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. Pok√©mon 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.