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.

Superman Ice Cream

Superman ice cream is believed to have originated in the Michigan-based ice cream shop Stroh's, though the exact origin remains elusive. Another Michigan dairy, House of Flavors in Ludington, MI makes its Superman ice cream with Blue Moon, cherry, and lemon ice creams. The flavor has been spotted in other Midwest locales, such as Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

The exact combination varies from location to location, typically with vanilla, Blue Moon, and some other variety of ice cream included. The Stroh's Ice Cream version has Blue Moon, red pop, and lemon ice creams, while other versions such as those by the Meijer store brand "Scooperman" and the Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream Company "SuperScoop" versions of Superman ice cream are a mixture of vanilla, Blue Moon, and black cherry ice creams.

Scooper's Ice Cream Treats in Stratford, Ontario, Canada sells a similar blue, red, and yellow variety but calls it "Super Hero" ice cream. Laura Secord Chocolates also sells a similar variety of ice cream, called "SuperKid," made with banana, blueberry, and strawberry flavors. They all taste super.

Women on Money

During 1886 the first woman to appear on U.S. currency, was Martha Washington (first president George's wife). She was featured on the $1 silver certificate. A slightly re-designed Martha also was produced in 1891. Her likeness appeared on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891, and the back of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896.

Her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis died in 1757. She married George two years later and raised her two children from Custis as their own. Her inheritance from first husband made her extremely wealthy.


Newly redesigned bills with a woman on the front were to be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the right of women to vote. However, the release dates for all the new notes could be pushed back further due to redesign to fight counterfeiting.

Incidentally,
the only portrait required by law is that of George Washington on the $1 bill. A $1 bill lasts about 18 months; $5 bill, two years; $10 bill, four years; $20 bill, four years; and $50 and $100 bills, nine years.

What's in a Name, Scunthorpe Problem

A writer for SB Nation named Natalie Weiner posted a screenshot of a rejection form she received when she tried to sign up for a website. Her submission was rejected because a spam algorithm considered her last name "offensive." After she posted about this, hundreds of other people with similarly "offensive" last names sounded off about how they had experienced similar issues.

This phenomenon is so widespread that it has a name among computer scientists. It is called the Scunthorpe problem and it has been a scourge of the internet since the beginning. The name began after
an incident in 1996 when AOL's dirty-word filter prevented residents of several English towns and counties, among them Scunthorpe, Penistone, Lightwater and Middlesex — from creating accounts with AOL because it matched strings within the town names to "banned" words. If you look close, you will find the letters that seemingly make up the words.

One reason the problem has yet to be solved is because creating effective obscenity filters depends on the filter's ability to understand a word in context. Despite advances in artificial intelligence, this is something that even the most advanced machine-learning algorithms still struggle with. Ah, English is an amazing language that computers still cannot decipher.

History Lesson

Orville Wright was still alive when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed during 1945.

The Wright brothers are credited with inventing what we know as airplanes, and it must have been tremendously difficult for Orville Wright, whose brother Wilbur died in 1912, to see his life's great achievement be responsible for the greatest single act of destruction man had ever seen. During 1945, US Air Force planes dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 129,000 people.

Orville died in 1948 and expressed sadness in an interview about the death and destruction brought about by the bombers of World War II. He said, "We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the earth. But we were wrong ... No, I don't have any regrets about my part in the invention of the airplane, though no one could deplore more than I do the destruction it has caused. I feel about the airplane much the same as I do in regard to fire. That is, I regret all the terrible damage caused by fire, but I think it is good for the human race that someone discovered how to start fires and that we have learned how to put fire to thousands of important uses."

Sep 7, 2018

Happy Friday

Not smiling is like keeping the combination to a safe locked inside it.

I try to always smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Roget

Almost all of us have heard of Roget's Thesaurus (a dictionary of synonyms). Roget was a British physician, natural theologian and lexicographer, best known for publishing, the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, a classified collection of related words in 1852, twelve years after he retired. He is also responsible for the invention of the slide rule, which allows a person to perform exponential and root calculations. In addition, he was a founder of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It published information to people who were unable to obtain formal teaching or who preferred self-education. The Thesaurus is continually updated and still in print.

Eating Pork Medium

National Pork Board is here to change those hearts and minds. During the 1930s and 1940s, trichinosis was a food safety factor, but that has been long gone from the food system.


The Board recommends cooking pork loins and chops to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a pink-centered medium rare, followed by a 3-minute rest before serving. This was not always the case: Prior to 2011, the typical recommendation was 15 degrees higher. (Ground pork should still be cooked to 160.)

“Meat generally continues to cook even after it’s removed from a heat source so this just acknowledges that,” Kevin Waetke, vice president of strategic communication for the National Pork Board. The food service industry has been following this new pork cooking standard for almost ten years.

Still More Google Tips

Quick translate is good for menus or short phrases
Type: “translate [words] [language]”. Examples:


translate read carefully french
translate coq au vin english
translate good afternoon spanish

Another tip, great if you are not sure of your company and want to be disturbed.

Type: “set timer to [time]”. Example: “set timer to 5 minutes”
Type: “set timer for [time]”. Example: “set timer for 19:00”

Boiling Lobster

Lobster Pain Followup - As a followup to a post of mine LINK to my blog. It seems there is some disagreement about Lobsters feeling pain.

A Switzerland law went into effect March 1, 2018 that bans the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water, quickly killing the tasty crustacean. That practice is outlawed because the Swiss say it is cruel and lobsters can sense pain.

The first national legislation of its kind in the world calls for a more humane death for lobsters, by “rendering them unconscious” before plunging them into scalding water. Two methods are recommended: Electrocution or sedating the lobster by dipping it into salt water and then thrusting a knife into its brain.

The new lobster legislation that boils down to a pain-free death was driven by research, including a study by Queen’s University in Belfast that found crustaceans are sentient creatures. “These studies show that lobsters, like other animals, experience pain and distress,” said Stefan Kunfermann, a spokesman for the Federal Office of Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs.

Wind Power

Wind power constituted 25 percent of all US generation capacity additions during 2017. Wind energy contributed 6.3 percent of the nation's electricity supply, more than 10 percent of total electricity generation in 14 states, and more than 30 percent in four of those states (Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota).

Lower installed project costs, along with improvements in capacity factors, are enabling aggressive wind power pricing from 7 cents per kWh in 2009 to around 2 cents per kWh during 2017.

Blunts vs. Joints vs. Spliffs

Blunts and joints only contain cannabis, but blunts are rolled with tobacco paper whereas joints are rolled with lighter, partially translucent papers. Blunts are generally considered to be the heaviest hitters due to the interaction between the tobacco paper and cannabis. Joints often include a paper filter known as a crutch, which adds stability to the roll and allows you to enjoy your joint without burning your fingertips.

Spliffs are essentially hybrids, part tobacco and part cannabis. They are rolled in the same paper spectrum as joints and also often include a crutch. Tobacco provides an initial head rush and energetic physical buzz similar to coffee, which precedes the effects of cannabis. This sensation is most notable in spliffs because of the loose tobacco presence.

Paper choice is important, impacting the product’s size, flavor, and burn rate. You can use loose papers to roll joints and can use both loose papers and pre-rolls to make spliffs.

In Europe the names are reversed: a joint refers to a roll with cannabis and tobacco and a spliff refers to rolled cannabis exclusively. This is because a “joint” is a combination of two items instead of just one. Puff well my friends.

Wordology, Arachibutyrophobia

It is the fear of getting peanut butter thuck to the roof of your mouth.

New Technology

Last week the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin or International radio exhibition Berlin), Europe's largest technology show opened. It ran Aug 31 to September 5, 2018. Some of the new stuff included the usual tech items, including ear buds, speakers, smart watches, smart phones and smart phone watches, laptops, new computer chips, etc.

Lenovo introduced a laptop convertible that has a speaker built in to its hinge, so the sound comes out directly at you vs. on the bottom or back as current PCs have them placed.

There were some smart appliances, including a fridge with a built-in vacuum sealer and another with built in lazy Susan. Also shown were smart dishwashers, cook tops, and smart vacuums. Difficult to go through the entire list as there were a few thousand exhibitors showing their wares to a few hundred thousand attendees.

If you have yet to buy a 4K TV, you may pass a whole generation in technology as 8K TVs were everywhere at the show and here are a few - LG 88 inch, Samsung 4 - 65 inch smallest, one is 88 inch, Sharp 60, 70, and 80 inch, TCL from 65, 70 and 75 inch, Toshiba 65 inch. Many are already or will be available as soon as this month.

Many experts say the smallest TV for 4K should be 65 inches to get the best appreciation for being able to notice the picture quality. Interesting to note that Japan starts 8K broadcasts in December 2018. No word from Netflix or Amazon about when 8K movies or shows will be produced.

Best of show winner was the LG 8K OLED TV (price about $25,000 US). Best smartphone: Sony Xperia XZ3 smartphone, best TV: Samsung 8K TV, best in home theater: Harman Kardon Citation speakers, best smart speaker: Huawei AI Cube, best headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3, best wearable tech: Garmin Vivosmart 4.

Aug 31, 2018

Happy Friday

Wear happiness draped with a smile and the world is yours.

I love to dress well, especially on a Happy Friday!

International Bacon Day

Yea, it is almost here again. The celebrations are held each year on the Saturday before Labor Day in the United States. That is tomorrow folks, enjoy some bacon and do not forget to save the grease for cooking other things, like popcorn, eggs, and more to tantalize your taste buds.

Lost Phone or Emergency Contact

Here are two options for a lost phone or emergency situations that may prove useful. Both options allow someone who has found your lost phone or found you in need of emergency help. The first is for medical emergency and requires a free app from the Google app store.
This app is used for emergency if you cannot use the phone, or if it is lost. It puts a little icon on the lock screen to get at the information you provide, including an emergency call number. LINK


The second is built into Android phones and requires no app. It shows a scrolling name and number of your choice on the lock screen, but still preserves that the person cannot get past the lock screen and into your phone. It only shows information you desire, but has no medical information. Go to "Settings" then "device", then look for "Lock Screen," "Security" and/or "Owner Info" (depending on phone version).  You can add any contact info you want a person to call for emergency or lost phone (other than your own cell number). It will scroll across the lock screen and preserve that the person cannot get into your other information, but can still contact someone to tell them the emergency, or the fact that they found your phone.

Union Membership Decline

The overall rate of union membership was 10.7% during 2017, compared with 20.1% in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2017, 6.5% of private-sector workers belonged to a union, while 34.4% of public-sector workers were members.

Eight DARPA Facts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is sixty years old as of 2018. Below are some favorite DARPA facts.

  1. The original sketch of ARPANET fits on a napkin.
  2. In August 1962, J.C.R Licklider published a paper titled “On-Line Man Computer Communication,” which detailed a connected global network. Less than two months later, Licklider was appointed as director of the new Information Processing Techniques Office, or IPTO at ARPA, as it was called back then. His brief was to create a network to connect Department of Defense computers at three isolated locations.
  3. By the end of the decade, the first host-to-host connection between computers on the new Arpanet was established at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 29. 1969, creating the world’s first fully operational packet-switching network. By December, a four-node network was up and running.
  4. The first email was sent across it in 1972.
  5. In the summer of 1979, a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, funded by DARPA, demonstrated the interactive Aspen Movie Map on videodisc. The map let users travel through the city of Aspen, Colorado, virtually. Additionally, the map included the ability to view how historic buildings looked like in the past. (Think Google maps.)
  6. The voice-recognition system embedded in many smartphones was born out of DARPA research. DARPA has been researching the concept of voice recognition combined with artificial intelligence since 2003. The goal of the research is to provide translation of foreign languages by service members deployed to foreign countries.
  7. Nearly every automaker now offers a self-driving car and it all started with a contest held by DARPA in 2004. Anyone could enter. Their vehicle must be self-driven. The fastest vehicle to make it safely through 300 miles of desert wins a $1 million prize.
  8. As part of its Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO program, DARPA developed a .50-caliber ammunition that can maneuver in flight. A bullet that can change direction after it has been fired from a weapon. It uses a “real-time optical guidance system” that tracks and directs the bullets to intended targets, ensuring the high accuracy rate of snipers regardless of external factors that could affect the trajectory of the bullet, such as weather or target movement.

Charcoal and Odors

Charcoal is an excellent odor absorbent and all you have to do is rip the bag open a bit and set it in your pantry. You can use charcoal in your other cabinets, too. Just place a piece of two inside in the back and change it out every few months. If you have a plastic container that smells like onions or garlic, pop a piece of charcoal in it overnight with the lid on it and it will smell better by morning.

Web Cam History

At the beginning of the nineties, the world wide web had no search engines, no social networking sites, and no webcam. Scientists at the University of Cambridge were addicted to caffeine, but the coffee pot was stationed in the main computer lab and many of the researchers worked in different labs and on different floors.

They came up with a solution; set up a camera to grab images three times a minute, and they wrote software to run the images from the camera on their entire internal computer network. During 1993 the program made it to the World Wide Web and millions of tech enthusiasts from around the world began accessing images of the now famous coffee pot.

Junk Paper Mail Opt Out

We receive too many unsolicited paper mail ads in our mailbox and it contributes to landfill pollution. Below are a few ways to opt out of the paper mess. Some take from a few days to a few weeks to opt out, but be patient and your mail box glut should diminish. In addition, you can check my blog for a few more of my opt out ideas LINK.

Catalogue and publishing companies share consumer information via Abacus. Send an email to its parent company at optout@epsilon.com. Put “remove” in the subject line and your name and address in the body of the email. Be sure to include your name as it appears on the bulk mail you receive. If your middle initial is on there, use it. If your name is misspelled, include that.

Here are a few more opt-out pages:

- Money Mailer sends big red, white and blue envelopes. If you do not want them, email your name and address to ListContactManager@moneymailer.com.
- RedPlum asks that you fill out a form on its website to put a stop to its mailings: redplum.com/tools/direct-mail-preferences.
- Valpak also offers an online opt-out form: valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression.
- Yellow Pages books opt out: yellowpagesoptout.com.

- Credit card and insurance offers 5 years opt out, if you use online form or permanent if you wish to use paper to mail in your signature. It is endorsed by Equifax, Innovis, Xperion, and TransUnion.: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/

JPG vs. PNG

It is best to save photographs as JPG or JPEG - for altered colors, gradients and textures. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group that created the standard. JPG loses a bit of clarity each time it is copied, due to compression.

Graphics and screenshots are best saved as PNG. PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, which is a bitmap image format that uses lossless data compression. If it has pointed lines, clearly unconnected areas of flat colors and text, PNG is best. File compression for a PNG is lossless, which keeps all of the data contained in the file, within the file, during the process. Lossless compression is necessary 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 additional information than a JPG.
Basic Rule: JPG for Photos, PNG for Graphics.

More Google Facts

If an employee of Google dies, the company mandates that the employees’ spouse receives half the former employees’ salary for the next ten years as well as stock benefits. If the employee has any children, they will each receive $1,000 per month until they turn 19.

In addition to street view cars, images have also been captured by attaching a camera to individual people, a tricycle, and even a camel. The camel cam was attached to a ten year old dromedary named Raffia, who captured images across the Liwa desert in the United Arab Emirates.

Aug 24, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is a fire that cleanses our souls.
Today is the day to come clean and celebrate a Happy Friday!

Other Uses for Coffee

Coffee is a spice that brings rich, deep, and earthy flavors to food. You will mostly find it on red meats and desserts to add an espresso-like taste.

Coffee can be added to a marinade for roast meat, braising liquid for beef short ribs, barbecue sauce for grilled chicken, a sauce for fried eggs, or a pancake topper. You can even mix it with your favorite spices to create a dry rub for burgers, spice-crusted pork, or lamb.

Coffee is a secret ingredient in some of the very best chocolate cakes and desserts. When used in a small amount, coffee enhances the chocolate.

Coffee rub: One rounded tablespoon freshly ground coffee two teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar 1.5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger.

Old coffee grounds end up in a landfill, so it is better to use them in your garden and compost pile. Using coffee grounds in your garden also helps to add nitrogen to your compost pile. You can throw the grounds into your compost pile, or they can be used as a fertilizer. Using grounds as a fertilizer adds an organic material to your soil, which improves drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil. Coffee grounds can even repel slugs and snails in the garden. Worms love coffee grounds and worms are great for your garden soil.

Make-Goods and Upfronts

Make-Goods are ads which were paid for, but not used. For instance, a company paid millions to run an ad during a TV show, with the promise that it would reach 8 million people with each airing. A few weeks into the season, ratings could be down, and the ad is only seen by 6 million people. The network owes 2 million ad impressions to the buyer. Make-goods or spot audience deficiency units are run in something other than the original program that was purchased.

Upfronts are buying TV ad time for reach, not for response. Networks offer premium inventory, and brands buy it with the guarantee that their ads will reach a certain number of eyeballs. Companies get access to network ad inventory time at discounted rates. The buys lack flexibility that makes it almost impossible to make in-flight changes to campaigns. This commitment, which for some brands is 90% of their annual TV budget, is probably the last bastion of old TV ad buying.

During the past season NFL games, the delivery of “make goods” grew to 23% of the units due to lower ratings.

Butch and Sundance

Robert Leroy Parker, known as Butch Cassidy, was the leader of the Wild Bunch Gang. His last name, Cassidy was a tribute to his friend and mentor Mike Cassidy who taught him how to shoot.

Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, known as The Sundance Kid was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch Gang who committed one of the longest strings of successful train and bank robberies in history. He got his nickname for getting caught stealing horses in Sundance, Wyoming.

Cable TV Customer Losses

AT&T and DISH own the top streaming services that offer live streaming of cable TV networks. They reported 1.5 million video losses, but were padded by the gains of DirecTV Now and Sling TV.

After digging through the 2017 earnings reports of the top six traditional pay-TV subscribers I discovered the following.

During 2017 Comcast dropped 186,000 residential video subscribers, Charter lost 292,000 subscribers, AT&T lost 554,000 Direct TV satellite subscribers and 622,000 U-Verse subscribers, DISH dropped 1,140,000 video customers, Verizon Fios lost 75,000 video subscribers,  and Altice which owns Optimum, Cablevision and Suddenlink lost 129,000 video subs.

That totals nearly 3 million video subscriber losses for the top six providers in one year. These companies make up roughly 85% to 90% of the pay-TV market, so there are likely more losses for privately held providers like Cox and others.

Sling TV added 711,000 subscribers during 2017 and DirecTV Now added 888,000 customers to its service. With these two streaming services picking up 1.6 million customers in 2017 it is evident that traditional set-top box TV is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Reported 1st quarter 2018 video subscriber losses were much heavier than expected. Charter reported a loss of 122,000. Comcast also reported a loss of 92,000 to start the year. AT&T lost 188,000 satellite customers; however, AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service added 312,000 subscribers.

Even if you have cable TV, an indoor or outdoor antenna is a cheap one-time investment to supplement your viewing. Also, antenna TV has a much better picture quality than cable and is a handy backup for those times when cable or internet stop working.

Incidentally, according to Parks Associates, about twenty percent of US homes with broadband internet used an antenna during 2017, a thirty six percent rise.

Three Agatha Christie Facts

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is “the best-selling novelist of all time.” Her novels have allegedly sold more than two billion copies so far, and is eclipsed only by William Shakespeare and the Bible.
She is the most translated author in the world, with her novels translated into 103 languages.

Her best-selling book "And Then There Were None" has sold over 100 million copies, making it the best-selling mystery novel of all time. (also a great movie)

Bicameral vs. Bipartisan

A bicameral legislature divides the legislators into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. An example of bicameral is the United States Congress which has the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Bipartisan is sometimes referred to as nonpartisanship. It is a political situation, especially in the context of a two-party system, for countries such as the United States and other western countries, in which opposing political parties find common ground through compromise.

What's in a Name, Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was a legendary British rock band who dominated the music scene in the 70s with heavy, guitar-driven sounds. The phrase "lead balloon" is a commonly used idiom to describe an ill-conceived idea, or one whose failure is both predictable and inevitable.


The name allegedly arose when Keith Moon, after being invited to drum for the band, suggested that the idea would go over like a "lead zeppelin." Moon evidently modified the common phrase to exaggerate its humor. Jimmy Page liked the phrase so much; he took it for the band's name. The decision to misspell it was made because they thought Americans who were not as familiar with the original phrase would mispronounce the word as "leed."

IKEA Rugs

The cloaks worn on Game of Thrones are actually IKEA rugs that have been cut, roughed up, and have leather straps added.

Aug 17, 2018

Happy Friday

A great smile is hidden in every person; some just never look for it.


I find smiles everywhere, especially on a Happy Friday!

Coated PIlls

Some good news about pills for a change. For our safety, drug companies coat some pills with an emetic coating, so that if a patient, accidentally or otherwise overdoses, the coating will induce vomiting before the overdose can take effect and potentially kill the patient.


Another coating is also used for some chemotherapy medications that will have the opposite effect and prohibit nausea and vomiting induced by cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In addition, an injection of Ondansetron Hydrochloride is sometimes given for the prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting.

Salt Reduction Redux

You may have noticed some foods are a bit more bland than they used to be. Food companies have been voluntarily reducing sodium (salt) in foods for at least the past seven years. The reduced salt content does not show up on the label as 'low sodium' does not sell well, except in specific cases. Foods that have been altered include: ketchup, pizza, bacon, Subway sandwiches, flavored rice, many restaurant meals, and more.
Salt contains minerals necessary for proper body function. The sodium in salt is an electrolyte, and the balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for our cells and organs to work normally. Sodium regulates water in the body, and sodium's movement through cells in the body is critical. Salt for food is used to control microbial growth, which can cause food to spoil and to cause illness. Sodium also is used for taste, texture, leavening, and fermentation.
Even though it has been medically proven that increased salt intake does not increase blood pressure or lead to heart attacks and strokes, old myths live on. As recently as 2016, the FDA was still pushing its agenda to reduce salt. However, the president of the Salt Institute said the initiative was "not based on sound science." She added, "The Italians eat about 40 percent more sodium than Americans, yet they have better cardiovascular health than Americans." Many studies show a correlation, but do not show a cause from salt intake.
Some scientists say data has emerged showing that dropping below a certain level is actually dangerous, and raises the risk of heart attacks and other bad health outcomes. A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that cutting too much sodium could be harmful. Evidence from these studies does not support reduction in sodium intake to below 2,300 mg per day, says the IOM. “As you go below the 2,300 mark, there is an absence of data in terms of benefit and there begin to be suggestions in subgroup populations about potential harms.”

As my mother used to say, "All things in moderation is the best way."

Fries Compared


Jim Croce

Who knew he was so prescient about Chicago way back in 1974. Here is an oldie musical interlude, Leroy Brown. LINK

Facebook Wants More Data

Yikes, Facebook recently reached out to major banks including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup Inc., and U.S. Bancorp to pitch “potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger.” In exchange for potential features including fraud alerts and checking-account balance checks, Facebook is asking for some of its users’ most sensitive financial information, such as account balances and where they use debit and credit cards. Luckily some banks are reluctant, especially after the recent data breach by Facebook.

Not too long since the data breach by Facebook that found 87 million Facebook users around the world whose details were shared with Cambridge Analytica caused one of the largest data breaches. The majority of those whose information was shared, about 70 million, are in the US.

No wonder that Facebook lost millions of members during 2017 and estimates losses of more millions during 2018. Caveat Emptor!

Dinner vs. Supper

Dinner and supper really do mean different things, or at least they used to. During the 1800s and perhaps even earlier, Americans in some rural regions started calling their midday meal dinner, while supper was reserved for the evening meal.

Historically, the word dinner was associated with the largest meal of the day, regardless of whether it was served in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Supper, on the other hand, is more time-specific. It stems from the Old French word souper, meaning an evening meal, and it was generally lighter than other meals served throughout the day.

Supper and dinner have more to do with the quantity of food that is served than the time of day that you eat. Supper is seldom used anymore and dinner is by far the more popular term in the US.

Robots Rise

International Federation of Robotics (IFR) President Junji Tsuda previewed the statistics that will appear in the IFR Industrial Robots Annual Report covering 2017 sales data. He reported that 2017 turnover was about $50 billion, that 381,000 robots were sold, a 29% increase over 2016 and a 29 percent increase over the 294,300 units sold in 2016, and China was the main driver of 2017’s growth with a 58% increase over 2016 (the US rose only 6% by comparison). In addition, 2016 was 27% over 2015
China installed around 138,000 industrial robots in 2017, followed by South Korea with 40,000 units, and Japan with 38,000 units. In the Americas, the USA is the largest single market with 33,000 industrial robots sold, and in Europe it is Germany with around 22,000 units sold.
The automotive industry continues to lead global demand for industrial robot sales, according to the IFR. In 2017, around 125,200 units were sold in this segment for 21 percent growth. Other strongest growth sectors in 2017 were the metal industry (54 percent), the electrical/electronics industry (27 percent) and the food industry (19 percent).

Kuka’s CEO said we would see a big move toward mobile manipulators doing multiple tasks. ABB’s Sr. VP said that programming robots would become as easy and intuitive as using today’s iPhones. Fanuc’s ED said that future mobile robots would become more flexible. DHL’s VP forecast that perception would have access to more physics and reality than today.

Wordology, Vexillology

The study of flags is vexillology and a vexillologist is a person who studies flags.

Impact of Junk Mail

Junk mail in the US destroys 100 million trees a year. The equivalent of deforesting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.
Hundreds of millions of pieces of junk mail (also called “direct,” “bulk,” or “standard” mail) are sent through the US Postal Service annually, none of them solicited or requested by the recipient, and most of them entirely unwanted.
That mountain of credit card offers, insurance offers, catalogs, flyers, coupons, phone books, and anything else you did not specifically ask for, are all vying for your attention and causing the eradication of our forests. These companies apparently get enough responses to justify their excessive mailings, but that does not mean you have to like it.
Here are some facts from New York University School of Law about junk mail and sustainability:


  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in US landfills annually.
  • 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only 22 percent is recycled.
  • The average mailbox receives 848 pieces of junk mail per household, equal to 1.5 trees every year and that equals more than 100 million trees for all US households combined.
  • Largely due to deforestation, junk mail manufacturing creates as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as 3.7 million cars.
  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that does not get recycled.

Older Adulthood

Modern humans have added a whole new era to life, with many people continuing to thrive into their 80s and 90s. We have increased the lifespan about two and a half years each decade over the last century. With longer life comes a further decline in rapid recall, but other aspects of cognition are at their strongest as we move into older adulthood.

Crystallized intelligence, for example, which refers to a person’s amassed knowledge such as vocabulary and cultural references, continues to improve with age. The crystallized intelligence or wisdom of aging comes from your synthesis of experience, knowledge, maturity, and judgment, which all improve.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc refused to hire any person who had an MBA degree. He believed that college degrees did not teach proper competitive spirit and those who attended university were missing a certain marketing finesse.
Kroc was the person who set in place strict codes of conduct for work ethic by introducing standardization and discipline to McDonald's and was the first person to introduce large-scale mass production to the service industry.
The original Ronald McDonald premiered in 1963, but as Kroc and the corporation expanded the branding of their clown mascot across the country, they thought it would be too difficult to find other actors with the same stocky build of the original actor, weatherman Willard Scott. So, Scott ended up losing the job and McDonald’s established the slimmer Ronald that we see today.

Ray set up the “Hamburger University” for future franchisees of McDonald’s. Before one could purchase a franchise, an owner had to attend and get a degree “hamburgerology with a minor in French fries.” Hamburger University continues and there are now seven locations spread throughout four continents around the world. Over 275,000 people have graduated from the school since it opened during 1961. The Shanghai campus accepts less than 1% of applicants, making it more difficult to get into than any Ivy League school.

Aug 10, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is nature's proof that life is good.

It is easy to prove, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Vicodin

Vicodin's name is based on it being approximately six (VI is 6 in roman numerals) times stronger than codeine.

Wild Bill Hickok

He was born James Butler Hickok. He was given the mocking nickname “Duck Bill” because of how big his nose was. He later altered the name by calling himself “Wild Bill” instead.

Hickok’s reputation as a skilled gambler and poker player was so good that he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979.

Wordology, Pink Noise

Mercedes provides your ears with an extra layer of audio protection called pink noise designed to keep your hearing intact by the extremely loud sounds typically associated with a vehicle crash.
The crunching metal, breaking glass, and the explosive deployments of airbags can hit 165 decibels or higher, and has the potential to permanently damage a passenger’s hearing. Pink noise, which Mercedes calls “Pre-Safe Sound” is unique in that its power is inversely proportional to the signal. When it hits the ear, it triggers muscles in the ear to contract by reflex, automatically bracing the inner ear and eardrum for the extremely loud noise of the crash by reflecting some of the sound before it reaches the point where it could cause problems.

Once the vehicle’s sensors have detected that a collision is unavoidable, a comprehensive system of safety features is activated within the short time before an impact occurs. It takes just 150 milliseconds to deploy the reversible seat belt tensioners and other safety features. The duration of a human blink is 100 milliseconds.

Fresh Fruit vs. Dried Fruit

A common myth is that fresh is better, However, this myth is only true if you are looking for vitamin C. Dried fruit contains just as many nutrients and sugar for energy as fresh fruit. If you subscribe to the notion that you should eat five fruits a day, then you only need one tablespoon of dried fruit per portion – so five tablespoons of dried fruit fulfills your daily need. The same is true of canned or frozen fruit. Fruit juice is also able to be used as a daily fruit portion, but just one per day should be made up of juice only.

Omega-3 Supplements Useless

A recent meta-analysis of 79 randomized controlled trials following more than 100,000 participants added to the growing corpus of non-findings. The study catalogued a long list of heart conditions for which omega-3s appear to have “little or no effect,” challenging the claimed benefit of the supplement, that taking it promotes heart health.
The rise of omega-3 supplements began when a team of Danish scientists, intrigued by reports of low rates of cardiac death among Inuit populations, embarked on an expedition to Greenland. They drew blood samples from local Inuit people and found far more omega-3 in their blood than in the blood of those in the Danish control group. Their hypothesis: Omega-3s are good for your heart.

The original claimed benefits for cardiac health were the first to fall after large randomized controlled trials showed few results. A 2012 meta-analysis came to the conclusion: “Overall, omega-3 … supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.”

Studies reported that omega-3 supplements do not help depression, do not help young children at risk for psychotic disorders, and do not improve the memories of the elderly.

Finally, during 2017, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, a trade association, published a press release of its own study “Among randomized controlled trials, there was a non-statistically significant reduction in coronary heart disease risk with EPA+DHA provision.” Bottom line, save your money.

Wallet Tip

Many times people in other than ordinary situations lose their phone. Since we never remember phone numbers these days, it is a good idea to keep a little note in your wallet or purse with the top five most important numbers to call if you need help. One of those numbers should also be an emergency contact number that someone else could call for you.

5G Requirements

Many have heard or seen phone companies touting their 5G tests around the country. 5G is required to be backward compatible with current technology at current speeds. So there is no need to worry about forced change. . . yet.

However, your current phone is not 5G capable and will not be. You will need to buy a new phone to have it connect to 5G. Motorola is pushing to have the first 5G phone available this month ($480 from Verizon). Others will follow and by early next year there will be more choices.

Also, your current modem/router will not work with 5G, nor will your PC. Intel is currently working with Acer, ASUS, Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to deliver laptops and convertibles with the new 5G standard. Companies are working on 5G modems that will fit into phones, cars, smart-home devices and other device forms that have yet to be developed, like maybe carrying a puck type portable modem in your pocket.


Bottom line, if your phone works and your cable or streaming service works for TV now, do not be in a hurry to change all your equipment. Let others suffer the slings and arrows (and costs) of the new technology. Be patient and do not be first in line. It will take a few years to have 5G available everywhere. 5G phone service will be available before home 5G. When home 5G does, be prepared to spend big bucks and deal with learning new equipment. Incidentally, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are expected to broadcast in 5G with 8K TV resolution.

Loving Life

Amor fati (love of fate) is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in your life, such as treating each moment, no matter how challenging as something to be embraced, not avoided. It allows a person embrace it, love it, be better for it, and provides a sense of contentment with one's life and an acceptance of it. Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles and adversity become fuel for your potential.

We do not control most of what happens in life, but we do control what our reaction is to those events. What we tell ourselves they mean to us and how we will integrate them into our lives. On one hand, we are powerless, but on the other we are empowered. Most of what happens is outside of our control, but we have the power of being able to love, embrace, accept, and make the most of what does happen. Doing it with a smile is an extra bonus.


Bottom line, life is good if you choose to make it so.

Aug 3, 2018

Happy Friday

Regret lives in the past. Hope lives in the future. Happiness resides in the present.

I am presently very happy, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Pipe Dream

A 'pipe dream' is an unrealistic hope or fantasy. It is a reference to the strange dreams people have when smoking opium pipes. The term was used as early as the 1800s in America.

Uber 911

Recently Uber added a direct way for riders in the US to call 911 within its app. The emergency button is located in a new “safety center” menu accessible from the app’s home screen. It provides riders a quick way to contact first responders in the event that something goes wrong during their trip.

To dial 911, riders swipe up on the safety center icon, then tap '911 assistance'. They will then be asked to confirm they intended to dial 911 before the call is put through to emergency dispatchers.

It also announced a 911 integration pilot in a few markets that allows a rider’s location and trip details to be automatically sent to a 911 dispatcher. Location sharing is being tested in Denver, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Naples, Florida.

Lightning and Airplanes

Lighting has not brought down a plane since 1963, due to careful engineering that lets the electric charge of a lightning bolt run through the plane and out of it.

Astro Turf

It was originally named “ChemGrass” before being used by the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team in the Astrodome.

Contrary to popular belief, AstroTurf was not first used or invented for the Houston Astros. Before being used by the Astros, it was used at such sporting venues as Moses Brown School in Rhode Island, among others. AstroTurf was originally invented in 1964, two years before the Astros would use it, by Donald L. Elbert, James M. Faria, and Robert T. Wright, working for Monsanto Company. At the time, a subsidiary of Monsanto, Chemstrand, was developing synthetic fibers for carpeting and they decided to try their hand at also making an artificial playing surface for sports that would not require the extensive maintenance typical grass surfaces need when heavily used, as many sporting surfaces are.

During 1965, the Houston Astros organization began investigating artificial surfaces for the Astrodome baseball field. Originally, they attempted to use a special type of natural grass on the indoor field. Unfortunately, the semi-transparent ceiling panels did not let in enough sunlight and all the grass died within a few months. This resulted in the Astros organization having to paint the dirt field green, to make it appear more like a normal baseball field.

By the start of the 1966 season, the Astros decided to go with the relatively new ChemGrass. Due to there being a limited supply, though, they were only able to get the infield covered with ChemGrass for the first half of the season. The outfield was still just painted green dirt. Shortly after the All-Star break, the entire field was covered in ChemGrass and this artificial surface received national attention for the first time. This media attention after being successfully installed in the Astrodome was largely responsible for ChemGrass becoming popular over other similar synthetic grass surfaces being created at the same time.

Relatively shortly after being used in the Astrodome, other sporting teams began using ChemGrass, even some for outdoor stadiums, particularly those in colder climates where maintaining real grass can be difficult. Because ChemGrass became popular thanks to being used in the Astrodome, the product was subsequently renamed “AstroTurf”, by Monsanto. By 1987, AstroTurf had become so popular that Monsanto made it an independent subsidiary, named: AstroTurf Industries, Inc.

Wordology, Onychophagia

This is the technical term for biting your nails. It ranges from 20 to 33% during childhood and approximately 45% of teenagers are nail biters. By the age of 18 years the frequency of nail biting decreases; however it does persist in some adults

Nine More Google Facts

Google searches 30 trillion web pages, 100 billion times a month.

Google rents two hundred goats from California Grazing to mow the lawns and fields around its headquarters.

Type "solitaire" in the search box, or "pacman", and a screen with the game will appear under the box.

Type what sound does an emu, or other animal make and you will hear the sound.

The “I’m feeling lucky” button costs Google US $110 million per year, as it bypasses ads.

Google processes more than 2.3 million searches per second, or one hundred billion searches per month.

Over 60% of Google searches are on mobile.

Google still intends to scan all known existing (as of 2010) 129 million unique books by 2020.

Google offers various perks to its employees including free lunch, breakfast, dinner, haircuts, state-of-the-art gym, and the nap pod.

Superior Opinions

A recent study found that people who think their opinions are superior to others may be most prone to overestimating their relevant knowledge and ignoring chances to learn more.

Those people with the highest belief superiority also tended to have the largest gap between their perceived and actual knowledge. The belief superior consistently suffered from the illusion that they are better informed than they actually are.

Garbage Bag Hack

It is difficult to take an overloaded trash bag out of a garbage can. An easy fix is to drill several holes in the bin toward the bottom so that air is let in to prevent the vacuum effect, which is the reason the trash bag sticks to the garbage can. You are welcome.

Happy Friday

Smiles fund a happy retirement.

I am fully funded and gaining interest while celebrating a Happy Friday!

Funny Stuff

Came across this post on Reddit and had to share. It's a guy thing, made me laugh out loud. Fifty seconds long. Enjoy! LINK

Bing Cherries

Bing cherries are dark deep red, sweet, glistening, and big. The Bing cherry is America’s most produced variety. The man who helped propagate it, a Chinese foreman named Ah Bing, is a mostly forgotten representative of the Chinese workers who labored to establish orchards in the old American West.

During the mid 1800s, the Lewellings Quaker family headed west with 700 fruit trees. Their journey took them to Milwaukie, Oregon, where they established the West Coast’s first thriving nursery business. The Lewelling orchards of prunes, apples, and cherries kickstarted Oregon’s fruit-growing industry.

Ah Bing worked on the Lewelling’s farm. Sarah Ledding described him as more than six feet tall, of Manchu descent, hailing from the north of China. Ah Bing worked for Lewelling for more than 30 years, grafting, propagating, and caring for trees. The Bing cherry, Ledding recalled, surfaced one day when Lewelling and Ah Bing walked through the rows of cherry trees, where each man maintained separate rows.

In Ah Bing’s row, there was a marvelous new type of cherry. Someone suggested that Lewelling name the cherry after himself. But he said, “No, I’ll name this for Bing. It’s a big cherry and Bing is big, and anyway it’s in his row, so that shall be its name.” Next time you see them in the store I know you will say under your breath, "Ah, Bing."

Wordology, Ullage

The amount by which the contents fall short of filling a container. It is the empty part of a container between the top and the contents. "The ullage in the bottle of wine was more than I expected."

Resolution Limitations

Below is the maximum resolution for each web browser on a computer. If you have a PC hooked up to your TV, you will not get the best picture quality due to browser limitations. Of course, most cable TV shows and movies are also self limited to 720p. Antenna reception is much better than the vast majority of cable. That is why so many people are rediscovering the antenna. Oh, and another bonus, antenna TV is still free.

 Google Chrome: Up to 720p
 Firefox: Up to 720p
 Internet Explorer: Up to 1080p
 Microsoft Edge: Up to 4K (requires HDCP 2.2-compliant connection to 4K display, with at least Intel’s 7th gen Core CPU, plus Windows 10)
 Opera: Up to 720p
 Safari: Up to 1080p (on Mac running OS X 10.10.3 or greater)

TVs and computer hardware used to be the limiting factor in technology. Now TVs and computers are vastly improved past the point of technicians being able to make full use of them. The pendulum has swung to the point that TVs are upgrading the crappy input from cable companies to give us a better picture. It will be grand when the industry jumps to take advantage of all that TVs can show us. Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and the various streaming services are leading the way with higher quality, better prices, and more options than cable, and that is why they are so successful.

Perseverance and Obstinacy

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.” Anon

Four Bonnie and Clyde Facts

Bonnie was a 4’11” and Clyde was 5’4”.

Clyde was just six days away from being released from a labor camp and cut off two of his toes with the hope of forcing a transfer to a less harsh facility. He severed his left big toe and a portion of a second toe with an axe. At the time, he had no idea his mother persuaded the judge to let him out on parole. As a result, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life and could not drive while wearing shoes.

Bonnie also had a severe limp caused by an auto accident, where the car battery spilled acid on her leg and burned much of it, some down to the bone. Sometimes Clyde (who was driving and caused the accident) would need to carry her.

Bonnie and Clyde are buried in separate cemeteries in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Kissing the Blarney Stone in Texas

Shamrock, Texas has a piece of the original Irish Blarney Stone encased in a local monument.

The fragment of the original Blarney Stone is immured within a concrete monument on Main Street in Shamrock, Texas. This genuine chunk from the ruins of Blarney Castle was accidentally knocked off of the original Stone according to the Shamrock official who brought it to Shamrock in 1959. The landmark is a theft-proof, pickup-truck-crash-proof cylinder, regularly painted solid green, standing on an empty street corner.

The small town east of Amarillo holds a festival each year and crowns a Miss Irish Rose. Kissing the Blarney Stone is supposed to endow the kisser with the gift of gab . . . with great eloquence.

Google Prank

When the Google Streetview vehicle passed by an auto mechanic’s shop in England, the shop’s owner playfully staged a murder scene. A year later, a user browsing Streetview spotted the mechanic brandishing a pickaxe, standing over a man lying prostrate on the ground, and  informed police of what looked like a potential homicide. Police showed up and questioned the shop owner who quickly explained and apologized for the prank.

Jul 20, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is an agreeable interlude that never ends.

It is nice to enjoy an agreeable interlude, especially on a Happy Friday!

Google Factoid

If you type “google in 1998” into Google search bar, it will take you to what the site looked like the year it was created. Google originally only included text results. This changed in 2000, when the top search result on Google was of Jennifer Lopez in an exotic green Versace dress at the 42nd Grammy Awards. Soon after, Google created Google Images to search criteria. By 2010, more than ten billion images were indexed to the search engine.

Spider Makes a Web

Short closeup video of spider making a web. Fascinating. LINK

Vocal Fry and Upspeak

These are both manufactured speech patterns used by certain groups. Although they often run together, vocal fry and upspeak should not be confused. Think Valley girls and the Kardashians. Fry is like the low, croaky voice you have when you are sick and drop to your lowest register. The easiest way to understand is to have an example, so there are links for each below. Personally, they both drive me crazy. Like, totally!

Upspeak or uptalk or Valleyspeak is a rising inflection, interrogative, or high rising intonation of some variants of English where declarative sentences or clauses end with a rising-pitch intonation. It is usually accompanied with heavy doses of the word 'like'. It is like when you like end a like declarative sentence like in a raised tone. It makes a statement “We are going to the mall for fun” sound like a question “… for fun?”. LINK 


Vocal fry is making croaky, graveled vocal styling emissions while speaking. Women tend to use this much more than men. Here is an example of vocal fry. LINK

Bee Fact

One in every three bites of food around the world depends on bees who pollinate around eighty percent of the Earth’s flowering plants.

Six Netflix Facts

Netflix is one year older than Google, 1997 vs. 1998.
In 2016, Netflix reported it was available in 190 countries and had more than 74 million subscribers.

About two billion hours of Netflix content gets streamed around the world every month.
Netflix has about 33 million subscribers in the country, outpacing regular old cable.
During 2017, Netflix spent six billion dollars on original content. During 2018, it plans to spend eight billion dollars.

According to the website CordCutting.com, a Netflix subscriber will get an extra 158 hours of content during the same watch time by having no commercials.

Gobs and Smidgens

A gob is a general term meaning a large amount. It is often used in its plural form: gobs. So, if you had gobs of fun, you had much fun.
A smidgen refers to a very small amount and it also has a specific, measurable meaning. Many cooks believe that a smidgen is equal to 1/32 teaspoon. Others believe it may be 1/25 teaspoon.


Below are unique measurements for very small amounts:
tad = 1/8 teaspoon
dash = 1/16 teaspoon
pinch = 1/24 teaspoon
smidgen = 1/32 teaspoon
drop = 1/60 teaspoon
hint = a trace.

What's in a Name, Scandinavia

Scandinavia is an area of Northern Europe that shares a common historical, cultural, and linguistic Germanic heritage. This area includes the modern countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. It is a cultural term often confused with the geographical term: Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Scandinavian Peninsula is made up of Norway, Sweden, and Finland (plus a bit of Russia). Denmark is physically separate from the peninsula.

The Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are similar and can mostly be understood by people in each of the Scandinavian countries. Finnish is unrelated to the Scandinavian languages.

Finland, although a part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, is not usually considered a Scandinavian country. Despite its close location to Sweden and Norway, it does not share the same Germanic cultural and linguistic heritage as those countries.

Thoughts

The average person has about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. That is about 35 to 48 thoughts per minute, per human being. One group described a thought as "a sporadic single-idea cognitive concept resulting from the act of thinking, or produced by spontaneous systems-level cognitive brain activations".

One writer summed up his thoughts. "Just typing that last sentence was a long series of thoughts, including tapping the keys and spelling the words - during which I also noted a squeaking noise, decided I liked a song that was playing, and glanced at the clock."

Jul 6, 2018

Happy Friday

Anyone who keeps the ability to be happy never grows old.
I feel young and invigorated, especially on a Happy Friday!

National Cut the Cord Day

Roku began celebrating 'National Streaming Day' a few years ago and now national retailers and others are celebrating 'Cut the Cord Day' with big sales and giveaways. Seems like creative advertising, rather than days for celebration. Oh, and Amazon is coming up with Amazon Prime day later this month. It is devoted to having us buy stuff from Amazon. Wow, what a concept, have a special day for us to buy stuff.

National Hot Dog Day

It is celebrated on the third Wednesday of July, except when Wednesday falls on July 1st, then it is held on the 4th Wednesday. This year it is July 18.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans eat more than 20 billion hot dogs every year. More than 155 million hot dogs will be eaten during the Fourth of July weekend. The Council estimates each American eats 60 hot dogs every year on average.
Favorite hot dog add-on for adults is mustard. Children prefer ketchup.

The annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest is the world's most famous hot dog eating contest. It has also become an Independence Day tradition for many. Each year, more than 40,000 people come to Coney Island to watch the contest.

During the contest, 20 people compete to see who can eat the most hot dogs with buns in just 10 minutes. The winner gets to wear a special jeweled mustard-yellow belt and receives a cash prize.

Miki Sudo held onto her title as the top women's competitor at the 2018 contest, downing 37 franks and buns to take home her prize for the fifth consecutive year.

Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California, holds the world record for hot dog eating. In 2016, he ate 73.5 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. He also won during 2017. He broke his own world record on July 4, 2018 by eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes to claim his 11th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest title. Yikes!

Bell Pepper Myth Debunked

Myth, flip the bell peppers over to check their gender. The ones with four bumps are female and those with three bumps are male. In fact, some have two and some five lobes. Bell peppers do not have gender. Some things never go away and there are many errant web sites still propagating this myth.

The number of lobes of a bell pepper is determined by its variety. Different varieties produce different numbers of lobes, between two to five. The most popular variety of bell pepper in the US produces four lobes, so many plants have been bred for this characteristic. There is no difference in the peppers number of lobes or bumps for sweetness or number of seeds.

Election Day Factoid

France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and more hold their national elections on Sunday.

Amazon and Charity

Approximately 64% of American households had a Prime membership in 2017.

One of the least-known and best perks of Amazon is that you can use your leftover boxes to ship donations to local charities for free. Go to GiveBackBox.com, click on the logo of the participating company you have a box sitting around from, type in your zip code and email address, and you'll get a prepaid shipping label emailed to you. After you fill the leftover box with your donations, attach the label and schedule a UPS pickup. There is no cost. Plus, GiveBackBox will email you a tax receipt for your records once your box is received.


Also, Amazon will give 0.5% of your purchase price to local organizations when you shop through Amazon Smile.

Wordology, Intergluteal Cleft

That is the medical term for butt crack. I know, too much information.

First Cell Phone

The Nokia 3310 was its first ever GSM cell phone, when it came out in 2000. It had a battery life of 2 h 30 min to 4 h 30 of talk time and 55 to 245 hours of standby charge. It had features such as SMS messaging, a calculator, Nokia network monitor, stop watch, and a reminder function. It also had four games: Pairs II, Space Impact, Bantumi, and the hugely popular Snake II.


It is also back in production. The new Nokia 3310 takes the iconic silhouette of the original and reimagines it. The custom designed user interface brings a fresh look to a classic. It has a 2.4” polarized and curved screen window, which makes for better readability in sunlight. It offers 22 hours of talk time off a single charge and should keep running for 31 days in standby mode.

Fore, Golf

This word is shorthand for “watch out ahead” or ‘watch out before.” In other words, yelling out fore allows bystanders to be forewarned of a fly ball.

Jun 29, 2018

Happy Friday

No one ever died from an overdose of happy.
Soak it up, devour it, and bathe in it, especially on a Happy Friday!

Netflix Tidbits

Have you noticed that movies and shows from Netflix look bad for a few seconds? That is because Netflix will start playing a stream sooner than it can be played at its full quality and buffers for the full-resolution version as it is ready then the stream will be displayed at full resolution.

If your bandwidth slows down (like when sharing WiFi), video resolution will drop until the full-res stream is sufficiently buffered again. Netflix does this to keep the load times short so you see less buffering circles instead of the show. This is effective use of technology others might do well to emulate.

Western Wedding Dresses

As we finish up the month of June, the traditional month of marriages, which dates back to Roman times when they celebrated the festival of the deity Jupiter and his wife Juno, who was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. In Victorian times, the tradition is thought to have continued because there were flowers available for wedding d├ęcor, and the scent of the flowers masked body odor.

The common form of white dresses for those in the west began during the 1800s, especially when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840. Before that any color would do, based on wealth or personal preference. The white dress practice spread quickly to the broad reaches of the British Empire. Back then, no woman, not even royalty was expected to wear her wedding dress only once and then never again. This practice also changed after the marriage of Queen Victoria.

After that, wedding dresses were adapted to the styles of the day, such as during the early 1900s, they included lace or frills. During the 1920s, they were typically short in the front with a longer train in the back and were worn with cloche-style wedding veils. Following current fashions continued until the late 1960s, when it became popular to go back to long, full-skirted designs reminiscent of the Victorian era. These days the majority of wedding dresses are strapless dresses or sleeveless.

White wedding dresses had been used for many years before that, but it was not the dominant color. Also, white dresses did not have a symbolic meaning of virginity or purity, but rather were costlier and harder to keep clean, and thus were status symbols of wealth for the wearer. Victorian ideals of weddings, romantic love, and purity were projected backwards to rewrite the white dress as a symbol of innocence and virginity rather than wealth.

Many other cultures also have specific, although usually unwritten rules for wedding attire, including color and style.

Five Animal Factoids

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.
Bats are the only mammals that can fly.
A single elephant tooth can weigh up to nine pounds.

Ants never sleep as we know it. They take hundreds of power naps each day.

Google Tabs

Many of us use Google search by typing in some word or phrase and usually find what we want on the first page and go no further. Google search has become much better at anticipating our needs, including fixing typos for us.
However, there are times we are looking for specific information and do not wish to wade through the swamp of irrelevant and overlapping pages.
My biggest problem with searching, other than relevance, is dates. Seems like nothing ever leaves the web and as information changes, the web just adds more, rather than fixes incorrect information.
My favorite tab is the Tools tab. When you click on it there are two options, Any Time and All results. Using the Any Time button there are options for various time periods, including custom. For technical information, I like to use past week or past month. For other things, past year usually weeds out most of the old garbage. All results is the default, but also offers verbatim (in case you forgot to use quote marks in your search).

On the top of every search results page there are a number of tabs. Usually you will see Web, Images, News, Videos, Shopping, More, Settings, and Tools. Using these tabs can help define what kind of search you need to do. If you need images, use the Image tab. If you are looking for a recent news article, use the News tab. If you click on More, then choose advanced search, Google offers boxes to help refine your search criteria. You can forget many of the tips I have offered by using this Advanced Search as it shows boxes to fill in and offers examples. Advanced search is particularly good for very specific searches.


Find pages with... To do this in the search box
All these words:...Type the important words:  tricolor rat terrier
This exact word or phrase:...Put exact words in quotes:  "rat terrier"
any of these words:...Type OR between all the words you want:  miniature OR standard
None of these words:...Put a minus sign just before words you don't want:  -rodent, -"Jack Russell"
Numbers ranging from:...to Put 2 periods between the numbers and add a unit of measure: 10..35 lb, $300..$500, 2010..2011.

Michael Phelps Gold Medals

Michael Phelps has won more Olympic gold medals than India, Nigeria, North Korea, Portugal, Taiwan and Thailand combined.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails are both part of the same class of gastropods. Gastropod comes from the Greek words gastros (stomach) and podos (foot). Most gastropods live in water. Snails and slugs are the only gastropods that can also be found on land, but the majority of snails and slugs live in water.
The most obvious difference between snails and slugs is snails have shells. Their only other differences are in habitat and behavior. Without those big shells to carry around, slugs can squeeze themselves into many different habitats that snails cannot.

As they move along, leave behind a slimy trail, called mucus. Snails and slugs make mucus so that they can move on the ground and keep their bodies from losing moisture to the dry soil beneath them. It also protects them from being cut by sharp objects in the soil. Snails and slugs can completely destroy gardens by eating plants and fruits, including their roots, leaves, and stems. One redeeming feature is that escargot, which is made from land snails, tastes great.