Nov 9, 2018

Happy Friday

The sun does not wait for you to rise. Neither does happiness.

You must rise up to take advantage of either or both, especially on a Happy Friday!

AR vs. MR, vs. VR

AR is augmented reality. If virtual reality is total immersion, augmented reality is all about layering virtual elements onto the real world. Pokémon Go is probably the most well-known example of this technique, with a nexus of magical animals layered onto a real-world map and what you can see with your phone’s camera.
Until recently, AR has been distinguished by a level of disconnect between the virtual and real world. You may have information imposed on your field of vision – like images or text, but these virtual elements are not anchored to the real world, and do not respond to physical objects in real-time.
Devices such as Google Glass were early attempts to integrate AR into headwear, but while there are reports that Apple is working on hardware dedicated to AR, and there are some crazy patents about AR contact lenses, the current mode for AR is to layer virtual elements using pre-existing devices such as smartphones and tablets.
MR is mixed reality. Mixed reality involves a strong element of interaction between physical and digital elements. The clearest case of this is Microsoft’s HoloLens, which can impose virtual models of buildings, bodies, and vehicles that designers can walk around, inspect and tweak as they see fit. Experimental hardware such as the Magic Leap and Intel’s Project Alloy prototype have given a glimpse of where this path could lead, potentially encompassing elements like haptics (touch).
The lines between AR and MR have blurred somewhat. You could argue the IKEA app, for example is a form of mixed reality as it allows users to walk around virtual furniture on a real-world carpet, as it if were a physical object. Some say MR is another way of saying ‘“true AR”. It is likely that, as digital-physical interactions become more sophisticated, one term will likely take over the other. Many believe mixed reality will prevail.
VR is virtual reality. It is most often used as an umbrella term for many immersive, computer-simulated environments. This means that you can probably get away with calling AR and MR subsections of VR.
Virtual reality is a totally computer-simulated version of reality (for sound and vision). Head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR, as well as mobile-based headsets like Google Daydream and Samsung Gear, are all VR hardware. You strap them onto your face, and are immersed in a digital environment. Another subsection of VR is 360-degree video. Special cameras capture these images, so they are not computer-made virtual environments, but you still experience them using a VR headset.
Ideally, a VR user should feel like they have been transported from their living room into a totally different space. Having your field of vision taken up by a virtual world can trick your brain into feeling physically present within that reality. These ideas about presence and immersion and the potential for VR to communicate another person’s perspective, making a user feel physically involved in a way screen-based film cannot.

None of these should be confused with AI, artificial intelligence, which is a totally different topic.

Wordology, Dashboard

A dashboard, or dash, was a rectangular piece of wood, metal, or leather fixed to the front of a horse-drawn carriage to stop mud from being splashed, or dashed on the riders.

Artificial Intelligence

Making sure Artificial Intelligence (AI) does what we want and behaves in predictable ways will be crucial as the technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous. It is an area frequently neglected in the race to develop products, but DeepMind has now outlined its research agenda to tackle the problem.
AI safety, as the field is known, has been gaining prominence in recent years. That is probably at least partly down to the overzealous warnings of a coming AI apocalypse from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. It is also recognition of the fact that AI technology is quickly pervading all aspects of our lives, making decisions on everything from what movies we watch to whether we get a mortgage.
That is why DeepMind hired researchers who specialize in foreseeing the unforeseen consequences of the way we built AI back in 2016. The team has spelled out the three key domains they think require research if we are going to build autonomous machines that do what we want.

In a new blog designed to provide updates on the team’s work, they introduce the ideas of specification, robustness, and assurance, which they say will act as the cornerstones of future research. Specification involves making sure AI systems do what their operator intends; robustness means a system can cope with changes to its environment and attempts to throw it off course; and assurance involves our ability to understand what systems are doing and how to control them.

Laughing Fact

Laughing for fifteen minutes has the same benefit as getting two extra hours of sleep.

Ceiling Fan Changes

Many people do not realize the difference made with the reversal of ceiling fans between summer and winter. Ceiling fans are designed to cool you off during the summer and warm you in the winter.

Every ceiling fan has a switch. When the temperature level drops in late fall, flip the switch so the fan is moving clockwise as you look up to it. This redirects rising hot air back down into the room, making it feel warmer. Using a fan during the winter can save as much as 10% to 15% of heating costs. Also remember to slow down the speed during winter.

During the summer you want the fan to blow air straight down, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a counter clockwise direction as you look up at it. The warmer it is, the higher the speed should be. During the winter, your fan should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction, which pushes the naturally rising warm air back down.

Incidentally, the two largest consumers of your energy costs are heating and air conditioning. Fans can mitigate some of those costs, because the worst energy guzzling ceiling fans on the market, on average will likely cost less than 2 cents per hour to run, depending on local energy costs.

Funny Words

Umpty had been in use since the mid 19th Century as a slang term for an unspecified or seemingly impossibly large number, such as the word umpteen in the early 1900s.

Twankle, according to the English Dialect Dictionary (1905), to twankle is ‘to twang with the fingers on a music instrument’. Absentmindedly strumming or playing an instrument is also known as twiddling, twangling, tootling, noodling, plunking, or thrumming.

Xanthippe is a scolding, quarrelsome woman, named after the wife of the Greek philosopher Socrates, who was referred to by one of his students as "the most difficult woman not just of this generation … but of all the generations past and yet to come". While the reasons for that reputation are unclear, Xanthippe’s name ended up in the dictionary as a reference to a henpecking, argumentative spouse.

Cultured Chicken Nuggets

The Just company is predicting that it will have a cultured chicken nugget available during 2018. It is not the only company doing so, but will be the first of many to produce a cultured product.

The CEO said in an interview that his company would have a chicken nugget, foie gras, or sausage available by the end of 2018. Looks like it will be a chicken nugget. The company calls it 'clean meat'.

To make cultured chicken, you first collect some cells, and that can be done through a small harmless biopsy from a live chicken, through a cell bank, feathers, or other ways. The cells are separated and the best are loaded into a bioreactor, given plant based nutrients, and a scaffolding material on which to grow. It can take from a few days to a few weeks to produce a nugget.

Two BBC News reporters were able to try a sample and said it was flavorful, that the skin was crisp, and the texture was slightly softer than that of fast food nuggets.

The plan is to introduce the product in Europe first, and then the US, after FDA and USDA decide how to deal with it.

Not sure they will stack up well to the new McDonald's Triple Breakfast Stacks. Each sandwich features two sausage patties, two slices of cheese, eggs, and bacon strips. Guests can choose between a McMuffin, Biscuits, or a McGriddle triple.

Quick Emojis

Emojis are fun and now you can get at them fast. Place the cursor where you want to insert.

For Windows 10, press the Windows key and . (period) key to display the Emoji keyboard. This does not work on previous versions of Windows.

For Mac users, press Command and Control and Spacebar to access them.

Nov 2, 2018

Happy Friday

Only when our thoughts, words, and deeds align can we find true happiness.

Today everything is lined up to enjoy a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

Having not learned from previous disasters, many US states and some countries are again attempting to thwart Mother Nature by ignoring reality and changing our clocks backward while the sun and moon march on. Interesting that as countries change clocks, they still do not agree which date to make the time change, and they do not agree by how much time to change, or at which time to make the change. In the US changes are made at 2am, November 4. That is a day earlier than during 2017.
In some countries, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is also called “summer time”. When DST is not observed, it is called standard time, normal time, or winter time. Just 70 of the total 195 countries in the world utilize Daylight Saving Time in at least a portion of the country. Japan, India, and China do not observe Daylight Saving. China and India have the number one and two largest populations in the world, which amounts to 36% of the world population.

In the US, Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed the “Sunshine Protection Act” by a margin of 103 to 11 in the House and 33 to 2 in the Senate, making it the only state to adopt Daylight Saving Time (as opposed to Standard Time) year-round, eliminating the clock changes. The bill went to the Governor's desk in March, 2018 and was signed into law. Now the bill goes to Congress. Looks like no law congressional change means Floridians will be required to change clocks again.
None of the US dependencies observe DST, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Minor Outlying Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.

Tasmania, Queensland, and Western Australia have changeable dates to change clocks, often changing their dates due to politics or to accommodate festivals. In 1992, Tasmania extended daylight saving by an additional month while South Australia began extending daylight saving by two weeks to encompass the Adelaide Festival. In some years, Victoria extended daylight saving to the end of March for the Moomba Festival and South Australia and New South Wales followed suit for consistency. Special daylight saving arrangements were observed during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Queensland does not observe daylight saving.

Wordology, Break the Ice

It means to do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going in a strained situation.

In the old days, commercial ships would often get stuck in frozen rivers during winter, so smaller ships called icebreakers would come to clear a path to shore by breaking the ice. During the 17th century, people began to use the phrase to mean "to reduce tension in a social situation."

Ductility vs. Malleability vs. Toughness vs. Brittleness

Ductility is the property of metal with the ability to stretch so it bends, but does not does not break. When you stretch steel it breaks when you bend it and copper does not. So copper is ductile, steel is not.

Malleable metals like aluminum can be pressed. You cannot stretch aluminum as well as copper, but you can press it between rollers and make sheets so fine that it makes aluminum foil. You can also squeeze copper, but not quite as thin, as it will tear. Copper is not as malleable as aluminum.

Incidentally, Sir Humphry first spelled it alumium in 1807 then changed it to aluminum, and finally settled on aluminium in 1812. Americans and Canadians spell and pronounce the name aluminum, while the British and most of the rest of the world use the spelling and pronunciation of aluminium.
Toughness is about how strong metal is after processing. Toughness is not only how much force can you apply before it snaps, it is also a question of whether the metal has some bend before it breaks. This is called "deflection". Steel is tough so you do not pound it into shape, because it just dents and malforms.

Hardness is about withstanding impacts and pressure. Steel, as opposed to quartz, is not hard; and it is not brittle. Steel cannot take as much pressure pushing against it as quartz or diamonds; it will bend or malform and will also break sooner. The end result of that pressure is brittleness. So steel has good hardness and low brittleness.

Quartz has high hardness, high brittleness, low toughness. What this means is that it takes a lot of pressure or a very sharp, fast strike to break it, and when it breaks it snaps or shatters. Quartz has no malleability and no ductility. Under heat and/or pressure, it breaks. The quality of shattering instead of breaking cleanly is brittleness.

Bottom line, copper ductile, aluminum malleable, steel tough, quartz brittle.

Printing Veins with a 3D Printer

Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a way to mimic the complex geometry of blood vessels using 3D printing. The technique could help doctors come up with new ways to fight vascular disease such as hypertension, by creating artificial tissue with soft, pliable arteries and veins. It uses oxygen to set 3D-printed models with different degrees of hardness.
"Oxygen is usually a bad thing in that it causes incomplete curing," said Yonghui Ding, one of the authors of the study. "Here, we utilize a layer that allows a fixed rate of oxygen permeation." By tightly controlling how oxygen is spread during the printing process, the researchers were able to build objects with the same geometry, but with different levels of rigidity. The results were published in the journal Nature.

As part of their experiment, the engineers created a small Chinese warrior figure, printed so that the outer layers remained hard while the interior remained soft. They also printed three versions of a simple structure. a beam supported by two rods. Depending on how hard or soft the different parts were designed to be, the structure would either stand firm or slump.

The printer can currently work with biomaterials down to a size of 10 microns; about one-tenth the width of a human hair. Future iterations will aim to get this down even further.

Wordology, Put a Sock In It

This means stop talking. It comes from the late 19th century when people would use woolen socks to stuff the horns of their gramophones or record players to lower the sound, because these machines had no volume controllers.

Size Matters

I took a look at 2018 populations and land sizes in the various countries that are dominating the news. It is interesting that the news describes the economic and other influences out of proportion to the population or size of these areas. For instance the news would have us think there is not much to Mexico, but its population is the fourth largest in the world and has the sixth largest land mass in the world. Also, Iran is not just a little dot in the desert.

I threw in three states, California, Florida, and Texas for comparison.

Oct 27, 2018

Happy Friday

Life happens, whether you take advantage of it or not.

Be happy and take advantage of celebrating a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Chock Full O'Nuts

The coffee is named for a chain of nut stores the founder converted into coffee shops. Its coffee does not contain nuts.

Discount Store Tidbits

Sam's Club - A former worker says on his blog that a price ending in 1 means it is a sale price, and that the letter on the top right of the shelf tag can give you even more valuable info. If it is an A or an N that means it is something they always carry and always try to have in stock. Something with a C means it's a canceled item they are going to get rid of, so you can definitely watch for this one to go on clearance. An S means it is a seasonal item and might only be there for a short time, but it is the O that is hugely important. That means it is a one-time buy, so once it is gone, it's gone. Stock up on this one if you find something you like, because it is not coming back.

Because of existing laws, Sam's and Costco, you do not need to be a member to buy booze and wine, also pharmacy and food court.

Lidl - It should be pronounced leedle. After Josef Schwarz died in 1977, his son Dieter bought the rights to his partner Ludwig Lidl's name for 1,000 Marks. He wisely did he not use his family's own name, because ‘Schwarz Markt' would have meant ‘black market'.

Words When You Were Born

Here is a website that shows you what words were first found in print during the year you were born. LINK  Fun diversion.


Many of us have used the Snopes web site from time to time in order to check out the veracity of stories or to check out emails to see if they are real.
Snopes was founded by a husband and wife team who are now in the middle of a contentious divorce in which founder David Mikkelsen has been accused of embezzling $98,000 of company money to spend on “himself and prostitutes”.

The site is now 50% owned by an ad agency (Proper Media) and they make money by generating millions of views on the 3rd-party advertisements on the website. It makes sense for them to seek out articles that are viral to “debunk”, so that they can piggy-back on that traffic and generate more advertising revenue.

It has a hired team of suspect fact checkers who collaborate to debunk falsehoods that are trending on the internet. These fact checkers reportedly have no editorial oversight and do not follow standard journalistic procedures such as interviewing the authors of articles they are trying to debunk to get all sides of the story.

Snopes is one of the sites that Facebook recently partnered with to fact check news stories on its platform. In the counter-intelligence world, this is what is known as a “wilderness of mirrors” – creating a chaotic information environment that so perfectly blends truth, half-truth, and fiction that even the best can no longer tell what is real and what is not.

Ice Cream Fact

When comparing ice cream for quality, but the ingredient list looks the similar, compare the weight of a serving on the nutrition label. Denser is better. The gums and fillers used in lower quality ice cream are lighter than cream and eggs.

If one says a serving is 1/4 cup (65g) and the other says a serving is 1/4 cup (73g), get the 73g one. They may both have some fillers, but the denser one will have less.

Eight Tips for a Healthier Brain

Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise boosts daily intellectual performance and significantly lowers risk for dementia. Other studies have suggested that regular exercise can reduce that risk by up to 38 percent. More studies have shown that maintaining a healthy weight with a low ratio of belly fat can significantly lower our risk for a memory disorder, even beginning in middle age.

Managing chronic conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes can significantly reduce risk for stroke and dementia. Also, taking care of medical issues such as hearing or vision loss can make a tremendous difference in our ability to learn new information.

Emotional distress and anxiety can also affect everyday abilities and may even increase risk for memory impairment. Get a good night’s sleep, avoid risky behaviors, and do not ignore emotional upsets. A leading study on successful aging found that folks who aged well were more emotionally resilient than others.

Playing games against the clock activities force us to pay attention, work fast, and think nimbly. Research shows that training in these skills can help us stay more effective at them, regardless of age.

Research shows that staying intellectually engaged can significantly lower risk for memory impairment by as much as 63 percent. Intellectual engagement supports emotional well-being and better brain health. Look for ways to change your routine, such as taking a craft class, brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, or taking a new route to work or the store.

Staying social has been shown to potentially cut your risk for memory impairment in half. Social situations offer a challenge to keep up our end of the conversation and helps us stay focused, and think fast. Find ways to get out with friends, and ways to engage through community or other resources.

Working or volunteering can improve daily intellectual performance. You get a good brain workout on the job, which offers you the chance to engage both mentally and socially. Continuing to work or volunteer provides a sense of purpose, which researchers found may protect us from memory impairment.

If you want to remember better, believe that you can. Self-perception can impact performance. If you are convinced your memory is poor, it probably will be. Studies have shown that memory self-belief impacts how well we do on memory tests. Practice the power of positive thinking.

Wordology, Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

It means to find fault with something that has been received as a gift or favor.

Long ago when buying a horse, people would determine the horse’s age and condition based on its teeth, and then decide whether they want to buy it or not. This is the reason why people use this idiom to say it is rude to look for flaws in a thing that was given to you as a gift.

Flag Shape

Did you know there is only one state in the United States that has a non rectangular shaped flag? The flag starts wider on the left, getting narrower on the right side. Instead of a straight edge on the right, it has two points. It is red, white, and blue, with five red-and-white stripes on the right side.

The left side has a dark blue triangle, in the center of which is a red-and-white circle surrounded by 17 white stars. The 13 stars surrounding the circle pay homage to the original 13 colonies, and the four stars to the right of it bring the number up to 17, representing Ohio’s admission to the Union as the 17th state. The large blue triangle represents Ohio's hills and valleys, and the stripes represent roads and waterways. The circle in the center evokes the “O” for Ohio, in addition to slightly resembling a buckeye seed (since Ohio is “the Buckeye State”). 

Oct 19, 2018

Happy Friday

You can smile to be happy and you can be happy to smile.

I practice vice and versa, especially on a Happy Friday.

Amazon Shark Tank

Never one to miss an opportunity, this week Amazon added a special area on its site to sell Shark Tank items. More than 70 products that successfully received funding from Sharks during seasons 1-9 are now available. This collaboration coincides with the premiere of Shark Tank season 10. Reminds me of the “as seen on TV” items in stores.   LINK      

Aldi Facts

The Aldi name is a syllabic abbreviation for Albrecht Diskont (Discount)

Aldi is two different companies: Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, or North and South. During the 1960s, Theo and Karl Albrecht could not agree on whether or not they were going to allow their stores to sell cigarettes. They came up with an interesting solution; instead of compromising they divided the company in half.

There is a line that runs across Germany known as the "Aldi equator" and Theo took the north while Karl took the south. You can tell the difference by looking at the logo: Nord's logo is a basic blue and white, Sud's logo is orange and blue. The southern Aldi is a bit fancier. When it came time to expand to the rest of the world, other countries were also divided. Stores in areas like the UK, Ireland, and Australia are all Aldi Sud, while Aldi Nord took France and Poland.

There is only one country where Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud share pieces of the grocery store pie, and that is in the US. Aldi Sud, with its blue and orange logo does business as Aldi, and Aldi Nord uses another name, Trader Joe's.

This year, 2018 Aldi and Kohl's announced Kohl's will sublet space to Aldi in limited stores in the US.

Geography Trivia

Texas is larger than any country in Europe which is not Russia.

Russia makes up 40% of the total area of Europe,

The population of China is significantly larger than the combined populations of South America (385,7 mil), North America (529 mil) and Australia (31.26mil).

The Pacific Ocean covers a larger area than all land masses of Earth combined.

The average depth of oceans water is about 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles). Maximum depths can exceed 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Washington Monument may be more famous, but things are bigger in Texas. The San Jacinto Monument of La Porte, Texas is 15-feet taller than the monument in DC and is the tallest stone column structure and war monument in the world. It is 9.6 feet (2.9 m) taller than the next tallest, the Juche Tower in North Korea.

Amarillo, Texas is home to 90% of the entire world’s helium reserves.

Texas is home to the largest bat colony in the world, Bracken Cave has over 20 million bats. The city of Austin is also home to the largest urban bat colony on the continent.

Dallas Cowboys may be America’s team, but they have not played football in the city of Dallas since 1971.

Eyeglasses Origin

Salvino D’Armate an Italian likely invented wearable eyeglasses towards the end of the 13th century. The earliest differed from modern eyeglasses, because they did not have the arms hooking behind the ears, and the lenses were only for hyperopia (farsightedness). Lenses for myopia (nearsightedness) were invented during the 15th century. Of course people did not know how silly they looked, because mirrors were not invented until 1835 by German chemist Justus von Liebig.

Incidentally, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals, not glasses as many wrongly believe. Also, Leonardo da Vinci during 1508 produced the first known sketches that suggested the optics of the human eye could be altered by placing the cornea directly in contact with water as with contact lenses.

Transistor Size Changes

During 1971 the first commercial microprocessor was 1,000 times bigger than today’s when it was released.

During 2007, the state-of-the-art for Intel was 3.3 million transistors per square millimeter. Now in 2018, 100 Million Transistors are in each square millimeter.

Intel has just announced the first microchip that contains more than two billion transistors - tiny switches that together perform the calculations in computers.

As of 2017, the largest transistor count in a commercially available single-chip processor is 19.2 billion— AMD's Ryzen-based Epyc. In other types of ICs, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), Intel's (previously Altera) Stratix 10 has the largest transistor count, containing over 30 billion transistors

Intel has just announced the first microchip that contains more than two billion transistors. The chip, known as Tukwila, marks a milestone in chip density technology.

Meanwhile software bloat diminishes the amazing hardware changes and common laptop computers still lag as they did a number of years ago. Just as with TVs, hardware is progressing faster than our ability to take advantage of it.

Intel's latest chips, based on Kaby Lake, are made using a 14-nanometer process, and the company is now moving to 10-nm with its upcoming Cannonlake chip, which was shown in a PC at CES 2017.
14 nm – 2014 still using in 2018
10 nm – 2017 (now 2019)
 7 nm – 2018 (7nm pilot plant set in 2017 to determine how to make in volume)
 5 nm – 2020

Incidentally, to offer perspective, nano means one-billionth, so one nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter (3.2 feet). There are 25,400,000 nanometers in one inch. A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter. A human hair is approximately 80,000 - 100,000 nanometers wide.

Carat vs. Caret vs. Karat vs. Carrot

A carat is a unit of weight for diamonds, other gemstones, and pearls. One carat equals 200 milligrams (0.200 grams).

A caret is a proofreader's mark showing where something needs to be inserted in a document. It shaped like a tiny pitched roof ^.

A karat is a measure of purity when referring to gold. You may have seen different types of jewelry referred to as 14-karat gold or 18-karat gold. Pure gold is known as 24-karat gold. Gold is a fairly soft metal, so it is not often used to make jewelry. Jewelry made of pure gold can be easily bent and scratched, so gold is often mixed with other metals, such as copper or silver, to form an alloy that can be used to make jewelry. A karat is equal to 1/24 pure gold, so an 18-karat gold ring would be made with 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal.

The orange vegetable carrot,
that grows down into the ground is completely unrelated.

Wordology, Pull Out All The Stops

To pull out all the stops means to make a great effort to achieve something. The origin came from organs.

Organ consoles have knobs that are called ‘stops’. Without them the organist can play at a much higher volume, so ‘pulling out all the stops’ would let the organist achieve maximum volume. With all of the stops pushed in, there is no air movement, so there is no sound. Strategically pulling out stops allows the organist to influence the quality of the sound. Pulling out all of the stops activates all of the pipe sets, so it results in a very full sound, and maximum volume.

Robot Dance

Speaking of pulling out all the stops, watch this robot twerk. One minute diversion to get your heart pumping. LINK

College Coach Salaries

A while back, a friend of mine Marilyn asked about the very high college coach salaries and are they worth it.
A head football coach is more impactful on the success of that team than virtually any other coaching position in sports. Some of their duties include:
recruiting his players, calculating what their future growth and maturity rates are, assemble a huge staff of talented assistants, deal with young people going through many emotional challenges, put together winning offensive and defensive schemes, and deal with the administration alumni and press. The monetary effect of producing packed stadium, alumni contributions, and huge television contracts are all a function of winning.
Regarding whether they are worth it, we must consider college sports as a business, which it is. For instance, USA Today reported Texas A&M’s athletic revenues totaled $192 million, the most of any school in the nation. Its coach is receiving 7.5 million dollars a year. From a business standpoint, it appears to be appropriate. When looked upon in the larger landscape of the success of an athletics program, coaches can be seen as the centerpiece
Ticket sales, advertising deals, merchandise sales, licensing agreements all increase by millions of dollars each year when the football program is winning and playing at a top level. Lucrative deals and extensions with Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour heavily depend upon the success of football.

This, of course does not answer the question of whether colleges should be in the business of sports vs. providing education.
A few examples of contracts below:

Alabama head coach Nick Saban signed a three-year contract extension in May that will pay the five-time national champion $11.125 million in 2017, according to USA Today. The deal, which is worth $65 million over eight years, made Saban the highest paid college coach across all sports. Record at Alabama: 119-19 in 11 seasons - National championships: 5 total (2003 at LSU; 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 at Alabama)

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made $7 million in 2017. Record at Michigan: 20-6 in three seasons

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made $6 million in 2017. Record at Ohio State: 61-6 in six seasons - National championships: 1 at Ohio State (3 total)

Penn State coach James Franklin signed a contract extension that guarantees him $34.7 million through 2022, bringing his annual base salary to $5.78 million (up from $4.6 million) with up to $1 million in incentives. Record at Penn State: 25-15 in four seasons

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher made $5.3 million in 2017 and will make
$75 million over 10 years at Texas A&M. His record at Florida State: 78-17 in eight seasons. National championships: 1

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney inked a new deal that runs through 2021 and brings his average annual salary up to $5.125 million. Record at Clemson: 89-28 - National championships: 1

New Texas Longhorns coach Tom Herman signed a five-year deal worth $5 million per year, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin made $5 million in 2017. Record at Texas A&M: 44-21 in six seasons

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn signed a four-year extension in 2016 that will pay him $4.725 million per year. Record at Auburn: 35-18 in five seasons

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz signed a contract extension in 2016 that brought his base salary up to $4.5 million annually.

Quick Google Tip

If you want to watch a show, but do not know where to find it, you can search the word “watch” followed by the name of the show in Google and it will show you all the sites and service from which it is available.

Oct 13, 2018

Happy Friday

Smile and everyone becomes your mirror.

I always smile and collect smiles back, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Sock and Buskin

The sock and buskin are the two masks, usually seen together that symbolize the world of theater/drama or comedians and actors. They represent the ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy.

In Greek theater, actors in tragic roles wore a boot called a buskin that elevated them above the other actors. The actors with comedic roles wore a thin soled shoe called a sock.

Interesting to know that street buskers, although entertainers, get their name from a different source, busk from Italian buscare to procure, gain, or from Spanish buscar to look for. The term is not related to the buskin mask above. 

Seven More Uses for WD-40

The solvents contained in WD-40 are very helpful in dissolving any grime in your toilet. Spray WD-40 on the toilet bowl, leave it for a minute, and then scrub it with a toilet brush.

To remove stains from lipsticks or other makeup products, spray some WD-40 directly on the spot, leave it for a couple of minutes, and wash as usual.

A good way to clean your grill is to spray WD-40 over it. Spray WD-40 and wait a couple of minutes before scrubbing off the residue. Remember to do this when the grill is cool. Remaining residue will burn off next time.

WD-40 can help a stubborn zipper slide easier. Just spray it on and try to distribute it evenly along your zipper. You can spray on cloth, then rub on zipper if you are afraid of overspray.

In a pinch, prevent wasps from building nests by spraying WD-40 in the nooks and crannies of your house. It sprays a long distance, like the 20 foot hornet spray.

To remove stickers, spray on WD-40 and leave it for 5-10 minutes. Then rub it with a sponge.

Spray a tight ring with WD-40 and it will easily slide off.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. Pescatarian vs. Pollotarian

A vegan is a person who does not eat or use animal products, including eggs and dairy.
A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat, poultry, or fish, with or without dairy products, such as honey and/or eggs.

A pescatarian is a vegetarian who also eats fish.

A pollotarian is a vegetarian who also eats chicken.

Incidentally, the Vegetarian Society says there are levels of vegetarians, such as Lacto-ovo-vegetarian eats both dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet. Lacto-vegetarian eats dairy products, but not eggs. Ovo-vegetarian eats eggs, but not dairy products.

Iceberg A68 Scare

There was major news about the world effects last year when a huge iceberg broke off the Larsen C shelf in Antarctica. On 12 July 2017, a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg or the state of Delaware broke off the Larsen C ice shelf, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.

Even though it has been proven that the break had no relation to climate change, a headline read, "If climate change continues unabated, ice-free areas on Antarctica will increase up to a quarter by 2100 - says a study on changes in the planet's southernmost continent." Another headline read, "Antarctica: Larsen C break off could have dire consequences." Many were worried about how far and where it would float and what damage it would cause before dissolving.

During the following months, observations showed the iceberg remained close, buffeting back and forth against the ice shelf. It was unclear what would happen to the berg, because they can remain in one place for years. A68 (sixth largest in recorded history) is now on the move and drifting out to sea with a gap of about 11 miles (18 km) between it and the shelf.

For B15, the second-biggest iceberg in recorded history, the process has taken nearly two decades. B15 snapped off Antarctica's Ross ice shelf in 2000. It had a surface area of 4,200 square miles - twice that of A68. Today it is drifting in warm waters near South Georgia (southeast of South America).

Incidentally, I had to scour about thirty web sites to find current details. Other than a few real scientists, not much interest lately. Bottom line, it broke off, we are all still safe, Meh.

Run Amok

It means to behave uncontrollably and disruptively.

The saying comes from the Malaysian word amoq, which describes the bizarre behavior of tribesmen who, under the influence of opium, would become wild and attack people.

Hugs are great

A study from the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, published this week in PLOS ONE, looked at the social interactions of more than 400 people over two weeks. A summary of their daily activities, moods, and physical interactions revealed a causal link between emotional states, conflicts, and the number of hugs a person gave or received.

"Results indicated that there was an interaction between hug receipt and conflict exposure such that receiving a hug was associated with a smaller conflict-related decrease in positive affect and a smaller conflict-related increase in negative affect when assessed concurrently," the study reads. In plainer English, hugging helped people feel less poorly after some kind of conflict or negative event during their day.

"This effect was seen across all genders and ages in the study, although women reported more hugs than men. Our results are consistent with the conclusion that both men and women may benefit equally from being hugged on days when conflict occurs," the study found.

It did not seem to matter if the huggers were in a romantic relationship at the time of a hug, the mood-related benefits still stood. The study was authored by Michael Murphy, a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.

In the study, he says the research could be improved upon by pinpointing exactly what kind of social relationships were involved in a hug, such as a stranger or someone you were arguing with as opposed to a lover or an a embrace from mom. "The lack of specificity regarding from whom individuals received hugs also restricted our ability to identify whether hugs from specific types of social partners were more effective than those from others," Murphy wrote.

Pizza Tip

A large pizza is almost always a better deal than two mediums. When you increase the width of your pizza it actually adds to the total size exponentially. For example, a 16-inch large might seem twice as big as an 8 inch small, but it is actually four times as much pizza. A 12 inch pizza is 2.3 times as much as an 8 inch. Also, a single 18-inch pizza is better than ordering two 12-inch pizzas. (A 16 inch is not larger than two 12 inch pizzas.)

For the mathematically inclined, Area of two 12” pizzas: 12/2 = 6   6×6=36   36xπ = 113.1 in² x 2 = 226.2 in². Area of one 18” pizza: 18/2=9   9×9=81   81xπ = 254.5 in². Did you notice we use pi to measure pie?
It is also be the same if it was square. Two 12in square pizzas = 288 square inches, one 18in square pizza = 324 square inches.

A study of nearly 4,000 pizzerias confirms: if you buy based on price-per-square-inch, the large is always a better deal. There is even a web site that will do a pizza size calculation for you LINK .

Incidentally, number of slices does not matter, it is volume of pizza.

Interesting Drink Phobias

Cenosillicaphobia fear of an empty glass. Sufferers experience fear of seeing an empty glass, it may be a beer glass, a wine glass, or a cocktail glass.

Methyphobia is a psychological condition is also known as Potophobia, often described as a fear of loss control when drinking alcohol. Methyphobic people may be either afraid of losing control after drinking alcohol or they may avoid (because of the fear) the company of people who consume alcohol.

Oenomania is also known as oinomania and enomania, is a mania for wine. Although it is not a phobia, it may create similar psychological negative effects on the person because of the morbid and often not controlled desire for wine.

Oenophobia is also known as enophobia or oinophobia. Oenophobia is a psychological condition where the sufferer has an intense dislike or hatred for wine. The most common reason why oenophobes fear wine is because wine contains alcohol that is considered a toxin and this toxin causes effects that are unpleasant and scary for the person who drinks it and for the person who witness others drinking it. Similar to methyphobic people, oenophobes avoid people who drink wine and they do not drink wine themselves.

Zythophobia is a very similar phobia to oenophobia. In this case, beer is a reason for fear. It is considered to be a branch of methophobia. People suffering from this phobia are afraid of others who drink beer. They avoid parties and gathering where beer can be present in order to protect themselves from acts of rudeness. Zythophobes may as well fear yeasts that are present in beer. This type of zythophobia may lead to a fear of taking live yeast into the body that may lead to unpleasant effects.

What's in a Name, WiFi

Finally the tech industry does something to make our life easier. Instead of the current WiFi being called 802.11ac, it will soon be called WiFi 5, because it is the fifth version.

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)
Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (2019)

Instead of wondering whether “ac” is better than “n” you will be able to look at the number. WiFi 5 is higher than WiFi 4, so it is newer. WiFi networks have always worked together, so WiFi 5 devices should be backward compatible and connect with WiFi 4 devices.

Because the WiFi Alliance represents just about every major company that makes any kind of product with WiFi in it, its actions usually reflect what the industry wants. So presumably, tech companies agree with the branding change and will start to advertise it this way.

The WiFi Alliance even wants to see this branding go beyond hardware. So in the future when you connect to a WiFi network on your phone or laptop, your device will tell you what WiFi version you are connected to, so if two networks are available, one showing “4” and the other “5” you can choose the newer option.

Tips to Cheer up

Smile more
Take a walk
Stand up and sit up straight
Do a small good deed - feed someone's meter, or pay the toll or coffee shop bill of the person behind you.
Say thanks - For an instant brightener, think of something or someone you are thankful for.
Take a few deep breaths
Think of or play on of your favorite songs.
I know you already feel better just reading the list.

Oct 5, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is like the icing on life's cake.

Smiles increase the sweetness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy World Smile Day and More

It is celebrated each year on the first Friday in October. Did you notice smile day is always celebrated on a Happy Friday. Do it! Smile. You will make yourself and all around you happier.
Also October 5 is Rocky Mountain Oyster Day (bull testicles) and Apple Betty Day (also known as apple pan dowdy and apple crisp). Amarillo, Texas, Vinita, Oklahoma, and other cities annually claim to have the World’s Largest Calf Fry Cook-Off, where cooks compete in the art of frying bull testicles. A busy day to make us all smile and be glad we are not bulls.

Tomorrow, October 6 is German American Day. It commemorates the founding of Germantown, Pa. in 1683. The holiday celebrates America's largest ethnic group, with 50 million people of German heritage.

National Emergency Nurses Day

It is celebrated October 10. These are special people. The best thing you can do is hug a nurse and tell him or her thanks.

Bacon Spam

To many, especially Hawaiians it does not seem possible to make Spam any better. Most agree it takes a lot to make spam taste better. Hormel has done it. Brand owner Hormel Foods has 16 varieties of this iconic canned meat, including Spam with Real Hormel Bacon.

Eight Healthy Banana Facts

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One medium banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium, or about 12 percent of your daily value of the mineral, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Bananas help keep you hydrated by helping regulate the balance of fluids in your body, especially the electrolytes you lose, like sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium after a sweaty workout.

One medium banana has 3 grams of filling fiber (about 10 percent of your daily intake).

Bananas are the perfect pre-workout fuel. Research suggests that bananas have unique compounds that can enhance athletic performance and they may help boost post-workout recovery.

One of the best reasons to eat bananas is the naturally sweet taste and soft texture that makes them an ideal ingredient in many baked goods. You can’t sub in bananas for sugar in every recipe, but you can look for recipes that have already done that work for you.

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and contain nearly one third of your daily value, which is important for brain development during pregnancy and enzyme reactions involved in metabolism.

Bananas contain a type of fiber called resistant starch, which seems to help people eat fewer calories and manage their appetite.

Wordology, Quents

Did you know the opposite of eloquent is pauciloquent "Uttering few words; brief in speech."

More '-quents':
falsiloquence - deceitful speech
flexiloquent - speaking ambiguously or using words of doubtful meaning
inaniloquent - prone to foolish or empty babbling
mendaciloquence - lying speech

Also good to know: sialoquent - spitting greatly while speaking.

What's in a Name, India Pale Ale

The term pale ale originally denoted an ale that had been brewed from pale malt. The pale ales of the early 18th century were lightly hopped and quite different from today's pale ales. By the mid-18th century, pale ale was mostly brewed with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and hence produced a paler beer. One such variety of beer was October beer, a pale, well-hopped brew popular among the landed classes, who brewed it domestically; once brewed it was intended to cellar for two years.

IPA stands for India Pale Ale, a hoppy style of beer within the pale ale category. Double IPAs are a much hoppier style of IPAs with alcohol content above 7.5 percent by volume. The India pale ale name is a result of its popularity with British troops stationed in India in the 19th century, when the subcontinent was still a British colony.

YouTube Keyboard Shortcuts

The YouTube video and window must be active for the following to work.
Play and pause a video - Press the spacebar or the 'k' key on your keyboard. Holding down either of these keys also plays the video in slow motion.
Jump to start of a video - Press the 0 (zero) or home key on your keyboard.
Jump to the end of a video or go to the next video - Press the end key on your keyboard. If you are playing a playlist, it goes to the next video in the playlist.
Fast forward or rewind - Press the left or right arrow keys. If you need to jump more than five seconds hold down the Ctrl key and press the arrow key for the direction you want to jump in ten second increments.

Skip to video sections - Pressing the number keys from 1 to 9 jumps to that percentage of the video, one jumps to 10%, etc.

Make the video full-screen or normal - Press 'f' on the keyboard. Pressing Esc exits full-screen mode.

Turn up and down the volume - Press the up or down arrow keys. Pressing 'm' on the keyboard also mutes and unmutes the volume.

What is BMI

BMI is the two-digit number that medical professionals use to determine how expansive your butt is. Anything higher than 30 means you are obese. BMI is a simple formula calculated based on height and weight.

It was created by the World Health Organization's International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). During 1997, following two years of study, the IOTF lowered the "overweight" cutoff to 25 from its previous value of 27. As a general rule, anyone attempting to define a human being in two digits leaves much to be desired.

A new study finds that about 54 million Americans who are labeled as obese or overweight according to their body mass index are actually healthy.
Body mass index is calculated by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a "healthy" BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, an overweight BMI is 25 to 29.9 and an obese BMI is 30 or higher. Over time, researchers have begun to suspect that people with so-called healthy BMIs can be very unhealthy and those with high BMIs can actually be in very good shape. According to his BMI, 34.3, the Dwayne The Rock Johnson is obese.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently proposed rules that would allow employers to penalize employees for up to 30% of their health insurance costs if they do not meet 24 health criteria, which include meeting a specific BMI. If BMI does not accurately reflect health, then those with high numbers potentially could be overcharged for no reason.
To find out whether BMI correlated with actual markers of health, a team of UCLA researchers analyzed data from 40,420 individuals who participated in the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They looked at individuals' blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, insulin resistance and C-reactive protein data — markers that are linked to heart disease and inflammation, among other issues.
They found that 47.4%, of overweight people and 29% of obese people were, from a metabolic standpoint, quite healthy. They also found more than 30% of individuals with "normal" weights were metabolically unhealthy.

Their results showed that using BMI as the primary indicator of health means that 74.9 million adults in the United States are being mis-categorized as healthy or unhealthy. That includes the 34.4 million people who are considered overweight and the 19.8 million people considered obese, according to BMI.

Alexa Marriage Tips

Say, "Alexa remember our anniversary is June 10." Anytime you ask when your anniversary is, Alexa will reply, "Your anniversary is June 10."

Say, "Alexa, remember Sue’s birthday is June 15." Alexa will reply: ‘Okay, I’ll remember Sue’s birthday is June 15.’ When you ask, “Alexa, when is Sue’s birthday?” the response will be, “Sue’s birthday is June 15.”

To make either or both more special say, "Alexa set reminder for our anniversary or birthday (date and time a few days before event) so you have time to get flowers. You are welcome.

Sep 28, 2018

Happy Friday

You do not need to speak of your happiness, a smile will suffice.

I like to show my happiness with a smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

More Benefits of Laughing

Some gelotology (study of laughing) findings have shown laughter produces some of the same positive effects as exercise. In fact, laughing intensely for an hour can burn as many calories as lifting weights for 30 minutes.
Researchers had 300 volunteers watch clips from either a stressful movie “Saving Private Ryan” or a comedy “There’s Something About Mary”. In addition to the difference in audible laughs, results showed a 30 to 40 percent increase in diameter of the heart’s blood vessels during funny scenes compared to tense ones. Those changes to blood vessel dilation are similar to what happens during exercise

Laughing exercises several muscles in the body, including the abdomen, back, shoulders, and 15 facial muscles. In another recent study at Oxford University, scientists tested the correlation between laughter and decreased pain threshold on a group of volunteer subjects.  Researchers demonstrated that pain thresholds of volunteers would increase after watching comedic videos, but not after viewing boring documentaries.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps to release anger and be more forgiving.

The ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone abs. When laughing, the stomach muscles expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs.

Laughter is also a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace.

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. Laughing releases endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel better.

Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. Laugh and live longer. . . and happier.

Another California Law

The Californian politicians in power have found a new way to spend tax dollars on enforcement - A new state bill would give children two options with their meals at restaurants, water or milk "to make the default beverage water, sparkling water, or flavored water, as specified, or unflavored milk or a nondairy milk alternative, as specified". Senate Bill 1192 makes water or milk the default drink for kids meals in a push "to reduce obesity and reduce access to sugary drinks for children".
"A person who violates any provision of the code is guilty of a misdemeanor with each offense punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not exceeding 6 months, or by both that fine and imprisonment." Under the bill, the 2nd and 3rd violations within five years would be punishable by fines of not more than $250 and $500, respectively.
One of the reasons given is paragraph (f) "By enacting this act, it is the intent of the Legislature to support parents’ efforts to feed their children nutritiously by ensuring healthy beverages are the default options in children’s meals in restaurants."

The bill passed the Assembly and signed by Jerry Brown September 20, 2018. California, not surprisingly the first state in the nation to have such a law. Oh, and whatever they drink, they will not be using a plastic straw, because another recently approved Assembly Bill 1884 “prohibits dine-in restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws” to customers. 

Presidential Alert System

Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2016 requiring FEMA to create a system that lets US presidents send cellphone alerts regarding public safety issues like natural disasters and terrorism.

US cellphone users will not be able to opt out of the alert system. The test message on Thursday, Oct 3, 2018 is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. EDT and will read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

What's in a Name, Cocktail

There are almost as many stories about the origination of the word cocktail relating to drinks as there are types of cocktail. Most concede that the word is of US origin.

A computerized newspaper database showed up an 1803 article from New Hampshire satirizing the fast young men of its day by printing what was purportedly an extract from one of their diaries - "Drank a glass of cocktail—excellent for the head...Call'd at the Doct's, found Burnham—he looked very wise—drank another glass of cocktail."

On May 13, 1806, the Balance and Colombian Repository of Hudson, New York, answered a reader’s query as to the nature of a cocktail: "Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else."

In one of James Fenimore Cooper's more obscure novels the salty Elizabeth “Betty” Flanagan keeps a rough tavern, and Cooper characterizes her as “the inventor of that beverage which is so well known at the present hour 1821, to all the patriots who make a winter's march between New York City and Albany, and which is distinguished by the name of ‘cock-tail."

Another theory as to the origin, is ginger was used in the horse trade to make a horse stick its tail up. If you had an old horse you were trying to sell, you would put some ginger up its butt, and it would cock its tail up and be frisky. That was known as “cock-tail.”

Battery Cost

Here is the cost and value of various batteries.

Pigs vs. Hogs

Pigs generally weigh less than 200 pounds, while hogs are 200-plus pounds.

Bacon Capsules and Bacon Cotton Candy

Mary Poppins said a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, but now we have bacon flavored capsules to make the medicine go down even better. Capsule Depot, based in Ontario, Canada, describes itself as the world's largest online supplier of empty capsules. These are bought wholesale by health-related businesses, are filled with some kind of medicine or nutritional supplement, and end up at your local pharmacy or nutrition store. Among other varieties, it makes Capsule Depot Bacon Flavored Capsules.

Cotton candy is basically threads of spun caramelized sugar, so light that when it was invented in the late 1800s, it was called "fairy floss". The Iowa-based confectionery Chocolate Storybook creates more than 50 flavors for it, including
Chocolate Storybook Bacon Cotton Candy.

Wordology, Crocodile Tears

This expression is not used much these days, but it is interesting to know the history. It means tears or expressions of sorrow that are insincere.

It originated from a 14th century, a book called “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville” where the author recounts a knight’s adventures through Asia. In the book it says that crocodiles shed tears while eating a man they captured. Even though it is factually inaccurate, the phrase ‘crocodile tears’ found its way into Shakespeare’s work and became an idiom in the 16th century, symbolizing insincere grief.

Sep 21, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness does not require validation.

Being happy is its own validation, especially on a Happy Friday!

Autumn, Fall

Yikes, tomorrow September 22 at exactly 9:54 P.M. EDT is the first day of Fall (as in fall of the leaf) in the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is also the season that comes between summer and winter. Fall is the common American and Canadian term for Autumn. Before both of those terms, it was called Harvest.

Incidentally, September 1 is the beginning of Spring in Australia and New Zealand.

Another History Lesson

The Brooklyn Bridge was being built during 'Custer’s Last Stand” at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. It took place at the same time that the world's first steel wire suspension bridge, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, was under construction.

The battle was fought between forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the United States Army. The defeat of US forces, led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

The Brooklyn Bridge still stands proud, having undergone major renovation works between 2011-2015, and carries roughly 150,000 vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians between Manhattan and Brooklyn each day.

What's in a Name, Pink Floyd

The name Pink Floyd came from their original front man, Syd Barrett. Barrett was a big fan of blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, so he took one name from each of them and combined them into one name for the band. Early on in their career, with little budget Pink Floyd would create visual effects for their live shows in a number of cheap, but effective ways. One of these ways was to cover their lights with colored condoms.

White Meat vs. Dark Meat

The differences in color between white meat and dark meat reflect the fact that different cuts of chicken or turkey meat come from different types of muscle.

Dark meat cuts, such as the thighs and drumsticks come from frequently-used muscles needed for walking and standing. These muscles use more oxygen and contain more fat and iron. The iron in the muscles is located in a protein called myoglobin. The myoglobin gives dark meat its darker color.

White meat cuts, such as the breast, breast tenders, and wings, come from muscles that are used less frequently. These muscles primarily use a carbohydrate called glycogen for energy, and they do not need as much oxygen. There is less iron and myoglobin in these muscles, so the meat is lighter in color.

Experts note that there are also slight differences between white meat and dark meat in nutritional value. All chicken contains valuable protein, niacin, biotin, and vitamins B6 and B12, but dark meat tends to be slightly higher in calories due to the fact that it contains more fat. The extra fat in dark meat also gives it a stronger flavor and makes it juicier.

MJ Overdose - NOT

Marijuana is impossible to overdose on. The median lethal dose (LD50) of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is so high and the methods of intake so dilute that it would take impossible feats to have it occur.

While there are a couple of different and conflicting sources, one estimate placed it at 40,000 times as much as the dose needed to get high. For instance, with cannabis brownies you would die of sugar poisoning long before the THC got you. With smoking, you would need to smoke about 1,500 pounds in a duration of 15 minutes. This is contrasted with alcohol, where five to ten times the amounted needed to get you drunk can kill you.

Wordology, Toast

The word toast derives from the Latin word 'tostare' (to scorch or roast). From Classical times it was common to flavor wine by floating small pieces of toasted bread in it. Sometimes these pieces would be flavored with spices; at other times the carbon in the toast would mellow the wine.

The following guidelines apply specifically to toasting in Canada and the United States.  Most people will lightly touch glasses when giving a toast, often saying "toast", "cheers" or a short phrase such as "to us". Toasting by raising the glass without touching is regarded by some as a slightly more sophisticated mode of behavior.

Except during formal occasions, it is not common to "propose a toast" in the more formal sense. However, when someone does make such a gesture, it is almost invariably met with approval regardless of the setting or the occasion.
If someone wants to propose another, this second toast should have a different focus than the first and be briefer than the first so as not upstage it. Subsequent toasts, if any, should even more succinct.

Americans and Canadians typically toast only once per gathering. Even lifting one's glass and saying "cheers" each time a new drink is poured is not impolite, but can get tedious.

Smart Devices Vulnerability

If you have smart home devices on your home WiFi network, such as light bulbs, security cameras, connected thermostat, etc., they might be vulnerable to hacking.

Here is a quick way to check if any of your devices can be found on the internet. Click on the link and it will check if your devices might be vulnerable. Not perfect, but it can provide an early warning. You can use it each time you add a new device. LINK

More Coffee Benefits

A review that combined the results of nine studies found that drinking more coffee is associated with lower risk of cirrhosis. In the review, drinking one cup of coffee per day was shown to be linked with a 22% reduced risk for cirrhosis, a liver disease. Two daily cups were associated with a 43% reduced risk, three cups with 57% reduced risk, and four cups with 65% reduced risk.

A review of more than 200 studies found that people who drank three or four cups of coffee per day were 19% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

One large review of studies found that every additional cup of coffee a person drinks per day was correlated with a 7% reduced risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

A meta-analysis of studies about coffee intake and brain health calculated that regular coffee drinkers were approximately 16% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's, dementia, or cognitive decline.

A large study of more than 500,000 European people found that during a 16-year period, men who drank three or more cups per day were 12% less likely, and women who did the same were 7% less likely to die from circulatory and digestive diseases and had healthier livers.


Photos are commonly saved as JPG or JPEG. It is good to save your photograph as JPG for altered colors, gradients, and textures. JPG loses a bit of clarity each time it is copied, due to compression, but is usually not noticeable.

Graphics and screenshots should be saved as PNG if the image contains pointed lines, clearly unconnected areas of flat colors and text. File compression for a PNG is lossless. Lossless compression retains all of the data contained in the file, within the file, during the process. This is important when you have images that are still in the editing process. PNGs are often used if size is not a concern and the picture is complicated because a PNG file holds more information than a JPG. Bottom line,
JPG for Photos, PNG for Graphics.

Incidentally, JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the standard. PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics.

Sep 14, 2018

Happy Friday

Smile at fear and it will disappear.

I always smile, especially on a Happy Friday! 

Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Last week, September 7 was the birthday of Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley), an American music icon. It is a great surprise that had only one number one hit, “That’ll Be The Day,” on the American charts, although he had many songs that became classics. Sadly he had a short career and died at age 22. Here is a look at Buddy and the Crickets singing their hit song on the Ed Sullivan Show. LINK

When he started out, he wore nondescript plastic and wire-framed glasses, but his eye doctor convinced him to switch to horn-rimmed models. The style name came from the fact that the original glasses were made from animal horns. Sometimes they were made from tortoise shells. Holly's and almost all are now made from thick plastic. Interesting to note you can still buy Buddy Holly glasses on Amazon and many other places.

Wordology, Tarriff

Basically, a tariff is a tax levied by governments to control the flow of products across borders and making foreign manufacturers’ products more expensive. The purpose is to increase demand for domestic products while reducing the volume of imports. Tariff charges can be fixed price or a percentage of the transaction price.

In the United States tariffs, also called duties or levies are collected by Customs and Border Protection agents at 328 ports of entry across the country.

Importers pay more for products by paying the tax on top of the product cost. They pass along the increased costs to businesses, which pass along the higher costs to shoppers.

Because a tariff is a tax, the government receives increased revenue as imports enter the domestic market. Domestic industries also benefit from a reduction in competition, since import prices are artificially inflated.

Organic and Cancer

There is a popular belief, helped by bloggers with dubious expertise, that organic food and certain other foods have “anti-cancer” properties. However, Michelle McCully, the head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, one of the world’s leading authorities on diet and cancer, says, “There is currently no strong evidence to support the idea that organic foods offer added protection against cancer compared to conventionally grown produce.” So, once again folks - there is no silver bullet.

Rungrado Stadium

The DPRK (North Korea) is home to the biggest stadium in the world in terms of seating capacity. May Day Stadium, is a massive structure built in 1989 and remodeled in 2014. The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium (also known as May Day Stadium) has a total capacity of 150,000 people. It dwarfs the next largest stadium, which is Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium, which accommodates 107,600 people.

It hosts some soccer matches and general athletic competitions. May Day's grandest and most elaborate events are the annual Mass Games (known in Korean as Arirang). They pay tribute to the country's history, founders, and current leaders through gymnastics and dance performances put on by thousands of participants. The Arirang Festival is held each August and September and celebrates North Korean history, culture, and achievements.