May 29, 2015

Happy Friday

Don't hold on to life. Grab the reins and ride it like crazy.

I always have a great ride, especially on a Happy Friday!

Pinch Bum Day, Oak Apple Day, Shick Shack Day

Monarchists would wear oak leaves on May 29 for Oak Apple Day, also known as Pinch-Bum Day. It is called 'Oak Apple Day' in memory of the time when the king hid in an oak tree following the Battle of Worcester.

"Parliament had ordered the 29 of May, the King’s birthday, to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he entering London that day." The official holiday was abolished in 1859, but continues to be fondly celebrated in many parts of the commonwealth.

In parts of England where oak-apples are known as shick-shacks, the day is also known as Shick-Shack Day.

It is traditional for monarchists to decorate the house with oak branches or wear a sprig of oak on 29th May. The oak is the national tree of England. It is also traditional to drink beer, dance, and eat plum pudding. (An oak apple is also known as an oak gall. It is caused by the larvae of a cynipid wasp. The gall look like an apple.)

Those who do not participate can have their bum pinched. Since few recognize or celebrate this holiday, have some fun by finding your favorite person and pinch their bum today - men and women can participate.

Incidentally, Everest, the world's tallest mountain was conquered at 11:30 a.m. on 29 May 1953. Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,028 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth.

Obscura Day

May 30 is Obscura Day and the day to celebrate the hidden wonders of the world. There are more than 150 events in 39 states and 25 countries, all on a single day, and all designed to celebrate the world's most curious and awe-inspiring places. Be careful, you could get lost for hours at the Atlas Obscura site. LINK

Types of Potato Chips

The United Kingdom and Ireland, crisps are potato chips which are eaten cold, while chips are similar to french fries and are served hot. Americans, Canadians, Australians, Indians, New Zealanders, many Europeans, and those in the West Indies use chips. Many other countries also call them chips. People in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland call them Kartoffelchips. The Japanese call them chippu.

In Ireland, the word Tayto is synonymous with potato chips after the Tayto brand and can be used to describe all varieties of chips, including those not produced by Tayto. In fact, the word has become a genericized trademark.

Seasonings have come into vogue around the world and now potato chips have such flavorings as dill pickle, ketchup, barbecue, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, and ranch dressing. There are wasabi chips, poutine, maple bacon, Jamaican jerk chicken, cheddar and lemon-lime, Greek feta and olive, Ballpark hot dog, and barbeque baby back ribs, among others.

In Germany they have red paprika and ready salted along with sour cream and onion, cheese, oriental, chakalaka, currywurst, red and white with tomato ketchup and mayonnaise. The Japanese have pizza-flavored chips along with nori and shiyo, consommé, wasabi, soy sauce and butter, garlic, plum, barbecue, pizza, mayonnaise, and black pepper. Chili, scallop with butter, teriyaki, takoyaki and yakitorie.

There are prawn cocktail, Worcester sauce, roast chicken, steak and onion, smoky bacon, lamb and mint, ham and mustard, barbecue rib, tomato ketchup, sausage and ketchup, pickled onion, Branston pickle, and Marmite.

You can also find Thai sweet chili, roast pork and creamy mustard sauce, lime and Thai spices, chicken with Italian herbs, sea salt and cracked black pepper, turkey and bacon, caramelized onion and sweet balsamic vinegar, stilton and cranberry, mango chili, and American Cheeseburger, English roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

If you like them hot, you can find Mexican limes with chili, salsa with mesquite, Buffalo mozzarella tomato and basil, mature cheddar with Adnams broadside beer, Soulmate cheeses and onion, crawtator, Cajun dill, voodoo, and Creole onion.

Affronts and Aspersions

An affront is an insult, indignity, or something offensive. As a verb, it means to insult or offend. Affront comes from comes from French affronter "to face, to brave, to confront". It can be used in a sentence as, "These laws are an affront to our free speech."

Aspersion comes from aspergere "to sprinkle on, spatter" based on ad- "(up) to, on" and sparger "to strew, scatter." An aspersion means a spattering or sprinkling, especially of holy water. It also means that which bespatters or besmirches someone's character, slander, defamation of character. People usually use the term 'cast aspersions', as in spatter someone with metaphorical mud.

Incidentally, Asperger's syndrome is named for Hans Asperger and totally unrelated to the word or word root above.

Carbon Dioxide Facts

Carbon Dioxide gets a bad rap from the press, but it is natural and essential to life. CO2 is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas and it is not a pollutant. Trying to control CO2 by regulation is trying to regulate and control nature. Without CO2, plants die off and without plant life the earth's biological food chain would be terminally broken.

Plants require carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis. Greenhouses enrich their atmospheres with additional CO2 to sustain and increase plant growth. Plants can grow as much as 50 percent faster in concentrations of 1,000 ppm CO2 when compared with ambient conditions. If carbon dioxide is increasing so much around the globe, it would be logical that plants and trees would be growing faster than they previously did, but they are not.

CO2 is reduced by photosynthesis of plants. A photosynthesis-related drop (by a factor less than two) in carbon dioxide concentration in a greenhouse compartment would kill green plants, or completely stop their growth. Increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations result in fewer stomata developing on plants, which leads to reduced water usage and increased water-use efficiency.

Deforestation for agriculture is just replacing one type of vegetation with another. Both trees and plants reduce CO2.

Photosynthesis by phytoplankton consumes dissolved CO2 in the upper ocean and promotes the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. Photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars from which other organic compounds can be constructed, and oxygen is produced as a by-product. Sea urchins convert carbon dioxide into raw material for their shells.

Carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), bicarbonate (HCO3) and carbonate (CO32). There is about fifty times as much carbon dissolved in the sea water of the oceans as exists in the atmosphere. The oceans act as an enormous carbon sink, and take up about 30% of the total released into the atmosphere.

In medicine, up to 5% carbon dioxide (130 times atmospheric concentration) is added to oxygen for stimulation of breathing after apnea and to stabilize the O2/CO2 balance in blood.

Liquid and solid carbon dioxide are important refrigerants, especially in the food industry, where they are employed during the transportation and storage of frozen foods. Solid carbon dioxide, dry ice is used for small shipments where refrigeration equipment is not practical.

Carbon dioxide is used in enhanced oil recovery where it is injected into or adjacent to producing oil wells, when it becomes miscible (mixed) with the oil. It acts as both a pressurizing agent and, when dissolved into the underground crude oil, significantly reduces its viscosity, and changes surface chemistry enabling the oil to flow faster.

Carbon dioxide is used to keep the pH level from rising in swimming pools.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide fluctuate slightly with the change of the seasons. Concentrations of carbon dioxide fall during the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer as plants consume it, and rise during the northern autumn and winter as plants go dormant or die.

Up to 40% of the gas emitted by some volcanoes during eruptions is carbon dioxide.

Various proxies and modeling suggests larger variations in past times. 500 million years ago CO2 levels were likely 10 times higher than now.

Take a deep breath, exhale and out comes carbon dioxide. All the carbon in our body comes either directly or indirectly from plants, which recently took it out of the air. When we breathe out, all the carbon dioxide we exhale has already been accounted for. We are simply returning to the air the same carbon that was there to begin with, so humans are carbon neutral.

Incidentally, during 2009, energy-related CO2 emissions in the US had their largest absolute and percentage decline, seven percent (which followed a three percent drop in 2008), since the start of US Energy Information Administration comprehensive record of annual energy data that began in 1949.

Tylenol vs. Advil vs. Aleve

Here is a handy chart which shows the best uses for these common pain killers. I think Aspirin is a bit under reported in the chart.

Origins of Apple Words

Steve Jobs came back from working on a commune-type All-One Farm in Oregon and announced to his partners that he had a name for their company, Apple Computer.

Jef Raskin, an Apple employee who first started the project, picked "Macintosh" because the McIntosh was his favorite apple. The spelling was changed to avoid copyright infringement. Steve Jobs said the product was "insanely great".

The slogan, Think Different, was dreamed up by an art director, Craig Tanimoto.

TBWA ad agency came up with the 'i' prefix to infer internet. It also connoted individual, imaginative, and more.

App Store was pure Jobs and meant both applications and a contraction of Apple.

Free Friday Smile

May 25, 2015

Happy Friday

Life has no meaning, only living has meaning.

Living is doing something, like celebrating a Happy Friday!

National Tap Dance Day

 In 1989, a joint U.S. Senate/House resolution declared "National Tap Dance Day" to be May 25, the anniversary of Bill Robinson's (Mr. Bojangles) birth.

Names and Initials

You may have wondered about some famous person's initials.

  • E. E. Cummings - The famous poet's initials stood for Edward Estlin Cummings
  • E.B. White - Writer and author of English Language Sytle Guide, Elwyn Brooks White
  • H.P. Lovecraft - Horror author, Howard Phillips Lovecraft
  • H.G. Wells - "war of the worlds", "time machine", etc., Herbert George Wells
  • J.K. Rowling - The "K" in J.K. Rowling is not her name. Joanne Rowling does not have a middle name, but her publishers wanted to add another initial to her name for her book. She settled on Kathleen, the name of her favorite grandmother.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien - "Hobbit", lord of rings series, etc., John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Moon and Earth Names

Translations of the Bible into English was one of the earliest recorded uses of the name Earth – "God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good."

It is called ‘terra’ in Portuguese, ‘dünya’ in Turkish and ‘aarde’ in Dutch. The common thread in all languages is that they were all derived from the same meaning in their origins, which is ‘ground’ or ‘soil’.

The modern English word and name for our planet Earth goes back at least 1,000 years. Just as the English language evolved from ‘Anglo-Saxon’ (English-German) with the migration of certain Germanic tribes from the continent to Britain in the fifth century AD, the word ‘Earth’ came from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘erda’ and its Germanic equivalent ‘erde’ which means ground or soil. In Old English, the word became ‘eor(th)e’ or 'ertha '.

The Moon did have other names, including the name of an ancient deity, Luna, the Roman Goddess of the Moon. The word Luna is still associated with the Moon. For instance, Luna is the root of words like lunar.

When humanity first learned of other moons orbiting the planets in our solar system, one of the primary reasons they were given names was to differentiate them from the Moon, which is still the official name of our moon in English. The word “moon” can be traced back to Old English, where it is said to have derived from the Proto-Germanic word “menon”, which in turn derived from the Proto-Indo-European “menses”, meaning “month, moon”.

With few exceptions, the Moon has long been associated with women, fertility, and a whole host of other female attributes. In most cases, menstrual cycles more or less coincide with the phases of the Moon. It should then come as no surprise that across many languages, the words for “moon”, “month”, and the name for a woman’s menstrual cycle often has the same root word.

Potatoes Business

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and corn/maize. The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 BC. They first came to the US in 1621.

Did you know there is a National Potato Council, Potato Association of America, World Potato Congress, US Potato Board, US Potato Promotion Board, among others. In addition, Michigan has Mich. Potato Industry Commission, Mich. Seed Potato Assoc., and Potato Growers of Mich. There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes in the US. There are many more types of potato chips from around the world. Next week I will list a few of them.

Michigan supplies over a third of all potato chips in the US. Its annual Winter Potato Conference is one of the biggest in the country. It is overshadowed by the  Potato Expo, the largest conference and trade show for the potato industry held in North America.

Potatoes contain many of the essential nutrients that the dietary guidelines recommend Americans increase in their diet. Potatoes eaten with the skin provide nearly half of the Daily Value for vitamin C and are one of the best sources of potassium (more than a banana), iodine, iron, other trace minerals, and fiber. One medium-sized potato has 100 calories and provides complex carbohydrates needed to fuel our brains. Potatoes contain no fat.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London noted that a small "bag of ready-salted crisps" contains less salt than a serving of "Special K, All-Bran, Golden Grahams, Cheerios, Shreddies, and every brand of cornflakes on sale in the UK."

20/20 Vision

The 20/20 scale is different in different parts of the world. After examining a large number of people, American ophthalmologists decided on the 20/20 scale, saying that “20/20” is the normal visual acuity of the average person. That means standing 20 feet away from something, you can see what the average person can see standing 20 feet away from the same thing. In metric countries doctors measure how well a person can see at 6 meters away (19.69 feet).

The Snellen eye chart is the chart topped with the big E and consists of 11 rows of capital letters that get progressively smaller toward the bottom of the chart. A person is placed 20 feet away from the chart. Since most doctors’ offices are too small, mirrors are often used to simulate 20 feet. The doctor asks the person to read out the smallest line of letters that can be seen at that distance. Most people can read the fourth line up from the bottom without trouble, so if a person can do this, the vision is considered 20/20.

Using the Snellen chart, if a person can only see the big E up top and none of the other lines of text, he is considered to have 20/200 vision., meaning he sees at 20 feet what an average person can see at 200 feet away. 20/200 visual acuity and worse is considered legally blind in the United States, unless it can be corrected to better with glasses or contacts.

If a person can read the tiny bottom line of text on the chart at 20 feet away, it is considered 20/5 visual acuity. Most humans do not have the ability to have much better than 20/10 vision.

The 20/20 or 6/6 visual acuity is not a measure of a prescription as it does not take into account the nature of the problem, only the result of it.

Wordology, Base Jump

BASE is an acronym for Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth. Base jumps and other non-harnessed jumps are illegal in all US national parks.

Eight Useful Google Tips

Are you trying to remember the name of a song you heard? Try typing, winner takes it* abba and Google will try to complete your search.

You can search by file type by typing filetype:ppt or filetype:excel or any other file type.

Putting two periods, .. between two numbers will search within that range, such as news 2013..2015

If you are looking for a definition type, define: followed by the word you want defined.

Here is a very useful thing google can do for you. Set a timer by typing, set timer for and then the amount of time, as in, set timer for 10 minutes.

In a restaurant and need to figure out tip, type in, tip calculator and Google will present an onscreen calculator for you. You set amount, tip percent and it does the work for you.

If you want listen to some music, type in, music by Cher or any other artist and add youtube at the end.

You can do the same for books, type in, books by and the author name, (of course I had to test this by typing in my own name).

Discreet vs. Discrete

This pair of homophones (words that sound alike, but are different in meaning, spelling, or both) can be confusing. Discreet implies the showing of reserve in behavior or speech. Discrete means distinct, separate, unrelated.

Both words derive from the same Latin word discretus meaning “separated.” Until the 1700s, these words were each spelled many different ways including discrete, discreet, dyscrete, discreete, etc.

Eventually discrete and discreet came to be differentiated in spelling as well as in meaning. Discreet has yielded the noun discretion, but discrete's noun form is discreteness. For most of English history, discreet was more frequently used, but today discrete is much more frequently used than discreet; it has seen a dramatic rise since the 1940s.

If the e’s are separated by the “t”,  use “discrete” (meaning “separate”).

May 15, 2015

Happy Friday

How can you lose at the game of life when you have joy, friendship, happiness, and love on your team.

My team always plays to win and have a Happy Friday!

All the Same

Every day this week is the same forward and backward - 5/10/15, 5/11/15, 5/12/15, 5/13/15, 5/14/15, 5/15/15/, and 5/16/15.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy, pronounced 'mi-tonn-ə-mee' is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept, rather than by its own name. The words "metonymy" and "metonym" come from the Greek: metōnymía, 'a change of name'.

Metonymy and related figures of speech are common in everyday talk and writing. Synecdoche is a specific type of metonymy. Synecdoche refers to a thing by the name of one of its parts. For example, calling a car “a wheel” is a synecdoche. A part of a car, the wheel stands for the whole car.

One of the main purposes of using a metonymy is to add flavor to the writing. The name of a sports team can be used in place of its individual members.

Other examples: "Wall Street" is often used metonymously to describe the US financial and corporate sector, and "Hollywood" used as a metonym for the US film industry. The national capital is often used to represent the government or monarchy of a country, such as "Washington" for United States government or "Downing Street" for the Government of the United Kingdom.

Other metonymys - Crown. (For the power of a king.)
The White House. (the American administration.)
Dish. (To refer an entire plate of food.)
And finally, the old adage, 'the pen is mightier than the sword'
Pen. (For the written word.) Sword - (For military force.)

6 common Acronyms

CVS (Pharmacy) is now just called CVS, but when it first opened, the letters stood for Consumer Value Store.

The ZIP in ZIP Code stands for Zone Improvement Plan.

GEICO used to stand for "Government Employees Insurance Company."

The fashion retailer H&M is for Hennes & Mauritz.

The Smart Car was a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes Benz and originally called the Swatch and Mercedes Art Car.

Today TCBY stands for The Country's Best Yogurt, but used to be called This Can't Be Yogurt.

Power of Smiles

Research from Echnische Universität in Munich Germany shows a 2009 study. Scientists there used fMRI (functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain before and after injecting Botox to suppress smiling muscles. The findings showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile.

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a pleasure inducer, cannot match. In a study conducted in the UK (using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor to create “mood-boosting values” for various stimuli), British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; they also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds in cash.

And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.

Humans intrinsically know that smiling is powerful. This simple act goes a long way toward improving your mood and the mood of those around you, reducing stress, and spreading happiness in a way that is contagious.

Smile whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress.

A smile is the least expensive, most thoughtful, and personal gift you can give.

Only the emotionally destitute are too poor to share a smile.

Black, Green, White, OOlong Teas

Both black and green tea is harvested from an evergreen, tree-like shrub known as camellia sinensis. Most likely originating in China, the camellia sinensis is thought to have first been used to brew a medicinal drink during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC). By the third century BC, it had become a relatively popular drink using only the leaves from this plant, rather than mixed with other things as was common when used medicinally.

Leaves that are going to be used for black tea are allowed to ferment, or oxidize, completely. The general process is to roll, tear, or crush the leaves to help the oxidation process (similar to why the inside of an apple turns brown when exposed to air). The leaves are then dried out, sometimes in the sun or using machines. As the leaves oxidize, they gradually turn from green to black.

Manufacturers create green tea by picking the leaves off the plant and then heating them immediately. This is commonly done by pan firing the leaves or steaming them. Heat stops the leaves from oxidizing and allows them to maintain their green color.

Oolong tea is initially generally processed in the same way as black tea, but is not allowed to oxidize for as long. Once the desired oxidation level has been reached, which varies by type and manufacturer (some oolong tea is closer to green tea, while others are closer to black), the leaves are fired similar to green tea to stop the oxidation process at that point.

White tea is made by picking the leaves and buds early in the year while the bud is still closed. The leaves may be placed out to dry in the sun or mechanically, and minimizing oxidation.

Highest tea consumption per person per year, as of 2014:
1 Turkey 6.87 kg (242 oz)
2 Morocco 4.34 kg (153 oz)
3 Ireland 3.22 kg (114 oz)
4 Mauritania (Africa) 3.22 kg (114 oz)
5 United Kingdom 2.74 kg (97 oz).

A cup of tea is generally six ounces.

Cell Phone History

First cell phone 1973 large commercial mobile phone, first flip type mobile phone, 1G system, Nordic Mobile Telephone was introduced in 1981, first 2g second generation cell phone 1991, digital vs. analog first phone to phone text 1993, 1994 Simon smartphone could fax had stylus, touchscreen color screen (never became a success).

In 1999, the Japanese firm NTT Docomo released the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country, 2001 first 3g phone,
2007 first touch screen smartphone, 2009 first 4g phones. 5G phone development has yet to begin, but should arrive by 2020.

2g, 3g, etc., is for generation, and LTE is for Long Term Evolution (a specific type of 4g).

Other Words for Underwear

Knickers is actually a standard word for underwear, mainly in Britain. "Knickers" derives from "knickerbockers," or "loose-fitting short pants gathered at the knee." Because the city's early Dutch settlers wore those pants, "New Yorkers" became known as "Knickerbockers." The Knickerbockers, more commonly "The Knicks" is the name of New York's NBA team.

In the 1500s, a corselet was something a soldier might wear, a piece of armor for the torso. The word comes from the French word for body. Several centuries later, the same word emerged and shortened to corset, to describe a combination of girdle and brassiere.

Drawers does not refer to where you store them, as in a chest of drawers. The word drawers has been used since the 16th century to refer to garments such as stockings, underpants, and pants. It comes from the verb draw used in the sense of pull, likely because you pull them up your legs.

The union suit gets its name by uniting the upper and lower pieces of underwear in one garment. Two-piece long johns are more common these days, and do not require a seat flap. Long johns are reputedly named after the late-19th-century heavyweight boxer John L. Sullivan, who wore a similar-looking garment in the ring. This explanation is uncertain and the true origin is unknown.

Singlet usually describes a sleeveless undershirt. It also refers to the one-piece suit a wrestler wears. It has only one thickness of cloth. A doublet is not underwear, but a lined jacket worn by men during the Renaissance.

Five Frozen Food Facts

Frozen foods do not require any added preservatives to keep them safe and consumable, because microbes cannot grow on food that is at a temperature less than 0°F. The microbes do not die at that temperature, but they stop multiplying and can come back as food is unfrozen.

Despite some old wives’ tales, freezing food does not remove any nutrients.

Freezer burn is just the result of air hitting frozen food and allowing the ice to sublimate; other color changes can be blamed on long freezing times or poor packaging. It might look gross, but if your frozen food has maintained a proper temperature, it is fine to eat.

Freezing food typically keeps items edible indefinitely, although taste and quality may diminish over time. Some items that stay tasty even after long freezes include uncooked game, poultry, and meat, which are still good after up to a year in the freezer.

Even though freezing food was used as a storage technique in cold weather climates for many years, it is believed it was first applied to industrial food sales sometime in the 1800s, when a Russian company froze a small quantity of duck and geese and shipped them to London. By 1899, the Baerselman Bros. company adapted frozen storage for their own Russia-to-England food shipping business, though they initially only operated during cold weather months. Birdseye fact here LINK.

Bacon Vitamins and Minerals

Bacon provides substantial amounts of important, necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function healthfully. From bacon, we receive: 65% of our Recommended Daily Intake of Thiamin (Vitamin B1) as well as 47% of Niacin (Vitamin B3), 38% of Vitamin B12, 36% of Zinc, 24% of Vitamin B6, 22% of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), 22% of Phosphorus, 10% of Pantothenate, 10% of Magnesium, 9% of Iron. The Protein to fat balance in bacon is actually 4 to 1, which is one of the highest protein to fat balances found in any meat, fish, or fowl.

I apologize ahead of time, but cannot get this silly diddy out of my head, bacon pancakes by Hugh Jackman, Wolverine LINK - and the original LINK.

Friday Quote

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." Winston Churchill

May 8, 2015

Happy Friday

Don't reflect on the past, magnify the now.

I always magnify the fun of a Happy Friday!

Mother's Day

This Sunday, May 10 is Mother's Day. Be nice to your mother for a change.

International Battery

The battery has changed much over the years, but the core principle is still the same. The battery was invented during 1800, by Alessandro Volta (an Italian). He called it the Voltaic Pile and was combined layers of copper, zinc, and cardboard soaked in saltwater.

Almost early every stage in the evolution of the battery has come from a different country. An Englishman improved on Volta’s battery, a Frenchman developed the first rechargeable battery, and a Swede invented the nickel-cadmium battery. The only American influence came from Benjamin Franklin, who was the first person to use the word battery.

Bacon, Pancetta, and Prosciutto

Bacon and pancetta have the most in common. They are both typically made from pork belly and both are cured for a certain length of time. Both are also considered raw and need to be cooked before eating.

The process for making the two is slightly different. Pancetta is simply cured with salt, but spices and other aromatics are often added to infuse the pancetta with other flavors. Pancetta is sometimes sold sliced paper thin, or cubed. The thin slices can be wrapped around vegetables or meat before cooking. The pancetta cubes are often used like bacon, sautéed with onions or garlic to form the base of a soup, pasta, or risotto.

Bacon is also cured, like pancetta, but the meat is smoked after it has been cured. This is usually a cold-smoking process, meaning that the bacon isn't actually heated or cooked during smoking and remains raw. Smoking can be done with a wide range of woods, from apple to maple, which each give their own distinctive flavors to the meat.

So pancetta is cured and unsmoked, while bacon is cured and smoked, but both need to be cooked before being eaten. They can be used interchangeably in dishes.

Prosciutto is very different from either bacon or pancetta. Prosciutto is made from the hind leg of a pig (ie, the ham), and outside Italy, calling it prosciutto indicates a ham that has been cured.

The quality of prosciutto depends on the curing process. The outside of the ham is usually rubbed with just salt and sometimes a mix of spices. This draws out moisture and concentrates the flavor while the ham slowly air-dries. This process can take from a few months to a several years depending on the desired result. Once cured, prosciutto is usually thinly sliced and eaten as is, uncooked. Sometimes prosciutto gets lightly cooked as a finishing touch to a pasta sauce or other dish, but this is more to bring out the aroma and merge flavors.

Longer Days

The earth is gradually slowing down. Every few years, an extra second is added to make up for lost time. Millions of years ago, a day on Earth would have been only 20 hours long. It is believed that, in another million years time, a day on Earth will be 27 hours long.

Wallet vs. Billfold

The word 'wallet' has been in use since the late 14th century to refer to a bag or a knapsack for carrying articles.

A billfold is a type of wallet carried by a man that folds over. Billfold is one of those practical words that describe the function, as folding bills. It is like the kitchen cupboard, which was originally a wall attached board used to store cups and plates.

Americans call their paper money bills, even though they are really Federal Reserve Notes. Other English speaking countries call them notes.

Although billfold and wallet are used interchangeably, it is now more common to use wallet. Technically, a wallet is the type women usually carry in their purse. It has a long section where they can put money without folding it

Wallets were developed after the introduction of paper currency to the West in the 1600s. The first paper currency was introduced in the New World by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1690. Prior to the introduction of paper currency, coin purses, usually simple drawstring leather pouches, were used for storing coins. Early wallets were made primarily of cow or horse leather and included a small pouch for printed calling cards.

During the 1800s, in addition to money or currency, a wallet would also be used for carrying dried meat, victuals, treasures, and "things not to be exposed". Wallets originally were used by early industrial Americans. It was considered semi-civilized in 19th century America to carry a wallet attached to the belt.

Incidentally, 'share of wallet' is a marketing measurement for the proportion of money the customer spends on a product brand in preference to the competing brands.

Bottom line, all billfolds are wallets, but not all wallets are billfolds.

Cancer and Sex

A man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sriracha Sauce

Rooster sauce, as it is also known has around since the 1980s. During the early 1980’s, David Tran immigrated to the United States from Vietnam and settled in Los Angeles. He was unable to find a hot sauce that he liked and began making his own. His recipe was modeled and named after the local hot sauces in Sri Racha, Thailand.

He began selling the sauce out of the back of his van and as the popularity of the sauce grew. Huy Fong Foods grew swiftly and today over ten million bottles of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha Sauce are sold every year.

The bright red, multi-purpose hot sauce is made from red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar. The sauce is hot and tangy with just a hint of sweetness. The flavor is unique, addictive, and very versatile.

Sriracha sauce is often served as a condiment in Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants throughout the United States. The most popular brand is manufactured in the US by Huy Fong Foods, which is owned by Tran.

Contact Lenses

Eyeglasses have been around since 13th century Italy, and the design has not changed much over the years, except for different types of frames, which change with fashion.

During 1887, a German named Adolf Fick decided to do away with frames altogether and simply stick the lens directly on his eye.

The first contact lenses were 21mm (0.8 inches) wide and made from blown glass, with a sugar solution between the lens and the eye to cut down on friction. They were bulky and uncomfortable, but blown glass contacts lasted for 50 years until they were replaced with plastic ones in 1936.

Even though Fick was the first person to make a practical contact lens, he was not the first to try. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have invented a type of contact lens in 1508 made out of a bowl of water. Rene Descartes supposedly built a water-filled tube that was designed to go into the eye, but the idea never took off because it stuck out so far a person could not blink.

Shaft Tax

Most people think that all taxes are the shaft, but there really is a shaft tax. For calendar year 2015, the US tax imposed under § 4161(b)(2)(A) on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any shaft of a type used in the manufacture of certain arrows is $0.49 per shaft. Last year it was 48 cents.

Free Friday Thought

May 1, 2015

Happy Friday

Life is like love, we just fall into it and both are equally enjoyable.

I don't fall; I jump into enjoying a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Assent vs. Consent

In English, consent and assent are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. To assent is to agree with a statement made by an equal. For instance, in the Supreme Court, one justice writes the opinion of the majority, to which other justices assent. Those that disagree are said to dissent, that is to disagree.

To consent implies a power relationship where the consent is granted by the party with more power. To consent is to give permission, which could have been withheld. Bottom line, consent is to give permission while assent equals agreement.

Eye Colors, Blue

Last in the series of eye colors. Naturally blue eyes are caused by having low melanin levels in the iris - the same stuff that gives skin its pigment and color. In fact, we have all had blue eyes at one point in our lives, because all babies are born with blue eyes. For most people, their eyes change color as they grow older and develop melanin, but for a select few who do not develop as much melanin, their eyes stay blue forever. Eyes appear blue for the same reason as the sky is blue. It is a process called Rayleigh Scattering.

In Iceland, 80% of the population has blue eyes. The statistics are similar in the rest of Northern Europe and Scandinavia, where blue eyes are very common. Blue eyes can also be found in some areas of Western Asia, as well as in Israel. Blue eyes are extremely rare in Africa. People with blue eyes are becoming less common in the US.

For a long time it was believed that blue eyes were caused by a recessive gene, but lately this has been found to be untrue. People with blue eyes tend to have a higher tolerance to alcohol than those without.

Silver eye color is quite rare, although many consider silver eyes to be a variation of blue eye color. Like blue eyes, silver eyes are the result of a very low amount of pigmentation in the eye, which reflects a gray-silver appearance. Silver eye color is most common in eastern European countries, and is one of the more rare eye colors worldwide.

Genetics vs. Genomics

Gene refers to a specific sequence of DNA on a single chromosome that encodes a particular product.

Genome encompasses the entire set of genetic information across all 23 chromosome pairs, including all genes, as well as gene-modifying sequences, and everything in-between.

LED, Lumen, CFL, and CRI

We are now faced with many choices for light bulbs. Prices vary widely for not much difference in light. Here a few things to know about the choices.

First, lumens are the new watts. Watts are power and lumens are light. An old incandescent 60 watts is about 800 lumens of light. The wattage does not matter and most of the comparisons regarding electricity costs are measured over years, so not very consequential in a monthly or annual budget. A 60W incandescent lamp may push 800 lumens, while a CFL only needs 15W and an LED only needs 10W to produce the same lumens. (A 10W incandescent is a night light.) The thing to remember is how bright you want your light to be. Look at lumens below to get the correct amount of light from your new bulbs.

incandescent bulb
watts - lumens
60 - 800
75 - 1,100
100 - 1,600
150 - 2,600

Heat might not seem important, but with a number of lights burning, it adds up, especially during the summer. One heat test - halogen bulb, a type of incandescent bulb, measured 327 degrees. A Cree LED downlight was measured 107 degrees and a Philips Par38 CFL measured 167 degrees. LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs.

Bugs don't fly toward many LEDs, because bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light and most LEDs do not give off this type of light.

LED are rated to last 50,000 hours, while CFLs are rated for 10,000 hours and incandescents are rated for about 1,000 hours.

LED bulbs turn on as quickly as incandescent bulbs and faster than CFLs. LEDs produce roughly the same amount of useful light, but much of that light is focused in one direction. LEDs typically shine up, rather than in all directions like incandescent bulbs. Newer LEDs can be omnidirectional, look for that word on the package.

Some LEDs do not dim well and tend to buzz or sputter when the dimming is at half. Check the package to make sure the bulb will work with a dimmer.

A new term to further confuse us is CRI, because of the number of different light types. It did not make any difference in the past as all lights were the same. CRI is color rendering index. The higher the CRI, the better the color rendering ability. Light sources with a CRI of 90 or higher are excellent at color rendering and should be used for tasks requiring the most accurate color discrimination. CRI is independent of color temperature, but I won't even go there. Too much information.

When considering lighting, I usually think of CFL as meaning 'crap for light'. They take longer to turn on (it typically takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete), need more energy to turn on, contain mercury, may leak UV radiation, do not work well in cold conditions, produce artificial fluorescent color, and are less efficient than LEDs.

Although initial price is still much higher, the price of LEDs is coming down quickly. LEDs are down to $4.97 at Home Depot, a far cry from the old $20 they used to cost. Bottom Line, let your old bulbs burn out before you rush out to buy new "energy savers" the price will likely be cheaper when you are ready to replace. Also, higher lumens are brighter and higher CRI provides better color discrimination.

Short Shrift

A shrift is a penance (a prescribed penalty) imposed by a priest in a confession in order to provide absolution. During the 17th century, criminals were sent to the scaffold immediately after sentencing and only had time for a 'short shrift' before being hanged.

The first known use of short shrift was in 1594. Shakespeare was the first to write it down, in Richard III. RATCLIFF:  Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner: Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

It does not appear again in print until 1814, Scott's Lord of the Isles: Short were his shrift in that debate. If Lorn encounter'd Bruce!

The original meaning has little relation to the modern sense of short shrift, which usually has negative connotations. One usually does not want to be given short shrift or little consideration in dealing with a person or matter.

Theologians and confessors viewed the sacrament of penance as a prescription that cured a moral illness. In early medieval times penances were long and arduous and had to be performed before absolution. Lengthy pilgrimages and even lifelong exile were not uncommon. However, less demanding penances could be given in extreme situations; short shrift was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution.

Stonewall Jackson

Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson was buried in a Lexington, Virginia, cemetery that now bears his name, but he was so famous at the time of his death that his amputated left arm was taken away to its own separate grave.

Just after dark on May 2, 1863, Jackson launched a devastating attack against Union forces at Chancellorsville. Returning to his own lines with several staff officers, Jackson decided to conduct more reconnaissance in the area. As he and his staff rode through the woods near Confederate lines, a North Carolina regiment opened fire. Jackson was struck by three bullets, two of them shattering his left arm. He was evacuated from the area and given medical treatment, but his arm could not be saved and was amputated. Pneumonia set in, and on May 10, 1863, he died. Jackson's body was sent to Lexington without the arm.

Thinking that the limb of so great a soldier was too precious to simply throw on the regular body part pile, Jackson's unofficial company chaplain wrapped the arm in a blanket and took it his family cemetery. The reverend gave the limb a standard Christian burial and placed a marker above the site.

Supposedly Stonewall Jackson's arm was dug up and reburied numerous times in the ensuing years and there is no evidence that it still resides in its original burial space. The simple gravestone remains to remember one of the oddest instances of hero worship in the history of battle.

History of CDs

Compact discs, or CDs, were one of the defining technologies of the 1990′s and 2000′s. They successfully killed cassette tapes, and are likely the last physical audio technology that we will ever have, as digital formats now dominate the music industry.

CD’s were actually invented during 1974, nearly a decade before they even became available to the public market.

The inventors were the Dutch company Philips and the Japanese company Sony. In the mid 70′s, both companies independently began working on technologies that could imprint digital sound onto a small plastic disc. The two companies joined forces to develop the technology as fast as possible. The first album ever recorded on CD was ABBA’s The Visitors in 1981 LINK.

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