Jun 15, 2018

Happy Friday

If you worry about what Was or what Will Be, you miss what Is.

Get up and decide it Is time to be happy, especially on a Happy Friday!

Google Trends

You can search for any term and check changes over time, or by region, or by country and see how it is gaining or losing interest. You can check what parts of the world are interested currently. Once you enter a search term, you can set a variety of criteria underneath it.

Use the first box to set the region of search. You can choose Worldwide to see everywhere or drill it down to specific regions of a country. For instance, under United States, you can select a state like Virginia to see only information for that area.

At the top of the results page, click Compare to add another topic. You can compare up to five terms. As you add more, you will see them color-coded throughout the page. The region breakdown shows you which areas search most for what topics, and the breakdown among them. It is an interesting way to see what people think of competing topics.

I tried bacon, then I compared it to Clinton. As you would expect, bacon is still popular and very much more popular than Clinton. Fun diversion. Go to LINK and try it.

Top Fifteen Passwrods

Passwords are ranked by the number of times they were exposed in known data breaches. This means do not use any of these, or if you already are using one of these, change it now. For instance, The top password, 123456 has been hacked over 20 million times. If your password is easy for you it is also easy for hackers to find.

1: 123456 - 20,760,336
2: 123456789 - 7,016,669
3: qwerty - 3,599,486
4: password - 3,303,003
5: 111111 - 2,900,049
6: 12345678 - 2,680,521
7: abc123 - 2,670,319
8: password1 - 2,310,111
9: 1234567 - 2,298,084
10: 12345 - 2,088,998
11: 1234567890 - 2,075,018
12: 123123 - 2,048,411
13: 000000 - 1,832,944
14: iloveyou - 1,462,146
15: 1234 - 1,143,408

Street Sign Shapes

Street sign have specific meanings, based on the shape. The first official stop sign appeared in Detroit during 1915, it was small, white, and square. During 1923, a branch of Mississippi’s highway department suggested a change, suggesting that a sign’s shape could denote the kind of hazard ahead. The more sides a sign has, the more dangerous the upcoming stretch of road is.

Circles (which were considered to have infinite sides) designated the riskiest hazards, like railroad crossings. Octagons denoted the second most perilous hazards, like intersections. Diamonds signaled less-tricky stretches, and rectangles were strictly informational.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

A recent study from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto suggests the most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm.
Published May 28, 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the systematic review of existing data and single randomized control trials published in English from January 2012 to October 2017 found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C, the most common supplements showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.
"We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume," said Dr. David Jenkins, the study's lead author. "Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm, but there is no apparent advantage either."
The study found folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

His team reviewed supplement data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D, E; and beta-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The term 'multivitamin' describes supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

Bottom line is that food should provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, unless your doctor tells you to take something specific.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is the result of using technology to superimpose information, such as sounds, images, and text on the world we see. It adds to what we see. An example is Google glasses. It displays videos and sounds onto the screen. The heads-up displays in many fighter aircraft shows information about the attitude, direction, and speed of the plane, and can show which objects in the field of view are targets. Some cars have begun showing a digital display on the windshield so drivers do not need to look down at the dash.
Phones and tablets offer AR, such as the Star Walk app, which allows a user to point the camera at the sky and see the names of stars and planets superimposed on the image. Another app called Layar uses the smartphone's GPS and its camera to collect information about the user's surroundings and displays information about nearby restaurants, stores, and points of interest. Another example is an app that allows translation of signs into a user's own language.

Virtual reality (VR) means computer-generated environments for you to interact with, and be immersed in. It replaces what we see by using a head set to block out the real world. As you move your head, the picture or video moves in the same direction, allowing a person to view a 360 degree virtual scene.

Researchers are developing holograms, which can take VR and AR a step further, since holograms can be seen and heard without a headset.

Six Fun Factoids

Antarctica contains about 70 percent of Earth's fresh water and 90 percent of its ice.

Humans have explored just five percent of the oceans.

Earth's magnetic north pole is moving northward at a rate of ten miles per year.

A teaspoon of honey is equivalent to the life work of twelve bees.

Those strips with pin holes that you tear off from a dot matrix printer are called printer bacon.

"All the stuff Americans throw away for the next 1,000 years would fit into one-tenth of one percent of land available for grazing." ~John Tierney, NY Times

Flossing Myth Debunked

Floss daily to prevent gum disease and cavities is something we have been told for years. However, there is little proof that flossing works.
The federal government, dental organizations, and manufacturers of floss have pushed the practice for decades. Dentists provide samples to their patients. The American Dental Association says on its website that, “Flossing is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.”
During 2017, the Associated Press asked the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for flossing efficacy evidence, and followed up with written requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
During 2018, the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines and the flossing recommendation had been removed, without notice. In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.
The AP reviewed research conducted during the past ten years, focusing on twenty five studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of tooth-brushing and floss. The evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.” “The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal,” according to one 2017 review. Another 2015 review cites “inconsistent/weak evidence” for flossing and a “lack of efficacy.” A 2011 study did credit floss with a slight reduction in gum inflammation, which can sometimes develop over time into full-fledged gum disease. However, the reviewers ranked the evidence as “very unreliable.” A commentary in a dental magazine stated that any benefit would be so minor it might not be noticed by users.
Two leading professional groups, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology, for specialists in gum disease and implants cited other studies as proof of their claims that flossing prevents buildup of plaque, early gum inflammation called gingivitis, and tooth decay. However, most of these studies used outdated methods or tested few people. Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop. One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss. Such research, like the reviewed studies, focused on warning signs like bleeding and inflammation, barely dealing with gum disease or cavities.
The president of the periodontists’ group, acknowledged the weak scientific evidence and the brief duration of many studies. When asked about the origins of his organization’s endorsement of flossing, he said it may simply have “taken the ADA’s lead.” When the ADA was asked for proof of its claim that flossing helps prevent early gum disease and cavities, the group cited the 2011 review and a 2008 two-week study that measured bacteria and did not consider gum disease. A spokesman for the dental association, acknowledged weak evidence, but he blamed research participants who did not floss correctly.
The global floss market is almost $2 billion, with half in the United States. The floss industry has paid for most studies and sometimes designed and conducted the research. Procter & Gamble, which claims that its floss fights plaque and gingivitis, pointed to a two-week study, which was discounted as irrelevant in the 2011 research review. Johnson & Johnson said floss helps remove plaque. When the AP sent it a list of contradicting studies, J&J declined comment.
Floss can occasionally cause harm. Careless flossing can damage gums, teeth and dental work. Though frequency is unclear, floss can dislodge bad bacteria that invade the bloodstream and cause dangerous infections, especially in people with weak immunity, according to the medical literature.

Generally dentists agree that there is a possibility that it works and are comfortable telling people to floss. It is interesting to note that, with two billion dollars at stake, no one is willing to actually do a real study and perhaps find that the king really has no clothes on. . .

Food Label Updates

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has been urging its members to use one of just two phrases: 'use by' or 'best if used by'. It is trying to eliminate the "sell by" and "best by". The labels were confusing to consumers.

According to the GMA, the phrase “best if used by” will indicate to the consumer that, after a specified date, the product may not taste or perform as expected, but can still be used or consumed. Food would still be safe to eat after the date had passed.

A “use by” date would appear on a small number of time or temperature sensitive products that should be consumed by the date on the package and discarded after. That phrase would indicate foods should be thrown away after the date had passed.

Maybe they could be even more clear and use "discard after" to make sure we all understand.

Jun 8, 2018

Happy Friday

"The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are." ~Goldie Hawn

I am always happy with me, especially on a Happy Friday!


Street performance or busking is the act of performing in public places for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money, but other gratuities such as food, drink, or gifts may be given. Here is a video LINK of two English buskers, the Dualers (Tyber and Sy Cranstoun) before they broke up the act. Tyber (on the left) graduated to recording and is still doing sold out live theater shows all around Southern England. Sy has also graduated to successful solo recording of his own albums.

Liquid vs. Normal Bandages

Liquid bandages replace a normal bandage with a layer of clear liquid applied directly to the wound. There are multiple brands using different chemicals, and they come in spray-on or paint-on forms.
Tiny cuts and bug bites were sometimes covered with tape, nail polish, or sealing cuts with superglue. Liquid bandage is just an optimized version of that, with an added antiseptic. It is less likely to irritate the wound, and it is easier to apply. (The Mayo Clinic often uses skin adhesive instead of stitches, because it is quicker and less painful.)

Regular bandages tend to fall off of knuckle and finger wounds, but liquid bandages much less often.

As with regular bandages, liquid bandage is useful for treating and preventing blisters. Musicians use superglue or liquid bandages to protect their fingers from stringed instruments.

Of course you can always fall back on the manly alternative, duct tape with a swatch of toilet paper to cover the wound. Ha

Wordology, Cherophobia

It is the fear of being happy, stemming from the Greek word chairo, which means 'I rejoice'. Some people are afraid of happiness and joy. They avoid activities and social events they think will be fun. It is usually a defense mechanism that stems from trauma or conflict. According to Healthline, some medical experts classify cherophobia as a form of anxiety.

Fifteen Benefits of Coffee

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. It tastes good, provides energy, and has many other benefits.

  • It is a good source of antioxidants.
  • It can help reduce risk of diabetes.
  • Drinking two cups of coffee a day provides a 35 percent lower risk of ending up with liver cirrhosis. A 2017 study published in BMJ found it could be possible to see a 20 percent reduced risk by drinking one cup a day, 35 percent by drinking two, and 50 percent with five because of caffeine’s ability to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.
  • It can help burn more calories. Because caffeine increases energy use whether you are at rest or not, the Mayo Clinic suggests it stimulates thermogenesis, which is just one of the ways you generate heat and energy from the food you digest.
  • A 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests drinking coffee might reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.
  • A 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found drinking it could help cut risk of colon cancer by 50 percent. Researchers say one or two cups for a 26 percent reduced risk or more than 2.5 for a 50 percent-reduced risk.
  • A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests drinking it speeds up your heart rate because of how quickly it is absorbed into the blood stream and in turn increases metabolism.
  • A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, researchers found caffeine could be a potential hair growth stimulant for men with androgenetic alopecia, a common type of hair loss. In fact, the growth of the hair follicles that were treated with caffeine increased 46 percent and the life cycle of the hair was extended by 37 percent.
  • Caffeine might suppress your appetite long enough to make you feel less hungry for a while, says the Mayo Clinic.
  • A study published by the American Association for Cancer Research found drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of melanoma.
  • A 2016 meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrition found drinking high levels of coffee was associated with a 27 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease found those who drank as little as one or two cups every day were less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment than those who did not drink coffee.
  • In astudy from the Radiological Society of North America, researchers found two cups of coffee were able to boost participants’ short-term memory skills, because of caffeine’s ability to have an effect on higher brain function.
  • A 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that it can significantly help prevent retinal degeneration.
  • Research has shown its ability to give workouts a boost and increase athletic performance, and that is why so many Olympians drink it. One report from the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found the majority of the 20,686 Olympic athletes analyzed had caffeine in their urine.
  • A 2003 study in the Journal of Pain found those with high caffeine consumption had significantly reduced muscle pain after working out, which could be explained by caffeine’s ability to decrease sensitivity to pain, opposed to those who drank a placebo.

Wordology, Whopping

This is an interesting word and not as popular as it used to be. It has many definitions, but Whopping and Wopping are two different words, often misused. Wopping is a bit more slang and I will skip that definition.
Whopping is the act of physically beating a person until they can no longer stand. It is also a heavy blow or the sound made by such a blow.
Examples: Planned spending amounts to a whopping fifty billion dollars,
Footballers in whopping studded boots approach the field,
A 100g portion gives a whopping ten teaspoons of sugar.

Incidentally, I enjoy spending a whopping amount of time putting this stuff together for your reading pleasure.

Voice Input

Voice input to control computers and a variety of IoT devices is becoming more prevalent and has been increasing since the technology has finally caught up with interpretation of a variety of voices, dialects, and accents.

This is a great benefit to the estimated 781 million adults over the age of 15 who are illiterate. People who cannot read finally have easier access to the internet, typing, and information through smart devices, such as Amazon's Alexa, Google, Cortanna, Siri, and Bixby. There are hundreds of apps that let users search, write emails, take notes and set appointments with their smartphone. Amazon says more than 1.8 million e-books support audio books, which automatically read aloud the words on the page.

Predictions abound -

  • “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to comscore
  • “About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.” according to Mediapos
  • “We estimate there will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020” according to Activate
  • “By 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry”, according to a report from Technavio.
  • “This year (2017), 25 million devices will be shipped, bringing the total number of voice-first devices to 33 million in circulation.” based on a new study by VoiceLabs
  • “By the end of 2018 the Google Assistant will reach 95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide” according to Techcrunch.

Jun 1, 2018

Happy Friday

Each day is not an occurrence, it is an opportunity.

Take advantage of the opportunity to be happy on a Happy Friday!

Online Manuals

If you need a manual for almost anything in your house, you can go to https://www.manualslib.com/ and likely find it. It has manuals online that cover almost two million products with 2,832,546 pdf manuals.

Just enter the keywords in the search field and find what you are looking for. Search results include manual name, description, size and number of pages. You can either read manual online or download it to your computer.

Amazon' Choice

You may have noticed some items on Amazon have the text 'Amazon's Choice' next to the description.  It means that many buyers have purchased and were satisfied with it, as told to Amazon through reviews data, is highly rated, well-priced, and available to ship immediately. It also means the item has a low return rate and a best-seller ranking.

Reference Thesaurus

Stuck for a word that you know is on the tip of your tongue, but just won't come out. Try  http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml

This site lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a single word, a few words, or a whole sentence. Type in your description and hit Enter to see the related words. You can find a word if you only know its definition.

Almond, Rice, and Soy Milk

The basic method of modern domestic almond milk production is to grind almonds in a blender with water, then strain out the almond pulp with a strainer. Although it is made of nuts and water, it is called Almond milk, because it has a milky white consistency. It contains neither cholesterol nor lactose and an eight ounce glass contains the equivalent of about 4 almonds. It has fewer calories if unsweetened and has no saturated fat.

Even though almonds are a good source of protein, almond milk is not. Almond milk is also not a good source of calcium unless supplemented with calcium as well as vitamin D. It can also be fortified with protein.

Rice Milk is made from milled rice and water. It is the least allergenic, which makes it a good choice for people with lactose or nut allergies. While rice milk can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, it is not a natural source of either of these, just like soy and almond are also not.
Rice milk is very high in carbohydrate and very low in protein, so it is the least desirable choice for people with diabetes as well as people who want more protein.

Soy Milk is made from soybeans. It is also a popular milk alternative for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. Since it comes from plants, it is naturally free of cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and contains no lactose or cholesterol.

Soybeans and soy milk are a good source of protein, calcium (when fortified), and potassium. Soy milk contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk, yet is lower in calories than whole milk. A 2008 Harvard study showed that higher intakes of soy-based foods caused fertility problems and lower sperm counts.

Farther vs. Further

The terms have very similar meanings, but are not interchangeable. Farther is taken more literal and refers to an actual physical distance that can be measured, while further explains a more symbolic distance that cannot be measured.

Some Examples: To further the conversation, he asked how much farther it was the beach. She studied to further her education, but she had to drive farther to get to school.

Zinc for Colds Works

Zinc is one of the only ingredients linked to shortening a cold. Unlike Vitamin C, which studies have found likely does nothing to prevent or treat the common cold, zinc may actually be worth it. The mineral seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold.

In a 2011 review of studies of people who were recently sick, researchers looked at those who started taking zinc and compared them with those who took a placebo. The ones on the zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms.

Microwave vs. Conventional Cooking

Many are under the false claim that microwaving foods robs them of their nutrients. This is false. Microwave ovens cook food using energy waves. The waves cause molecules in food to vibrate quickly, building up their energy as heat.

It is true that some nutrients begin to disintegrate when heated, whether from a microwave, a stove. However, since microwave-cooking times are typically much shorter than oven-cooking times, microwaving often keeps vitamins more intact than other cooking methods.