnia. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

Clock genes contain instructions for making clock proteins, whose levels rise and fall in a regular cyclic pattern. This pattern in turn regulates the activity of the genes.

Many of the clock genes and proteins are similar across species, allowing researchers to make important findings about human circadian processes by studying the clock components of other organisms. They have identified genes that direct circadian rhythms in people, fruit flies, mice, fungi, bread mold, plants, and several other model organisms used for studying genetics.

Jet lag occurs when travelers suffer from disrupted circadian rhythms. When you pass through different time zones, your body’s clock will be different from your wristwatch. For example, if you fly in an airplane from California to New York, you 'lose' 3 hours of time. So when you wake up at 7:00 a.m., your body still thinks it is 4:00 a.m., making you feel disoriented. Your body’s clock will eventually reset itself, but this often takes a few days. My circadian clock tells me this is a Happy Friday.

Bacon’s Blood Balancing Bounty

Several university and medical center studies have shown that including bacon as a regular, moderate part of one’s diet, naturally works to lower the body's blood pressure and blood sugar levels, helping to prevent and / or alleviate the effects of diabetes, as well as heart disease, and stroke.

What's in a Name, Budapest

Óbuda united with Buda and Pest in 1873. Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary.

Pest is the eastern, mostly flat part of Budapest, Hungary, comprising about two thirds of the city's territory. It is separated from Buda by the Danube River. In colloquial Hungarian, "Pest" is often used for the whole capital of Budapest. Harry Houdini was from Pest

Buda is the former capital of the Kingdom of Hungary and the western part Budapest. Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's complete territory and is mostly wooded and hilly. Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and was first completed in 1265.

Obuda means old Buda and it is located on the western side of the city. It has a sculpture in the town square of people waiting for the rain to stop.

Adware, Malware, Phishing, Spyware, Trojan Horse, Virus, and Warez

These terms show up often, especially during the holidays when more people than ever are cruising the web for bargains. Here are a few descriptions to help you understand the lingo.

Adware is typically an application that shows users an excessive amount of advertising in return for providing a service of little value. There is a grey area from most anti-virus companies as to how to handle adware, because so many applications have begun to show ads.

Malware generally is an all-encompassing term used to describe any harmful program. This includes spyware, viruses, and phishing scams.

Phishing and spyware are closely related. They work by tricking users and sending user information to a third party. A phishing application or website will pretend to be from a trusted source to try and trick a person into entering personal information.

Spyware tries to hide itself from users. It is an application that reads user information and data without the user actually knowing it - and reporting it back to a third party. This includes keystroke loggers to steal passwords or credit card information.

A trojan horse is a specific type of virus. The app pretends to be something useful, or helpful, or fun while causing harm or stealing data. This term is often used to describe spyware and phishing attacks as well.

The term virus term has mostly been replaced by malware, although there is a subtle difference. Virus typically takes control of the operating system and either damages it, or uses it for its own purposes. An example might be sending emails to everyone in the email address book.

Warez typically refers to pirated or unlicensed software. The files are stolen from the real developers.

Bottom line - Adware is aggravating, but not usually harmful. Phishing and trojan horses wear masks and steal data, while spyware hides itself and steals data. Malware is the new all-encompassing term, except for Warez. Malware aggravates or steals from us while Warez steals from developers.

Subway Restaurant Facts

There are currently 42,859 Subway restaurants in 108 countries around the world. Subway has overtaken McDonald’s in number of locations. Subway has plans to have 50,000 restaurants around the world by 2018, which means the company will need to open more than six restaurants a day, every day, for the next four years. Subway has opened, on average, more than two restaurants per day since 1965.

Holiday Travel Tip

While traveling, carry-on bags, purses, and wallets can be easily lost or stolen. This is an easy hack to prevent potential headaches, especially for international travel. Scan driver's license, passport, traveler's checks, credit card number, and card help line phone numbers, or any other important information, then e-mail the information to yourself. Now you can go to any computer in the world and get a copy of your documents and information.

Free Holiday Gingerbread House

Nov 28, 2014

Happy Friday

Happiness does not make us grateful, being grateful makes us happy.

I am grateful to be able to share with you a Happy Friday!

Twelve Turkey Facts

Here are a few tidbits to digest along with your turkey leftovers. Turkeys have been roaming North and South America for over 10-million years.

Over short flights, a wild turkey can top out at about 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). Domestic turkeys cannot fly because they are too heavy.

The largest turkey on record weighed 86 pounds.

Turkeys (and many birds) ingest small stones that go into a part of their stomachs called the gizzard, which helps the turkey break down food. This process is necessary because turkeys, like all birds, don't have teeth.

Turkeys have two stomachs: the glandular stomach that softens the food with gastric juices and the gizzard that grinds it up for the intestines or the first stomach, if needed.

The feces of male turkeys are J-shaped, and also straighter and larger than a female's, which look more spiral shaped.

There is a festival honoring turkeys, the Eldon, Missouri Turkey Festival which is held each October. It includes a turkey egg toss, turkey calling seminars and a 5-K turkey trot.

Wild turkeys prefer to sleep in trees, because their eyesight is so poor.

The tops of male turkeys are not only colorful, but highly variable. Males normally have almost no feathers on their heads, but when it comes time to breed, the colors can change between red, white, and blue.

Male turkeys gobble, female turkeys do not gobble, they make a clicking noise.

Mature turkeys have about 3,500 feathers at maturity.

The red bumps on a turkey's head are called caruncles.

Laughing Exercise

Laughing 100 times is equivalent to 15 minutes of exercise on a stationary bicycle.

Snurfing and Snowboards

Sherman Poppen from Muskegon, Michigan took two 36-inch skis that had a little leather strap over the top of them that kids could slide their shoes into. He added a couple of cross pieces across them about five of six inches apart. The cross pieces were actually molding so you could put your feet up against it. His wife called it the 'snurfer'.

He kept improving the design, patented it as a "surf-type snow ski," and sold it to Brunswick. By 1970, almost a million of the boards had been sold.

Jake Burton Carpenter had a competing product he called the 'Burton Board'. Carpenter's Burton Snowboards would go on to become one of the largest snowboard brands in the world.

Snowboarders might be riding "snurfboards" today, if Poppen hadn't been so possessive of his trademark. When he got started and Burton was calling his board Snurfboards, and his was a Snurfer. He did not like his name being used so he hired an attorney to protect his trademark. The sport became snowboarding because Carpenter could not use the word Snurfer or Snurf.

More Egg Facts

Eggs contain very little saturated fat (1.5 grams per large egg) and no trans fat. A medium egg contains about 63 calories and a large about 74 calories.
The nutrients in eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health, and more.

Egg yolks are a great source of choline, an essential nutrient. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of choline. Choline also aids the brain function by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes, and is a key component of the neuro-transmitter that helps relay messages from the brain through nerves to the muscles.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness and may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eggs have the highest nutritional quality protein of all food sources. Protein is a source of energy, but its main role in the body is growth and repair. It helps in the formation of muscles, hair, nails, skin and organs, such as the heart, kidneys and liver.

Vitamins and minerals in eggs include:
Biotin - helps cell metabolism and the utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
Calcium - for building and maintain bones and teeth
Cephalin - a phosphorus-containing lipid found in tissues
Folate - for growth
Iodine - to ensure proper function of the thyroid gland
Iron - to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around our bodies maintenance of healthy cells
Lecithin - contains acetylcholine which has been proven to help brain function
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5 ) - releases energy from our food for our body to use
Phosphorous - helps build strong bones and teeth
Selenium - antioxidant that protects our body and immune system
Thiamine - to turn carbohydrates into energy our body can use
Vitamin A (retinal) - for growth and eye health
Vitamin B12 (riboflavin) - for brain and nervous system functions and blood formation
Vitamin D - important in bone health.
Vitamin E - antioxidant to protect our bodies against disease
Zinc - helps in growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues.

Eliminating eggs from your diet because you are concerned about cholesterol is of no value and you lose the dietary benefits. Harvard Medical School and Mayo clinic agree that even though yolks contain cholesterol, very little of it actually makes it into your bloodstream, where it matters.

Pig Squeals

Experts have determined that the average pig squeals at a level of 100-115 decibels. A jet’s engine only reaches about 112 decibels at takeoff. Bacon does not squeal, it sizzles.

XPRIZE Blood Test Prize

On November 10, 2014, the XPRIZE Foundation announced the winner of the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, the global competition aimed at accelerating the availability of hardware sensors and software sensing technology as a means to smarter digital health solutions.

The winning device, called the Reusable Handheld Electrolyte and Lab Technology for Humans (rHEALTH) system, can potentially run hundreds or even thousands of lab tests using a single drop of blood, and those tests, in turn, can be used to diagnose a range of diseases.

Along with a number of distinguished awards, the $525,000 grand prize was presented to Eugene Chan, founder and CEO of the device’s maker, DNA Medicine Institute (DMI), at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine conference.

The rHEALTH system reacts to a sample of blood, about 1,500 times less than is usually required, with a series of nanostrips. These strips are a bit like pH test strips, but they are on the scale of blood cells. The system reacts to the blood sample with tens of thousands of nanostrips, each running a different test, then shines a laser on them in rapid succession.

The whole process yields results in about two minutes and currently runs about 22 lab tests, ranging from vitamin D to HIV.

Turquoise Tidbits

The bridle of many horses is decorated with turquoise. This stems from an early European superstition, which continues today, that the wearer of turquoise could never suffer a broken bone, because the turquoise itself would shatter and prevent the accident.

In Europe, this lucky stone was set into horses’ bridles to keep the horse from stumbling and falling, protecting the horse and rider. Decorating the bridles with turquoise has continued through the years.

Monosodium Glutamate Facts

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used to enhance the flavor of food for more than 100 years. It was originally synthesized by Japanese biochemist Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 after he realized that the Japanese broth called dashi (a basic stock made with seaweed and dried fish) had a meaty flavor that had not yet been identified. He called this flavor umami, which can be translated as "delicious taste" and set about synthesizing the main source of it. The basic sensory function of MSG is attributed to its ability to enhance savory taste-active compounds when added in the proper concentration

MSG, which first hit the market in 1909, is today created by bacterial fermentation in a process similar to that used in making yogurt.

Monosodium glutamate added to foods produces a flavoring similar to the glutamate that occurs naturally in foods. It acts as a flavor enhancer and adds a fifth taste, called umami, which is best described as a savory, broth-like or meaty taste.

In the European Union, monosodium glutamate is classified as a food additive (E621) and regulations are in place to determine how and when it can be added to foods. Typically, monosodium glutamate is added to savory prepared and processed foods such as frozen foods, spice mixes, canned and dry soups, salad dressings and meat or fish-based products. In some countries, it is used as a table-top seasoning.

Scientific studies have not shown any direct link between monosodium glutamate and adverse reactions in humans. The US Food and Drug Administration has given MSG its generally recognized as safe (GRAS) designation. While a popular belief holds that large doses of MSG can cause headaches and other feelings of discomfort, in controlled studies scientists have been unable to consistently trigger reactions. MSG has been used for more than 100 years to season food, with a number of studies conducted on its safety. International and national bodies governing food additives currently consider MSG safe for human consumption as a flavor enhancer.

MSG contains about one third of the sodium of table salt and is used in smaller amounts.

Children metabolize glutamate in the same way that adults do and monosodium glutamate is safe for children. In fact, human breast milk contains ten times more glutamate than cow’s milk.

When added to food, MSG provides an umami-rich flavor boost that regular table salt doesn't, even though MSG contains sixty percent less sodium than table salt, and many people cook with it regularly (it is sold under the brand name Accent). While it doesn't have much of a flavor on its own, when added to other foods it blends, balances, and rounds out the other flavors that are present.

MSG does not occur naturally in whole foods, so you do not have to worry about it in fruits and vegetables.

The human body also produces glutamate and it plays an essential role in normal body functioning.

Free Friday Happy Dance

Nov 21, 2014

Happy Friday

Laughing is the best and easiest calorie burner.

I plan to burn a bunch of calories laughing and enjoying a Happy Friday!

Alascattalo Day

November 21, 2014 is Alascattalo Day. It is described as a day to honor humor in general and Alaskan humor in particular. The day is named after 'alascattalo', said to be the genetic cross between a moose and a walrus. It has been celebrated in Anchorage for over 25 years.

A mild-mannered moose named Morris met a witty walrus named Wanabelle.  It was love at first sight, and soon the moose and the walrus were wed in the church down the way. Within sixty weeks, Morris and Wannabelle welcomed into the world a wee little weeble who made their love complete, and the first Alascattalo was born.

White Meat, Dark Meat

White meat is white because of the chicken's lack of exercise. White muscle is suitable only for short, ineffectual bursts of activity such as, for chickens, flying.

Dark meat, which avian myologists (bird muscle scientists) refer to as "red muscle," is used for sustained activity, mainly walking. The dark color comes from a chemical compound in the muscle called myoglobin, which plays a key role in oxygen transport. That's why the chicken's leg meat and thigh meat are dark and its breast meat (primary flight muscles) is white.

Other birds, such as ducks and geese, have red muscle (dark meat) throughout.

Holiday Home Hacks

Remove permanent marker by using toothpaste on it.
A Lint roller is perfect to dust your lampshades with.
Use bread, or a damp paper towel, or play-doh to pick up broken glass or spilled glitter.
Cut a grapefruit and add salt to clean stubborn tub dirt before company arrives.
Wrap your light strings around a hangar to keep them from getting all tangled.
Make a Christmas tree from jello shots to keep the fun going. You can use orange jello for Thanksgiving.

Compulsions, Obsessions, Anal, and OCD

The holidays are the time many people meticulously clean the house and fastidiously prepare large tasty meals. Both of these activities can seem obsessive or compulsive, but neither is considered medically significant. However, for some, these obsessions and compulsions last all year.

Anal retentive (anal) is used to describe a person who pays such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others, and potentially to the detriment of the anal-retentive person. Traits include orderliness, stubbornness, a compulsion for control, as well as a generalized interest in collecting, possessing, and retaining objects. Those who are anal can take pleasure in organizing and re-organizing, in keeping things neat and in their proper place.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) people can have obsessions, compulsions, or both. OCD is a mental illness. Usually the person has a feeling that they are staving off unspecified doom, such as "Something terrible will happen if I don't wash my hands exactly seven times and tap my toes in rhythm." The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, people with OCD generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational and may become further distressed by this realization. Those who have OCD suffer extreme distress from a disruption in their routine.

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry. If the obsession is with a certain activity, performing it, or thinking about performing it later does not relieve the stress, pressure, or obsession. We all have things that distract us from our daily businesses, but those with true obsessions try to make them go away with no success.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person must perform, such as checking to make sure the front door is locked, organizing items in groups of arbitrary size, or keeping things in a specific order or position. Compulsions are aimed at reducing the associated anxiety. Most often these rituals become not just a part of daily life, but the person feels that they must repeat them every day in order to keep something horrible from happening.

Bottom line - If you must get things done perfectly and meticulous, you might be anal, but if you must get things done perfectly and meticulous or you will be continuously and seriously agitated and upset, you could have OCD.

World Headlines

There is a wonderful headline site to get all the news in the world on one page. You can compare what different countries say about the same topic. It shows no pictures, has no ads, and shows just headlines. You can get the world news update in minutes, then waste the rest of the day answering email.

Bitter, Sweet, and Salty

Salty and sweet are distinct tastes which our taste buds are usually able to detect. However, if you add salt to some foods, they do not taste salty, but become sweeter tasting. This is because salt is not just a taste, it is also a taste enhancer.

Bitter and sweet cancel each other out to some degree. Think of adding sugar to naturally bitter coffee and you get the idea. It cancels/masks the bitterness. Some people add a bit of salt to the grounds before making coffee, for the same reason.

Pineapples are sweet, but also have some bitterness to them. If you neutralize the bitterness, it should taste sweeter. Adding salt can do this. When salt mixes with the pineapple, the salt splits up into sodium and chloride ions. The chloride is tasteless and our tongues ignore it. The sodium bonds with the acids in the pineapple and forms a similarly tasteless salt, but the bitterness effectively disappears. What remains is the sweetness of the pineapple. Add a little bit of salt to your fresh pineapple and enjoy the enhanced sweetness. It also works with watermelon, oranges, grapefruit, dark chocolate and other foods that are both bitter and sweet. Perhaps this is one reason why it is said that bacon is the food that makes other foods taste better. My father always salted apples before eating and usually paired with extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Adding salt works less well with canned or other processed fruits as many are already artificially sweetened.

Genius Study Results

Sleep Calories

Many variables that go into the calorie-burning equation, such as age, sex, weight, metabolism, diet, and physical and nonphysical daily habits. The two most important factors in determining how many calories you burn while sleeping are weight and number of hours slept. On average, a person burns between 0.4 and 0.5 calories per pound, per hour. For example, a 100 lb. person burns 40-50 calories per hour. In eight hours of sleep, this person will burn approximately 360 calories.

A pound of muscle burns fifty calories a day on average and a pound of fat burns nine calories. A leaner, more muscular person is going to burn up to five times more calories per pound.

If you weigh 160 pounds, you burn 69 calories per hour while sleeping, the FitWatch website calculates up to 552 calories burned during eight hours of sleep. A 120-pound person burns about 51 calories per hour sleeping, or 408 for eight hours; a 200-pound person burns 86 calories per hour, or 868 for eight hours of sleep.

Fifteen minutes of laughter a day will burn ten to forty calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter.  A study by Loma Linda University found that laughing raises the levels of immunoglobulins, which ward of disease, by fourteen percent. Laughter also has other benefits, including increased pain tolerance, relief of emotional stress and a workout for the muscles of the diaphragm, abdomen, back, and shoulders.

Free Friday Laugh

Nov 14, 2014

Happy Friday

"By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property." Voltaire

We can all appreciate the excellence of another Happy Friday!

Wordology, Handicap

The word handicap is known to originate from the old English trading game Hand-in-cap. The game was based on trading possessions, and proceedings would take place with the help of an umpire. The umpire had a responsibility to decide if the items were valued the same, and if not, he had to decide what the difference was. The two players then put the money in a cap. They had to place their hands in the cap and subsequently remove them either holding money or not, to show if they had accepted the terms of the deal.

Other uses for the word handicap include a condition that markedly restricts a person’s ability to function physically, mentally, or socially. The word also means a disadvantage imposed on a superior competitor in sports such as golf, horse racing, and competitive sailing in order to make the chance of winning more equal.

Famous Inventions by Women

A Shaker community in Massachusetts had a woman named Tabitha Babbitt who worked as a weaver. She would regularly witness the men cutting the wood with a pit saw (a two-handled saw that needed two individuals to operate). Although the saw needed to be pulled in two directions to cut the wood, there was only cutting going on when the saw was being pulled in a forward direction making the backward motion useless. In 1810 Babbitt developed her own draft of a saw that was circular in shape and would eventually be commonly used in saw mills. She attached the blade to her own spinning wheel in order to make every movement count toward cutting results.

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper joined the military during 1943 and was stationed at Harvard University where she was employed using IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer, which was the first large-scale computer in the US. She was the third individual programming the machine and she wrote a handbook of operations that led the way for many that would follow her. During the 1950s, the Admiral came out with the compiler, which converted English instructions into a computer code. This meant that computer code could be developed by programmers with less errors and complications. Hopper then created the Flow-Matic, which was utilized to program the UNIVAC I and II computers. Hopper had also been overseeing the advancements of Common Business-Oriented Language or (COBOL), which was one of the very first computer languages. She went on to obtain various awards for her work and even had a US warship named after her. Heard her speak one time and she used a length of wire 11.8 inches long as a prop. She described how light traveled that distance in one nanosecond.

Leather Stain Removing

If you have an oil stain on your favorite leather handbag, coat the stain with baby powder and let it stand overnight. By morning, the stain should be gone. If a bit still remains, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone. Also, add a few drops of vinegar in a bowl of water and scrub for water stains on leather shoes or boots.

Origin of Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, dipped in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. According to food historian Alan Davidson, the Scotch egg originated in India and was brought back by returning soldiers of the British Empire.

It is a descendent of the Indian dish nargisi kofta, which consists of eggs covered in minced lamb and cooked in curried tomatoes.

The first written reference to Scotch eggs, with the recommendation that they be eaten hot with gravy, was in the Cook And Housewife’s Manual in 1910.

Bacon and the N Words

Most discussions of eggs are followed by bacon and vice versa. Nitrates and nitrites may be unhealthy for your body, but what most nutritionists fail to tell you is that you can easily avoid nitrates and nitrites by simply not burning, charring, or over cooking your bacon or by baking your bacon in the oven.

By including some dairy and citrus with a bacon meal, the vitamins A, D and E work to effectively prevent conversion of “nitrates and nitrites into nitrosamines in the stomach, rendering them harmless to the body. Yea!

Intel Wearable Awards

Intel’s Make It Wearable is a global initiative to inspire ideas and fuel innovation that will evolve personal computing in exciting new ways.

The Development track focuses on concepts that are both excitingly innovative and feasible to execute. They also demonstrate innovative solutions, creative implementation, technical feasibility, intelligent business planning, and potential for long-term success.

Intel is on a mission to identify and support wearable products and/or technology that can go to market in near future. This track features 3 rounds. All submissions are evaluated in round 1 (idea proposal submission), forty advance to round 2, ten advance to round 3, and three winners are chosen. Semifinalists and finalists gain expert support and education aimed at evolving their proposals into fully developed designs and business plans.

Nixie, the Selfie-Taking Drone, won. It is a wristband that unfolds into a remote-controlled flyable camera, and the winner of the US $500,000 prize. Each of the second through tenth place winners took home US $50,000.

In second place was Open Bionics' 3D printed, functioning prosthetic robotic hand.

Third place was won by Team Proglove's "smart glove" for production and manufacturing. It is a sensor-based "smart glove" that can boost productivity for manufacturing jobs. With an embedded Intel Edison module, and an on-board display, ProGlove allows wearers to scan, sense, and record activities.

Six Fruit Spreads

Jelly, jam and preserves are all made from fruit mixed with sugar and pectin. The difference between them comes in the form that the fruit takes. Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate. It is found in the cell walls of most fruit. When heated with sugar in water, it gels, giving jam, jelly, and preserves their thickness.

Jam is a thick mixture of pulp or crushed fruit, pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently and quickly until the fruit is soft and has an organic shape. It spreads easily and can form a blob. In addition to being a spread, jams are also good for fillings. Jam tastes much like the original fresh fruit.

Jelly is made from sugar, pectin, acid, and fruit juice and is a clear spread that is firm enough to hold its shape. Jellies can also be made from ingredients other than fruit, such as herbs, tea, wine, liqueurs, flowers, and vegetables. Unlike a jam's fresh flavor of the original fruit, a jelly's flavor is that of the fruit after several hours of cooking.

Marmalade is a spread made from the peel and pulp of fruit. Marmalade is cooked for a long time, has no pectin, and is used as spreads and glazes. It is a balanced combination of clear jelly with pieces of fruit suspended in it. This fruit may or may not be citrus. Marmalade, like jelly, does not taste of fresh fruit, though the pieces of whole fruit maintain much of the original brightness of flavor.

Preserves are spreads that have chunks of fruit in a syrup or jam. It is a broad category that includes jam, jelly, and marmalade, as well as pickles, chutneys, and any other canned food. Basically, food which lasts longer than it would on its own is considered a preserve.

Fruit butter is a smooth and creamy spread that is created by slow-cooking fruit and sugar until it reaches the right consistency. These types of spreads are sometimes translucent and often opaque. Fruit butters are best used as a spread or filling. It is a variety of jelly and is whipped or cooked down until it becomes extremely thick

Conserves are basically a jam, made with dried fruits and nuts and cooked. They have a very thick and chunky texture. Conserves work very well as a spread and as a condiment for meats and cheeses.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, jam and preserves are considered the same thing. Generally a fruit spread is a preserve if the fruit chunks are somewhat large and it is called a jam if the chunks are relatively small and mashed.

Jams and jellies are sweeter and have about half the calories of butter or margarine and unlike butter and margarine, contain zero fat.

Using Vocal Cords

Your vocal cords are an instrument that you use every day. The human vocal range extends from the depth of whispering to shouting. In between are talking, laughing, crying, humming, singing, and more. The entire vocal range is both attenuated and enhanced by emotions. For instance, it is not necessary to see a person speaking with fear, or happiness to notice the differences in tone and inflection.

One often underused quality of voice is silence. Most of us are familiar with the ‘the silence was deafening’. If you can't improve the silence, don't waste your time exercising your vocal cords.

World Toilet Day

Not a joke. United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, along with a coalition from Singapore, introduced a resolution to declare November 19th the first 'World Toilet Day'. The resolution was co-sponsored and adopted by 122 countries at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. On July 24, 2013, World Toilet Day became an official UN day.

Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day is celebrated globally by NGOs, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and the international community.

19 November is a special day for the World Toilet Organization. It was founded on 19 November 2001. World Toilet Day was established with the aim to draw global attention to the sanitation crisis. The organization’s approach of mixing humor with serious facts resonated with people around the world.

A clean and safe toilet ensures health, dignity and well-being, yet 40% of the world’s population does not have access to toilets. Over two billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.

Free Friday Quote

Nov 7, 2014

Happy Friday

If it does not make you happy, do not do it.

I am always happy while celebrating a Happy Friday!

National Kindness Day

Next Thursday, November 13 is World Kindness Day. Please be extra kind that day.

Saggy Pants

Have often wondered where the style of some youth began with wearing pants sagging much below the waist. Many US towns have banned wearing in public trousers that are slung so low as to expose the wearer’s underwear.

This saggy trend appears to have originated in US jails where the combination of a prison diet and vigorous sports leads to a slimmer waist. As prisoners are required to wear the trousers they were issued with at the beginning of their sentences, and because belts are usually banned for various reasons, this led to inadvertent sagging. The 'fashion statement' spread beyond the prison walls and has become a sought-after look among America’s disaffected youth.

Horsepower and Watts

Although he was not first to use the horsepower name, James Watt was the first to apply specific measurement to it. During the 1780s, after making a vastly superior steam engine to the common Newcomen steam engine, Watt was looking for a way to market his invention, advertising the fact that his engine was superior and used about 75% less fuel than a similarly powered Newcomen.

He came up with a new unit of measurement that those in need of his engine understood, horse power, referring to powerful draft horses. He calculated how much power a typical draft horse could generate and figured out a typical draft horse could do about 32,400 foot-pounds of work per minute and maintain that power rate for a full workday. He then rounded up, going with 33,000 foot-pounds per minute for 1 horsepower. By overestimating what a horse could do he made sure that his product would always over deliver what he said when trying to get people to buy it.

Watt’s engine was revolutionary and played a huge role in the Industrial Revolution. His unit of measure of an engine’s power became popular. Today the SI unit of power, the Watt, which was named in homage to James Watt, has widely come to replace horsepower in most applications.

Bacon Elevator

Bacon is an effective mood elevator. Bacon makes us feel happy, satisfied, and blissful, which greatly reduces stress and effectively relieves the negative effects of frustration.

Grinders, Heros, Hoagies, and Subs

The Grinder arose in New England and was likely named after the dockworkers whose jobs involved much noisy grinding to repair and refurbish the ships. However, some attribute the name to the amount of chewing and grinding it takes to work through the crusty Italian bread and tough meats on the typical sandwich.

The Hero can contain an infinite number of combinations of meats, cheeses, condiments, vegetables and pickled things. Many believe the Hero Sandwich was named by food columnist, Clementine Paddleworth in the 1930s relating to the Submarine sandwich, when she noted, “You had to be a hero to eat it.” The Oxford English Dictionary credits the naming to armored car guards.

Hoagie is what the folks in Philadelphia call it. Most claim that the name came originally from Al De Palma who thought that a person “had to be a hog” to eat such a large sandwich. When he opened his own sandwich place during the Great Depression, Al called his big subs 'hoggies'. It is assumed that the strong Philadelphia accent changed the pronunciation, and eventually, the spelling.

The Submarine sandwich originated in several different Italian American communities in the Northeastern United States from the late 19th century. So, all Grinders, Heros, Hoagies, and many other regional names for these great sandwiches are Subs and all Subs are sandwiches, but not all sandwiches are Subs.

Five Fun Facts

We eat pizza from the inside out.
Denver International Airport is larger than Manhattan.
There are more life forms living on your skin than there people living on earth.
The craters named Beer on Mars and the Moon were named for German astronomer Wilhelm Beer, not the drink.
Russia considered beer as a soft drink and not alcohol until 2011.

3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

Hayley Fraser, a five-year-old girl from Scotland, recently became the first child in the United Kingdom to be outfitted with a prosthetic limb made using 3D printing technology.

She was born without fingers on her left hand. Her parents, David and Zania Fraser, went online to try and help their daughter who had been turned down by the National Health System. They came across the website of E-nable, a group of volunteers in the United States who design and build prosthetics for children. They made a cast of their daughter's hand and sent it to the group. Professor Flood used the model to print out properly-sized prosthetic components using a 3D printer.

Now, Hayley can manipulate her prosthetic hand's artificial tendons, joints, and fingers by flexing and rotating her wrist. She can hold her teddy, peel a banana, and even paint her nails. Her new bright pink bionic hand was inspired by the movie Ironman.

Sad Presidential Fact

Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother died in the same house on the same day, Valentine’s Day 1884. His wife had just given birth to their daughter Alice, and the pregnancy had hidden her kidney disease. He held her for two hours, had to be torn away to see his mother die of typhoid fever, then returned to his wife, who died in his arms.

Find a Hometown Paper

Many of us move quite far from home and every now and then might be curious about what is going on at the place or places we left. I find it fascinating how different places report the 'same' news, or at least their slant on the same news.

Free Frdiday Smile

Oct 31, 2014

Happy Friday

Smiles are catchy like yawns, but more fun.

It is infinitely more fun to throw a smile on a Happy Friday!

Time Change and Vote

Don't forget to change clocks back this Saturday night in most parts of the United States. The election is next week, November 4 and folks in the US can electorally choose to fall back or jump ahead. Get out and vote or do not complain for the next few years.

Happy Halloween

This Holiday makes me squirrelly

Twice as much chocolate is sold on Halloween as on Valentine's Day.

Here is a scary, but true thought - You are ten times more likely to get bitten by a person from New York than a shark.

Wordology, Advesperate

to grow dark, to become night. On Halloween we wait for the day to advesperate.

Idiot, Imbecile, Moron

We often hear these words during an election cycle. Each of these words has a different meaning. The medical definitions have been mostly abandoned and the words are now used more in a pejorative sense, rather than diagnostic.

In psychology, an idiot has the least intelligence on the IQ scale, equivalent to someone who is mentally challenged. Idiot derives from the ancient Greek, 'idio', meaning “person lacking professional skill” or “mentally deficient person incapable of ordinary reasoning.” Those who have an IQ between 0 and 25 are considered idiots.

From Middle French imbécile, from Latin imbēcillus meaning weak or feeble, literally “without a staff.” An imbecile is considered equivalent to moderate retardation or moderately mentally challenged. People with IQs between 26 and 50 are considered imbeciles.

The word 'moron' was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard and derived from the ancient Greek word 'moros', which meant 'dull'. Those who have an IQ between 51 and 70 are considered morons. A moron is the highest level of intelligence for someone who is mildly mentally challenged.

These terms were popular in psychology as associated with intelligence on an IQ test until the 1960s. They were then replaced with the terms mild retardation, moderate retardation, severe retardation, and profound retardation. Other factors besides IQ are now used in diagnosing these levels of mental deficiency.

Retarded comes from the Latin 'retardare', which means “to make slow, delay, keep back, or hinder.”  The term retarded was used to replace the terms idiot, moron, and imbecile as these terms gradually became thought of as derogatory. Now 'retarded' is considered a derogatory term.

Many old words seem to pop up around election time as politicians seek to differentiate themselves, while preaching the same drivel. Even politician used to be a good word, which has now become thought of as derogatory.

What's in a Name, Santa Fe

"Santa" can also mean holy, and "fe" means faith, so Santa Fe = holy faith. The full name of the New Mexico state capital is "Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis," or "Royal Village of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi."

Oatmeal, Porridge, Gruel, and Spurtles

Oats taken from the farmer’s field are sieved in a rotating drum to remove impurities like seeds, stalks, sticks, and stones. Then they are put into a rotating drum to remove the husk. Finally, the oats are heat dried to reduce the moisture content before being ground or crushed to produce fine oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a product made by processing oats. In North America, oatmeal means any crushed oats, rolled oats, or cut oats used in recipes such as oatmeal cookies. It is also a name for a breakfast cereal made by cooking the oats. All oatmeal is porridge, but not all porridge is oatmeal.

Porridge made from oatmeal is also called oatmeal or oatmeal cereal. Porridge can be made with oats, rice, barley, cornmeal, brown rice, or basically any grain that is cooked, usually in water or milk. Similar dishes made with other grains or legumes often have other names, such as groat, polenta, grits, owsianka, or kasha. Since porridge was used as prison food for inmates in the British prison system, 'doing porridge' became a slang term for a sentence in prison.

Gruel is similar to porridge, but is made without milk and has a very thin consistency.

A spurtle is a Scottish kitchen tool used for stirring porridge.

Bonus - Pease porridge made from dried peas is another traditional English and Scottish porridge. It inspired the Mother Goose rhyme "pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.

Laptop Tip

Overcharging is not so much of a problem as most modern laptops have circuitry that keeps the battery just under 100% when it is plugged in. That means there is less chance of the battery overheating and catching fire.

However, lithium-ion batteries, like the ones in newer laptops, last longest when they stay between 20% and 80% capacity. When they spend a lot of time above and below those percentages, it shortens the battery's life.

Also, a battery that is charging while the laptop is running will be hotter than usual. That also shortens the overall battery life.

So, if your laptop is always sitting the same place, it is a good idea to unplug it every now and then and let the battery take over. Or you can remove the battery totally and leave it plugged in all the time.

Leftovers Lite

While not usually nine days old, some foods taste better the second time than when first cooked. Many people say leftover pasta tastes great. Now an experiment has shown that it also might be better for us.

Pasta is a form of carbohydrate and like all carbohydrates it gets broken down in our gut and then absorbed as simple sugars, which in turn makes your blood glucose quickly rise. In response to a surge in blood glucose our bodies produce a rush of insulin to get our blood glucose back down to normal as swiftly as possible, because persistently high levels of glucose in the blood are extremely unhealthy.

A rapid rise in blood glucose, followed by a rapid fall, can often make a person feel hungry again quite soon after a meal. It is true of sugary sweets and cakes and also true for things like pasta, potatoes, white rice, and white bread. That is why dieticians emphasize the importance of eating foods that are rich in fiber, as these foods produce a much more gradual rise and fall in blood sugars.

Cooking pasta and then cooling it down changes the structure of the pasta, turning it into something that is called 'resistant starch'. It is called that because once pasta, potatoes or other starchy food is cooked and cooled it becomes resistant to the normal enzymes that break carbohydrates down and release glucose that causes a blood sugar surge.

According to Dr. Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, if you cook and cool pasta down then your body will treat it much more like fiber, creating a smaller glucose peak. You will also absorb fewer calories.

A study was conducted and volunteers had three days of testing, spread out over several weeks. On each occasion they had to eat pasta on an empty stomach. The volunteers were randomized to eating either hot, cold, or reheated pasta on different days.

On one day they ate the pasta, freshly cooked and hot with a plain sauce of tomatoes and garlic. On another day they had to eat it cold with the same sauce, but after it had been chilled overnight. On a third day they ate the pasta with sauce after it had been chilled and then reheated.

On each of the days they also gave blood samples every 15 minutes for two hours, to see what happened to their blood glucose as the pasta was slowly digested. Eating cold pasta led to a smaller spike in blood glucose and insulin than eating freshly boiled pasta.

Cooking, cooling, and then reheating the pasta had an even smaller effect on blood glucose. It reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.

We can convert a carb-loaded meal into a more healthy fiber-loaded one without changing a single ingredient, just the temperature. Leftovers could be healthier than the original meal.

Global Incidents

This site has a map showing real time incidents around the globe. It is interactive and a bit scary to see so many things going on that we never hear about on our local-centric the news. LINK

Dalai Lama

This title as first given to the third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, by Altan Khan. In order to help secure his rule in Mongolia, Altan Khan agreed to let Sonam Gyatso convert Mongolia to Buddhism.

Gyatso then proclaimed that Altan Khan was in fact the reincarnated of the great Khublai Khan, former ruler of China and Mongolia and grandson of Ghengis Khan, helping legitimize Altan Khan’s rule. The fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso, the only Dalai Lama to be born outside of Tibet to date was the great grandson of Altan Khan.

The title Dalai Lama literally means 'The Ocean Lama' with the 'lama' coming from the Tibetan 'blama', meaning guru, mentor, teacher, wise-one.” So, it could be interpreted as 'Ocean of Wisdom'.

Free Halloween Smile

Oct 25, 2014

Vodka Pie Crust Hack

Use vodka instead of water when baking your next Holiday pie. Vodka is only 60% water, so it forms less gluten, which makes for a more tender crust.

Six Quick Animal Facts

Armadillos found in the US nearly always give birth to identical quadruplets.

The largest bat colony in the world in Bracken Cave, Texas has 20 million bats.

Dolphins can stay active for 15 days or more by sleeping with only one half of their brain at a time.

Elephants are pregnant for almost two years.

Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

Koala bears are not bears, they are marsupials.

Funeral Celebrants

Funeral Celebrant is an interesting and relatively new profession. They can help plan a festive or somber ceremony, and work with families to develop a eulogy. Some celebrants perform a whole ceremony while some families prefer to perform a ceremony themselves. Celebrant funerals are funeral ceremonies that are a true celebration of the departed one’s life.

Many people are choosing to forgo traditional funerals and cremation is growing as an alternative to funerals with half or more people now choosing it. Unlike funerals with the somber process of casket, service, and internment, the cremation process is more personal, less costly, as well as more positive and celebratory. Cremation typically costs less than one fourth the cost of a funeral (if not done by a funeral home). Most states have cremation societies, which can take care of paperwork for insurance, VA, Social Security, obituary, etc., having the body moved to a facility, and assist with all aspects of the process, just as a funeral director traditionally did.

Scattering of ashes is now the most popular thing to do with cremation ashes. Family and friends are having private memorials, scattering ashes, and having a party in the backyard. In fact, you can now buy a "Loved One Launcher", which is a CO2 cartridge filled tube, including confetti that launches ashes into the air. There are also personalized mementos containing bits of ash used in jewelry, lockets, pictures, action figures, and more. You can even get an urn that can be used as a birdhouse after the ashes have been scattered. Seems like an oxymoron with an action figure made of ashes.

Oct 24, 2014

Happy Friday

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back." Arthur Rubinstein

It is doubly true when celebrating a Happy Friday!

Berserk, Pea, and Edit

A back-formation is a word created by removing an element from an existing word. It can change the word’s meaning or the part of speech.

Berserk  is a back-formation from berserker, one of a band of ancient Norse warriors legendary for their savagery and reckless frenzy in battle.

Pea and plural peas are a back-formation of Middle English 'pease', which was a mass noun in wide use, like oatmeal.

Edit is a back formation of editor. Editor was in use for almost 150 years before edit. Edit arose because the word 'editor' sounds as if it should mean 'one who edits'.

Selfie Video

Skype has a new app that lets you take a short movie and send it to anyone in your address book. Think of it as a video instant message. LINK

Nobel Prizes 2014

The $1.1 million awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

U.S.-British scientist John O'Keefe split the Nobel Prize in medicine with Norwegian couple May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for breakthroughs in brain cell research that could pave the way for a better understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, which promises to revolutionize the way the world lights its homes and offices, and already helps create the glowing screens of mobile phones, computers and TVs.

U.S. researchers Eric Betzig and William Moerner and Stefan Hell of Germany won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for finding ways to make microscopes more powerful than previously thought possible, allowing scientists to see how diseases develop inside the tiniest cells.

Baseball Trading

Harry Chiti was traded for himself. Chiti was a major league catcher who played from 1950 to 1962. On April 25, 1962, before he actually played a game for the Indians, he was acquired by the expansion New York Mets team for a 'player to be named later'. He was sent back to the Indians on June 15, 1962 after 15 games and a .195 batting average.

Since Chiti was the 'player to be named later', he became the first player ever traded for himself. Three other players in history have been traded for themselves: Dickie Noles, Brad Gulden, and John McDonald. Chiti never played another major league game, spending two more years at Triple-A before retiring in 1964.

Houseplants and Odors

People in office cubicles have put photos of nature up on the walls or brought in green plants to help personalize their space since cubicles were first invented.

The impact turns out to be more than just aesthetic. Adding a plant or two can boost productivity by 38% or more. Scientists at the University of Exeter conducted ninety experiments and found houseplants not only improve creativity (45%) and overall well being (47%), they also provide a boost to focus. As an added bonus, rooms filled with plants have an average of 50% to 60% less bacteria.

Environmental odors appear to impact how productive we are. As the most powerful of our senses, smell might have an impact. One corporation says to chop up some lemons. In studies, workers made 54% less errors when they smelled lemons, 33% fewer mistakes with jasmine, and 20% fewer with lavender.

Free Friday Autumn Smile

Oct 17, 2014

Happy Friday

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.

This is especially true when celebrating a Happy Friday!

Cell Phone Facts

Although Apple iPhone smart phones generally receive the most publicity, they make up just 11.7% of all world-wide smart phones.

Android has 84.7% market share according to Business Insider (August 15, 2014). The rest, to equal 100% are other brands.

The top 5 countries with the most active cell phones are: China, 1.2 billion; India, 904 million; US, 327 million; Brazil, 276 million; and Russia, 256 million.

A scientific study by the Mayo Clinic in 2005 proved cell phones cause no electromagnetic interference with hospital equipment.

Wordology, Idioms

Here are a few idioms that have preserved words that we no longer use by themselves. They are almost exclusively used in context, rather than stand-alone.

Eke is usually used as to 'eke out a living'. It comes from an old verb meaning to add, supplement, or grow. It is also the same word that gave us "eke-name" for additional name, which became "nickname."

Dint comes from the Old English where it originally referred to a blow struck with a sword or other weapon. It is now used as "by dint of something" where 'something' can stand for charisma, hard work, or anything you can use to accomplish something else.

Deserts, as in 'just deserts' comes from an Old French word for 'deserve', and it was used in English from the 13th century to mean that which is deserved. When you get your just deserts, you get your due.

Fro, as in 'to and fro' comes from the old English way of pronouncing from.

Kith, as in 'kith and kin' comes from an Old English word referring to knowledge or acquaintance. The expression "kith and kin" originally meant your country and your family, but later came to have the wider sense of friends and family.

Umbrage, as in 'take umbrage' comes from the French ombrage (shade, shadow), and it was once used to talk about shade from the sun. It took on various figurative meanings having to do with doubt and suspicion or the giving and taking of offense. To give umbrage was to offend someone, to "throw shade".

Shrift, as in 'short shrift' came from the practice of allowing a little time for the condemned to make a confession before being executed. In that context, shorter was never better.

Hangar Hack

If your clothes keep slipping off the end of hangars, wrap a rubber band toward each edge of the hangar and clothes will stay put.