May 18, 2018

Happy Friday

You do not need teeth to smile, just a happy thought.

It is easy to have happy thoughts, especially on a Happy Friday!

Google Tricks

Type “Do a Barrel Roll” (without quotes) in your search bar and hold your desk for a second as this will give a circular roll off your screen. A few more to try, "space", "gravity", "underwater". Fun stuff to keep you from doing your work.

Tonsils and Adenoids

Technically, there are three sets of tonsils: the pharyngeal tonsils, commonly known as adenoids, the palatine tonsils, and the lingual tonsils. People refer to tonsils usually as the palatine tonsils, which are oval, pea-sized clusters of lymph cells at the opening of either side of the throat. Their role is to filter bacteria and viruses and produce white blood cells and antibodies. Tonsils are the first line of defense as part of the immune system.

Adenoids or pharyngeal tonsils are clusters of lymphatic tissue in the back of the nose, above the roof of the mouth. They begin to shrink by age 7 or 8, are barely visible by the late teens, and completely gone by adulthood. Adenoids are covered with cilia and mucus. The small hairs wave about to spread mucus, which is carried to the stomach by swallowing. The purpose of the mucus is to capture infectious bacteria, dust, and other particles and flush them away.

Bottom line, all adenoids are tonsils, but not all tonsils are adenoids.

Wordology, Hoi Polloi

This term is used to mean two completely different things. Originally it came from the Greek and is a transliteration of the Greek for 'the many'. So, it means the masses, the ordinary folks, the general populace, and usually it is usually meant as derogatory. However, it also has a second meaning. According to Merriam Webster it also means people of distinction, or wealth, or elevated status.

I checked a few dictionaries and found the first definition, but the second seems limited to Merriam Webster. Incidentally, the hoi polloi is actually redundant, as hoi means the, so the hoi polloi literally would mean the the masses.

Top Ten Websites in US

Interesting to note that three of the top ten are porn sites. Not sure what that means.

1,  Search Engine
2,  Social Network
3,  TV and Video
4,  Shopping
5,  News and Media
6,  Adult
7,  Adult
8,  Adult
9,  Shopping
10,  Reference

Other sites of interest Walmart is number 20, linkedin 22, and AOL is 48. Evidently, my blog did not make the cut.

Skin Printer

Wow, 3D printing is getting interesting. A handheld skin printer is like a magic wand for healing flesh wounds. It acts like tape used for correcting a writing error. It can produce a sheet of skin tissue to cover a wound. University of Toronto engineers have developed a 3D skin printer that can apparently, form tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.

This could serve as a future alternative to regular skin grafts. However, instead of first requiring that a patient has healthy skin removed to be grafted elsewhere, this device can roll out a new layer of bio ink-based, 3D-printed skin tissue.

It is portable and weighs just over 2 pounds and has already been shown to function when patching up both rats’ and pigs’ wounds. The team is currently conducting wound-healing experiments to benchmark their approach against established alternatives.

Wikipedia Hack

Enter a search for month and year and it will return world news for that month. Try it for your birthday. Try it for a family member or friend who is having a birthday, print it out and give it to them as an interesting gift.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, says that some years the most births occur during July or September. Worldwide birth statistics vary with climates and cultural factors that influence the timing of conceptions and births.

Incidentally, in the US, February is the month with the least births and August has the most.+

Happy Songs

Current hit songs in the UK are happier, more danceable, and more likely to be sung by women than songs which fail to make it to the charts. Songs were considered successful if they made it into Top 100 charts.

The new 2018 study, based on 500,000 songs released in Britain between 1985 and 2015, found that as happy music declined, so did the popularity of songs sung by men.
The study analyzed the sound characteristics of popular tracks, but not their lyrics.

It also discovered trend that there is less happy music, while people clearly prefer happy music. "More and more unhappy songs are being released each year," a research team from the University of California Irvine reported in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Overall, they found that happiness in music has declined, while sadness increased during the last 30 years.

However, hit tunes defy the trend, and tend to be much happier than unsuccessful tunes.

May 11, 2018

Happy Friday

Desire, admire, and inspire happiness.

I always desire, admire, inspire, and require happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Mattress Cleaner

A quick way to clean the upper layer of your mattress is with a spray consisting of one part alcohol mixed with two parts water. Vacuum your mattress and then spray it with the alcohol solution and let it dry. The alcohol will disinfect the upper layer and kill any bacteria that are making it smell bad. If you have any essential oils handy, put a few drops in the solution to also make it smell fresher.

Incidentally, there are not pounds of dead mites and skin on the mattress. LINK

Smartphone Cell vs. WiFi Data

Many people do not know the difference between WiFi data and cell data (LTE, 4G). WiFi allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a router. You need to be to be in the range of a router and connect to the network in order to access the Internet. Cellular data allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a cell phone signal. You need to be in the range of a cell phone tower to access the Internet. When you use your phone to access the Internet without WiFi, you are using up the monthly allotment of data your cell phone plan allows. Another important distinction to know, especially for the security conscious, cell data is encrypted so it is safer than public Wi-Fi.

Think of two types of data, background data is data that is used behind the scenes by apps and the operating system (iOS, Android, etc.). This can also include data from actions you are aware of such as downloading email messages. Apps on your phone use background data even when you are not using the app. You can individually turn off background data for apps, such as Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat when you are not using them. If you do not have an unlimited plan it is very advantageous to turn off background data. It will turn back on automatically when you use the app and off again when you close it.

Foreground data is data that you deliberately use, such as streaming videos, derping the internet, downloading a new app, etc. This is where WiFi comes in handy if you do not have an unlimited data plan. Also, WiFi is often faster, under the right conditions.

However, WiFi drains the battery quicker. It works by sending and receiving a microwave radio signal through the air to a Wireless Access Point. Radio waves are essentially electricity from your battery that has been converted into a specific frequency, and pushed out of your device through an antenna. Ideally, you might set your WiFi to be off all the time, then turn it on when you are home using your WiFi, or when you are out and want to download large amounts of data, such as a movie or Facebook video.

If you spend more time connected to WiFi networks than cellular, leave your WiFi turned on. If not, it is advantageous to keep it turned off and save your battery. If you travel internationally, use WiFi to avoid expensive charges for international roaming.

Bottom line, if you have an unlimited data plan, the difference between WiFi and cell data is battery usage. If you do not have unlimited data, then the difference can be costly from overage charges, if you exceed your limit. Both are automatically available on smartphones.

Other may have caught on to this battery saver idea as OpenSignal analyzed a 90-day period beginning on Dec. 1, 2017 and found the time spent on WiFi dropped for three of the four major U.S. carriers compared to the first quarter of 2017, due to the growth in unlimited data plans.

Incidentally, on an Android phone, if you go into settings, tap “Data usage”, and then tap the Facebook app icon, you can then select “Restrict app background data.” You can also go into the settings in the actual Facebook app (found under “More” after you open Facebook), uncheck “autoplay videos” and set it to “WiFi only”. Now Facebook does not add to cell data unless you are using it. In addition, there is another data saving setting on the phone to update all apps only when connected to WiFi.

Dark Chocolate and Vizion

Good news for dark chocolate lovers. Researchers had 30 healthy adults, averaging 26 years old; eat either a 1.5-ounce Trader Joe's 72 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate bar or a similar-sized Trader Joe's Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate bar. Labels were removed from each bar so participants did not know what type of chocolate they were eating.

About two hours later, each participant underwent vision testing using standard letter-based eye charts. Compared to people who ate the milk chocolate bar, those who snacked on the dark chocolate showed "small enhancements in visual acuity and large-letter contrast" on the vision test, the researchers reported.

Heart-healthy compounds in chocolate called flavanols appeared to sharpen eyesight. The observed change in vision was small, but significant. Prior studies showed that the antioxidant flavanols in dark chocolate might help boost blood flow to the nervous system, boost heart function, and even help preserve the aging brain. The study results were published April 26, 2018 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Hot Phone Battery Tips

Ah, summer is fast approaching and we love to get out in the sun. Did you know your smartphone does not like it as much as you do? In fact, it is adversely affected by it. The hotter outside it gets, the more it uses battery power. Heat and background apps are the quickest ways to drain your phone without you realizing it.

Phones are good for temperatures up to 95 degrees and can be stored up to about 110 degrees. Never leave a phone, tablet, or computer in a hot car, especially in direct sunlight, because temperatures in parked cars can exceed this range.

As noted above for usage charges there are other reasons for turning off apps you are not using, such as battery draining. On your smartphone, turn off WiFi, bluetooth, GPS, and other energy-draining functions if you are not using them. Another energy killer is screen brightness. Dimming brightness even just a little, can save hours of battery life.

Just because you press the Home button on your phone does not mean an app is closed. In fact, the app is still running in the background. To make sure that an app that you had opened is not sucking up your battery life press the Home button twice or the multiple apps button on some android phones, then swipe left, right, or hit the X on the app, depending on phone, to turn off apps that are currently running in background. Bottom line, if it is too hot for you, it is likely too hot for your phone.

Wordology, Halitosis

Halitosis is a word used in mouthwash commercials to describe a medical condition characterized by very bad breath. Contrary to the popular belief that Listerine coined the term halitosis, its origins date to before the product's existence.

Company owner Jordan Wheat Lambert decided to market Listerine as a cure for bad breath. To convince the public they needed Listerine, he needed something ominous sounding and came across the word halitosis. The company then ran a series of ads claiming that halitosis was a chronic problem plaguing America for which only it had the cure. In seven years, the company's revenues rose from $115,000 to more than $8 million.

This was about the same time King Gillette convinced women to shave their underarms and legs. Both men are still regarded as marketing geniuses.

May 4, 2018

Happy Friday

The beauty of a smile cannot be judged.

However, the verdict is in. Today is a Happy Friday!

Next Generation TV and 5G

Next Gen TV is an internet based system, which means it can carry internet content along with traditional over-the-air broadcast signal. It provides new services like video on demand, mobile viewing, 4K Ultra Hi-Def, enhanced emergency alerts, a high frame rate, more colorful picture, and immersive audio – all delivered free with an over-the-air antenna. It is based on the ATSC 3.0 standard. Although current over-the-air TV antennas are able to receive the new signals, there are no TVs, no converter boxes, and no DVRs on the market in North America today that support ATSC 3.0's Next Gen TV.

Next Gen TV is totally separate from 5G. Basically Next Gen TV is for free over-the-air TV and 5G is for communications. 5G will provide wireless to the house and is likely to offer the strongest competition to the world’s free, over-the-air broadcast model. Planned 5G services may offer multiple content streams, 4K, support for new video standards, mobile reception, and on multiple devices. Vendors, carriers, and broadcasters trying to be first to market are feverishly spending billions to set up new signal boxes, antennas, and repeaters for both technologies. (editorial - Cord cutters, millennial lifestyles, and people opting out due to poor service and high prices have forced vendors to find new ways to drill into our wallets.)

Next Gen TV was specifically designed to support mobile uses like rear-seat entertainment and navigation systems in vehicles, in addition to phones and other portable devices. We will be able to watch broadcast TV in a moving car with a better signal than we receive in our living room today.

Here are main points of the ATSC 3.0 Next Gen transition:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video
  • High dynamic range (HDR) color management
  • 1+4 surround sound and immersive audio
  • More multi-casting - over 100 sub-channels per main channel, which means potentially hundreds of over-the-air channels per market
  • More reliable and robust transmissions less prone to interference
  • Indoor reception will be much easier with an antenna
  • Will allow two way communications with the broadcaster to choose viewing angle on sports, etc.
  • Will allow targeted advertising to particular demographics
  • More detailed show info, actor bios, etc.
  • Immersive and Virtual Reality experience.
There is much hype with the transition, but it will be a lengthy process. Some carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, etc., are testing now in Dallas and Phoenix. Other cities are planning to begin testing soon. There are currently no broadcasters transmitting in 3.0 (other than as tests) and they will not be until likely 2019 at the earliest. It will all depend on when a station decides to make the switch. To take advantage of this new technology, consumers will need a device with a 3.0 tuner chip set. One TV maker, LG is planning to offer TVs this year with a combination of the current 1.0 tuner and a 3.0 chip included. A tuner is a device or computer chip that provides the TV Guide capability.

Bad news is that all of the Next Gen and 5G technology deployment will cost consumers a bundle for new phones, TVs, PCs, routers, and tuners. In addition, we should be prepared to see rates go up as early as this year,because the purveyors seek to recoup their investment as soon as possible. Next gen TV will not require an internet connection, but some features will not work without one.

Good news is that there is not a hard turn off deadline for ATSC 1.0 (for TVs) or 4G LTE (for phones and other devices). There is no specific date when all of a sudden there will no longer be 1.0 or 4G and everyone will be broadcasting in 3.0 or delivering 5G as there was with the conversion from analog to digital TV. No need to put off purchases now for either, as both will be a few years from full deployment. As with all new technology, prices will fall hard and fast as widespread adoption takes place.

William Tell Overture

Continuing with the entertainment theme, here is Glen Campbell on YouTube playing the Lone Ranger Theme. Wow. LINK

Wordology, Electrolytes

After downing a generic Gatorade drink with my friend Jeff, he asked if I ever thought about electrolytes. Of course we all know electrolytes for batteries are a compound which produces ions when dissolved in a solution such as water. They can be divided into acids, bases, and salts.

However, I had not thought much about what an electrolyte means when it comes to our body, so it sent me on a search. Interesting that it has the same definition. It is basically a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. We most often see the term in conjunction with sports drinks. The main reason is that bodily potassium and sodium electrolytes are lost in sweat during exercise. There are other causes for electrolyte imbalances, including vomiting, diarrhea, poor diet, dehydration, congestive heart failure, cancer treatment, and some drugs.

Electrolytes are essential for a number of bodily functions and are regulated in the body by our kidneys, along with hormones. Many automatic processes in the body rely on a small electric current to function, and electrolytes provide this charge. They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. In addition, heart, muscle, and nerve cells use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses to other cells.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of electrolytes. Common electrolytes include bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, and sodium.

Incidentally, unless you are a professional athlete or running marathons, you are probably getting a sufficient amount of electrolytes from your regular diet. Consuming sports drinks adds calories and increases levels of electrolytes you do not need.

National Nurses Day

National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6 to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society. It marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale and also International Nurses Day. I have a warm spot in my heart for nurses and the work they do. If you know a nurse, give him or her a hug for me.

Alarm Clock Snooze

Smart phones have a built in snooze for about nine minutes. There is an interesting reason for this. Clock experts say when snooze alarms were invented during the 1950s; the gears in alarm clocks were standardized.

When the snooze gear was introduced, its gears needed to mesh with the existing gears. The engineers needed to choose between a gear that made the snooze period nine-plus minutes or ten-plus minutes and opted for nine. There was no scientific reason for this time period. It was purely mechanical, just as it is with railroad tracks, but that is another story. There are no scientific papers published on benefits or detriments to using the snooze, but there are many opinions for and against. Fortunately modern technology allows us to use it or not and to change the snooze time as we choose.

Incidentally, snooze means sleeping for a short period of time.

Bill Nye, Not so Science Guy

Bill Nye has long been known for his children's show Bill Nye The Science Guy and recently for his views about climate change. He has a BS degree in mechanical engineering. He is an entertainer, and although known as the 'science guy' he does not claim to be a scientist. In order to earn the privilege of calling yourself a 'scientist' one normally has to have an earned PhD in the natural sciences.

Nye started doing standup comedy during 1978 while working at Boeing as an engineer. He eventually left Boeing and began writing and performing jokes and bits for a local sketch television show Almost Live!, where he would regularly conduct wacky science experiments, such as what happens when you eat a marshmallow that has been dunked in liquid nitrogen. He moved from that show to do eight segments for the Disney Channel's All-New Mickey Mouse Club.

Throughout it all, he had his eyes on bigger things and went on to star in Bill Nye Science Guy for public broadcasting station KCTS-TV in Seattle. It became part of a package of syndicated series that local stations could schedule to fulfill Children's Television Act requirements. It ended in 1998. He was also host of an eight-part Discovery Channel series called Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye and appeared in a number of other TV shows. In addition, he holds several United States patents, including one for ballet pointe shoes and an educational magnifying glass created by filling a clear plastic bag with water.

During 2012, Nye supported President Barack Obama's reelection bid and frequently consulted with Obama on science matters during his presidency. He has also received a number of honorary degrees, including one in pedagogy, although he has never contributed any research to the scientific community.

Incidentally, there are many other entertainers who have honorary degrees, including Ben Affleck, P, Diddy, Alec Baldwin, John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Jon Bon Jovi, Conan O'Brien, LL Cool J, and Jimmie Fallon, among others.