Dec 28, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is a choice.

Always choose to be happy, especially on a Happy Friday!

New Year Tradition

Watching 'Dinner for One' is a New Year tradition in much of Europe. Here is a LINK from my blog to the perennially favorite comedy (length 14 minutes). Enjoy. Happy New Year!

Cannabis and Big Business

Cannabis is now fully legal in Canada and rapidly taking over the rest of the world, as soon as politicians get their acts together. Even though outlets are limited and the industry is in its nascent stages, big business is beginning to pour billions in investment to get ahead of the pack for worldwide dominance. Now that hemp is legal and no longer controlled by the Controlled Substance Act in the US, some say it is the crack in the dam and time to look for even more action and investments. Following are a few recently announced deals.

AB InBev (Budweiser, Labatt's, Stella Artois, and more) said it is teaming up with Canada's Tilray to research cannabis-infused drinks. Together, they will invest a combined $100 million into researching non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabis elements.

Marlboro owner Altria invested $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos. Phillip Morris is also looking for a cannabis partner to invest in.

Constellation brands (Corona and others) invested four billion dollars into Canopy Growth, another Canadian marijuana business.

Heineken launched Hi-Fi Hops, a cannabis-only beverage in a handful of dispensaries in California. The beverage is designed to taste like beer, but does not contain alcohol. Currently, the beverage comes in a ten-milligram version with THC, and a hybrid version with five milligrams of THC and five milligrams of CBD.

Molson Coors Canada announced a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a recognized leader in Canadian medical cannabis to develop a line of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.

Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced a license agreement with Alcanna, Canada’s largest private-sector liquor retailer paying $82.5 million for a 19.9 percent ownership interest in Alcanna, which at the time was called Liquor Stores N.A. Alcanna already begun converting some of its 229 liquor stores into cannabis retail outlets.

Microsoft shook the cannabis industry and much of the business world when it announced that it would be entering the cannabis industry via a partnership to provide seed-to-sale tracking software, a lucrative sector in cannabis.

Jack in the Box fast-food chain teamed up with the Snoop Dogg-backed cannabis media company Merry Jane to offer a limited-time meal for the cheeky price of $4.20. It is available at a handful of locations in Southern California. The meal was more symbolic than it was an actual entry into the cannabis industry. It marked the first time a non-cannabis company the size of Jack in the Box publicly marketed directly to cannabis consumers.

Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot sell hydroponic equipment, grow lights, and a number of other products that are used for cultivating cannabis. These are essential items for some cannabis growers, but they have other uses too, so the retailers selling them do not necessarily raise eyebrows. They also sell products that are specifically geared towards cannabis cultivation. American Cannabis Company has a distribution agreement with all three retailers. The retailers will distribute such products as SoHum Living Soils – designed for cannabis cultivation.

Incidentally, investing in cannabis stocks is looking like investing in Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and others was, before they achieved wildly inflated prices they command today.

Typing Tip

Have you noticed the small ridges toward the bottom of “F” and “J” keys with almost all keyboards? Your index fingers can locate them by touch and you are sure you are on the 'home' row and ready to type without looking.

Epilation vs. Depilation

Both refer to the processes of unwanted body hair removal. Depilation refers to hair removal just at the surface and without damaging the follicles. The procedure does not damage the structure of the hair. Its effect lasts from a few hours to several days. For depilation, razors and different hair removal creams are used.

Epilation is the removal of hair entirely, including the part below the skin. It damages hair follicles and the effect lasts from several days to several weeks. Epilation includes waxing, sugaring, lasering, and other salon procedures.

More Google Tips

Either this or that is effective if you are not exactly sure of the information you are searching. Put in a few potential variations of what you are looking for, and separate them by typing the “|“ symbol. You can also use "or". Then it is easy to choose the result that makes the most sense. For instance, "Chuck or Tom".

If you need to find websites on a given subject rather than those that include a specific phrase, add the "~" symbol to your search. For example, if you search for the term "healthy ~food" you will get results about the principles of healthy eating, cooking recipes, as well as healthy dining options.

Sometimes you read an interesting article on a website and find yourself subsequently wanting to share it with your friends or simply reread it. The easiest way to find the desired piece of information again is to search within the website. To do this, type the address of the site, then a key word or entire phrase from the article, and it should come up immediately. For instance try shubsthoughts Google (no " marks).

If you found something you really like online and want to find similar websites, type in "related:" and then the address of the site, without a space between them. For example try

If you type in the words i love you without quotation marks, Google will show the results where these words appear in any order on a website. However, if you type "i love you" within quotation marks, you will get only those results where these words appear in the order you typed them. This is a great way to find lyrics to a song when you might just remember one line from it.

Five Fascinating Body Facts

If you take every vessel in a body and put them end to end, it would be a length of 96,000 kilometers or 60,000 miles in children and 100,000 miles in adults.

There are more bacteria in a human mouth than there are people in the world.
Canadian scientists revealed that the female heart runs 10 beats a minute more than the male heart.

Messages from the human brain travel along nerves at up to 200 miles an hour or 322 km/h.

By the age of 60, people usually lose up to 40% of their sense of taste.

Aerial vs. Antenna

The words aerial and antenna are used interchangeably by almost everyone, except techies. Accurately speaking, the top or elevated portion of the antenna is the aerial, and that portion which completes the electrical connection between the aerial and the instruments is the lead-in. The antenna is the entire system consisting of the aerial and lead-in together.

Dec 21, 2018

Happy Friday

Happiness is a gift you can share all year.

It is great to share happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Christmas Pickle

The Weihnachtsgurke, or Christmas Pickle, is supposedly a classic German tradition, but may not be as German as some believe. Legend has it that when Germans decorate their Christmas tree, the very last ornament they hang on it is a pickle or pickle ornament. On Christmas Eve, the first child to find the pickle hidden in the branches is said to get good luck for the year to come, as well as an extra present.

If you ask someone from the American Midwest, they will most likely be able to tell you all about the German festive custom. Germans, on the other hand, may have no knowledge of the custom.
One story is that a captured German-American soldier in the civil war became seriously ill and asked for a pickle as his last meal. After eating it, he was restored to health and from then on always hung a pickle on his tree each year.

According to another legend, St. Nicholas (not Santa) discovered that a shop keeper had murdered three boys and hidden them in a barrel of pickles. He prayed for the boys and his faith miraculously brought them back to life. Supposedly, from then on the pickle has been linked to St. Nick and consequently to Christmas.

Recently, the Christmas Pickle has made its way back across the pond and is beginning to rise in popularity in Germany.

Holiday Hack

Just before guests come over for a Holiday visit, simmer a pan of water on the stove and add some cinnamon and maybe some essential oils. It will make the house smell great and add some much needed humidity.

5G Phones

2019 will usher in new 5G phones, but do we need one? First, 5G service will not be available in many places, so the technology will be useless to most. Second, 5G pioneers will suffer the slings and arrows of new technology and we all know the first generation of most new technology is buggy. Third, the technology is expensive and may cost a few hundred dollars more per phone with 5G.

5G mmWave has worse range and worse penetration compared to the current LTE. A mmWave signal can be blocked by buildings, trees, and even your hand. It also does not work well in the rain or fog, and the ~60GHz chunk of this spectrum can actually be blocked by the air around you. To get around the hand blockage, extra antennas will be added to phones, taking up valuable battery space. One redeeming feature is the phones will be backward compatible, so you can spend more money to get the same service you have now.

First generation 5G chips will be much larger compared to the other extremely-small smartphone components. They will also require more power to use. More size for technology means less size for battery and smaller battery means less usage time between charging.

Bottom line, increased cost, limited availability of 5G coverage areas, new technology woes, and less use time from the battery all point to waiting to buy, unless you have a desire to be 'first on your block' to have new technology for bragging rights.

Hershey Almonds

The first Hershey chocolate bars with almonds were produced during 1908, because they were cheap to make. The nuts took the place of some of the more expensive milk chocolate, which meant Hershey’s could keep the price of the candy at a nickel.

Christmas Goat

        In the Swedish town of Gävle, about 100 miles north of Stockholm, residents have been erecting a giant straw goat in the town center since 1966. The Gävle Goat, also known as the Yule Goat and the Gävlebocken, may be a massive Christmas decoration, but there is never any guarantee that it will still be standing for the holiday. That is because there is a second, illegal annual Christmas tradition in Gävle. It is trying to burn down the Yule Goat before Christmas.
Yule goats have been a Christmas-time tradition in Sweden and elsewhere in Scandinavia for many centuries, though how exactly the practice got its start has been lost to history. During 1966, advertising consultant Stig Gavlén developed the idea of constructing a giant straw Yule goat for the holiday season, hoping it would function as something of an attraction to bring business to the shops around it.
The idea was subsequently executed by the town’s fire department. With funding provided by local businessman Harry Ström, they built a 43-foot tall, 23-foot long, 3-ton straw goat in the town center. It was completed on December 1, 1966 and it stood through that month. On New Year’s Eve, a vandal from a nearby town set the goat on fire. Being made of straw with a wood framework, it quickly burned to the ground.
During the following four years local merchants known as the Söders Köpmän (Southern Merchants) took over financing the Gävle Goat. For the first two years, nothing of note happened; the goat was put up and taken down with no issue.  Then in 1969, vandals managed to again set the goat aflame. The following year, they did it again. In fact, in the 1970 burning, drunken teenagers had managed to burn down the goat just six hours after construction of the goat was complete.
Fortunately for Gävle’s Yule Goat tradition, the Natural Science Club from the nearby School of Vasa took charge in 1971 and the Gävle’s Yule Goat lived on. Their first goat made it through the season without incident. However, sabotage in 1972 led to the goat’s collapse. Two years later, the goat was burned down once again and two years after that, it got hit by a drunk driver and was destroyed.
From the ashes of all this, the tradition of attempting to destroy the Gävle Yule Goat was born. Since 1980, the Gävle Goat has only managed to survive through the holiday season 13 times. This is despite the fact that a fire station is incredibly close by and several attempts have been made to make it more difficult for vandals to destroy the giant straw decoration. For instance, they tried spraying flame-retardant on the straw, only to have it wash off and the treated goat easily burned down.
Of course, despite all this and other efforts, half the fun of the tradition for many is seeing if the goat will make it to Christmas.
After years of trying, it appears they may have hit on the right mix of protection for the Gävle Yule tradition in 2014. After adding even better flame retardant chemicals that will not wash away easily, they moved a busy taxi stand to the town center right near the goat. They also positioned security personnel near the goat and had a 24-hour webcam trained on the decoration. Although there were reportedly a few close calls, the 2014 goat ultimately survived the Christmas season and was disassembled on December 29th, a bit earlier than previous surviving goats.

The 2015 Gävle Goat, which was erected on November 26th, made it through 2015’s Christmas but was burned down at approximately 3 am on December 27 by what police described as a heavily intoxicated man in his twenties. The man, who smelled of petrol, was caught red-handed carrying lighters and newspapers shortly after the goat was set ablaze. The man’s clothes were also singed as they briefly caught fire. Ah, fun traditions continue. . .

McDonald's Bacon Cheese Fries

According to some sources on the web, McDonald's might be planning to sell bacon cheese fries sometime in 2019. They are available now in some locations in California and Hawaii. Yea!

Dec 14, 2018

Happy Friday

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." ~Audrey Hepburn

There is always time for more fun, especially on a Happy Friday!

Pig Hearts and Baboons

Some anubis baboons were the recipients of a new heart, courtesy of an international team of researchers. With the new hearts, which came from pigs, the baboons were able to live normal and healthy lives for months.

According to a study published last month in the journal Nature, the researchers managed to keep two of the baboons alive for 90 days before they euthanized them in accordance with the terms of the study. The other two baboons survived for 180 days before the researchers put them down.

Prior to this study, the longest a baboon with a life-supporting pig heart survived was 57 days, and 60 percent of recipients died within just two days.

Bacon Vending Machine

My brother and a friend Deby, both sent this info along to me, almost the same day I came across it on the web (great minds). Ohio State University students have a new vending machine and it is going hog wild for bacon, offering strips and bits for just $1. The machine was courtesy of the Ohio Pork Council.

Located in the Animal Sciences building at the school’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, profits from the vending machine will benefit the meat science program, according to the Ohio Pork Council. The porky contents were donated by Hormel, Sugardale and Smithfield. It is like having your own personal cook in the house. Wouldn't it be nice if it also served up a side of eggs. Yumm!

Photos Fact

Ten percent of all photos in the world were taken within the past twelve months.


The media is always writing about generations, but many people do not know exactly what ages they represent. Now you do. Some reporting sources vary slightly, causing overlaps.


The Interbellum Generation 1901

The Greatest Generation 1914 1924

The Silent Generation 1925 1945

Baby Boomer Generation 1946 1964

Generation X (Baby Bust) 1965 1979

1977 1983

Generation Y, Gen Next
1980 1994

iGen / Gen Z 1995 2012

Gen Alpha 2013 2025

Picture Hanging Tip

The middle of hanging piece of art should be 57 inches from the floor.

    Picture is 20" tall
    Middle is at 10" (this mid point should be at 57" from the floor)
    Wire comes to 2" below the top
    10" - 2" = 8"
    Lightly mark 8" above your first mark or 65" on the wall
    Hang up art. You are welcome.

How To Be Happy

In The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky shares the results of years of research into what makes people happy. She is concerned with “chronic happiness” (as opposed to temporary happiness), with people who maintain an elevated sense of well-being over time. Based on her work, Lyubomirsky believes:

- About half of human happiness is biological. Each of us seems to have a happiness “set point” which accounts for roughly 50% of our level of contentment. Because this set point is genetic, it is tough to change.
- Another 10% of happiness is circumstantial, based on external factors. These include traits like age, race, nationality, and gender, as well as things like marital status, occupational status, job security, and income. Your financial situation is part of this 10%, which means it accounts for a tiny fraction of your total happiness.
- The final 40% of happiness comes from intentional activity, the things you choose to do. A huge chunk of contentment is based on your actions and attitude. You can increase your level of well-being through exercise, gratitude, and meaningful work.

Because circumstances play such a small role in your well-being, and because many of your circumstances are unchangeable, it makes more sense to boost your bliss through intentional activity, by controlling the things you can control while ignoring the things you can't.

You can't wait for someone or something to make you happy. Happiness is not something that just happens; happiness is a byproduct of the the things you think and say and do.

Just as you should become a money boss to take charge of your financial life, you should become a happiness boss to take charge of your emotional life. Believe it or not, you can control your emotional responses. It just takes a bit of knowledge and practice.

Security Advice

Good advice.

Dec 7, 2018

Happy Friday

If you moderate your desire for happiness, you moderate your ability to achieve it.
Some things should never be moderated, especially on a Happy Friday!

Aunt Bertha

Aunt Bertha is the largest closed loop referral network for free and reduced cost social services in the United States. Since 2010, it has been connecting people in need and the programs that serve them, with dignity and ease. Go to the site and type in your zip code. Especially great for seniors or others on fixed budgets. LINK


If something is run of the mill, it is average, ordinary, not special. It most likely originally referred to a run from a textile mill. It is material that has been manufactured, before it is decorated or embellished.

The expression you have your work cut out for you comes from tailoring. To do a big sewing job, all the pieces of fabric are cut out before they get sewn together. It seems like if your work has been cut for you, it should make job easier, but we do not use the expression that way. It is more that the task is ready to be tackled, but the difficult part is laying out the pieces in order, and doing the actual sewing.

More Proof of Laughter Benefits

Laughter has positive psychological, physiological, and immunological impacts on our health. In fact there is a term for the study of laughter and laughing and the examination of its effects on the human body: gelotology, from the Greek gelos, meaning 'laughter'.

In a study “Humor and Laughter May Influence Health” in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, authors report that a sense of humor influences psychological and physiological well-being.

- Laughter leads to increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption, similar to aerobic exercise. After intense laughter, body muscles relax.
- Like other strong emotions, humor seems to activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which shows an increase in such hormones as urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine, but blood pressure remains stable. (Sad emotional stimulus results in higher blood pressure.)
- Exposure to a humorous stimulus decreased self-reported anxiety.
- Laughter in response to humorous stimuli correlates with improvement of natural killer (NK) cell activity, the immune cells that kill cancerous cells and prevent some types of viral illnesses.
- Laughing also has social benefits. Since much laughter is a social response rather than a reaction to jokes, laughing facilitates social reaction.
- Laughter is also contagious. If you see someone laughing, you will probably laugh, too. Scientists found that we often mimic other’s behavior, copying words or gestures due to the mirroring system in the brain.

Straw vs. Hay

Straw and hay are often used interchangeably, and it is easy to see why. They are both dry, grassy, and easy to find on farms in the fall, but the two terms actual describe different materials, and once you know what to look for, it is easy to tell the difference between them.

Hay refers to grasses and some legumes such as alfalfa that are grown for use as animal feed. The full plant is harvested—including the heads, leaves, and stems, then dried, and typically stored in bales. Hay is what livestock like cattle eat when there is not enough pasture available, or when the weather gets too cold to graze. The baled hay most non-farmers are familiar with is dry and yellow, but high-quality hay has more of a greenish hue.

Straw is the byproduct of crops, not the crop itself. When a plant, such as wheat or barley, has been stripped of its seeds or grains, the stalk is sometimes saved and dried to make straw. This part of the plant is lacking in nutrients, which means it doesn't make great animal fodder. Farmers have found other uses for the material throughout history, such as to weave baskets, thatch roofs, and stuff mattresses.

Straw is easy to identify, such as if it is being used in a way that would be wasteful if it were food. Every hayride you have ever been on was most likely a straw-ride.

8K is Here

On December 1, 2018 Japanese TV networks began publicly broadcasting 4K and 8K channels via satellite. NHK is pushing content at 8K with 22.2 channel sound. The first movie listed in its TV guide is '2001: A Space Odyssey', and it is a rescanned version of the original 70mm negatives specifically for this broadcast. Seems like a great choice.

Seven Uses for Leftover Bananas

Banana domestication began some 7,000 years ago. They are one of the most widely grown, traded, and eaten of all the crops. Modern bananas are sterile, containing only tiny residual seeds, so new banana plants are propagated from cuttings. Bananas have many uses and leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and rhizomes are used for plates, food wrapping, medicines, stimulants, textiles, clothing, packaging, paper-making, crafts, ornaments, and ceremonial magic and ritual activities. Below are a few uses for the banana itself.

Pressing the inside of a banana peel onto a bite from a mosquito or other insect for a few minutes is a surprisingly simple way to stop itching. The use of banana peels to treat inflammation is said to be an ancient Chinese remedy to soothe poison ivy rashes, psoriasis, sunburn, and other skin maladies.

Tape a piece of the peel over a splinter, with the soft, inner side of the peel facing down and leave it in place for about 10 minutes. The enzymes in the fruit should help to force the splinter out.

Monarch butterflies are difficult to spot, but you can improve your chances by placing an overripe banana in your garden. They are soft and sweet enough for butterflies to enjoy. You can also place bananas near a hummingbird feeder to attract fruit flies, which the hummingbirds feast on. (Remove the bananas before you go to bed or you may have other animals like raccoons in your yard.)

While you are out in the garden feeding birds and butterflies, you can give your plants some nourishment, too. Cut up and bury banana peels to enrich the soil with nutrients and help feed plants.

Bananas have long been a staple in smoothies, but if you have a whole bunch that is about to go bad stick them in the freezer. You can pull one out any time you get a smoothie craving, and since it is frozen, you will not need to add ice.

Bananas are a great ingredient in DIY hair treatments and skin exfoliants. The amino and citric acids help protect hair from damage and keep it shiny. There are a few different recipes you can try, some of which combine banana with avocado, yogurt, egg, and other ingredients. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel onto your face (seriously, try it) is also said to brighten your skin, fight acne, and reduce puffiness around your eyes.

A recent study published in the journal PLOS One found that competitive cyclists who had consumed a banana instead of a sugary drink or water had less inflammation following their workout. Although other physicians cite the benefits of consuming bananas post-workout, the sample for this particular study was small, just 20 cyclists and was funded by Dole Foods (although it had no role in any part of the study). May be best to not experiment for the first time on race day.

Vegetarian and Kangatarian

A study by the US Humane Research Council revealed that 84 percent of modern-day vegetarians gave up their new diet less than a year after they started. The participants included 11,000 vegetarians, former vegetarians, and non-vegetarians in the United States. According to the study, 88 percent of Americans above age 17 have never gone vegetarian, 10 percent are former vegetarians, and 2 percent are vegetarians. However, only one in five vegetarians stay that way with the rest returning to eating meat. Of that figure, one-third dumped the vegetarian diet after three months while the rest got rid of it in less than a year. One-third of vegetarians said they started eating meat after they got into a relationship with someone who ate meat. Others went back to meat due to health, financial, or social reasons. All former vegetarians ate less meat than they did before they became vegetarians.

A new group of vegetarians has popped up in Australia. They are kangatarians, vegetarians who only eat kangaroo meat. Kangatarians usually stop eating meat for ethical reasons. Ethical vegetarians do not like the way that animals are reared and slaughtered on farms. Australia has an abundance of wild kangaroos and since they are not reared on farms, these vegetarians have no qualms about eating them. Kangatarians further justify their consumption of kangaroo meat by claiming that kangaroos are greener for the environment since they do not produce as much ozone-destroying methane as cattle and sheep raised on farms.

Vegetarians can receive all the vitamins and minerals they need from a plant-based diet except vitamin B12, which is available in meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians could get this vitamin from vitamin-enriched cereals and supplements, but it is not usually enough. Vitamin B12 deficiency can trigger the excessive production of homocysteine, leading to depression, fatigue, weakness, nausea, constipation, anemia, heart disease, and stroke. The people at most risk are vegans who do not consume any kind of meat or animal product. However, regular vegetarians are also at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency. Another study revealed that 92 percent of vegans and 67 percent of lacto-ovo vegetarians suffer from B12 deficiency.

Dec 1, 2018

Happy Friday

"Do not run after happiness, but seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you." ~James Freeman Clarke

I am always chased by happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Common Acronyms

Here are a few names that you probably did not know they really were acronyms.

PAM (cooking spray) stands for Product of Arthur Meyerhoff.
NECCO (wafers) stands for New England Confectionery Company.
Smart Car (a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes), is short for Swatch + Mercedes + Art.
The USA PATRIOT Act stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. (a real mouthful)
TIME (magazine) stands for “The International Magazine of Events.”
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
Arby’s is a play on RB, for the chain’s founders, the Raffel brothers.
A&W stands for its founders, (Roy) Allen and (Frank) Wright.

What's in a Name, Larry

The blue bird from the Twitter logo has a name: Larry. The creators of the social network named the bird after basketball player Larry Bird.

Minneapolis Food Ordinance

During 2016, Minneapolis enacted the Staple Food Ordinance which requires all grocery stores, with few exceptions, to keep on hand fresh produce, and other healthy foods that city politicians felt they needed in order to change the eating habits of the public.

Two years later the city has found no discernible increase in the amount of healthy food people are buying. It also found the healthy food mandate is leading to frustrated grocers and reports of food waste, due customers not buying the mandated items.

A survey of 3,000 customers outside selected convenience stores was conducted to see if the Ordinance was actually encouraging people to buy healthier foods. So far, it has not. The survey shows "We did not see any significant changes in the healthfulness of customer purchasing. We can't point to customer purchasing and say purchases are getting healthier as a whole."

In addition, a survey found just 10% of stores were compliant. The law requires, among other items, stores must keep six one-dozen containers of eggs on hand; 6-count or 18-count containers do not count toward this requirement. Nor do one-dozen containers if the eggs inside are medium or extra-large size. Stores must stock approximately 13 cans of beans, but baked beans do not count toward this requirement, nor do cans that mix beans and meat, despite canned meat being another requirement.

The rigid requirements are a large problem for ethnic grocers, who are forced to stock foods that are not used in their customers' native cuisines. Owners are questioning whether the law is perpetuating institutional racism and cultural bias.

After two years, the mandates in Minneapolis have produced few observable health gains, a number of upset store managers, increases in food waste, increased costs, and frustrated customers. The findings mirror some of the same problems as the school lunch dictates did.

Computer Size

This is a picture of a grain of rice next to the world's smallest computer. It is built by the University of Michigan, dwarfed by a grain of rice, and measures just 0.33mm on each side.

Traffic Safety

The most important single traffic safety device, the painting of lines down the center of roads was devised by Michigan, Wayne County Road Commissioner Edward Hines in 1911 after he saw the dotted drippings from a leaking milk wagon and struck on the concept.

He ordered his road commission to begin center striping all danger spots, curves and bridges were first, and the immediate reduction of accidents was impressive. He then ordered the striping of all roads in Wayne County. When the rest of the state and the nation saw the results, they began center lining their roads as well. Incidentally, he was also responsible for the first mile of concrete roadway. It was in the City of Detroit, Michigan.

Arlington National Cemetery

Union soldiers buried their dead in Robert E. Lee’s garden. Before Arlington was a national cemetery, it was the Lee homestead, and then a tent city for occupying troops.

Robert E. Lee inherited Arlington House
from his wife’s late father. It was a hillside manse overlooking 1,100 acres, just across the river from the White House. Lee left Arlington in April 1861, after resigning from the Union Army and accepting the rank of major general of the Confederacy.

Union troops were preparing to claim the estate almost as soon as he left and his wife Mary, fled.

As the war raged, Arlington looked like a place to put a graveyard after the government acquired the estate in 1864, for $26,800. It became a cemetery during June, 1864. Today, Lee’s former estate is the final resting place for more than 420,000 people. Funeral services continue six days a week, with several dozen a day.


Push the envelope belongs to the modern era of the airplane. The “flight envelope” is a term from aeronautics meaning the boundary or limit of performance of a flight object. The envelope can be described in terms of mathematical curves based on things like speed, thrust, and atmosphere. You push it as far as you can in order to discover what the limits are.

Go haywire relates to actual haywire. In addition to tying up bundles, haywire was used to fix and hold many things together in a makeshift way, so a patched-up place came to be referred to as 'a hay-wire outfit'. It then became a term for any kind of malfunctioning thing. The fact that the wire itself became easily tangled when unspooled contributed to the use of the phrase.

Why Vote on Tuesday

Americans always vote in federal elections on Tuesday and it goes back to the time of horse and buggy.

Between 1788 and 1845, states decided their own voting dates and it resulted in different times to pick the electors. For instance, property owners would cast their votes for president on the first Wednesday of December. During 1792, a law was passed mandating that state elections be held within a 34-day period before that day, so most elections took place in November after the harvest was finished, but before winter began.

With the advent of the railroad and telegraph, Congress decided it was time to standardize a date. Monday was out, because it would require people to travel to the polls by buggy on the Sunday Sabbath. Wednesday was also not an option, because it was market day and farmers would not be able to make it to the polls. So it was decided that Tuesday would be the day that Americans would vote in elections, and in 1845, Congress passed a law that presidential elections would be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.


The Military Order of the Cootie of the United States is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization. It is known as "The Honor Degree of the VFW" and members are comprised of the officers and leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

The Military Order of the Cootie was established on September 17, 1920, in Washington, D.C., by Fred Madden and F. L. Gransbury. The organization was modeled after the Imperial Order of the Dragon, an auxiliary to the Spanish American War Veterans.

The name "cootie" is a reference to the lice that plagued soldiers in World War I. Cooties were credited with keeping soldiers' heads down in the trenches. A meeting of cooties is called a "scratch", the local chapter a "Pup Tent", the state affiliate a "Grand", and national headquarters at Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, "The Supreme".

In the years after its founding, it took on several special projects designed to bring smiles to the faces of two special groups of people - hospitalized veterans and residents of the VFW National Home.

The official uniform of the VFW's Military Order of the Cootie is red pants with a white stripe running down each side; ruffled white shirt; lace-trimmed red vest emblazoned on the back with a gold-outlined, bug-like creature with flashing light bulb eyes; red, overseas-style cap worn sideways so that the tassels dangle beside the wearer's ears.

There are about 37,000 Cooties in 1,000 Pup tents. Membership is open to members in good standing in the VFW who have displayed their willingness to work for the parent organization.

The Military Order of the Cootie Auxiliary draws its membership from the ranks of women eighteen and older who have been active members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary for at least six months and who are the wife, widow, sister, half-sister, daughter, foster daughter, or granddaughter of an active VFW member in good standing. Today there are approximately 17,000 auxiliary members contained in 597 Pup Tents.

Nov 23, 2018

Happy Friday

Smiles are silent conversations inducing increased happiness.

Smile every day, especially on a Happy Friday!

Dressing vs. Stuffing

In a throwback to yesterday's feast, I offer the following. Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it has ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant.

Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, California, and other northern areas. The one thing all agree is that both are stuffed in your mouth regardless if either has been stuffed in a bird first. This seems to loosely follow the soda vs. pop geographic spread.


Going back to your ex is like reheating McDonald's fries, never quite the same.

Denmark Food Labels

A new label on Danish meat products will encourage consumers to choose more animal-friendly, and likely more expensive products. The label will inform consumers about the living standards of pigs before the animal's meat is used for pork steaks and bacon rashers. The idea is that it would encourage Danes to reward farmers that made an extra effort for pig welfare. Three-star pigs will have spent a stipulated minimum amount of time outside and have slept on straw. The label will give up to three stars depending on a number of conditions relating to the welfare of pigs. 
New labeling on other food packaging will enable consumers in Denmark to see the effect of their shopping on the environment. The Minister for the Environment wants to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products. “My impression is that there is a demand for knowledge about how individual consumers can contribute to improving world climate,” the minister said. Based on voluntary climate markings on food packaging, the government will launch a campaign to make it easier for consumers to make climate-friendly choices, according to the plan.

Seems like the Ministry of Environment and Food (Miljø- og Fødevareministeriet) has been eating some of its own happy bacon.

Two Macy Parade Tidbits

Macy's is the world's second largest consumer of helium. The balloons were originally allowed to float away, and those who found them got a gift certificate from Macy's.

Casting, Dies, and Molds

Casting is a manufacturing process in which a molten metal is injected or poured into a mold to form an object of the desired shape.

Molds tend to be used to produce products that need to be hollow in the middle, whereas dies are used to stamp solid products out of media such as steel.

A die is a block of metal with a special shape or with a pattern cut into it that is used for shaping other pieces of metal such as coins or for making patterns.

Tool and die makers are a class of machinists in the manufacturing industries that make jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, gauges, and other tools used in manufacturing processes.

Hemp CBD vs. Cannabis CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) oil and hemp oil are both low in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), but the difference in the amount of CBD these products contain is high.

Hemp oil usually has about 3 to 5 percent of CBD, while cannabis CBD oil has about 18 to 20 percent. It is the higher concentration that makes cannabis CBD beneficial in the treatment of various health disorders.

Hemp oil based CBD products do not contain enough of the compound to be considered much more than a health supplement. These are the products found in health food and other stores and legal in all 50 states.

Consider hemp oil-based CBD as a vitamin grade and Cannabis CBD as pharmaceutical grade.

Incidentally, Hemp CBD is regulated by the FDA as a dietary supplement, and like other dietary supplements the FDA is “not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.”

Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis. Hemp is Cannabis sativa, and marijuana is either Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. Hemp is the common and legal term for cannabis that contains less than .3% THC. Marijuana is the common and legal term for cannabis that contains .3% and more THC.

Masons vs. Shriners

You must be a Mason to be a Shriner, but there are very many members who just pay their yearly fee and are active in the Shrine.
Shriners International, also commonly known as The Shriners, is a society established in 1870 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA. It is an appendant body to Freemasonry. Shriners International describes itself as a fraternity based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth.
There are approximately 350,000 members from 196 temples (chapters) - the term Temple has now generally been replaced by Shrine Auditorium or Shrine Center - in the US, Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Europe, and Australia. The organization is best known for the Shriners' Hospitals for Children.  Shriners have two claims to fame. One is acting silly and having parades with outrageous costumes and vehicles. The other is raising money to provide free medical care for children.
There are two organizations tied to the Shrine that are for women only: The Ladies' Oriental Shrine and the Daughters of the Nile. They both support the Shriners' Hospitals and promote sociability. Membership in either organization is open to any woman 18 years of age and older who is related to a Shriner or Master Mason by birth, marriage, or adoption.
The origins of Freemasonry are obscure. The best guess is that it is an outgrowth of medieval stonemasons’ guilds that began after the mid-1500s. These men, called “accepted” masons, enjoyed the ritual and secrecy that in the Middle Ages had been necessary to transmit the skills of the craft and prevent outsiders.
Eventually there were no operative masons and Masonry became a kind of fraternity, retaining such trappings of stonemasonry as the apron worn at formal functions and the familiar compass-and-square symbol. From 1740 to 1813 there were a host of Masonic rites, orders, and degrees created. These new rituals enlarged the scope of Masonry and encompassed many elaborations, some of which included elements which had previously been practiced within the craft.  There are many organizations and Orders which form part of the widespread fraternity of Freemasonry, each having its own structure and terminology. Collectively these may be referred to as Masonic bodies, Masonic orders or appendant bodies of Freemasonry.
The basic unit of Freemasonry is the Masonic Lodge, which alone can initiate a Freemason. Such lodges are controlled by a Grand Lodge with national or regional authority for all lodges within its territory. A Masonic lodge confers the three masonic degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft (or Fellow Craft), and Master Mason.

Each Masonic body sets its own membership requirements, which vary greatly. Membership is sometimes open, and sometimes invitational. In the United States, the York and Scottish Rites make petitions available to all Master Masons, but reserve the right to reject petitioners, while other groups, such as the Knight Masons, require that one be asked to join by a current member.

Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet had prior involvement with Freemasonry, and many of the Mormon secrets closely parallel those of the Masons, as does the notion of the ceremony’s secrecy itself.

Bottom line, all Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.

Incidentally, the Knights Templar membership is by invitation only and candidates are required to be Master Masons.

Nov 16, 2018

Happy Friday

To find true happiness you must open your heart as well as your eyes.

Today I see what my heart shows me will be a very Happy Friday!

Turkey Facts

Turkeys are the biggest birds in their family. On average the weight of a full grown healthy turkey can reach up to 37 pounds (17 kilograms). Turkeys like to stay on higher places, especially at night. Branches of trees are their favorite sleeping places. On heights they usually keep safe from predators like foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. They are quite social birds and like to sleep in groups, known as flocks.

Turkey meat contains an amino acid known as tryptophan that is used to produce serotonin in our body. Serotonin is a chemical that our brain uses for relaxation and sleep functions. Of course tryptophan in turkey meat is not to blame so much as the high amount of carbohydrates that are used in making a Thanksgiving meal. Things like bread, potatoes, pies, and sweats release many kinds of amino acids in our blood. This also results in producing more serotonin with the help of tryptophan. That is why Thanksgiving meals usually make us sleepy.

Wild turkeys can fly at a speed of up to 55 mph (89 kilometers per hour) although they like to spend more time on ground finding food. Domestic turkeys like broad-breasted white turkeys can’t fly because they gain too much weight on their upper section.

Turkeys have eyes on the both sides of their head. They can see 360 degrees just by moving their head. Turkeys can also see different colors and their amazing visual abilities help them avoid sneak attacks from their predators. Their sharp eyesight helps them find their prey from a long distance.

Turkeys have no external ears, but their hearing is quite phenomenal.

Snoods are the long dangly extended flesh on the beaks of turkeys. They also have warts and dangling appendages on the both sides of their face. The colors of these snoods and warts change when the bird get excited or frightened. These usually pale pink or gray colors turn into blue, red, or white when they feel excited.

Wordology, Ukulele

Ukulele translates as 'jumping flea', likely after the movement of the player's fingers.

Bedspread vs. Coverlet vs. Comforter vs. Duvet vs. Quilt

A bedspread is a close relation to the coverlet and is constructed similarly, but is designed to meet the floor. This style adds a soft, ethereal romance to a bedroom and works especially well in a period style home.

Coverlets differ from quilts only slightly and sometimes not at all. Coverlets typically fall a couple of inches below the mattress. Quilts contain a middle layer for warmth, coverlets may not. The purely ornamental choice can be as simple as two sheets of fabric stitched together, usually consisting of a decorative face fabric and a plain reverse fabric. Coverlets can be made loose, throw-style, semi-fitted, or fitted. The side flaps are sewn together so that the coverlet fits over the mattress like a cap. It is not designed for easy bed making or for tossing and turning under.

A comforter looks much like a duvet, except that it is decorative and all parts are integral. Its fill is more lofty than that of a quilt and comes in a wide range of densities and fiber contents. Comforters can be smooth, quilted, or shirred (gathering). Quilting and shirring help ensure the fill stays evenly distributed.

A duvet is a cotton, polyester, blended, or down feather blanket that can be used in place of upper sheet and blanket. A duvet cover is little more than a washable bag for the duvet. It is composed of two fabric sides that are joined together by a zipper, ties, or buttons. Placing a duvet at the foot of a bed is a popular stylistic choice for those who feel the pattern is too much of a good thing. On the other hand, those who opt for dual, coordinating fabrics for the face and reverse sides are rewarded with the opportunity to showcase both simultaneously if they flip the top of their duvet. With a warm layer underneath, a smaller duvet can serve as an extra comfort to the sleeper who requires a bit more warmth.

A quilt is one of the most traditional bed coverings. Before fabric was loomed in long sheets, frugal home sewers pieced together scraps of worn clothing and kitchen textiles into two sides of a blanket that sandwiched a warmth layer. Today we use batting for this layer, though in centuries past it could have been any insulating agent, from horsehair to grass. Quilting is also a term for the designs created by threads as they bind together the two fabric layers and the internal layer of any bed covering. This means that quilting is not limited to quilts: Duvets can be quilted, as can comforters.

Incidentally, matelasse is a special type of fabric made in the French tradition with a jacquard loom that gives a tufted look and can be made into comforters, duvet covers, coverlets, and quilts. The term simply refers to a cotton fabric with a raised design.

Quick Ice Pack

Pour one third rubbing or other alcohol and two thirds water in a sandwich bag. It will freeze, but still be flexible.

Super Brain Computer

Researchers at Manchester University have just switched on the world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer. While a neuromorphic supercomputer may be the closest thing we have to an artificial brain, we are still a long way off from building the huge head-shaped computer from The Matrix: Revolutions - which is a good thing.

A neuromorphic supercomputer mimics the biological neural activities of a human brain by emitting spikes of pure electro-chemical energy. To achieve this, scientists at Manchester University built the computer with one million processors at its core.

So far SpiNNaker is able to make 200 trillion actions per second and it took ten years to build.

More Keyboard Shortcuts

Finding words in documents is tedious, but with Apple, typing (command key) ⌘ + f speeds up the process. The command works in Pages, Safari, Chrome, Word, and just about everywhere else.
- In Windows use CTRL + f

Selecting everything, especially in a big document, can take ages. Hitting ⌘ + a selects everything. Copy and paste text with the Mac by typing ⌘ + c (copy) and then ⌘ + v (paste) makes it much easier. This shortcut works with text, photos, and anything else that can be copied.
- In Windows it is CTRL + a, (select) CTRL + c (copy), and CTRL + V (paste).

switch apps by pressing ⌘ + tab.
- In Windows ALT +tab.

Take an instant screenshot of everything on the Apple screen with ⌘ + shift + 3.
- In Windows shift + prnt screen.

Hereditary Titles

Hereditary titles have a hierarchy known as the five grades or ranks of the peerage, just as in various other European countries. The highest grade is duke/duchess, followed by marquess/marchioness, earl/countess, viscount/viscountess, and baron/baroness.

Dukes and duchesses are addressed with their actual title, but all other ranks of the peerage are addressed as Lord or Lady. Non-hereditary life peers are also addressed as Lord or Lady.

Life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of baron, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.

Lord and Sir are two titles that show difference between them in terms of their significance and application. Lord is an inherited title or given by a government. A Lord can occupy the seat of the House of Lords.

Sir refers to the Knight, so it is an honor of Knighthood bestowed on an individual by the Queen. The title of Sir is lower rank of nobility when compared to the title of Lord. These are individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their field and have been awarded official honors in the name of the reigning monarch. There are different categories, but only those receiving the highest level of award are entitled to use the title Dame or Sir.

The fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, for example, received a knighthood in 2000 from Queen Elizabeth II, while actress Dame Judi Dench received the female equivalent of a knighthood in 1988 – Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Elton John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight) was knighted by Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services" in 1998.

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.