Dec 20, 2019

Happy Friday

"We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh." ~ Agnes Repplier

Every day is good to have a hearty laugh, especially on a Happy Friday!

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice 2019 in Northern Hemisphere will be on Saturday, December 21. It is officially the shortest day of the year. The first full day of winter, a full moon will shine like a beacon on the long dark night. The December full moon, also known as the Cold Moon or Long Night’s Moon, arrives less than a day after the solstice, on December 22.

Yea! From now on days will be getting longer and that means more sunshine and that means warmer weather is coming.

Reindeer Sex

Here is something appropriate for the season. Both male and female reindeer grow antlers, and despite the depiction of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph as males in media; they are most likely females.

Most male reindeer lose their horns in the winter when Christmas occurs. Females lose their antlers during the warm summer months. Males are much less nourished and fattened than the females at this time of year. Santa’s reindeer must be big and strong enough to pull a sleigh full of toys and would need to be in peak physical condition. Hmmm!

Slovak Christmas Drink

Hriatô (Pronounced hree-AH-two-oh) is traditionally served around Christmas and is easy to make. It is a mouthful even before the pork fat hits your lips, but this honey-infused, bacon-dappled hot brandy cocktail graces the upper echelons of winter warmers in Slovakia.

Home cooks begin by frying up bacon in a healthy dollop of lard. Once it is crisp, they drizzle in honey, allowing the sweet and salty blend to mingle. Finally, they add a good amount of potent fruit brandy. Hriatô’s base brandy, often the plum-based slivovka, is a potent distillate (usually more than 50 percent alcohol by volume).

Hriatô can indeed look a bit unappetizing on first glance. As the cloudy liquid begins to cool, the fat separates, initially forming glistening droplets on the drink’s surface, then a layer of settled fat. When enjoyed fresh, the fried bacon bobs in the boozy brew, balancing the honeyed liquid with a savory umami pork flavor. Pork is central to Slovakian cuisine, and even the national dish, bryndzové halušky, a rich meal of gnocchi-like dumplings and sheep’s milk cheese, receives a healthy smattering of bacon.

Ingenious Gift Wrapping Tips

Here are a few great tips. Only a minute to watch. LINK

Bacteria vs. Germs

Bacteria are tiny, one-celled creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. Bacteria can reproduce outside of the body or within the body as they cause infections. Bacteria is a type of germ and can be either good or bad. There are bacteria that live in water, soil, air, clouds, carpet, the ocean, and inside your body. There are bacteria types ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of different species.

Germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease. The four major types of germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. They can invade plants, animals, and people. Viruses need to be inside living cells to grow and reproduce. Fungi are multi-celled, plant-like organisms. Unlike other plants, fungi cannot make their own food from soil, water, and air. Instead, fungi get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. Protozoa are one-cell organisms that love moisture and often spread diseases through water. Some protozoa cause intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea, nausea, and pain.

All bacteria are germs, but not all germs are bacteria.

Waste Management, San Francisco

San Francisco committed to eliminating the modern landfill. The idea, concocted in 2002, was to reach a “zero waste” existence by 2020, which “means that we send zero discards to the landfill or high-temperature destruction,” said the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “The city and county of San Francisco believes achieving zero waste is possible.” Does the name Sisyphus come to mind?

An environmental code was developed in 2003, then six years later the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, which requires everyone in the city to separate recyclables, compostables, and landfill garbage, was passed. Noncompliance is a finable offense.

In addition to mandatory recycling and composting, San Francisco also requires “any site that generates more than 40 cubic yards of waste per week to complete waste audits every three years,” says Waste Dive. Those that fail are “required to hire on-site facilitators at their own expense for one year.” More than 400 sites are subject to the reviews, as well as the $1,000-per-day fines that can be levied on those not meeting the standard.

Despite the efforts and expectations, Politico reported last month that San Francisco is “nowhere close to that goal.” After falling for years, the amount of garbage being sent to landfills has been growing. Officials have tried to push residents into generating less waste by cutting the size of curbside containers by half, from 32 gallons to 16.

As of December 2019, it has still not met the goal. In fact, sensing the inevitable, during September 2018, San Francisco updated the zero waste goals to these two pledges:
    Reduce municipal solid waste generation by 15% by 2030 (reducing what goes to recycling, composting, and trash).
    Reduce disposal to landfill and incineration by 50% by 2030 (reducing what goes in the black trash bins).

Incidentally, According to author and journalist John Tierney, “All the trash generated by Americans for the next 1,000 years would fit on one-tenth of 1% percent of the land available for grazing.” 

Wordology, OMG

The first use of "OMG" was in a letter to Winston Churchill. It is not a modern acronym. The first appearance was in a letter to Winston Churchill during 1917. Lord Fisher, an admiral and naval innovator, wrote to the British prime minister and was obviously excited about a possible honor for himself and those in his line of work. He wrote, "I hear a new order of Knights in on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!"

Incidentally, tapis is a heavy textile with a woven design; used for curtains and upholstery.

Medical Education Progression

People in the US begin as a medical student who is in medical school and is not yet a doctor. Other countries have similar, but different terms for medical professionals.

After medical school they become an intern, then resident. Interns are people in their first year of residency. All interns are residents, but not all residents are interns.

Residents have officially completed their medical degree and are medical doctors, but do not have a specialty or license. A resident still needs to work under an attending doctor. Residency is where they learn to become a specialist, such as a surgeon. Residents typically work 3-5 years in specialty training. They do not get their medical license to practice until after residency.

Everyone needs a license to practice as a regular doctor aka attending. Attendings are people who can independently practice in a particular area without anyone supervising them. They can be either a D.O. (Osteopath) or a M.D (Allopath) and both pass the same board exams.

In order to become a specialist they need to be an attending doctor first. Fellowship is sub-specialty training after residency. They are specializing even further, into things, such as cardiac surgeons must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, a 5-year general surgery residency and a 2-3 year specialized cardio or cardiothoracic fellowship.

Doctorate Degrees

A doctorate degree is the highest level of academic degree in most fields. For research or university teaching, the degree is usually a PhD. Applied professional doctorates include the Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Theology (Dth), and the Juris Doctor (JD), among others.

Difference between two degrees, such as MD and PhD are: PhDs advance knowledge and MDs apply existing knowledge. The MD does not need to produce original research; the PhD must produce original research and write it up in a dissertation, which must be approved by a review committee before achieving a PhD.

Incidentally, in the US, a thesis is the final project for the master's degree and a dissertation leads to a doctoral degree. A thesis is a compilation of research that proves knowledge about the information learned throughout the graduate program. A PhD dissertation must contribute something completely new and undiscovered to the field. The dissertation must contribute original knowledge to the subject. In short, a thesis (MA) proves someone else's point and a dissertation (PhD) proves your own point.

What's in a Name, Rubik's Cube

When Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 to teach his students about 3-D geometry, even he could not solve the puzzle he had created.

He famously wrote that it was like, "staring at a piece of writing written in a secret code, but for me, it was a code I myself had invented! Yet, I could not read it. This was such an extraordinary situation that I simply could not accept it." He eventually learned to master the cube and could solve the puzzle in under a minute.

Incidentally, Yusheng Du, beat the previous world record of 4.22 seconds with the jaw-dropping time of 3.47 seconds earlier this year.

Happy Friday

Work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; dream while others are wishing; and smile while others are frowning.

I like to smile, dream, prepare, and work every day, especially on a Happy Friday!

Night of Radishes

Every December 23, crowds gather in Oaxaca, Mexico’s main square to celebrate the Night of the Radishes, or La Noche de Rábanos. It is a competition between artists who use the purple produce to make sculptures and, hopefully, win the big prize of the night.

The competition’s origins date back to when holiday market vendors tried to make their vegetables more enticing by making sculptures with them. It was such a hit that the governor, Francisco Vasconcelos, decided to create an official contest in 1897. It has been a tradition in Oaxaca ever since.

Incidentally, Oaxaca is pronounced Wah haw kah.

Eight Ways To Burn Calories

Time to burn a few calories before the holidays.
Singing in the shower can burn an extra 10-20 Calories per song, depending on the volume and pitch of your voice.
Brushing your teeth for three minutes will burn 10 Calories.
One hour spent sitting in front of the TV burns about 65 Calories.
Constant texting can burn 40 Calories per hour.
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 Calories an hour.
Hugging for one hour can burn 70 Calories.

A one minute kiss can burn between 2 and 4 Calories, depending on how intimate it is.

Laughing for 10 minutes burns between 20 and 40 Calories.

More TV Facts

         Findings from Hub Entertainment Research’s Evolution of the TV Set study indicate a disparity between feature availability and consumer awareness, as well as a strong brand awareness lead for Roku over Amazon Fire.

Highlights from the study:

About half of consumers with a 4K TV set have used it to watch 4K content. The top-two reasons for not watching; consumers do not know where to find shows and movies in 4K and they do not believe they have access to 4K content.

Smart TVs are not just for streaming video content; streaming music is a relatively popular Smart TV pastime. The top non-TV application of Smart TVs is music streaming. Nearly four in 10 Smart TV owners use it to stream music and among those who do, a quarter use it for music “all the time” or “often.

Two other Smart TV capabilities have attracted a small, but dedicated group of consumers for checking news, weather, or traffic, and looking at/using social media apps.

In the battle for connected device dominance, consumers are much more familiar with Roku than with Amazon Fire. The majority of consumers (59 per cent) say they know at least something about the Roku brand, and 26 per cent say they know a lot. Fewer than half (43 per cent) are familiar with Fire TV, with only 15 per cent saying they know a lot.

“As smart TVs, connected TVs, connected devices, and TV voice-control devices proliferate, many new services and features have suddenly become available to TV set users,” said David Tice, co-author of the study. “But TV manufacturers and services have a long record of inadequately educating consumers on their offerings.”

Fast Food Size Comparisons

Here are a few statistics to boggle your brain.
  • DQ has 4,406 locations all but two are franchised.
  • Dominos has 5,876 locations, including 390 company stores.
  • Taco Bell has 6,588 locations, 462 are owned by the company.
  • Wendy's has 6,711 locations, including 353 company stores.
  • Burger King has 7,327 locations, 49 are owned.
  • Pizza Hut has 7,456 locations, including 24 owned by the company.
  • Dunkin Donuts has 9,419 locations, all are franchised.
  • McDonald's has 13,914 locations, including 685 company stores.
  • Starbucks has 14,825 locations, 8,493 are owned by the company.
  • Subway has 24,798 locations, all of which are franchised.

McDonald's revenue is $38 Billion and Starbucks revenue is $19 Billion.

Six School Bus Facts

School buses are yellow everywhere except for the roof. The reason is that white tops are more reflective, lowering the temperature inside the bus by an average of 10 degrees during the summer.

School bus yellow is a color that was specifically formulated for use on school buses in North America in 1939. The color was chosen because it attracts attention and is noticed faster than any other color.

White Strobe lights are supposed to make the bus more visible to other motorists. If your bus has one, it must be on while transporting students to and from school. Some states require newer buses to have one, and it has to be on at all driving times. Rules differ from state to state.

Onspot chain systems are a set of built in chains that can be released to provide traction on icy roads. The chains look like a small octopus that hangs next to the rear wheels of the bus. They are fixed to the bus’ suspension and when required are engaged by a button on the dashboard. Many fire trucks and ambulances use the same type of chains.

The cost of adding seat belts to school buses outweighs any potential benefits, according to NHTSA studies. Modern school buses are large and heavy, and their passengers sit high off the ground. School buses are designed to be safe.

The tiny holes in the ceiling surface absorb sound energy, keeping the bus quieter than it would be otherwise. The mechanism is similar to that used by many acoustical tile products, such as dropped-ceiling tiles.

Free TV Channels

If you cannot get enough free content and live TV from your antenna, try some of these ad supported channels for free live TV and movies. Collectively they have more shows and movies than you can watch for the rest of your life. Try a few and you might be pleasantly surprised.

They are, in no order: Amazon IMDB, Pluto TV, XUMO TV, Tubi TV, Crackle, Plex, Dailymotion, CW, CW seed, Stirr, Blaze TV, Roku channel, topdocumentaryfilms, documentarystorm, documentaryaddict, documentaryheaven, Internet Archive, Lego Channel (kids), Newson, Newsy, Haystack TV, Filmrise, Fawesome TV, Vidio, Popcornflix, Reuters TV, Shoutfactory TV, Snagfilms, Streamnews, Viewster, Vudu, and YouTube.
Most are available on smart TVs and all streaming devices, like Roku, Fire TV, Apple, etc. Pluto is one of the most robust with over 175 channels. Newson, haystack, and Reuters are mostly news. YouTube on the web (not YouTube TV) has hundreds of free movies and old TV shows, some classics and most with no ads, search for 'free movies' or 'free TV'.

Locast is an online service that has local stations for many cities without needing an antenna, but asks for five dollars a month donation. LocalBTV app from Didja is another local TV service, but now is limited to a few cities, although more are expected.


Every one of us needs to know that we matter and that our life has meaning beyond the here and now.

We are never too old or too young to do something important and meaningful.

We need to love others and be loved by someone, too.

We need to have something that gets us out of bed every morning and excites and compels us to action.

The happiest people are the people who think the happiest thoughts.

Dec 7, 2019

Happy Friday

Happiness inside cannot remain bottled up. It oozes out through a smile and produces a warm glow outside.
It is easy to ooze and glow, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Contronym

A “contronym” is a word that is its own opposite. For example: if you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.

Happy Birthday WiFi

This year is the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the Wi-Fi Alliance and the launch of commercial Wi-Fi. Back in 1999 computers were about the only devices that could take advantage of the new technology. Finally we could move around the house without extremely long wires trailing behind. Current estimates show there will be about 10 billion worldwide Wi-Fi connected devices in 2020.
WiFi uses radio waves to provide high speed connections. Today everyone is talking about 5G being the next big wireless move to replace WiFi. The difference is that 5G uses cellular technology, not radio waves. It is the fifth generation cellular and will replace current fourth generation, 4GLTE phones.

What it means to the common person is that there will be no wires necessary to connect everything in the home. It really does not matter if that means WiFi 6 (the newest standard) or 5G. The difference will be felt in the wallet. 5G is very expensive to rollout and repeater towers will be needed across the county (in some places as close as every 1 to 2 thousand feet). WiFi just needs to travel from your router/modem, in your house to all connected devices.

Billions of devices will need to be replaced as 5G is not backward compatible. The same is true for WiFi 6.

For all the wonderfulness of both of these technologies, a wired connection still provides the best TV watching with little to no buffering and the fastest way to take advantage of surfing the internet.

My advice, ignore both for at least a year, maybe two or three years. Let the others share the slings and arrows (and high cost) of new technology. However, when the new ATSC3 (NEXTGEN TV) standard comes available in your city next year or the year after, get a dongle to hang on the end of your antenna cable and be happy with no-cost, free, interactive TV.

Incidentally WiFi is not an acronym, think of it like haagen daz, it is a made up name.

Ketchup Catsup Facts

Ketchup (or catsup) can go bad, because of the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar, and the amount of sugar.

An unopened container of ketchup can remain stored for up to two years past the printed expiration date.

Once the bottle is opened, it will last for another year in the refrigerator. If you keep your ketchup at room temperature, the shelf life for an opened bottle in your pantry is about a month, though you should check for signs of spoilage before consuming the ketchup.

As ketchup ages, the vinegar and other liquid will begin to separate out from the tomato paste in the condiment. You have likely experienced the beginning stages of this when you go to squeeze out some ketchup, and find a splash of liquid instead.


Now that it is closer to becoming reality, some ominous signs for the viewers are beginning to appear. The FCC only requires local NEXTGEN TV (ATSC 3.0) stations to transmit one free channel. Providing high quality, over-the-air (OTA) content free to all to watch is the foundation of local antenna TV.

One choice being tossed about for broadcasters is to individually charge viewers for ‘premium services,’ possibly for 4K or private pay channels. The success of NEXTGEN TV will depend on station creativity, content, viewer response, and sales results.
Seems the touted benefits of NEXTGEN TV may be going more to the producers and not consumers. A few quality local stations with targeted ads, two way communication (so they can capture our watching habits), a way for them to extract pay for selected content, and 4K that may or not be free is looking more and more like the Nigerian Prince may have another offer coming. The good news is that we will still be able hook up the antenna and skip the WiFi connection. Caveat Emptor!

New Prostate Cancer Test

A simple urine test under development for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home, according to University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The test is early in its development, but has the potential to offer a simple, non-invasive way of predicting aggressive prostate cancer.
Urine samples were collected from more than 500 men. Most had prostate cancer. The researchers looked at the expression of 167 genes in the samples. They found 35 genes that can help predict how dangerous a prostate cancer might be. They also tracked the men's health for an average of six years. The profiles of 23 men whose cancer progressed were significantly different than those whose cancer did not progress.

Scientists pioneered the test which diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods. Their latest study shows how the ‘PUR’ test (Prostate Urine Risk) could be performed on samples collected at home, so men do not need to come into the clinic to provide a sample. It provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent. It looks at gene expression in urine samples and accurately predicts aggressive prostate cancer, and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods.

The research team provided 14 participants with an At Home Collection Kit, and instructions. They then compared the results of their home urine samples with samples collected after a digital rectal examination. “We found that the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination.

Robert Mills, Consultant Surgeon in Urology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said, “This is a very exciting development as this test gives us the possibility of differentiating those who do, from those who do not have prostate cancer so avoiding putting a lot of men through unnecessary investigations.

Wordology, Anosognosia

My brother, whatshisname sent this to me, although he swears he never read it. Anosognosia is a deficit of self-awareness, the inability of a person to be aware of their own disability or illness.

French Professor Bruno Dubois Director of the Institute of Memory and Alzheimer's Disease at La Pitié-Salpêtrière - Paris Hospitals says, "If anyone is aware of his memory problems, he does not have Alzheimer's. . .The more we complain about memory loss, the less likely we are to suffer from memory sickness."

Many people over sixty forget the names of family or friends, forget where they put things, forget why they walked into another room, or misplace keys and other items. It is usually temporary forgetfulness. Half or more of these people have some symptoms that are due to age rather than disease or Anosognosia.

We are learning that forgetfulness is not a disease, but rather a frustrating characteristic due to age. The important thing is, those who are conscious of being forgetful have no serious problem of memory, but those who suffer from a memory illness, Alzheimer's, or Anosognosia, are not aware of what is happening.

Benefits of Hugs

Scientifically, hugging a loved one releases the hormone oxytocin that lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, and can even improve your memory. In reality, it just feels good to get and give hugs.

Nov 30, 2019

Happy Friday

Happiness is relief from all the world's pain.

Am still full from yesterday, but am happy and have no pain today!

Wordology, Third Tier

The third tier of the theater was very large box seat areas to be rented by the year by wealthy patrons. These came complete with private areas where a curtain could be drawn. This was something quickly criticized for allegedly being so that the elite could solicit the services of prostitutes who often could be found at theaters of the age. In fact, many of the actresses themselves supplemented their income on the third tier.

This also led to the British expression, “Said the actress to the Bishop”, implying illicit things actresses would tell ministers during confession. This was a precursor to the American version of an expression with the same meaning, “That’s what she said”, which was first popularized in the 1970s on Saturday Night Live.

Windows Keyboard Tip

 In Windows 10, press the Windows key + semi-colon key to bring up a box with emojis, kaomogis, and symbols.

Pluto TV Free

Pluto TV has been adding new content and now has 244 free channels. It has mostly live TV shows with ads, but also has news, sports, movies, viral videos, cartoons, and more. The streaming service also has on-demand content, but focuses heavily on live TV. If you get bored with your cable or streaming service some evening, try Pluto. You may be pleasantly surprised at all the new free stuff to watch.

The Pluto TV app is available on smart TVs and all the boxes, like Fire TV, Roku, Apple, Chrome, etc.

Fake Meat vs. Real Meat

Big names in real meat products, including Tyson, Perdue, Hormel, Smithfield, and Nestlé, are all trying to get a cut of the fake and alternative-meat products. Following the success of Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat, real meat producers have developed their own plant-based versions of burgers, chicken nuggets, sausages, and more.

In April, Nestlé served up its Awesome burger, made with soy and wheat protein, plus extracts from beetroot, carrot, and bell pepper. Tyson followed with its own plant-based and blended products of nuggets and burgers, as well as sausage and meatballs made with both chicken and plant-based ingredients.

Perdue introduced nuggets, patties, and tenders made with chicken, cauliflower, chickpeas, and plant protein.

Big pork producer Smithfield Foods announced an entire line of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. Also, Hormel announced its own plant-based and blended products, including plant-based beef.

To me, it is still easy to discern the difference between all of the real vs. fake meats - Real is cheaper and tastes better. Plus, it is better for the climate to eat a methane producer.

Neighborhood Sex Offenders

That is enough to get your attention. There is a site that you can go to that will identify sex offenders in your neighborhood. It has scary information in some areas. Type in street, city, etc and you will see a map. Click on an icon to see a picture of person and other information. LINK

Happy Friday

We first become happy, then our happiness becomes us.

We can celebrate both on a Happy Friday!

Presidential Turkey Pardon

The presidential turkey pardon tradition might have stemmed from Abraham Lincoln, who made Thanksgiving an official U.S. holiday in 1863. According to White House reporter Noah Brooks, Lincoln’s son Tad got upset when he found out someone was going to kill the live turkey that had been brought for the presidential family’s Christmas dinner in 1865. Eventually, the turkey’s life was spared.

The first president to throw a ceremony rescuing a bird from being doomed to the Thanksgiving table may be John F. Kennedy in 1963, according to the White House Historical Association. That year, the turkey had a “Good Eating, Mr. President!” sign around its neck. Reportedly, JFK said, “We’ll just let this one grow,” and had the bird sent back to the farm. The Los Angeles Times ran an article about the event calling it a “presidential pardon” so the presidential turkey pardon tradition began.

Incidentally, though the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is painted white, it was known as the Executive Mansion and the President’s Palace until October 1901, when President Theodore Roosevelt referred to it as the White House. He made the name official when he had it engraved on his stationery.

What's in a Name, Mach

Ernst Waldfried Josef Wenzel Mach (d.1916) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as study of shock waves. The ratio of one's speed to that of sound is named the Mach number in his honor.

Mach's main contribution to physics involved his description and photographs of spark shock-waves and then ballistic shock-waves. He showed when a bullet or shell moved faster than the speed of sound; it created a compression of air in front of it. Using schlieren photography, he and his son Ludwig were able to photograph the shadows of the invisible shock waves.

In homage, his name was given to: Mach, a lunar crater; Mach bands, an optical illusion; Mach number, the unit for speed relative to the speed of sound.

During the 1860s he discovered the physiological phenomenon that has come to be called Mach’s bands, the tendency of the human eye to see bright or dark bands near the boundaries between areas of sharply differing illumination.

More Google Search Tips

A search for “What is the who” is going to summon results about the English rock band. Search instead for “What is a who” and you see top results around the whimsical characters in Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who!”
Word order - Leave common terms in the correct order. Typing “blue sky” yields very different results from “sky blue.”
It is better to ask, “What is the average length of an octopus” rather than “Is the average length of an octopus 21 inches" You may see search results confirming 21 inches, but maybe other sources are wrong. When you include the answer in a search query, you bias results, which may not be correct.

Add a minus sign to that same search along with the thing you want to eliminate from your results. So you might type “kitchen remodeling -stainless” to leave out stainless steel. Or “kitchen remodeling -stainless -granite” to eliminate both stainless and granite. Add a space before the -.

If you are searching for a specific quote, but one of the words slips your mind, put an asterisk in its place, such as "Four score and * years ago."         

Climate Change

Climate change describes changes in the state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by processes inside the Earth. e.g. volcanoes and forces from outside, e.g. variations in sunlight intensity. Other significant factors include: temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, solar irradiance, humidity, precipitation, and topography.
The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes 9–26%; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9%; and ozone (O3), which causes 3–7%.

A 2012 United Nations report revealed that the earth’s cattle population produces more carbon dioxide than automobiles, planes, and all other forms of transport combined. Also, the cow pies they drop and the gas they produce equals a third of the world’s methane emissions, which traps 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.

In the summer of 2016, EcoWatch published an article confirming that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock actually account for a higher percentage of total global emissions than the world’s 1.2 billion automobiles.

Real ID Act

Starting October 1, 2020, every US state and territory resident will need to present a Real ID-compliant license/ID or another acceptable form of identification (like a passport or passport card) for accessing federal facilities — including boarding commercial airplanes.
If it is Real ID compliant, there will be a star in the top right corner; many drivers may not realize they already have one, since some states have been issuing them for a few years.

You need a Real ID if:
• You want to fly with only your state-issued ID
• You do not have a passport or another TSA-approved ID
• You need to visit a secure federal facility, such as a military base, and do not have a military ID

Incidentally, a Real ID is not a substitute for a passport for international travel.

Wordology, Fall and Autumn

Although both words refer to the same season, Americans often say “fall” more than “autumn.” Fall and autumn were both once known as “harvest,” according to and “harvest” is technically the earliest name for this season. The phrase was a bit confusing, because it refers to both the time people usually harvest crops and the actual harvesting of crops. Because of this, “Autumn,” a word dating back to the late 1300s, became popular as an alternative.

The word “fall” likely stems from “falling of the leaves,” phrases poets liked, according to Merriam-Webster. Not long after, people shortened the phrase to “fall” in the 1600s.

Although both fall and autumn stem from Britain, autumn was the more popular word for a long time. Both have had their ups and downs in popularity. It was not until the 1800s that American English and British English took unofficial stances on these words: fall is the word of choice in the U.S. and autumn in Britain.

Happy Friday

Happiness is more colorful than all of mother nature's blooms.

I always enjoy the kaleidoscope, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Hubble

Edwin Hubble (d 1953), for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, to discover galaxies beyond our own.

Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space. Hubble has an unobstructed view of the universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar system.

Hubble's launch and deployment in April 1990 marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope. Thanks to five servicing missions and more than 25 years of operation, our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.

Incidentally, The telescope is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond, or about the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile, and also like being able to shine a laser beam on President Roosevelt’s head on a dime from 200 miles away.

It has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990.

Hubble has circled Earth and gone more than 4 billion miles along a circular low earth orbit. Its primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across. It was so finely polished that if you scaled it to be the diameter of the Earth, you would not find a bump more than 6 inches tall.

Phone Number Substitute

You can put 000-000-0000 as a phone number on a website that will not let you proceed without a number. It does not work on every site, but worth a try if you do not wish to give out your real phone number. Of course you can also use a dummy number, but you probably do not want your info tied to someone else's number.

Alzheimer's vs. Dementia

There are about fifty million people living with dementia worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably, but there are differences.
Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia and is the most common. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease marked by deposits of beta-amyloid plaques and proteins called tau that damage cells in brain regions that control functions like thinking, memory, and reasoning. With Alzheimer’s, you may forget new information or find that you need to ask family members to remember important facts you should be able to remember for yourself. It is not where you cannot remember the name of your barber and then it comes to you later.

Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms like impaired memory and thinking that interferes with daily living. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in order for a person to be diagnosed with dementia, two of the following must be “significantly impaired”: memory, communication and language, the ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception. A medical illness, metabolic issue (like a nutritional or thyroid problem), vascular disease (like a stroke), or infectious diseases can affect brain cells, causing dementia.
There are no FDA-approved therapies for dementia, but there are four medications that target Alzheimer’s. These drugs do not stall disease progression or cure the disease, but they can help control symptoms.

All Alzheimer's is dementia, but not all dementia is Alzheimer's. 

Impeachment Facts

The media is throwing the term about as if the process is a criminal trial. Impeachable offenses are not necessarily illegal. It also does not mean the accused has been found guilty. Impeachment can be at the federal or state level. It is only a statement of charges, such as to an indictment in criminal law.

Impeachment is not a criminal trial. It is a political process. In fact, impeachment is actually two separate processes. The lower House of Representatives investigates and chooses to indict the president or charge him with offenses that could disqualify him from the presidency. The charges are referred to as articles of impeachment. The House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon passage, the defendant has been 'impeached'.

Removal, or conviction is the second process where the upper house Senate holds a trial and, by a two-thirds vote (for at least one article) of those present, can vote to remove the president from office.

Judgment in cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to Law.

The process as outlined in the U.S. Constitution applies not only to the president, but to the vice-president and other officials, including governors and federal judges. Members of Congress have their own process and are exempt from impeachment and removal.

Impeachment does not mean a president has been found guilty of the charged offense(s).  The U.S. constitution states that disqualifying offenses for impeachment are “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” It does not define the term ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ which means that the House of Representatives and the Senate get to define those terms.

To date, just two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Also, during the 1990s, first the House and Senate Banking Committees and then a Senate special committee investigated President and Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the Whitewater land deal and related matters. The Senate had an enabling resolution; the House did not.

If a president is removed from office, the party they represent is still in power. For example, if President Trump ultimately is removed from office, Vice President Mike Pence would become president, and Republicans would still control the White House.

Open Doors In or Out

Was watching a show and all the doors on Scandinavian houses opened out and most English doors opened in. There is no universal code that dictates inward or outward.

Most reasoning shows that opening in allows hinges on the inside so thieves cannot simply remove a pin and gain entry. On the flip side, a high percentage of home invasions and burglaries begin with the intruder kicking in a door. That is virtually impossible when the door swings outward. Current exterior doors designed to open outward include protected hinges.

In public buildings and offices doors open in so as to not disrupt hallway traffic.

Three most popular reasons for outward doors are - There is a legend that during the 19th century some king decreed that all external doors should open outwards after many people were killed in a church fire. Another explanation is that apartments in Sweden were at one time very small. Another explanation is the cold winters opening the doors inwards would let in snow and when winds push against outward-opening doors the weather seal functions better. Florida, US communities are now accepting the concept of outward opening doors as an advantage, especially during hurricanes.

Incidentally, room design typically determines the left or right swing designation for doors. An inward opening door should swing in the direction needed to provide adequate passage. Interior pocket doors solve all these problems.

Happy Friday

The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness. ~ Milan Kundera,
My home has a vaulted dome of happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

Here we go again, when we defy Mother Nature's natural time and mess with our clocks. Sunday Nov 3, 2am is the day and time we turn our clocks back one hour. Mother Nature just sits back smirking until we change our clocks back to her schedule in the spring.
Incidentally, this year, 2019, Finland called for daylight saving to be abolished across the EU after a petition gathered more than 70,000 signatures from citizens asking the state to give up the practice.

European Union is allowing 28 member countries to choose for themselves once mandated daylight saving time ends after 2021. Currently, some 30 bills are being considered in US States. In Canada, some 93% of British Columbia residents said they want year-round daylight saving time. Japan currently observes Japan Standard Time (JST) all year. DST is no longer in use in China, South Africa, and the Philippines.

Bonfire Night

On the Fifth of November, British people celebrate Bonfire Night on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. A scarecrow in the likeness of Guy Fawkes is put in the center of a large pile of wood, before lighting it on fire. There is also a huge fireworks display, eating, drinking, and partying.

The reason why the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot were trying to blow up Parliament was in an attempt to end the persecution of Recusant Catholics.  Before the scarecrow was made in the likeness of Guy Fawkes, they were burning an effigy of the Pope. In the town of Lewes in Sussex, they will have a parade where they burn crosses on the Fifth of November.

Wordology, NMLS

So many commercials end with some fast talking announcer and one of the things the announcer says is NMLS Number 12345, or whatever the number is. NMLS stands for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. NMLS is a web based platform for regulatory agencies to administer initial license applications and ongoing compliance requirements.

NMLS itself does not grant or deny license authority. It is the system of record for all federal registrations required of federally regulated mortgage loan originators. License cost for an individual is usually less than $100. Individuals usually need 20 hours training and take a test to pass the National Mortgage Licensing System pre-licensing exam. It includes 100 computer-generated, multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three hours. Ten of the 100 questions are "test" questions that do not affect the grade. Passing score is 75%. The test can be taken online.

Winter and Phone Batteries

Very low temperatures can reduce your battery to ½ or less of your normal use time. Keep your phone warm to keep your battery level up. If it gets cold and battery charge goes down, making the phone warm again will not bring up the charge level.

Doctor Drug Payments

There is a website that you can look up your doctor or hospital to see what payments they have received from drug and medical device companies. I looked my primary care doc and found he received $892 last year. Not sure of the value of the info, but it is interesting to know. LINK 

Roger Whittaker

Came across this video "Last Farewell" the other day while perusing YouTube. It has over nine million views. Almost forgot how smooth Whittaker's voice is. He is 88.  LINK

Netflix Plans

Netflix offers three streaming video plans, plus you can still order DVD and Blu-ray discs in the mail.

The most basic plan allows one user at a time and is shown in standard definition, which is equivalent to the old, pre-HD (720) televisions. The standard streaming plan allows you to watch on two screens at a time in high definition (1080) (HD), like newer, but non-4K TVs. The premium plan allows you to watch on four screens at once and you can watch programs in HD or 4K Ultra HD.
What amazed me is that it is still offering the old 720 standard television, until I realized how much of its business is overseas and how millions of users around the world use PCs, pads, and phones to watch and which require 720 or less for adequate pictures.

Incidentally, Netflix still makes 30 million US dollars a month on DVD and Blu-ray rentals.

Wordology, Whistleblower

Back in Elizabethan times “to whistle” or “to blow” was to reveal secret information. During the twentieth century, “to blow the whistle” and “whistleblower” referred to people blowing whistles, or people attempting to stop illegal or immoral activity by causing a disturbance. Law enforcement officials, such as police in the United Kingdom used whistles to alert the public or fellow police of a crime.

A whistleblower is someone who exposes information about wrongdoings that companies or organizations do not want to share, usually about illegal or unethical actions or wrongdoings within a public or private organization. Whistleblowers disclose the wrongdoing without approval, to the public, a higher authority, or law enforcement. They could expose illegal actions affecting public safety, violations of company rules or policies, or fraud, among others.

Incidentally, the main difference between leakers and whistleblowers is that whistleblowers release information that shows wrongdoing. They have a right and responsibility to report this information. Leakers release sensitive or classified information unlawfully and possibly for their own personal or political agenda, not necessarily for public good or policy.

Oct 26, 2019

Happy Friday

Laughter is the sharpest weapon in the arsenal.

It is the swiftest tool to open a closed mind, especially on a Happy Friday!

Yuca vs. Yucca

Yuca – pronounced yoo-cuh – is the root portion of a cassava plant. It is often prepared and eaten like sweet potatoes.

Yucca - pronounced yuhk-a  - is an ornamental plant. Yuccas are spiky flowered plants common in Southern and Western parts of the US, including Florida, New Mexico, and California.  The stems, leaf bases, flowers, emerging stalks as well as the fruit of most types of yucca are edible. 

Wordology, Mukbang

South Korea video trend is known as “mukbang,” and it has spread to the US and around the globe on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Japanese mukbang entertainer Yuka Kinoshita has 5.34 million subscribers on YouTube. She is shown in different videos eating various foods, such as one hundred Chicken McNuggets, 62 hamburgers, 3 large pizzas, 10 pounds of cereal, 6.6 pounds of noodles. She is thin, 5' 2" tall, and weighs 95 pounds.

The trend has grown into a worldwide sensation and often involves massive consumption of foods in nauseating quantities. Hosts will often prepare or buy a meal, sit down and eat it as part of a live stream, watched by hundreds of thousands of fans. Many times, the whole purpose is to see the mukbang host take in multiple servings.

The trend is social and interactive. According to some, watching a person eat while possibly having a meal at the same time and perhaps the same meal that they are watching a mukbang entertainer consume on the screen fills certain longings in a modern society with less personal interaction. Social media gets scarier every day.

Movie Trailer Colors

There are three colors preceding each movie trailer, red, yellow, and green. These colors show up as the background for movie rating cards. The rating for the film itself shows up in text, but the rating for the preview shows up in text and indicated by the background color of the rating card splash screen. The specific regulations surrounding what can be shown in the preview for each of these rating cards are set by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), though the rules are not publicly made available.
The most common is the green rating card.  Before April of 2009, a green background meant that the preview was approved for all audiences.  Since April of 2009, the MPAA now states that the green card is for “appropriate audiences”.  This basically means it is appropriate for audiences in theaters, taking into account what movie the audience is about to watch.

A yellow rating card indicates the preview is for age-appropriate internet viewers and is used on internet trailers only.

The red rating card indicates that content in the preview is only appropriate for mature audiences. These previews can only be shown in theaters where the movie about to be watched is R-rated, NC-17-rated, or unrated.

Theatrical trailers must be less than two minutes and 30 seconds, as mandated by the Motion Picture Association of America.  The MPAA gives each movie studio one exception to this a year where they are allowed to show a trailer that is longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Scary Thought

Ninety percent of US media (TV, radio, news) is owned by six corporations.

Magnetic Particle Imaging

MPI was first presented during 2005 and began to come into its own by 2012. So far, only a handful of prototype small-animal MPI scanners have been constructed worldwide. It has the potential to revolutionize the biomedical imaging field. The new tracer imaging modality is gaining significant interest from NMR and MRI researchers. MPI employs the same superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) contrast agents that are sometimes used for MR angiography and are often used for MRI cell tracking studies.

These SPIOs are much safer for humans than iodine or gadolinium. SPIOs in MPI generate positive, bright blood contrast. With this ideal contrast, even prototype MPI scanners can already achieve fast, high-sensitivity, and high-contrast angiograms with millimeter-scale resolutions.

While the physics of MPI differ substantially from MRI, it employs hardware and imaging concepts that are familiar to MRI researchers, such as magnetic excitation and detection, pulse sequences, and relaxation effects.

MPI shows great potential for an exciting array of applications, including stem cell tracking and inflammation imaging in vivo, first-pass contrast studies to diagnose or stage cancer.

Irish Rovers

The Irish Rovers have had strings of fun Irish songs for many years. Here is a musical interlude of 'Wasn't That a Party' to help you get up, tap your feet, and appreciate your Happy Friday just a bit more. LINK

More Satellites

Last month I wrote about a handful of companies adding satellites for new internet and TV broadband services. LINK
Elon Musk is at it again. SpaceX has just filed for permission to add 30,000 more satellites to the 12,000 already approved. The company has deployed a few of the first 12,000 already and plans to have more deployed by the end of 2019.

There are strict international rules for deployment size, weight, height of orbit, wave length for transmitting signals, etc. Nonetheless, many "experts" (fearmongers) have complained that space is cluttered with too many satellites already and worry about accidents as they might bump into each other.
To add perspective, as of January 2019, about 8,950 satellites were placed into Earth orbit since 1957. About 5,000 of those were still in space, according to the European Space Agency. Only about 1,950 of those are still functioning.

As of 2019 here are 276 million cars and trucks on the roads in the United States alone. There are over 1.4 billion cars, trucks, and buses around the world. Neither figure includes off road vehicles. Since space is infinitely larger than earth, it seems unlikely mankind will be able to fill it up any time soon.

Happy Friday

Beauty may fade, but happiness endures.
I never fade from a Happy Friday!

Spam Amazon Invoice

There is another new spam. I received two identical invoices from what appeared to be Amazon with a price I did not recognize (clue 1). They were sent about half hour apart to an email that I do not use for Amazon (clue 2). There was no item description (clue3 ). It was from, weird email (clue 4). Tried to get me to open up PDF invoice (clue 5). The major number of spams ask to open a PDF, or other attachment. Always bad, as that is where they can take over your computer.
Checked Amazon and indeed, no items with that charge (clue 6).

I googled the email and the suffix was from a German college (clue 7).
Immediately deleted. Caveat Emptor!

More - One new scam tactic uses your bank's real phone number to encourage you to surrender your PIN. It starts with the scammers calling your phone claiming to be your bank. They explain that someone has attempted to use your card in a faraway location. When you tell them it was not you, they will claim to block the transaction and ask for your member number. They can use this number to reset your bank account password and trigger a verification code text that is sent to your cellphone, so you believe it is real.

Interesting Movie Facts

The dinosaur noises in the "Jurassic Park" movie were made from recordings of tortoise sex.

The word "mafia" is never mentioned in the film version of The Godfather, because the actual mafia demanded it.

The Horse Head used in the movie "The Godfather" was real.

The budget for the Movie "Titanic" was higher than the cost of the Titanic itself.

Movie theater popcorn costs more per ounce than filet mignon in the US.

A 2-hour movie plus 5 minutes of previews uses 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of 35mm film.

Kobe vs. Wagyu

Kobe must be born and processed in the Hyogo prefecture. Hyogo's capital city is Kobe, hence the name. Only nine restaurants in the entire US serve real Kobe beef. Kobe is a variety of Wagyu.

Wagyu is a Japanese breed that can be raised anywhere. Wagyu, loosely translated, means “Japanese cattle”. In the US, purebred Wagyu are crossed with traditional beef cattle breeds to create American Wagyu Beef. It must be at least 46.875% Wagyu DNA.

Every Kobe steak is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu steaks are Kobe.

BMI Facts

Seems to me that if the majority, 71.6% are overweight according to the arbitrary BMI number, then the number needs to be updated to reflect the new norm. According to BMI, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rock are obese.

Percent of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity: 71.6% (2015-2016) - latest from National Center for Health Statistics

The overall prevalence of obesity was higher among black and Hispanic adults than among non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian adults.

Obesity is defined as the BMI was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, rounded to one decimal place. Obesity in adults was defined as a BMI of greater than or equal to 30.

English Phrase Origins

The first recorded use of 'by hook or by crook' is from the fourteenth century. In medieval times, the peasantry was not allowed to cut down trees, but they were permitted to gather firewood from loose or dead branches using a hook (bill-hook) or a crook (a staff with a curved end like those used by shepherds). Some peasants exceeded the strict use of these tools, and so the term has evolved into its current usage, meaning to achieve something by whatever means possible.

The word 'deadline' was originally used literally. During the Civil War, prisoners at one camp were confined to a pen and surrounded by a “deadline”; so called because if a prisoner crossed it, he would be shot dead. Now it is a synonym for “due date” or “time limit,”

Chicago’s nickname was coined by 19th-century journalists who were referring to the fact that its residents were “windbags” and “full of hot air.”

8K TV Price Drops

Sharp’s first 8K TV went on sale for professional use in Japan during 2015 for $133,000.

New pricing - LG 88 inch OLED 8K $30,000 -  Sony Z9G 8K TV, at 85 inches, costs $13,000 - Samsung offers 55” and 65” versions of the Q900R for $3,500 and $4,000, respectively, - 8K larger screen like the $6,000 75” model or the $8,000 82” model - Samsung QN75 Q900R BFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series $4,497 - 65" Class Q900 QLED Smart 8K UHD TV (2019), $2,999. OK, all still way too expensive, but it looks like 8K is following 4K large price drops each year as production ramps up.

In November 2017, video-streaming site Vimeo added support for 8K, and it now has over 6,000 videos tagged as 8K. YouTube added 8K and it boasts thousands of 8K videos. Almost all are non-movie and non-TV shows, but at least there is content to test the new TVs. I will obviously be a few years before we see real 8K movie and TV content. Cheap and greedy broadcasters are still fighting upgrades to 4K, because of the impact it might have on the precious bottom line.

Incidentally, Samsung put two 85-inch TVs side by side, one playing 4K content in 4K, the other upscaling 4K content to 8K. The difference was apparent, with the upscaled 4K video playing on the 8K TV looking visibly superior.

Oct 11, 2019

Happy Friday

Being old does not diminish happiness, but happiness can diminish feeling old.
I feel very young, especially on a Happy Friday!

Champagne, vs. Prosecco

Champagne is a sparkling wine from France and Prosecco is from Italy. The difference in price is partially from the production method used to make each wine. Both have flavonoids that have antioxidant properties, just as with red wine.

Champagne is more time intensive to produce and enjoys better marketing, thus affecting higher price. Champagne is primarily Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes with higher acidity. Since carbonation develops under high pressure, Champagne has fine, persistent bubbles. Pairing champagne with potato chips or fried chicken may sound odd, but is very delicious.
Prosecco is made with primarily Glera grapes (formerly known as Prosecco).  Prosecco can be spumante ("sparkling wine"), frizzante ("semi-sparkling wine"), or tranquillo ("still wine"). Because it is aged in large tanks with less pressure, Prosecco has lighter, frothy bubbles that do not last as long. Prosecco is a bit sweeter than champagne.

Incidentally, in some countries, it is illegal to label any product Champagne unless it both comes from the Champagne region in France and is produced under the rules of the appellation. The United States has a grandfather clause stating that wineries which were operating and producing sparkling wine before the agreement was signed in 2005 are legally, according to US law, able to use the term “champagne” on their label. One company that does is Korbel.

New Logo NextGen TV

They came up with a new logo that will be shown on all new TVs and devices that can support the new ATSC 3 antenna TV that is in process of rolling out around the country. You might see the logo (and the new 8K logo) on TVs in stores beginning next year.

The new standard is being tested around the country now, but you will need to get a dongle for your TV to see or wait for the new TVs to come with it built in, as is with ATSC 1 on current TVs. Current antennas and cables will work for both.
The new standard should offer 4K over your current antenna as well as two-way communication, immersive Dolby audio, and more. It will provide local and national emergency alerts, even if the TV is turned off. The only downside is that it is two-way, meaning the TV companies can now check what we are watching and provide more direct ads to us.
Incidentally, broadcasters are required to provide the current service for five more years, so you can ignore NextGen TV for a while.