Apr 27, 2018

Happy Friday

If you are not more happy today than yesterday, you are not smiling enough.

Start your day with a smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

Funny Diet Thoughts

I bought a talking refrigerator that said “Oink” every time I opened the door. It made me hungry for pork chops.

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets, they are wonderful things for other people to go on.

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. . . unless there are three other people.

Food is like sex: when you abstain, even the worst stuff begins to look good.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

Soup is just a way of screwing you out of a meal.

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.

Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.

Human Affect on Earth

There are many statistics about the earth, oceans, and weather. Although satellites give us a good picture of land and sea, many parts of both have not been visited or set foot on by humans. Almost all of the earth's subsurface is still unexplored. The following are closest to consensus data that I could find.

About 80% of the earth is covered in water. The other roughly 20% is surface land. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies says urban areas currently take up less than 1 percent of earth's surface.

According to the FAO Global Land Cover SHARE database, produced in 2014, 0.6% of Earth’s land surface is defined as 'Artificial surfaces'. Artificial surfaces include any areas that have an artificial cover as a result of human activities such as construction (cities, towns, transportation), extraction (open mines and quarries) or waste disposal.
Of the 108 billion people that have ever been alive, it is estimated that 6.4 percent of them, roughly seven billion are alive now. So seven billion humans inhabit or use just .6% of 20% of the earth. Since we have yet to discover major parts of land and sea, it is difficult to project future impact, because we still do not know what we do not know.

Incidentally, to date we have explored five to ten percent of the ocean. There are around 8.7 million species on earth of which 80 percent are undiscovered. No one has been able to determine how many ocean species there might be or the percent we may have already discovered. It is estimated that approximately seven percent or more of territorial earth is yet to be discovered. Finally, we have yet been able to fully explore the human body.

Wordology, Unexplored vs. Uncharted

These two words are often used interchangeably, but do not mean the same thing. Uncharted means unmapped. For example, Canada, as recently as 1916 was about 25 percent still uncharted.

Unexplored means a geographic area where no one has explored or investigated and published their findings. There are considerable areas of the jungles in Brazil, Indonesia, and desert areas such as the Sahara, the Namib desert, central Australia, and desolate cold areas such as Siberia, northern Canada, Greenland, Antarctica, remote areas in central Asia, and central Africa that are still essentially unexplored. As recently as 2011, British researchers were using Google Earth to look around Africa when they noticed a patch of forest on and around Mozambique's Mount Mabu that they never knew existed. It was uncharted and unexplored. 

Spleen vs. No Spleen

The spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. It varies in size and shape between people, but is commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about four inches long. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you cannot easily feel it unless it is abnormally enlarged. About 10% of people have a small extra accessory spleen, which causes no problems and is considered normal.

The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. It also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.

Bottom line, the spleen filters blood and helps the body fight infections, but it is not essential for survival. The spleen can be removed if it is damaged. However, people without a spleen are more prone to infections.

Optical Illusions

Here are three optical illusions for your viewing pleasure (3.5 minutes). LINK

Wordology, Antioxidant

Few people are aware what exactly an antioxidant is. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation. It is a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.

The level of antioxidants in any substance or food is evaluated with an ORAC score, (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). ORAC tests the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals. These measurements were developed by the National Institute of Aging and are based on 100 grams of each food or herb. Cinnamon, clove, oregano, dark chocolate, and pecans have extremely high ORAC scores.

Antioxidants can be man-made or natural substances.  They are found in many foods. They are also available as dietary supplements. Examples of antioxidants include: Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Vegetables, fruits, and nuts are rich sources of antioxidants.

The benefit list of antioxidants is long and includes:
    Slower signs of aging, including skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart, and brain,
    Healthier more youthful glowing skin,
    Reduced cancer risk,
    Detoxification support,
    Longer life span,
    Protection against heart disease and stroke,
    Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia,
    Reduced risk for vision loss, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Bottom line, antioxidants are generally very good for you, but high-dose supplements of antioxidants may be linked to health risks in some cases, such as high doses of beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. High doses of vitamin E may increase risks of prostate cancer and one type of stroke. As my mother used to say, "It can be too much of a good thing."

Best Road Rage Video

Funny stuff. Here is a LINK

Robo Calls are Big Business

Consumers get an estimated 98 million robocalls daily, according to the US government. Fraud from these unwanted calls amounts to about $9.5 billion annually. More than 3 billion robocalls were placed during March, 2018, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. In addition, the FCC gets about 200,000 complaints about robocalls each year, and the FTC received 4.5 million complaints about unwanted calls during 2017.

During 2017, the FCC gave phone companies the ability to block numbers they know are attempting to send spoofed calls that look as if they are local calls. And the agency also began a process to improve caller ID so calls could have "a verified digital fingerprint" to ensure a caller was legit.

Most of the big carriers offer a free call protection app, except Sprint, which costs $2.99 a month.

There are hundreds of apps such as Hiya, Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Truecaller, and YouMail that work. Look at the rating and read user comments before downloading any app. You can block numbers on your phone, but the major bad guys keep changing their number so it does not help much. However it is good for blocking local business that keep calling to sell services.

I have not found any app that blocks the call and locks the caller out of voice mail. This is the most aggravating part for me. I want one that blocks the call and blocks voice mail at the same time.

Incidentally, YouMail operates a Robocall Index that compiles the scope and location of the worst robocalling hotspots across the country by area code, and Atlanta leads the list.

Apr 20, 2018

Happy Friday

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

I always applaud a Happy Friday!

SD vs. SSD

An SD card is removable flash memory, much like a USB stick (thumb drive), it just fits into smaller slots, like in a digital camera, or phone. SD stands for secure digital.

SSD stands for solid state drive and is a hard drive based on flash memory technology just like the an SD card, except it usually holds much more data. SSD differs from a conventional hard drive. It has no moving parts, it is much faster and lighter, does not use much energy, and does not emit heat.

Google Maps Hack

Google probably knows more about where you have been than you can remember. This may be good or bad. If you are a criminal, law enforcement can use this information to place you at the scene of a crime. If you are not a criminal, it might just be interesting information. Many forget that phones have location turned on and never think about it. You mostly only need location turned on when using maps or for Lyft and Uber. Some also suggest when you go out to unsavory or unfamiliar places it is good to have it on, so you can be tracked or if worse, be found.

The link below takes you straight to your Google Maps Timeline, a record of all your movements logged in Google Maps. Just sign in to Google and it will direct you. Enjoy. LINK

Funny Tweet

This is from the funniest tweets of all time. Made me laugh out loud.

"Been on hold so long I can't remember who I called. I have a credit card out and my pants off, but that doesn't really narrow it down much. 1:08 PM - 30 Jun 09"

Names Behind Retail Store Initials

Shopping strips and malls are littered with companies whose original names have now been replaced with initials. Those initials often reveal a pearl or interesting fact of the history of the company.
In some instances, businesses attempt to change the meaning of their initials. British Petroleum, better known to the world as BP, decided in 2000 that its name now stood for “beyond petroleum”.
B&M comes from Billington & Mayman as it was set up by Malcolm Billington but shortened to B&M for Bargain Madness.

Some initials quite obvious, depending on where you live. ANZ is the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group; BWS stands for “Beers, Wines and Spirits”.
H&M comes from the official name Hennes & Mauritz AB. It is a Swedish multinational clothing-retail company.
The ASOS fashion brand and online megastore started as a supplier of unbranded clothes to celebrities on TV and the idea was people could find clothes and accessories they had seen celebs wearing. Before long people started referring to AsSeenOnScreen as ASOS and in late 2000 the domain name www.asos.com was bought.
QVC comes from Quality Value Convenience. It sums up the service the shopping channel provides. QVC was set up by Joseph Segel in Pennsylvania in 1986 and it now broadcasts to over 350 million households in seven countries across the globe.
CVS pharmacy chain was founded in Lowell, MA in 1963, and was known as "Consumer Value Stores." Over time the name became abbreviated to simply CVS.

Kmart's big red K. Officially the K does not stand for anything and the brand has only ever read in Australia as “Kmart”. The American company’s history goes back to traveling salesman Sebastian Spering Kresge from Pennsylvania. In 1897, he opened his first store in Memphis and by the 1950s Mr Kresge had 600 stores bearing his surname. Do you remember SS Kresge? The stores began to convert to the simpler Kmart brand in 1962, the K is a nod to its founder. Kresge died in 1966.
JBL, the speaker company is named after its founder, James Bullough Lansing. He was born James Martini in 1902, but at 25, he changed his name to James Lansing.

KFC changed from Kentucky Fried Chicken and the public relations reason given for the name change was that health-conscious consumers associated the word “fried” with “unhealthy” and “high cholesterol.”

According to KFC, during 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken decided on a name change to KFC. "In reality, we wanted to let our customers know that we had more for them to enjoy than just fried chicken, and many were already calling us KFC, as it was much easier to say."

Incidentally, KFC is owned by Yum! Brands. It operates Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and WingStreet worldwide.

Amazing Flying Diversion

Four minutes to make your heart pump. This is an Air Show in Cameron, a small rural town in Missouri. LINK

Masters Tournament Bans

Bryce Ritchie, an editor at golf magazine "Bunkered," reported that the Masters Tournament had a list of sayings that had been banned from the course, with 2018 list including the now-iconic "Dilly Dilly". According to Ritchie, fans who shout "Dilly Dilly," or similar phrases, will be ejected from the tournament.

Augusta National forbids any phones.  For fans who need to reach someone off the course, payphones are available.

The tournament still has rules on the books regarding the use of beepers. So doctors better leave their pagers at home. Are they the only people that still use pagers?

Cameras are allowed on the course at Augusta National only during the practice rounds before the start of the official tournament.

Raw vs. Roasted Nuts

Nuts are generally roasted to improve their taste, aroma and crunchy texture. Roasting is defined as cooking using dry heat, which cooks the food evenly on all sides. Most nuts are roasted without their shell, except for pistachios, which are often roasted in-shell. Roasting nuts changes their structure, chemical composition, color, and decreases their moisture content.

There are two main kinds of roasting: Dry roasting without oil. Nuts can be dry roasted in the oven or in a frying pan. Oil roasting can also be done in the oven or in a frying pan.

Raw and dry-roasted nuts have very similar amounts of fat, carbs and protein, but roasted nuts have slightly more fat and calories per gram. During roasting, nuts lose some moisture, so a roasted nut weighs less than a raw nut. That explains why the fat content per ounce is slightly higher in roasted nuts. Some studies indicate that trans fats are formed after roasting, but the amount is negligible

One ounce (28 grams) of raw almonds contains 161 calories and 14 grams of fat. The same amount of dry-roasted almonds contains 167 calories and 15 grams of fat. Both types contain similar amounts of calories, protein, carbs, and fiber, but roasting nuts may damage their healthy fat, and reduce their nutrient content.

Eating roasted or non-roasted nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease. Nuts are filled with healthy fats and the amino acid arginine, which relaxes constricted arteries and increases blood flow, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Nuts also contain vitamin E, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. Good nut choices include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts.

Benefits of Smiles

Scientists have found that a human fetus starts smiling in its mother’s womb. In his TED talk, “The power of smiling,” Ron Gutman said that child smiles 400 times a day on average, while just a third of adults smile more than 20 times a day.
The theory of interconnection between a person’s emotional state and their facial expression says that our mood and well-being improve when we smile, even if this smile is artificial. Smiling affects the production of endorphins in our brains and blood then transfers them through the whole body. Scientists believe that such “joy moderators” can seriously lessen physical pain and emotional discomfort.

My favorite task after I wake is to look in the mirror and smile. Try it now, or tomorrow, or everyday. Amazing how much it helps to start the day with a smile.

Apr 13, 2018

Happy Friday

Smiles are free, but priceless.

You can't afford not to smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson

April 13, 1743 was this great man's birthday. He could write in Greek with one hand while writing the same in Latin with the other. His Portrait is on the Two $2.00 Dollar Bill.

Here are some facts about his life and quotes from Thomas Jefferson.

At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.
At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.
At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
At 23, started his own law practice.
At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America" and retired from his law practice.
At 32, was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
At 33, took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia.
At 40, served in Congress for two years.
At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations.
At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became active head of Republican Party.
At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation's size.
At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
At 65, retired to Monticello.
At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
 At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.
At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." -- Thomas Jefferson

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." -- Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too
much government." --Thomas Jefferson

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." --Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." --Thomas Jefferson

Tap Dance Diversion

Here is Bill Bojangles Robinson from 1932 tap dancing with stairs as a prop. LINK

Wordology, Pancreas

Inside your abdomen is your pancreas, just behind and below the stomach. It is a long, flat organ that is connected to the small intestines.

It is part of the digestive system and releases digestive enzymes into the small intestines that help to break down food, so your body can extract the nutrients it needs. It also produces sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes acids that find their way from the stomach into the small intestines.

The pancreas also secretes important hormones your body needs, such as insulin and glucagon to help to regulate blood sugar levels in your body.

Incidentally, the abdomen is an area of the body that contains most of the tube-like organs of the digestive tract, as well as several solid organs. Hollow abdominal organs include the stomach, the small intestine, and the colon with its attached appendix. Organs such as the liver, its attached gallbladder, and the pancreas function in close association with the digestive tract and communicate with it via ducts. The spleen, kidneys, and adrenal glands also lie within the abdomen, along with many blood vessels including the aorta. 

Little Tree Story

Not the usual fare I include, but the following is thought provoking and I decided to share.

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and then his pickup truck refused to start.

I drove him home and when we arrived, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door he had undergone an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

He walked me to my car and as I was leaving, we passed the small tree. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier at the little tree.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I will always have troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children." "So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again."

"Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I hung there the night before." ~
Author unknown

State Gas Tax Rates

The highest state gas tax is assessed in Pennsylvania, at 50.4 cents per gallon, with Washington State (44.5 cpg) and New York (42.64 cpg) following closely behind. Alaska drivers pay the lowest rate in the country at 12.25 cents per gallon. These figures do not include the 18.4 cpg federal gas tax.

Science I Like

Do not make up your bed. When you are sleeping under a blanket, your body becomes hot and sweaty. This creates the perfect breeding ground for dust mites which are microscopic bugs that can exacerbate asthma and allergies. Research from Kingston University has proven that the best way to get rid of dust mites is to leave your bed unmade and let it dry out. When mites are exposed to sun and air they get dehydrated and die.

Scientists have developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds. “We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” Dr Pretlove said. “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”

The two-year project has attracted more than £200,000 funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Dr Pretlove is working alongside built environment experts from University College London and the University of Cambridge. Zoologists from Insect Research and Development Ltd and the Royal Agricultural College are also part of the project team.

Apr 6, 2018

Happy Friday

"There is nothing more beautiful than cheerfulness in an old face." ~ Jean Paul

Cheerfulness makes everyone beautiful, especially on a Happy Friday!

Licking Machine

A school of higher learning, engineering students at Purdue University, actually measured Tootsie Pop licks. It officially takes 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. They used a proprietary “licking machine” rather than a human tongue. Human volunteers reached the center in just 252 licks.

Wordology, Achilles Heel

In Greek mythology, Achilles was the son of an immortal goddess named Thetis and a mortal man named Peleus. When Achilles was born, Thetis thought she could make him immortal by submerging him into the River Styx. The legend says Thetis held Achilles by his heel when she dipped him into the river. Therefore, his heel was not touched by the magical waters of the River and it remained mortal and thus vulnerable. Achilles went on to become a hero in the Trojan War, but was killed toward the end of the war when he was shot in the heel by an arrow.
Since then, the term "Achilles' heel" has come to mean a vulnerability or weakness in an otherwise strong person. For example, a fighter might be brought down by his Achilles' heel, such as pride, or overconfidence.

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, stretching from the calf muscles down to the heel. It is strong, but prone to injury. Doctors speculate this is because of its limited blood supply and the fact that it frequently has high tension placed upon it, especially during walking and running.

I Write The Songs

Barry Manilow did not write his hit song “I Write the Songs”. Before he recorded it, Barry didn’t even think it was a particularly good song. It was written by Bruce Johnston, of the Beach Boys, during 1975.

Monowi Nebraska

There is an American town with a population of one. Monowi is the only town in the United States with an official population of one person. Monowi means "flower" in a Native American language. Elsie Eiler became the sole resident of Monowi in 2004, after her husband, Rudy, passed away. She pays taxes to herself and grants her own alcohol license.

She is in her 80s, and is employed as the village’s mayor, librarian, and bartender. The Monowi Tavern has regular customers. At the tavern, she is the only full-time staff, but she occasionally brings on extra help when she is expecting a big crowd, like the motorcycle group that meets there several times a year.

The nearest community to Monowi is Lynch, located approximately 6.92 miles (11.14 km) away. The village is located approximately 193.97 miles (312.16 km) from Omaha.

Windshield Repair Hack

It is frustrating when a truck or car in front throws up a rock and creates a nick in the windshield. If you ignore it, it might spread and require a new windshield. There are a few ways to put off the trip to a repair shop.

One - Clear nail polish can fill the nooks and crannies of your small windshield chips and cracks and when it dries, helps to seal and protect it from the cold and elements that cause further cracking. Clean the damaged area of your windshield with dish soap and warm water. When dry, apply a thin layer of clear nail polish to the damaged area and let dry.

Two - So clever that I had to look it up to verify. You can actually fix a cracked window with garlic. Cut a garlic clove lengthwise down the middle. Rub the cut side softly over the crack and wipe away the excess garlic juice with a paper towel. Garlic contains various sucrose compounds called fructans in high concentrations. Fructanos are responsible for making the knife sticky when we cut one of these and is like a natural glue. When filled with the natural garlic glue, it will prevent cracks from spreading. It is not a substitute for a professional fix, but it will keep the crack on your windshield from getting worse until you can get to a repair shop.

Distressing Birthday Thought

You are most likely to die on your birthday. According to research published in the Annals of Epidemiology, people over sixty have a fourteen percent higher chance of dying on their birthday than any other day. Other researchers have found that an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, falls, and suicides makes our birthdays a far more dangerous day of the year than any other. Another group of researchers, who have studied more than two million people over the course of two decades have found: we are more likely to die on our own birthday than any other day of the year. More reasons to skip birthdays and just be happy every day.

Cheese May Prevent Nightmares

In case your birthday is close, there is a way to not have nightmares about it. According to research conducted by the British Cheese Board, no study subjects reported having nightmares after eating cheese, but blue cheese consumption had a tendency to make dreams a bit odd. Filed under another odd study, but it seemed to fit.

Bread and Sugar Myths Busted

Sugar can be as addictive as heroin myth says some brain imaging studies have found that sugar activates similar parts of the brain as seriously addictive drugs, like heroin. However, an eating behavioral specialist explains, “In neuroimaging, there is no clear-cut sign of addiction.” Just because that part of the brain is activated, does not mean that the person experiencing it is actually addicted to the substance.

Brown bread is healthy myth equates color with whole wheat bread. Just because a loaf is brown does not make it better than a loaf that is white. “Contrary to popular belief, brown bread does not automatically translate to mean 100 percent whole wheat bread. To ensure you are buying the most nutritious bread option, read labels and check to see that the first ingredient listed is either whole wheat or ‘whole meal’ flour.”