Sep 14, 2018

Happy Friday

Smile at fear and it will disappear.

I always smile, especially on a Happy Friday! 

Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Last week, September 7 was the birthday of Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley), an American music icon. It is a great surprise that had only one number one hit, “That’ll Be The Day,” on the American charts, although he had many songs that became classics. Sadly he had a short career and died at age 22. Here is a look at Buddy and the Crickets singing their hit song on the Ed Sullivan Show. LINK

When he started out, he wore nondescript plastic and wire-framed glasses, but his eye doctor convinced him to switch to horn-rimmed models. The style name came from the fact that the original glasses were made from animal horns. Sometimes they were made from tortoise shells. Holly's and almost all are now made from thick plastic. Interesting to note you can still buy Buddy Holly glasses on Amazon and many other places.

Wordology, Tarriff

Basically, a tariff is a tax levied by governments to control the flow of products across borders and making foreign manufacturers’ products more expensive. The purpose is to increase demand for domestic products while reducing the volume of imports. Tariff charges can be fixed price or a percentage of the transaction price.

In the United States tariffs, also called duties or levies are collected by Customs and Border Protection agents at 328 ports of entry across the country.

Importers pay more for products by paying the tax on top of the product cost. They pass along the increased costs to businesses, which pass along the higher costs to shoppers.

Because a tariff is a tax, the government receives increased revenue as imports enter the domestic market. Domestic industries also benefit from a reduction in competition, since import prices are artificially inflated.

Organic and Cancer

There is a popular belief, helped by bloggers with dubious expertise, that organic food and certain other foods have “anti-cancer” properties. However, Michelle McCully, the head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, one of the world’s leading authorities on diet and cancer, says, “There is currently no strong evidence to support the idea that organic foods offer added protection against cancer compared to conventionally grown produce.” So, once again folks - there is no silver bullet.

Rungrado Stadium

The DPRK (North Korea) is home to the biggest stadium in the world in terms of seating capacity. May Day Stadium, is a massive structure built in 1989 and remodeled in 2014. The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium (also known as May Day Stadium) has a total capacity of 150,000 people. It dwarfs the next largest stadium, which is Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium, which accommodates 107,600 people.

It hosts some soccer matches and general athletic competitions. May Day's grandest and most elaborate events are the annual Mass Games (known in Korean as Arirang). They pay tribute to the country's history, founders, and current leaders through gymnastics and dance performances put on by thousands of participants. The Arirang Festival is held each August and September and celebrates North Korean history, culture, and achievements.

Superman Ice Cream

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

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

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

Women on Money

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

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

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

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

What's in a Name, Scunthorpe Problem

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

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

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

History Lesson

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

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

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

Sep 7, 2018

Happy Friday

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

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

What's in a Name, Roget

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

Eating Pork Medium

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

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

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

Still More Google Tips

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

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

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

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

Boiling Lobster

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

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

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

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

Wind Power

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

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

Blunts vs. Joints vs. Spliffs

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

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

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

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

Wordology, Arachibutyrophobia

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

New Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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