Apr 25, 2014

Happy Friday

There are three kinds of people: those who want to improve the world, those who want to enjoy the world, and those who do both.

I try to do both by sharing smiles and celebrating a Happy Friday!


ANZAC Day is the solemn day of remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli in 1915. It is also a day of remembrance for all soldiers who died while fighting for their country.

On 25 April 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. The troops were there as part of a plan to open the Dardanelles Strait to the Allied fleets and force a Turkish surrender. The Allied forces encountered unexpectedly strong resistance from the Turks, and both sides suffered enormous loss of life. The forces from New Zealand and Australia, fighting as part of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), played an important part in the Gallipoli campaign.

The day is marked with parades, tributes, and playing Reveille and The Last Post (now used in British Ceremonies and funerals).

Origin of Safety Glass

 Safety glass is used widely today and has saved millions of people, especially during vehicular mishaps. French chemist Edouard Benedictus in 1901 discovered the unique properties by accident.

When he accidentally bumped a flask, causing it to fall and crash, he discovered the flask was broken, but not shattered. After researching, he discovered the glass contained cellulose nitrate, which served as an adhesive and held the broken pieces together.

"Indestructo" safety glass was originally manufactured by British Indestructo Glass Ltd of London. This glass was first used as gas masks during WWI and has become a standard in manufacturing windshields since 1939 and many other items today.

Top Ten Pistachio Facts

Pistachio seeds were a common food as early as 6750 BC. Remains of the Atlantic pistachio and pistachio seed along with nut-cracking tools were discovered by archaeologists at the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov site in Israel's Hula Valley, dated to 780,000 years ago. The seed, commonly thought of as a nut, is a culinary nut, not a botanical nut. When they split open while on the tree, there is an audible pop.

The United States is currently the world leader in pistachio (Pistacia vera) production and second is Iran. Exports more than doubled during the past six years from 100 million pounds to almost 270 million pounds. Chine is the largest importer of pistachios.

One ounce of pistachios provides:
- More dietary fiber than 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli
- Six grams of protein – the same amount as 1 ounce of soybeans
- Seven grams of monounsaturated and four grams of polyunsaturated fats, which are considered heart healthy
- Less than 2 grams of saturated fat
- As much potassium as 1/2 of a large banana.

Pistachios contain more potassium than any other nut.

They contain only three to four calories each.

Pistachios help maintain healthy blood glucose control, and tend to minimize a rise in blood glucose levels when added to certain high carbohydrate meals.

Pistachios have four hundred times the amount of vitamin A as almonds.

Pistachio trees, a member of the cashew family, take from five to seven years to produce nuts and are biennial bearers, with a heavy crop one year and a smaller crop the next.
California, Arizona, and New Mexico represent 100 percent of the US commercial pistachio production.

Eating pistachios may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer. Pistachios are an excellent source of phytosterols, plant compounds that have been found to decrease levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), and they are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants (including the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein, which gives the pistachio kernel its distinct green color.

Red pistachios do not exist in nature. Pistachio importers used to dye the nuts red to hide blemishes resulting from traditional harvesting methods.

What's in a Name, Meringue

The name meringue came from a pastry chef named Gasparini in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. In 1720, Gasparini created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar from which the simplified meringue evolved. Its fame spread and Marie Antoinette is said to have prepared the sweet with her own hands at the Trianon in France.

Undiscovery Day

Officially passed October 1986 by Ocean Shores city council. Each year on the last Saturday in April, the citizens of Ocean Shores, Washington, celebrate “Undiscovery Day” to commemorate the night in 1792 when British explorer Capt. George Vancouver sailed past Ocean Shores without discovering it. Vancouver was en route to Nootka Sound, on what is now Vancouver Island, to settle a controversy between Spain and Great Britain, He passed the area where Ocean Shores is now located, near the mouth of Grays Harbor, at about midnight on April 27,1792.

Undiscovery Day will be observed at the entrance to a harbor that was finally discovered by an intrepid Yankee named Robert Gray. About 75 to 100 people are expected to gather at Lumpy’s Tavern from noon to 2 p.m.

At midnight they gather on the shore. Preliminary ingestions are deemed necessary before braving the elements and promptly at the stroke of 12 the intrepid celebrants wend their way down to the shore, giggling and shrieking, “Hey George, over here!” and other appropriate instructions, hoping that Vancouver's ghost will answer and explain his oversight. To date, there has never been a reply.


 I looked it up and found that this week, in 1828, Noah Webster published his "American Dictionary of the English Language." It was the first dictionary of American English to be published.

Arousal Ice Cream

Not a joke. Ice cream maker Charlie Harry Francis of 'Lick Me I’m Delicious' has a new flavor called the Arousal. The flavor combines two key ingredients, Champagne and Viagra. It is dosed with 25mgs of Viagra and is flavored with bubbly champagne. The presentation picture says it all.

Other flavors from Charlie include Chocolate Rhubarb Macaroon, Glow in the Dark Ice Cream, and Salted Whiskey Caramel Cupcake, among others. There is a Facebook page and the official website boasts, "We specialize in making the most delicious incredible frozen treats your mouth will have the pleasure of melting."  Yes, he is serious and he obviously loves his job.

National Pretzel Day

April 26 is unofficially National Pretzel Day. National Pretzel Day was declared in 2003 by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

During the 19th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both the hard crispy and the soft bread types of pretzels.

Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. The commonly held story is that pretzels date back to 610AD. Monks baked thin strips of dough into the shape of a child's arms folded in prayer as a reward for students saying their prayers. The strips of baked dough were called ‘pretiola’ (little rewards).

During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated.

Helen Hoff is the world-champion pretzel twister, at 57 pretzels a minute.

The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million. The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) of pretzels per year.

Pretzels without salt are called baldies.

EEyore's Birthday

Also on April 26 is Eeyore's birthday. If you want to attend the biggest birthday party dedicated to a donkey, you need to go to Austin, Texas for Eeyore's Birthday Party. Each April, Austinites and visitors gather in Pease Park for live music, drum circles, outrageous costumes and an extra dose of Austin weirdness, all to celebrate Winnie the Pooh's companion. LINK

Free Friday Advice

Apr 18, 2014

Happy Friday

If you don't get up before dawn, how can you enjoy the sunrise?

I am always up, bright and early to enjoy a Happy Friday!

Free Smile Friday

No words needed

High Fructose Corn Syrup Myths Debunked

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is basically the same as sugar, both in terms of composition and in the number of calories it contains. HFCS is produced by milling corn (maize) to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change some of the glucose into fructose.

High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives.

High fructose corn syrup and sugar have almost the same level of sweetness.

It has either 42% or 55% fructose, which is comparable to sugar with 50% fructose. Studies found no differences in the metabolic effects of high fructose corn syrup as compared to sugar. Since high fructose corn syrup and sugar are so similar, the human body absorbs them the same way.

There is no scientific evidence that high fructose corn syrup is to blame for obesity and diabetes. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture data shows that consumption of high fructose corn syrup has actually been declining while obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise.

Studies have shown that the body does not recognize a difference between high fructose corn syrup and regular sugar. They both contain the same ingredients, in the same quantities. The only difference is in how they are extracted and combined.

"After studying current research, the American Medical Association concluded that high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners..."

Wordology, Lemniscate

In geometry, the lemniscate of Bernoulli is a plane curve defined from two given points. It is also generally called the infinity symbol.

Lemniscate comes from a Latin word lēmniscātus that means decorated with, or hanging ribbons – an origin that's reflected in the symbol's shape. It is pronounced Lemm nis kit.

Did You Know?

Center-cut bacon has only 25 calories per slice. . . and usually causes human faces to break into a smile.

Knife Tips

I hesitated to add these tips as most seemed obvious, but after talking to a few friends, decided they are worth mentioning. These tips are for cutting knives, not table knives. Most people have their favorite few knives used for almost all cutting tasks. Two things cause the most damage to knives, moisture and improper use.

  • Keep it dry. After using your knife, rinse and dry to keep rust from beginning to form (yes, even on stainless).
  • Don't put good knives in the dishwasher, wash and dry by hand.
  • Do not let knives air dry.
  • Store in a way that the blades of knifes do not touch anything which could dull them.
  • Use food knives for food only. Keep other knives for other purposes.
  • Sharpen twice a year. Use a wet sharpening stone or a honing steel (instrument for repairing cutting edge.)
  • Use wood cutting board to reduce blade dulling. (Keep peroxide handy in a spray bottle and spray the board after rinsing, to prevent germs.)

What's in a Name, Richter Scale

The Richter Magnitude Scale, often shortened to Richter scale, was developed to assign a single number to quantify the energy that is released during an earthquake. It was developed in 1935 by Charles Francis Richter in partnership with Beno Gutenberg, both from the California Institute of Technology. The scale was intended to be used only in a particular study area in California.

The scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale. The magnitude is defined as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of waves measured by a seismograph to an arbitrary small amplitude. An earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0.

Since the 1970s, the use of the Richter scale has mostly been replaced by the Moment Magnitude Scale (MMS) in many countries. However, the Richter scale is still widely used in Russia and other European countries. The MMS was developed in the 1970s to succeed Richter magnitude scale. Even though the formulae are different, the new scale retains the continuum of magnitude values defined by the older one.

The MMS is now the scale used to estimate magnitudes for all modern large earthquakes by the US Geological Survey. Earthquake measurements under the Moment Magnitude Scale in the United States are still usually erroneously referred to as being quoted on the Richter scale by the general public and the media, due to their familiarity with the old Richter scale name vs. the newer MMS.

Great San Francisco Earthquake

On this day, April 18 in 1906 at 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale struck San Francisco, California, killing hundreds of people as it toppled numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves could be felt from southern Oregon down to Los Angeles.

By April 23, most fires were extinguished, and authorities commenced the task of rebuilding the devastated city. It was estimated that 3,000 people died as a result. Almost 30,000 buildings were destroyed, including most of the city's homes and nearly all the central business district.

Boston Marathon History and Facts

Next Monday, April 21, 2014 the Boston Marathon will be held. In the 2013 marathon, over 23,000 runners participated. Lelisa Desisa won the men's division with a time of 2:10:22. Rita Jeptoo won the women's division with a time of 2:26:25. More than $800,000 of prize money was awarded.

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10. (During the past 117 years, winners have shaved 45 minutes off his original time.)

The Boston Marathon was created by Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens the year before, 1896. A measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf's Mill in Ashland was eventually selected. Fifteen runners started the race but only ten finished.

The marathon's distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.

The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot's Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until 1972, but Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb couldn't wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as "K. V. Switzer", was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.

In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

Easter Bunny

Today’s Easter Bunny grew out of religious practices in pre-Christian Germany. Eostra, a goddess of fertility and spring, was associated with the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproductive rate. The legend was subsequently merged with the Christian celebration of Christ’s rebirth.

Easter Coincidence

Easter Sunday, April 20. Observed in all Western Christian churches, Easter commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox (fixed at March 21) and is therefore celebrated between March 22 and April 25 inclusive. This date was fixed by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

Orthodox Easter (Pascha), Sun., April 20. The Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter, rather than the more contemporary Gregorian calendar. For this reason, Orthodox Easter generally falls on a different date than the Western Christian Easter, except this year the days coincide.

Apr 11, 2014

Happy Friday

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the smiling soil.

I always unlock my smile to paint a Happy Friday!

Seven Spring Facts

The vernal (spring) equinox (‘equal night’) is the day when the center of the Sun is visible for exactly 12 hours. That is not the same as the ‘equilux’ (equal light) when there are 12 hours of daylight from the Sun’s first appearance and its going down. Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere begin the first day of autumn at the same time and there is a movement to call this event the March Equinox or Northward Equinox to avoid a North Hemisphere bias.

Astronomically, spring officially begins on the spring equinox.

The spring and autumn equinoxes are the only days when the Sun rises directly due east and sets due west in the northern hemisphere.

The reason there is more daylight during the spring is the earth’s axis tilts toward the sun at this time of year.

We have used the word ‘spring’ for the season since the 16th century. Before that spring was used for centuries to apply to the source of a river and the spring season was known as Lent or Lenten.

The Slatina spring in Slovenia is alleged to have been discovered by the mythological winged horse Pegasus.

The earliest known use of the term ‘spring-cleaning’ was in 1857

Charlie Chaplin, Composer

Last week was listening to one of my favorite singers, Judith Durham, singing This is My Song, and found the composer was Charlie Chaplin, the movie comedian. He composed many tunes for his movies, including Smile, covered by Nat King Cole. The lyrics of both are especially tender. He was the only known person who wrote, directed, acted, and scored a motion picture.

Earth Day Predictions

April 22, 2014 we celebrate Earth Day again. I thought it might be interesting to review some of the predictions from past Earth Days.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, here are some profound predictions that were made. “We have about five more years at the outside to do something.” Kenneth Watt, ecologist

"Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine." North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” George Wald, Harvard Biologist

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

By 1995 "... somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct." Sen. Gaylord Nelson

"By 1975 some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s." Paul Ehrlich


Earth Day 2013 - NOAA State of the Climate Report - "All of those things indicate that the climate system as a whole is continuing to warm up – and warm up faster as we go along.” Climatologist

“It’s hard to read the report and not be led to the conclusion that the task of reducing carbon emissions is now more urgent than ever.” another Climatologist

"Sea level rising an average of 3.2mm per year" (0.125984 inches).

"The climate system is not quite so simple as people thought." Danish environmental analyst Bjorn Lomborg

At least these folks are consistent with their predictions, in spite of a few facts, such as the earth is not over-populated, with very few countries producing enough children to replace themselves. In addition, we are not running out of resources. History has proven that Punxsutawney Phil has been more accurate in his predictions than the "human expert climate predictors."

Google Compare

Here is another great feature of Google that might help improve your health and decrease your waistline. Google has a nutrition comparison feature that allows you to compare two types of food for nutritional values.

If you want to compare the calories, nutrients, and other values of apples and oranges, type in "compare apples oranges" without the quotes. You will see photos and a chart revealing calories, sodium, vitamins, minerals, etc. It also lists other normal results, like web sites, etc. I also tried "compare banana potato" and found there is only twelve calories difference between them. Very interesting and useful tool.

Top Ten Fruit Savers

Keep broccoli, and celery, and lettuce their crispest by wrapping them in tin foil before storing them in the refrigerator. Celery will stay crisp for four weeks or more, lettuce heads up to six weeks, and broccoli up to seven weeks.

To store carrots, cut off the greens and place them in a plastic bag before sticking them in your crisper drawer. Carrots will keep for up to two weeks. BTW - Carrots do not improve your eyesight and will not help you see better at night.

Cherries should be refrigerated in a plastic bag, but not washed until ready to eat, because moisture hastens mold where stems meets the fruit.

In warm weather, avocados will ripen fast, but don’t store avocados in the refrigerator unless they are cut, otherwise the cold will turn them black inside. To keep them at their most palatable state, spritz a bit of lemon or lime juice, or another acidic agent, and place in an air-tight container or tightly covered clear plastic wrap.

Apples  are a year-round delight, but some the most flavorful kinds (e.g. Gala, Ginger Gold, Pink Lady) make their appearance during the summer. During the warmer months, apples should be stored in the fridge, while in the fall; they can be stored on the counter. When storing apples in the fridge, drape a damp paper towel over the container of apples instead of a top. Do not put them in a drawer or air-tight container. Both the cold temperature and the moisture will help them stay their freshest for up to several weeks.

What's a summer BBQ without some grilled corn? When storing corn, keep the husks on, but cut away the shank (this part of the grain is a magnet for worms). Put your corn in a plastic bag and place it in your refrigerator's crisper. The corn will remain at its freshest for two days. While the corn will start to dry out after day two, but will still remain edible.

Melons will keeps for about 10 days in the cold temperature, but are most flavorful at room temperature. Take your melon out of the fridge and allow it to warm for about 30 minutes before serving.

Peaches and nectarines should be bought firm, but stored at room temperature once you have them home. Do not put them in the fridge before they are ripe, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is mealy and flavorless. They should keep for a few days before they begin to lose their flavor.

What's in a Name, Paisley

The distinctive paisley pattern is originally from India or Persia, and has been in use in the Middle East and Asia since around 200 AD. When its European popularity boomed and imports could not keep up with the demand, various cities produced their own, including the town of Paisley in Scotland.

Twelve Patent Facts

On March 19, 1474, Venice passed the world’s earliest known law to grant and protect patents.
Around 50,000 patent applications were made from UK inventors in 2013. That is about one new British invention every 10 minutes.
The Japanese submit more than 470,000 a year.
US patents during 2013 464,573.
The second patent in England was for a monopoly on representing an image of the King.
The musical fly swatter was patented in the US in 1994. It played one tune when turned on and another when it hit something.
IBM has gained more patents than any other company in the US for the past 21 years.
US patent number 5528943, issued in 1996, was for a pregnant female crash test dummy.
Thomas Edison accumulated 2,332 patents worldwide for his inventions.
In 1998, the European patent office reported that the patent visitors most often wanted to see was one for sardine-flavored ice-cream. This was because nobody believed it until they saw it.
Abraham Lincoln was the only US president to hold a patent. It was for a device to lift boats over sandbanks.
There are 52,438 US patents for measuring and testing.

Eight Eyebrow Facts

Eyebrows are tufts of hair that follow the shape of the ridge of the brow in mammals. They are very small and personal, but (mostly women) annually spend billions to pluck, tweeze, paint, scarify, shape, tattoo, pierce, puff, and generally do many unnatural things to this unique part of the human body. They are profoundly expressive of mood.

  • The function of our brows is to keep moisture out of our eyes when it is raining or when we sweat. That arched shape helps divert liquid to the side of our faces.
  • According to the Bosley hair transplant company, the average person has about 250 hairs per eyebrow.
  • The average lifespan of an eyebrow is four months.
  • A study done by MIT found that people had more trouble correctly identifying the faces of people they knew when they were presented with images of them missing their eyebrows and concluded that brows may be more important for facial recognition than eyes.
  • Brows help us signal emotions, as the pitch of your voice rises, so do your eyebrows and vice versa.
  • When you make an expression without thinking, eyebrows move in a way that is symmetrical to each other. Conversely, when you make what’s called an ‘intended’ expression, like suspicion and curiosity, your brows will furrow asymmetrically.
  • Man is the only species that has eyebrows against bare skin.
  • Every culture and time period has had a different way of shaping their brows: In Florence during the Renaissance, people shaved their eyebrows off completely, while the colonial elite in 18th-century America preferred to beef their brows up using grey mouse skin. 

Free Friday Advice

Apr 4, 2014

Happy Friday

"There must be a day or two in a man’s life when he is the precise age for something important."

I find that important day each week when I celebrate a Happy Friday.

Perky Coffee

To perk up your morning cup of Joe, toss a dash of salt into the uncooked grounds to reduce bitterness. We are all aware of the health benefits of cinnamon; toss some cinnamon into the uncooked grounds to add a subtle flavor that is also good for you.

Eight More Egg Facts

We all know dinosaurs laid eggs. Ostriches and turkeys also lay eggs, but the ones we eat most often are chicken eggs.
Eggs take about 24 to 26 hours to form inside a hen.
An average hen can lay 250 to 270 eggs per year.
In China, approximately 390 billion eggs are produced a year, while the US produces about 75 billion eggs a year.
An egg shell is made of calcium carbonate and makes up 9-12 percent of an egg's total weight. It contains pores that allow oxygen in and carbon dioxide and moisture out.
The blood sometimes seen in an egg comes from the rupture of small blood vessels in the yolk. It does not indicate the egg is unsafe to eat.
An average person on Earth consumes 173 eggs a year (less than one chicken lays).
The world record for eating hard-boiled eggs is 65 in 6min 40sec, by Sonya Thomas in 2003. She would have eaten more but they ran out of eggs.
Here is the big answer to the big question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. The egg came first, because dinosaurs laid eggs before chickens evolved.

Virus vs. Bacteria

Viruses and bacteria are very different and they can both be either beneficial or harmful. A virus is both living and non-living, and is incapable of reproducing on its own, while bacteria are complete, living organisms that can self-replicate. Bacteria are usually much larger, come in a wider variety of shapes, and serve in more beneficial roles than a virus.

Infections and illnesses can be viral or bacterial. We often hear the terms, and we might even have a vague idea of what they mean, but a complete understanding of the difference between the two can help you treat the illnesses they cause.

Viruses are tiny, microscopic things that exist in two different states. When they are floating in the air or lying on a table waiting for someone to come by and inhale them, they are non-living and inert. Once they are absorbed into a living host, they activate. A virus cannot replicate on its own, and requires a host cell to attach itself to in order to multiply. Some microbiologists classify viruses as microorganisms, while others don't because they are "nonliving" and describe viruses as microscopic infective agents.

After contacting a host cell, a virus will insert genetic material into the host and take over that host's functions. The infected cell continues to reproduce, but it reproduces more viral protein and genetic material instead of its usual products. It is this process that earns viruses the classification of "parasite".

However, a virus can also be useful, because a virus will naturally attach itself to a healthy living cell, a virus can be used as a delivery system when genetic material needs to be transferred to a human body. Injecting a virus with genetic material then releasing it into the body can result in the delivery and replication of cells. This type of gene therapy is still experimental, but showing progress. Some types of viruses can also target and destroy some types of bacteria, like E. coli.

Bacteria are tiny, living organisms that are not classified as either plant or animal. As such, they don’t rely on hosts in order to reproduce, and can exist, grow, and multiply outside of a living body. Few know that many bacteria not only coexist with us all the time, but help us do an array of useful things, like make vitamins, break down garbage, and maintain our atmosphere.

Bacteria consist of a single cell and have been found living in temperatures above the boiling point and in freezing cold. They consume everything from sugar and starch to sunlight, sulfur, and iron. There is a species of bacteria that can withstand blasts of radiation 1,000 times greater than would kill a human being. A gram of soil typically contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A milliliter of fresh water usually holds about one million bacterial cells.

A single bacterium contains more than a virus and can reproduce on its own. That means a cell wall, genetic material, and an appendage to propel itself. It’s different from plant and animal cells, however, as there’s no nucleus to contain the genetic material.

When magnified, a virus appears round. Bacteria can be a number of different shapes, including the ball-shaped, rod-shaped, and spiral. Within each general group of shape types, there is a wide variety that separates bacteria even further.

Because of their simplicity, a virus can be 10,000 times smaller than a bacterium. Examples of both can be found just about anywhere on Earth, in any environment.

Determining whether an illness is caused by bacteria or a virus determines how it is treated. Bacteria are vulnerable to antibiotics, while anti-viral agents are required to kill a virus, and vaccinations can help prevent them from infecting a body.

Bone Fusion

Babies are born with 300 or more bones and adults have 206, because the bones have fused together. The bones that fuse (in general order of fusion) are those of the: Skull, Elbow, Hip, Ankle, Knee, Wrist, and Shoulder. Some of a baby's bones are made entirely of cartilage. Other bones in a baby are partly made of cartilage. This cartilage is soft and flexible. During childhood growing, the cartilage grows and is slowly replaced by bone, with help from calcium. It may take until between ages of 18 to 25 for all bones to completely fuse.

What's in a Name, Digitalis

The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. The scientific name means "finger-like" and refers to the ease with which a flower of digitalis purpurea can be fitted over a human fingertip. The term digitalis is also used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides, particularly one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus. Digoxin was approved for heart failure in 1998. Also, a group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called Digitalin.

Once the usefulness of digitalis in regulating the human pulse was understood, it was employed for a variety of purposes, including the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, but is now considered to be inappropriate treatment. The most common prescription form of this medication is called digoxin. Digitoxin is another form of digitalis.

Robot Reporting

I love all things tech and I love writing. This program (or app or algorithm) stokes both of my passions. Robots are now writing mainstream media articles. Three minutes after one of the earthquakes hit Southern California a few weeks ago, an article was ready for publication, before reporters were awake or aware of the happenings.

The author was quakebot, a program created two years ago, that reacts to input from devices that report seismic activity. It is called a 'bot', because it reacts to outside stimulus without human intervention. The algorithm adds text to fill in between the 'facts' to create a readable story, suitable for publishing. In this case, it extracted the relevant data from the US Geological Service report, plugged it into a pre-written template, and sent it for publication in the LA Times.

Here is the actual article created: "A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the US Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles. According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby. This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author."

There are many other examples of 'bot' reporters and one company even  has some that scan entire books and publish indexes of words, by topic, and sells the results, in the form of books, on Amazon. Wow, honest reporting without humans twisting the story to fit the politics. There is hope.

Great American Bacon 5k

 If you are looking for something to do on April 5, why not go down to the Great American Bacon 5k in Miami. Sounds like a fun time.

Actor's Net Worth

We all have heard that actors make a bunch of money, but here are a few that are outrageously wealthy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (from Seinfeld fame) is worth 2.9 billion dollars, most of it from the family business started by her grandfather. The Louis Dreyfus Group is one of the world’s largest commodities trading and merchandising firms.

Jerry Seinfeld made his money the hard way and is worth over 800 million dollars. He is followed by Tom Hanks ($350 million), Johnny Depp ($350 million), Tyler Perry ($350 million), Harrison Ford ($200 million), Leonardo DiCaprio ($200 million), Will Smith ($188 million), John Travolta ($160 million), Brad Pitt ($150 million), Julia Roberts ($140 million), Robin Williams ($130 million), Ben Stiller ($120 million), Denzel Washington ($120 million), and Redneck Jeff Foxworthy ($100 million).

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