May 24, 2019

Happy Friday

Some folks are not happy that roses have thorns, but others are happy that thorns have roses.

I am happy that happiness has no thorns, especially on a Happy Friday!

Robocall Blocking

        I do not know of any person who does not hate them. They seem to be sneaking into our lives more and more. Solutions are available, or soon to be available to stem the tide, but they will not end soon.


The Federal Communications Commission announced new rules it said would tackle the avalanche of robocalls we are receiving, but did not offer anything that is not available now. It said it would vote on a ruling that would allow phone companies to have call-blocking as a default, implement strong call-blocking services as the default setting for their customers and to make it easier for us to block unwanted calls. "That means your phone is only going to ring if the call is coming from somebody in your list of contacts," said FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

Until that is finalized, here are a few things more we can do now to eliminate the vast majority of them.

For IPhone users, in Settings, click on “Do Not Disturb” and “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.”

For Android, in the Phone app, click the three lines on the top right of the screen, select Settings then Block Numbers, then click on "Block Unknown Callers." Only numbers from your contacts will ring.

There does not appear a way to have phone mail blocked from anyone, but if we can at least eliminate the ring, it is a good first step to eliminate distractions and you can listen to voice mail at your convenience and add the number to contacts if it is someone you want to hear from.

More Body Facts

The human brain uses as much power as a 10-watt light bulb.
The word “organ” comes from an old Greek word, organon, which means “tool” or “instrument.”
There are so many nerve cells in a human brain that it would take almost 3,000 years to count them.
An adult’s skin weighs between 8 and 11 pounds (3.6 to 5 kg). Its surface area is about 18-22 square feet (1.7 to 2 sq. m).
The longest bone in an adult human is the thighbone, measuring about 18 inches (46 cm). The shortest bone is in the ear and is just 0.1 inches (.25 cm) long, which is shorter than a grain of rice.

Free Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Many municipalities offer free alarms or free battery replacements from local fire departments. There are a few restrictions, such as elderly, ability to pay, and others, such as height that vary from location to location. Look up your city fire department for details. You are welcome.

Frozen Produce Myth Debunked

Frozen produce can actually be even healthier than fresh fruits and vegetables. Those fruits are often picked at the peak of their ripeness, then flash-frozen within six to ten hours, says registered dietitian nutritionist Jenna Braddock, founder of MakeHealthyEasy.com. “That freezing locks in that nutritional value, so it no longer degrades until you use it,” she says. In fact, frozen produce might have even more nutrients than out-of-season fresh veggies.
Carrots, mangos, peas, spinach, squash, corn on the cob (keep it in the husk), peaches, also good to buy frozen or freeze at home.
Any vegetable or fruit that has a high water concentration, like celery, cucumber, salad greens, and watermelon will not survive the freezer because the water inside quickly forms ice crystals.

Fresh produce, such as apples may be stored for a year before reaching the grocery store shelf. Did you know you can freeze potato chips, nuts, and pretzels to prolong shelf life - if it that is a problem in your house. Incidentally, fresh produce can be kept on the counter if it is to be used within a few days, but is better in the fridge if it is not needed soon. Peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots are all best kept at room temperature so they can ripen to perfection.

keep apples in crisper drawer instead of on the counter. They ripen too fast on the counter. And a cool crisp apple tastes great, especially with some cheddar cheese on the side and maybe a pinch of salt to bring out peak flavor.

Maybellene

This week during 1955 Chuck Berry released his first hit song Maybellene (sic). Back in the time of innocent rock and roll music and hot rods. Enjoy! LINK

Centrifugal Force vs. Centripetal Force

We see it in the spin cycle of a washing machine or when children ride on a merry-go-round.
Centrifugal force is often confused with its counterpart, centripetal force, because they are so closely related. Centrifugal force is defined as the apparent force that is felt by an object moving in a curved path that acts outwardly away from the center of rotation. It is more inertia than a force. An example of centrifugal force is the earth's revolution around the sun. Another is passengers feeling pushed outward on a merry-go-round.
Centripetal force is defined as the force that is necessary to keep an object moving in a curved path and that is directed inward toward the center of rotation. If you are in a spacecraft orbiting the earth, the centripetal force is the force of gravity. Another example is spinning an object on a string. The tension on the rope pulls the object in toward the center.
Centripetal force and centrifugal force are the same force, just in opposite directions, because they are experienced from different frames of reference.

Centripetal force is an actual force; centrifugal force is an apparent force. In other words, when twirling a mass on a string, the string exerts an inward centripetal force on the mass, while mass appears to exert an outward centrifugal force on the string.

May 17, 2019

Happy Friday

“I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live. Enjoy each day — it’s not coming back again!” ~ Doris Day

I love to laugh and enjoy also, especially on a Happy Friday!

Beyond Meat

Have recently read that some fast food places and TGI Friday's are selling a meatless hamburger ($16.75 in New York). You have likely read about the Beyond Meat company and its recent filing for a successful IPO. Reviews are decidedly mixed and bottom line is that the burgers are close, but not too close to regular meat hamburgers in taste, texture, and looks. With the first two ingredients of water and pea protein, I will be waiting for more reviews before trying one. Of course, bacon might help.


Ingredients include:
 Water
 Pea protein isolate
 Expeller-pressed canola oil
 Refined coconut oil
  - also 2% or less of:
 Cellulose from bamboo
 Methylcellulose
 Potato starch
 Natural flavor
 Maltodextrin
 Yeast extract
 Salt
 Sunflower oil
 Vegetable glycerin
 Dried yeast
 Gum arabic
 Citrus extract (to protect quality)
 Ascorbic acid (to maintain color)
 Beet juice extract (for color)
 Acetic acid
 Succinic acid
 Modified food starch
 Annatto (for color)

Golden Gate Bridge

It did not get name due to its paint color, which many people believe, as it was named after the Golden Gate Strait, which is the waterway it straddles.

Wordology, By The Same Token

Token is a very old word, referring to something that is a symbol or sign of something else. It could be a pat on the back as a token or sign of friendship, or a marked piece of lead that could be exchanged for money. It came to mean a fact or piece of evidence that could be used as proof.


“By the same token” first meant, basically “those things you used to prove that can also be used to prove this.” It was later weakened into the expression that just says “these two things are somehow associated.”

Jeans Day

According to the Levi Strauss, May 20 was the day that Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, the innovators behind the sturdy blue jeans got a patent on the process of adding metal rivets to men’s denim work pants for the first time in history.

Jeans are named after the city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured. Prior to the Levi Strauss patented trousers, the term "blue jeans" had been long in use for various garments (including trousers, overalls, and coats), constructed from blue-colored denim.

Calm Your Heart

New research shows that negative thoughts can be physiologically harmful, while positive thinking calms the heart rate and even boosts the immune system and can make a significant positive health difference.
In a study carried out by academics at the universities of Exeter and Oxford, 135 healthy were divided into five groups and played a different set of audio instructions. The team took physical measurements of heart rate and sweat response and asked participants to report how they were feeling.
Questions included how safe they felt, how likely they were to be kind to themselves and how connected they felt to others. The two groups whose instructions encouraged them to be kind to themselves not only reported feeling more self-compassion and connection with others, but also showed a bodily response consistent with feelings of relaxation and safety. Their heart rates dropped along with the variation in length of time between their heartbeats - a healthy sign of a heart that can respond flexibly to changing situations. They also showed lower sweat response.
Meanwhile, instructions that induced a critical inner voice led to an increased heart rate and a higher sweat response - consistent with feelings of threat and distress.

The three other groups listened to recordings designed to induce a critical inner voice, put them into a positive, but competitive and self-enhancing mode, or an emotionally neutral shopping scenario.

While people in both the self-compassion and positive-but-competitive groups reported greater self-compassion and decreased self-criticism, only the self-compassion groups showed the positive bodily response.

The study, Soothing Your Heart and Feeling Connected: A New Experimental Paradigm to Study the Benefits of Self-Compassion, is published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

Genes vs. Heredity

Genes or genetic mean something related to your DNA. Hereditary means something you inherit from your parents.
When kings die their child inherits the throne. That is hereditary, but it is not genetic, because there is no gene that makes a person royalty.
Not all genetic conditions are hereditary, such as if they are caused by a mutation they will not have been inherited.

Bottom Line, DNA is inherited, so genetic medical conditions are hereditary, but not all hereditary things are genetic.

Lemon Freezing

If you want lemons or limes when you need them, you can freeze a few whole and defrost them, including in the microwave for quick use when needed. The consistency might be a bit mushy, but for drinks or juicing it is a good solution.

US Recycling Statistics

US recycling rate is low. Figures from the Environmental Protection Agency show that America recycles about 34.7 percent of the garbage it produces. The world's top recyclers, Germany, Austria, Wales, and South Korea report a rate between 52 and 56 percent.)
Until 2018, China took 40 percent of the US recycled paper, plastic, and metal, but in January of that year, China imposed strict new rules on the levels of contamination. Because of that, and a lack of suitable destinations closer to home, many cities have been forced to incinerate or stockpile recyclables until they can find a better solution.

The nation recycles less than 10 percent of its plastic, compared to 67 percent for paper materials, 34 percent for metals, and 26 percent for glass. China's restrictions have especially affected plastic. Exports of scrap plastic to China were valued at more than $300 million in 2015; they amounted to $7.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, down 90 percent from the year before.

May 10, 2019

Happy Friday

Life advice is like airplane advice, "Make sure you have your own mask on before helping others with theirs."

I am always ready to help others celebrate a Happy Friday!

Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Meteorites

Asteroid is a rocky object that orbits the sun in a circular fashion.
Comet is an icy body object that orbits the sun in an elliptical and possible unstable fashion.

Meteor is an object that has entered earth's atmosphere.

Meteorite is a meteor that has impacted the earth's surface.

Chocolate and Your Brain

Italian scientists have found evidence that a daily dose of cocoa acts as a dietary supplement to counteract different types of cognitive decline. The team found that regularly eating cocoa was linked to improvements in working memory and visual information processing and cocoa could be particularly beneficial for certain people.


Cocoa is the dried and fermented bean from the cocoa tree used to make chocolate treats. Over the years, it has been found that a range of naturally occurring chemicals in the cocoa bean have therapeutic effects. For example, polyphenols in dark chocolate were found to increase calmness and contentedness and flavanols were able to reverse age-related memory decline. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a toxic chemical, but to be at risk of poisoning yourself, you would have to eat about 85 full sized chocolate bars in one sitting.

In the study, the team looked through the literature for effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on brain activity and, more specifically, what happens if you do this over a long period of time. The studies used to perform the review mainly required the subjects to consume a low, medium or large amount of cocoa in the form of a chocolate drink or bar for a period of between five days and three months.

The scientists found that there was enough evidence to support the health claims attributed to cocoa, and, in particular, the flavanol compounds it contains. They noticed enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after consuming cocoa flavanols. The benefits varied depending on the demographic being tested.

For the elderly, long term ingestion of cocoa flavanols improved attention, mental processing, working memory, and verbal fluency. It was most beneficial in those who had mild cognitive impairments or the beginnings of memory loss.

For healthy people, without the beginnings of memory loss, cocoa could also enhance normal cognitive functioning and have a protective role on cognitive performance.

For women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation counteracted the cognitive impairment associated with no sleep. Promising results for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work different shift patterns.

"If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume. This structure is particularly affected by ageing and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans."

"Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time," said the researchers.

Chocolate Milk Myth Debunked

Some Internet postings claim that chocolate milk is made with cow’s milk that was rejected as regular milk because it contains cow’s blood. Not true. Chocolate milk is brown because of chocolate. Incidentally, it does not come exclusively from brown cows either.

Bacon Fad Continues

Archie McPhee has a whole line of bacon products including: bacon candy canes, bacon frosting, bacon gumballs, bacon lollipops, bacon floss, and bacon air freshener.
Vosges has a complete line of bacon candy bars.
Tee & Cakes has the cutest bacon cupcakes.

Baconsalt created Baconnaise, bacon mayonnaise.
Burger King introduced their Bacon Sundae, Jack in the Box has a Bacon Shake (that actually contains no bacon), and Denny’s has a Bacon Sundae.
You can smell like the pork product thanks to Bacon Cologne.
There is also Bacon Vodka.


The Wake n’ Bacon alarm clock will hit the spot as the alarm uses real bacon to create a real bacon smell to wake you up.

Frits and Dots

The black dots on windshields and windows and the black rims that surround them, are more than decoration.
From the 1950s and 1960s onward, car manufacturers began using an adhesive to hold car windows in place, rather than metal trim.
The black rims around car windows are called “frits.” The frits and the dots that border them are made from ceramic paint. The frits are there to hide the adhesive. These painted rims are baked into the window and hold the glue in place, which in turn holds the windows in place.
The dots are there to make an aesthetically pleasing transition from the thick black lines to the transparency of the window. They are positioned in a halftone pattern, getting smaller and farther apart as the black recedes. This pattern is less jarring to the eye than opaque black paint juxtaposed with transparent glass.

Their other purpose is to provide temperature control. To get the glass of windows and windshields to be bent the way it is, the glass is heated up. The black-painted glass heats up faster than the rest of the window. The dots distribute the heat a bit more even and prevent the windshield from warping in the heat.

Honey Hack

Sticky ingredients, like honey, syrup, molasses, etc. are difficult to accurately measure. You pour it into the measuring cup and then into the bowl or pot, and a thick coating is always left behind.


A quick solution is to use cooking spray. Spray the inside of the measuring cup or measuring spoon with nonstick cooking spray and it will slide right out. It also makes for easier cleanup.

Windsor and the Royal Family

The royal family changed its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917 so it would sound less German and chose Windsor because they had ties with the English town. The House of Windsor was named after Windsor Castle. Welcome to the newest member Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Palliative Care vs. Hospice

Palliative care is attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering of patients and families who are dealing with a serious illness. Palliative care is available at any stage of an illness.

Hospice is a type of palliative care that is provided during the last six months of life. Hospice is also distinct from end-of-life care, which is the care of patients in the last days and hours of their lives. In the US, hospice is overwhelmingly provided in a patient's home or in a nursing home.

Studies show that for patients with, for example metastatic lung cancer, if they received palliative care with their cancer treatment, as opposed to receiving cancer treatment alone, the patients actually lived longer and had better quality-of-life scores.

When we think of disease as a battle to fight, we tend to divide people into winners and losers, which does not benefit them. It is better to frame it as you may be a fighter, but your body cannot fight this anymore. The distinction is between the person not being a loser and the natural limits of their body.

May 3, 2019

Happy Friday

Attitude is a practiced art.

It takes a positive attitude to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Origin of Raisins

During 2000 BC, people found dried grapes on vines. These raisins were used for decoration, before becoming popular trading items, prizes at sporting events, and even medicine.

Strange Laws

For chicken lovers in Gainesville, Georgia, “finger-lickin’” is not a suggestion, it is mandatory. Thanks to a 1961 law added to the city code as a publicity stunt, it is illegal to eat fried chicken in “the poultry capital of the world” with anything other than your fingers.

In Japan, over-the-counter allergy/sinus medications that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Vicks inhalers and Sudafed are banned under Japan’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws.

It’s an offense in Florence, Italy to eat or drink while sitting on church steps or within a church courtyard. The same law applies to eating near public buildings.

In Wisconsin, public schools, jails, and hospitals are not permitted to feed margarine. Per state law, these groups may not be fed butter substitutes unless the substitution is necessary for their health.

You can buy caskets at Walmart and Costco, or direct from the manufacturer and save money. You can also rent a casket for the ceremony. You are not required to be embalmed.

Cranks and Screws

Some prison administrations felt that having inmates occupy the same space to work a treadmill or pick oakum was too much mingling. When they wanted to keep them properly isolated, inmates had to do work alone in their cells. Officials had also noticed something they found very interesting: Inmates hated a pointless task more than a meaningful one. This presented them with an obvious solution: the crank.
The crank was literally a crank that stuck out of a small wooden box that was usually set on a table or pedestal in the inmate’s cell. Despite its innocuous description, it was a truly soul-crushing monstrosity designed to exhaust inmates mentally and physically. Inside the box was a drum or paddle that turned nothing but sand and rocks. The axle on which the crank turned had a screw, which warders could tighten or loosen depending on how much punishment they wanted to mete out. The screw would make the crank easier or harder to turn.
Warders who came in to adjust the screw earned themselves the nickname “screws” for the suffering it caused.

A prisoner left in isolation with the crank usually did not need to worry about a beating if they just ignored the machine. Instead, they would worry about starvation. Each crank had a counter on the box that logged the number of turns. An inmate had to reach a certain number of turns before being allowed to do basic things like eat and sleep. Most were expected to make at least 10,000 rotations a day.

Apple and i

The i- prefix for Apple products was created as part of the iMac in the late 90s and was adopted into a full product line shortly after. The original meaning was "internet", meaning the iMac was capable of internet connectivity out of the box.

Later Apple and Steve Jobs used it more to refer to individual, innovation, instruct, inform, and inspire.

It became a handy and easy to remember code for all things Apple.

Gardening and Exercise

According to research, leisure activities, such as gardening, can actually have just as many physical benefits as working out does. A recent study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, measured in participants what the study refers to as “leisure time physical activity.”
Doing leisure time physical activity for just 10-59 minutes a week resulted in an 18 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality. The more you do, the less risk you have. Those who engaged in 150 to 299 minutes of physical activity each week had a 31 percent decrease in mortality.

Leisure time physical activity could refer to anything that exerts physical activity, but is more fun than your monotonous routine at the gym. Dancing qualifies as a leisure time physical activity, as does walking, hiking, and swimming. However, one of the best activities for this kind of benefit is gardening.

There have been many studies in the past that show regular gardening helps you keep in top physical shape. Whether it is weeding, trimming, or raking, gardening can help you burn up to 300 calories an hour. Plus, related activities such as spading, lifting and tilling can help you increase your muscle tone and strength.

In addition to physical benefits, gardening in general has been linked to many other health benefits, including less depression, anxiety, and stress, according to a meta analysis published in Preventative Medicine Reports. It also found that people who garden regularly also had a better sense of life satisfaction in general.

Wordology, Pangram

A pangram is a sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet. The name comes from two Greek root words. “Pan” means “all,” and “gram” means “something written.” Together, they mean all written letters.

The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.
The five boxing wizards jump quickly.

A pangram must be a full sentence. That means it needs to include a subject and a predicate. A “perfect pangram” uses each letter from the alphabet only once.

Favorite Color Study

One of the most calming colors to be surrounded by, according to a global survey from paper merchant G F Smith and psychologists at the University of Sussex, UK is navy blue, closely followed by teal-like turquoise, and soft pastel pink.
The World's Favorite Color Project involved 26,596 participants from over 100 different countries to get some insights into the world's most beloved color. To do this, they asked people to list attributes and emotions that they associate with certain colors in the hopes of also finding out what different hues mean to different people, and what may influence this.
“First, the more saturated the color is, the more it is associated with excitement and stimulation. Second, the lighter the color, the more it is associated with calmness and relaxation."

Many studies have found that blue and green are also associated with calmness and relaxation. The findings also showed that orange is most often associated with happiness, while pink is viewed as the sexiest, and the colors people around the world most associated with luxury are white, purple, and orange.

Apr 26, 2019

Happy Friday

If you cannot change, how can you discover that each day is better than the last?

Today is a better day to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Tesla Space Roadster Progress

Elon Musk is so difficult to keep up with as he spreads his time between massive projects that each would consume other mere mortals.

His space roadster and Starman was one of those projects that we marveled at, but has since almost slipped from memory. It has traveled more than a half million miles so far. Here is a site that is still tracking the vehicle as it continues to fly in orbit around the sun at a speed of 13,561 mi/h.  LINK

National Pretzel Day

April 26 is National Pretzel Day. Most people agree that pretzels have a Christian background, and they were developed by the monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, in 610 AD, an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He called the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, pretiola (little rewards).
The Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants introduced pretzels to North America in the 19th century. At this time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated central Pennsylvania, and their popularity quickly spread.

Grapefruit Juice and Drugs

Why many prescription medications include the warning, “do not take with grapefruit juice.”

The reason is because grapefruit juice messes with your body’s ability to properly metabolize the medicine. It blocks a crucial enzyme (CYP3A4) that controls how much of the medicine you receive. Drinking even one glass of grapefruit juice throws off the safe dose. Basically, it is subject to a potentially dramatic increase in systemic exposure and associated higher risk of overdose with grapefruit as a result of diminished the CYP3A4 activity, primarily in the small intestine, rather than in the liver.

Kohl's Accepts Amazon Returns

Kohl’s announced that it will start accepting Amazon returns at all 1,150 of its stores starting in July 2019. There is no extra charge for the service.
Kohl’s and Amazon started experimenting with a collaboration on brick-and-mortar returns back in 2017, allowing customers to take back items purchased on Amazon even if those items were already out of their Amazon shipping boxes.
Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass explained in a press release that the partnership with Amazon, called 'Amazon Returns', is “delivering innovation,” and perhaps more importantly, driving traffic to Kohl’s stores.
The announcement from Kohl’s is careful to note that the company will only accept “eligible” returns, which means that you cannot return things you bought on Amazon from a third-party. If your item was sent from an Amazon warehouse, you are probably safe to return it, but you must double-check by heading to the Amazon Returns Center online.

Kohl’s started carrying Amazon products in over 200 stores last month, including the Amazon Fire tablet, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Echo Show.

Wordology, EPCOT

Back during 1966 Walt Disney had an idea for part of his theme park in Florida. He planned for it to be an actual community and called it EPCOT. Most folks have forgotten or never knew what that meant or if it was just a word. On Disney World’s website, “Epcot” actually is not written in all caps, which would suggest that it is not an acronym. However, it is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” Now you know.


Incidentally, Walt Disney might have been the first to put gloves on his characters. In addition to being easier to animate, he also did not want Mickey to have mouse hands, because he was supposed to be more human.

More Things You Think Cause Cancer but Do Not

Power lines emit both electric and magnetic energy, but do not cause cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute's fact sheet on Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer. 'The electric energy emitted by power lines is easily shielded or weakened by walls and other objects. The magnetic energy emitted by power lines is a low-frequency form of radiation that does not damage genes.

Slicing a tumor does not cause it to spread. During 2005, nearly 41 percent of people surveyed by the American Cancer Society said they believed that surgery to remove cancer actually caused cancer to spread, and an additional 13 percent were not sure. Surgeons use special protocols to prevent cancer cells from migrating during surgical procedures. Also, cancer replicates and metastasizes on its own, not with the help of a scalpel.

Exposure to air does not cause cancer to spread. "There is no scientific data supporting that theory," says Blair Marshall, MD, thoracic surgeon, on oncolink.com. Dr. Marshall writes that the theory stems from situations where cancer patients have surgery and then later die of metastatic cancer. "In actuality," Dr. Marshall reports, "if the patient had not undergone any surgery at all, they still would have developed widespread disease." This belief is more prevalent and difficult to disentangle in under-served groups, according to the study, and may contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes in those groups.

Optimum Oreo Dunk Time

Members of Utah State University’s Splash Lab, an academic group studying the behaviors of fluids put Oreos to the test.
Three researchers gathered Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, and Graham Crackers and dipped the cookies halfway in 2 percent milk for half a second to seven seconds. After dunking, the team weighed the treats and measured how much milk had been absorbed.
The results: Oreos absorbed 50 percent of their potential liquid weight in just one second. After two seconds, they absorbed 80 percent. The number flatlined briefly for a second. After the fourth second, the cookie maxed out: It absorbed all its possible milk. “This data indicates that for the tested cookies, keeping your cookie in the glass any longer than five seconds does not lead to any additional milk entering the cookies,” their study suggested.

Three seconds is enough time to saturate most of an Oreo. There is no benefit to dunking longer than four seconds. To increase dunk time, use high-fat dairy, such as whole milk (3.25 percent butterfat) or half-and-half (about 10 percent butterfat).

Smiles

During 2010, an interesting study was conducted at Wayne State University. Its purpose was to find out if a smile could influence humans’ life expectancy. Scientists studied baseball cards with famous baseball players produced before 1950. It turned out that players who did not smile lived around 72.9 years, players with a slight smile lived 75 years, and those with really wide smiles lived 79.9 years. Hmmm.


There is a connection between a smile and mood: even if you are forced to smile, you start feeling better. A wide smile equals 2,000 bars of chocolate. Our smile can influence others. People cannot keep scowling if you smile in front of them. Smiling is contagious, so we lose control over our facial muscles and smile back. A smiling person also looks more attractive and professional.

Apr 19, 2019

Happy Friday

Take the end of each day to bed with you and it will transform overnight to a wonderful new day.

This is especially true when you wake up on a Happy Friday!

International Cannabis Culture Day

April 20 is the official cannabis celebration day. Carl's Jr. says it is debuting a cannabis-infused burger on 4/20. The "Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight" will be topped with CBD-infused "Santa Fe Sauce" and sold at one location in Denver for a single day. It will cost $4.20.


Other April 20 Birthdays and Events:

Hitler (born 1889),
George Takei (star Trek's Sulu (born 1937)
1775 American Revolutionary War
Carmen Electra [Tara Leigh Patrick] (born 1972)
1972 – Apollo 16 lands on the moon.
2008 – Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.
Alfred Hawthorne "Benny" Hill, English comedian and actor (born 1924) D 4/20/1992
Cantinflas, Mexican actor, producer, and screenwriter (born 1911) D 4/20/1993

Wordology, Chyron

The pronunciation is Keeron. It is a caption superimposed over usually the lower part of a video image (as during a news broadcast) or any predominantly text-based video graphic as used mainly by television news broadcasts that typically resides in the lower third.

Although it is often used generically, it actually comes from the name of the company whose software allows television producers to add those crawling words, phrases, and images to their broadcasts.

What's in a Name, Blackberry

The creators thought its keyboard somewhat resembled the skin of a blackberry and an employee suggested that for a name. It was accepted.

Nine Things People Think Cause Cancer but Do Not

The wax on apples
is used to extend shelf life and to make the fruit look enticing. Although some claim the wax is carcinogenic, it is not. While there are some credible concerns about carcinogenic pesticides that might be trapped under the wax, you can take care of that problem by rinsing fruits with water and scrubbing them with a soft brush.

Disposable chopsticks internet rumor began circulating that disposable wooden chopsticks contain carcinogens, including sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide is not a carcinogen. If you do not want to ingest sulfur dioxide you might consider using reusable chopsticks, or a fork.
The cold water viral rumor has been going around that drinking cold water after meals can cause cancer. It does not. The email claims that cold water interferes with digestion, and somehow that causes cancer. No research anywhere backs up this nonsense claim.
Supposedly if water is boiled for too long or reboiled, chemical compounds form, including carcinogens like arsenic. Consuming re-boiled, clean, uncontaminated drinking water will not cause cancer or poison you or your family. As long as your water comes from a source that is regularly inspected, you can boil it as many times as you want.

The claim is that turning on the AC in your car after your car has been running will spew benzene, a carcinogen into the cabin. There are zero studies demonstrating that well-maintained cars contain or produce benzene through their air conditioning system in sufficient quantities to have any carcinogenic impact.
Some studies indicate that constant exposure to hair dyes can put hairdressers and barbers at a higher risk of bladder cancer. There is no scientific evidence that coloring your hair, even regularly increases your risk of cancer. The only reason to extend the time between hair coloring appointments is to save time and expense.
Occasionally the idea crops up that shampoo causes cancer, because it contains the foaming agent sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate. Also found in hair conditioner, soap, and various cleaning products, SLS may damage your hair, but not your genes. It is definitely not a carcinogen, reports the American Cancer Society.
The National Cancer Institute is clear: There is no truth to the rumor that antiperspirant causes cancer. 'The best studies so far have found no evidence linking the chemicals typically found in antiperspirants and deodorants with changes in breast tissue,' the institute reports in a fact sheet titled Antiperspirants Deodorants and Breast Cancer.

People have long been suspicious of cell phones, but there is no need to be. The American Cancer Society explains, cancer grows through genetic mutations, and cell phones emit a type of low-frequency energy that is not capable of damaging the DNA inside cells. Although researchers continue to study this potential link, there are no reputable findings linking cell phones and cancer risk.

Apr 12, 2019

Happy Friday

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

Do not miss the chance to be happy, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Corned Beef

There is no corn in corned beef. Corned beef and cabbage, a staple for Irish and other Americans, does not have anything to do with the grain corn. It is due to the large grains of salt that were historically used to cure meats. They were known as corns.

Hawaii Spam Jam

Every April, Spam fans from across the globe find their way to the island of Oahu to pay homage to their favorite mystery meat. The Waikiki Spam Jam is Hawaii’s largest food festival, and the largest Spam celebration in the world. More Spam is consumed in Hawaii than in any other state. Streets are lined with vendors selling an assortment of meaty dishes, from traditional Spam musubi (sliced or grilled Spam on top of rice), sizzling slices of pizza topped with Spam, Spam flan, and chocolate-covered Spam.

However, it is not the only one. You can find a smaller, week-long Spam party in Austin, Minnesota, the birthplace of the iconic meaty mash. Also, Spam has become a staple of South Korean life, and is now the biggest consumer of it outside the US. Spam is available in 41 countries. 

World War I Kleenex

Doctors decided to use gas mask filters as disposable handkerchiefs after the war. “Items created for the war often had to be re-purposed following the war, and one of those items is Kleenex, which was actually the crepe paper used in the filters of gas masks.


During the influenza epidemic following the war, paper goods company Kimberly-Clark re-purposed the paper as a disposable product for people to sneeze into and limit the spread of bodily fluids. Although it is a brand name, Kleenex is used to refer to any facial tissue.

Hashish vs. Marijuana

Hashish is also called ghanja or hash on the street. Hashish is derived from the dried resin (or kief) of the flowering tops of mature and unpollinated female cannabis plants.  These resin glands, known as trichomes or crystals, produce a powdery substance rich in the properties of cannabis. Kief is usually pressed into blocks known as cakes. These cakes are then smoked, with the consumer using a small amount of the block each time. Hash is smoked using pipes, or else it is vaporized and inhaled, or mixed with marijuana in joints.
Marijuana is made up of a mixture of the dried shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Hash is made up of only the collected and compressed trichomes of the plant. These trichomes are the most potent part of the cannabis plant, so hashish is stronger than marijuana.

Marijuana may generally have a potency of 10-20 percent THC while hashish can range from 20 percent to 60 percent THC. Because they come from the same plants, if marijuana is legal, hashish is legal.

Sharpie Hacks

When you have a switch or outlet cover plate off, write its circuit breaker number with a Sharpie on the back of the plate for future reference. You can also add the info on the breaker box.

Label stuff in your fridge or pantry with a Sharpie with the date you opened it. This is a good way to get rid of very old items.

Idioms

Fly off the Handle - This comes from the days before mass manufacturing. Poorly built axe heads would occasionally soar off of their handles, leading to dangerous and unpredictable results.
Steal Someone's Thunder - This idiom comes from the early 1700s, when an English playwright named John Dennis used a device to imitate the sound of thunder for one of his plays. The play was a flop, but other playwrights started using the device for their own plays to greater success.
Under the Weather - Modern speakers use this to refer to any kind of illness, for sailors it meant seasickness. The original phrase was "under the weather bow," referring to the side of the ship that took the brunt of bad weather. When storms made for choppy water, sailors would head below deck to brace themselves and try to stave off seasickness.
Ride Shotgun - English speakers use this to mean sitting in the passenger seat of a car. The phrase dates back to the early 1900s in the Wild West when the person sitting beside the driver in a coach would often carry a shotgun for protection.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree - In the early 1800s, dogs were commonly used for hunting. When a dog would identify prey that had run up a tree, the dog would bark at it furiously. When the prey jumped to a different tree, the dog would be left at the base of the original tree, confused, barking up at nothing.

Jump on the Bandwagon - The origin of this idiom dates back to the 1848 U.S. Presidential election when a famed circus owner supported the campaign of Whig Party candidate Zachary Taylor by inviting him on his horse-drawn carriage carrying a live orchestra during a parade to advertise his message and meet potential voters. Other members of Taylor's party realized what a good idea this was, and clamored to join him on the bandwagon during future parades.

Six More Body Facts

A human skeleton renews itself completely every 10 years.
By the time a person reaches 70 years old, he or she will have consumed over 12,000 gallons of water.
The body can detect taste in .0015 seconds, which is faster than the blink of an eye.
Every hour, humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin, or about 1.5 pounds every year. By the time a person is 70 years old, they will have lost about 105 pounds of skin.
There are ten times more bacteria cells in your body than human cells.

The brain contains 86 billion nerve cells joined by 100 trillion connections. This is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way.

Happiness Class

Yale's most popular class ever, "The Science of Well-Being," was designed by professor Laurie Santos.  She collected all the psychological science related to happiness and came up with a step-by-step process for boosting your own happiness.
The class has already been taken by more than 225,000 students online. About one in four students at Yale have taken it since it was first offered. Santos designed the course for three reasons: to synthesize what psychologists have learned about making our lives better, to help undergrads overcome stress and unhappiness on campus, and to live a better life herself.
A few exercises include:
Focus on your strengths - Identify your signature strengths and refocus on them each day. Studies show happiness increases and depression decreases when a person uses his or her signature strengths regularly.


Invest in experiences - Going for a walk or traveling to a new place are much better investments in terms of happiness than buying material things. Your stuff loses "happiness value" almost as soon as you have purchased it. Paying for experiences, however, has multiple benefits for happiness, including the anticipation of the experience leads to more happiness and joy. Also, talking about the experience afterward with friends reignites your own happy memories and, sharing these tales with friends tends to boost their happiness, too.

Apr 5, 2019

Happy Friday

Destiny is a decision and so is Happiness.

I always decide to be happy and celebrate a Happy Friday!

Butte vs. Mesa vs. Plateau

A butte is a prominent isolated hill with steep sides and a small, flat top. The word “butte" comes from a French word meaning “small hill." Buttes are taller than they are wide

A mesa is distinguished from the butte by its much larger size. Buttes usually have a surface area of less than 10,000 square feet. Mesas can have as much as four square miles of surface area. Mesas are wider than they are tall.

Many plateaus form as magma deep inside the earth pushes toward the surface, but fails to break through the crust. Instead, the magma lifts up the large, flat, impenetrable rock above it.

Butte: a small isolated piece of highland.
Mesa: a large isolated piece of highland.
Plateau: a large area of highlands, not necessarily isolated (often delimited in just one side by a cliff).

Vegan Vegetarian Study

According to a poll of 11,000 Americans, 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans return to eating meat.

Eggplants are Berries

In botany, a berry is a fleshy fruit without a stone produced from a single flower containing one ovary. Berries so defined include grapes, currants, and tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, eggplants, and bananas, but exclude certain fruits commonly called berries, such as strawberries and raspberries.


By this definition, oranges, kumquats, blueberries, and even tomatoes can be considered part of the berry family. The term berry refers generically to any small, edible fruit with multiple seeds. Aggregate fruits, such as the blackberry, the raspberry, and the boysenberry, which develop from several ovaries are berries in this sense, but not in the botanical sense.

Spacesuit Facts

According to NASA:
A spacesuit is also known as Extravehicular Mobility Unit.
Spacesuits provide protection from extreme temperature to providing a pressurized environment for astronaut body.
Spacesuits are puncture proof.
A spacesuit weighs approximately 280 pounds on the ground - without the astronaut in it. In the micro-gravity environment of space, a spacesuit weighs nothing.

They have an internal pouch attached to contain urine. They have a separate pouch for drinking water.

Shuttle spacesuit materials include ortho-fabric, aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, nylon/spandex, stainless steel, and high-strength composite materials.
Putting on a spacesuit takes 45 minutes, including the time it takes to put on the special undergarments that help keep astronauts cool. After putting on the spacesuit, to adapt to the lower pressure maintained in the suit, the astronaut must spend a little more than an hour breathing pure oxygen before going outside the pressurized module.
The reason that spacesuits are white is because white reflects heat in space the same as it does on earth. Temperatures in direct sunlight in space can be more than 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has a liquid cooling and ventilation system inside the spacesuit.
No difference exists in a male's or female's suit, other than size.
Spacesuits are designed to be made of many interchangeable parts, to accommodate the large number of astronauts with widely varying body sizes.

Body measurements of each astronaut are taken, then the measurements are plotted against the size ranges available for each spacesuit component.

Did You Know

JAB Holding, a German private conglomerate, headquartered in Luxembourg owns Bruegger's Bagels, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, Clearasil, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, 7Up, Sunkist, Au Bon Pain, Calgon, Keurig Green Mountain, Mighty Leaf Tea, and Bally, among others.

Wordology, Red Herring

The actual origin of the figurative sense of the phrase can be traced back to the early 1800s. Around this time, English journalist William Cobbett wrote a presumably fictional story about how he had used red herring as a boy to throw hounds off the scent of a hare.

An extended version of this story was printed in 1833, and the idiom spread from there. Although many people are more familiar with red herrings in pop culture, they also crop up in political spheres and debates of all kinds. Robert J. Gula, the author of Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language, defines a red herring as "a detail or remark inserted into a discussion, either intentionally or unintentionally, that sidetracks the discussion."

The goal is to distract the listener or opponent from the original topic and it is considered a type of flawed reasoning or, more fancifully, a logical fallacy.

Aspirin and Heart Attacks

Taking an low-dose aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke is no longer recommended for most older adults, according to guidelines released a few weeks ago. Doctors said for decades that a daily 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin could prevent cardiovascular problems, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association just reversed that idea.

This change comes after a large clinical trial found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people, and actually suggested the pills could be linked to major hemorrhages. The recommendations say low-dose aspirin should not be given to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease on a routine basis to adults older than 70 or any adult with an increased risk of bleeding.

“Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease,” Roger Blumenthal, co-chair of the new guidelines said in a statement. "It’s much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin."


Only select people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease and low risk of bleeding might continue using the pain killer as a preventative, as told by their doctor, Blumenthal said. I you are taking one, consult your doctor before quitting.

Seven More Body Facts

In an adult human, 25% of bones are in the feet.
The gluteus maximus in the buttocks is the body’s largest muscle.
A human’s ears and nose never stop growing.
A human’s little finger contributes over fifty percent of the hand’s strength.
If a human being’s DNA were uncoiled, it would stretch 10 billion miles, from Earth to Pluto and back.
There are more than 100,000 miles of blood vessels in your body.

For an adult human, taking one step uses up to 200 muscles. I am already tired just thinking about it.

Mar 29, 2019

Happy Friday

A person wrapped up in happiness makes a wonderful gift.

I love to get wrapped up in happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Six Body Facts

The lining in a person's stomach is replaced every 4 to 5 days to prevent it from digesting itself.
An adult human small intestine is about 18 to 23 feet long, which is about four times as long as an adult is tall.
Semen normally contains 1-8 billion sperm per fluid ounce (140-300 million sperm per millimeter).
Feet have about 500,000 sweat glands and can produce about a pint of sweat a day.
A human sneeze can travel about 100 mph or more.
The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime, enough to fill two swimming pools.

More Cancer Causing Myths Debunked

Dental fillings from years ago likely have mercury in them, but they also have other metals, including silver, tin, and copper. According to the American Dental Association, the combination of these metals makes the fillings, known as dental amalgams, completely safe. "It's important to know that when combined with the other metals, it forms a safe, stable material," the ADA says.  Also the type of mercury used in the fillings is not the same type (methylmercury) that has been shown to cause health problems.
Sugar may do some bad things to your body, but does not cause cancer. This is true despite research suggesting that cancer cells consume more glucose (blood sugar) than normal cells. You actually need some sugar in your diet, because it is necessary for your immune system, according to Anton Bilchik, MD, chief of medicine and gastrointestinal research at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John's Health Center.
Lucky Charms has an interesting list of ingredients, including trisodium phosphate. It is found in many food items and it is also in cleaning products and paint thinners. TSP is a leavening agent similar to baking soda (also in foods and cleaning products). The amounts in Lucky Charms (and other foods) are so tiny that there is no cancer threat.
You may have heard that candy canes contain the scary-sounding titanium dioxide, but that is just a pigment that turns candy canes (as well as sunblock and toothpaste) brilliant white. Titanium dioxide is not a known carcinogen.

Parents everywhere panicked when the news that Nutella could cause cancer came out. Nutella does contain palm oil which, when heated above around 400 degrees F, can be cancerous. The makers of Nutella say they never get their product that hot.

Six Strange US Laws

Any person who attempts to pass off margarine, oleo, or oleomargarine as real butter is guilty of a simple misdemeanor in the state of Iowa, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $625 fine.

In Alaska, it is illegal to give alcohol to a moose.

In Louisiana it is illegal to steal someone’s crawfish. Crawfish theft in excess of $1,500 can land the offender up to ten years in prison or a $3,000 fine.

In Minnesota, since 1971, it is considered a misdemeanor to operate, run, or participate in any activity where a pig is oiled up and released with the object of being recaptured.

In Nevada, it is illegal to use an x-ray device to determine someone’s shoe size.

In New York City, “altered” bagels (sliced, toasted, or served with cream cheese, etc.) carry an eight cent sales tax. Uncut bagels are tax exempt.

Smart vs. Connected

It is easy to use the terms smart and connected interchangeably, but the truth is they are not exactly the same thing.
Connected devices have ports, antennae, and protocols that facilitate communication between a product and its operating environment. A connected device can share data directly with other devices or over a network. The data transmission can be one way or two way.  Some wireless home speakers are solely connected, allowing you to play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth connection.

A smart device typically has an operating system that will let you connect with other information services, entertainment services or apps. For example a smart phone allows you to browse the internet and make calls, but it also lets you connect to apps. Smart thermostats are intelligent because they can make calculated decisions based on other system components, such as the owner's previous room temperature adjustments, built-in algorithms, and sensors.

Real Bacon Bombs

During World War II, handing over cooking fat to the government was doing your patriotic duty. The American Fat Salvage Committee was created to urge housewives to save all the excess fat rendered from cooking and donate it to the army to produce explosives.
Fats are used to make glycerin, and glycerin is used to make things blow up. Homemakers were asked to give their bacon grease to the local butcher, who turned it into the government, because it was needed for the production of glycerin.
One pound of waste fat equaled 1/10 of a pound of glycerin.
1/10 pound of glycerin equaled 1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled 1/3 pound of gunpowder.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled ½ pound of dynamite.


“A skillet of bacon grease is a little munitions factory,” announced a booming voice in a Disney propaganda cartoon. “Every year two billion pounds of waste kitchen fats are thrown away, enough glycerin for ten billion rapid-fire cannon shells. Making a roast? Don’t throw out those lovely puddles of grease drippings, save them for our boys on the front line." Housewives were directed to strain their leftover fats and store them in a wide-mouth can. Once a pound or more was collected, the fat was to be handed over to any one of 250,000 participating butchers and retail meat dealers or 4,000 frozen food plants who would then turn the fat over to the army. The donor received four cents a pound for the fat.

Peanut Butter and Alzheimer's

Came across this interesting information about a test for Alzheimer's. The test involves a jar of peanut butter and a ruler, and is performed under each nostril. If the left nostril is significantly worse at detecting the smell of peanut butter-than the right one, then it may be a sign of Alzheimer's. The olfactory cortex (part of the brain that processes smell) is the first area of the brain to deteriorate in Alzheimer's.


Peanut butter is a smell that is not typically lost as people age.

Cannabis, Hemp vs. Marijuana

One type of cannabis is high in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, and low in the anti-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD. This type is popularly known as marijuana. Another type of cannabis is high in CBD and low in THC. Variants of this kind are called industrial hemp. They are both from the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa L. They both have been bred for various characteristics and now also look different from each other. They both can be male or female or both, (in monoecious species).

During 1971, Canadian research scientist Ernest Small published a book The Species Problem in Cannabis. Although Small recognized there was not a natural point where the cannabinoid content could be used to differentiate hemp and marijuana, he drew a random number regarding different Cannabis varieties. From then on, his 0.3% THC became the magic number that separated hemp and marijuana.
Dana Larsen is one of Canada’s most respected and well-known advocates for cannabis reform. In his book, Cannabis in Canada: An Illustrated History, Larsen explores this magic number separating hemp and marijuana. “Small’s arbitrary 0.3 percent THC limit has become standard around the world as the official limit for legal hemp,” writes Larsen. “Small clearly noted that among the hundreds of strains he experimented with, ‘plants cultivated for fibre [sic], oil and birdseed frequently had moderate or high amounts of THC’… thus the worldwide 0.3 percent THC standard divider between marijuana and hemp is not based on which strains have the most agricultural benefit, nor is it based on an analysis of the THC level required for psychoactivity. It is based on an arbitrary decision of a Canadian scientist growing cannabis in Ottawa.”

Incidentally, hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range. Also regular consumption or use of commercially made hemp foods (such as seeds, cooking oil, cereals, milk, granola) or hemp products (lotions, shampoos, lip balms, etc.) will not show a positive result for THC on a drug test.

Mar 15, 2019

Happy Friday

When you look in the mirror, pretend you are a coloring book and paint a great big smile on your face.

I always like to paint on a smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy St. Patrick's Day March 17

Here are a few facts and a few myths debunked.
Although Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was actually born in Roman-occupied Britain in the fourth century to wealthy parents. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, but he changed it to Patricius after becoming a priest.

The young Maewyn was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish raiders who robbed his family home when he was only 16 years old.

St. Patrick did convert 
many pagans to Christianity, but the story of his driving all the snakes out of Ireland during 
his 40-day fast on a hilltop is not true. ­ The legend of the snakes is likely a metaphor for St. Patrick’s having driven evil out of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on the anniversary of Patrick’s death on March 17 in the fifth century. His followers in Ireland began to celebrate his feast day on that day during the ninth and tenth centuries, even though he was never formally canonized by a pope.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all around the world.

Ireland’s prime minister gives the U.S. president an Irish cut-glass bowl filled with shamrocks, the three-leafed sprig that is one of the state’s emblems. The tradition dates back to 1952, when the first Irish ambassador to America, John 
Joseph Hearne, reportedly dropped off a 
box of shamrocks for Harry Truman

Members of the Order of St. Patrick actually used blue as their symbolic color. The shade: St. Patrick’s blue.

Leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day really are not related, aside from the fact that they are both Irish. Leprechauns didn’t become a staple of Irish literature until many years after St. Patrick’s famed journey through Ireland. There are no female leprechauns.


Incidentally, until 1961, there were laws in Ireland that banned bars to be open on March 17. Since the holiday falls during the period of Lent in the heavily Catholic country, the idea of binge drinking seemed a bit immoral. Also, Éirinn go Brách, means roughly "Ireland Forever."

Spring is Here

March 20 is the first day of Spring in the US. During early spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt relative to the Sun, and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name.

Four Factoids

Van Gogh did not actually cut off his ear. He cut off a small part of his lobe in a fight with Paul Gauguin.

Over 50% of bottled water is tap water, so saying bottled water is better is less than half correct.

About 60% of beef raised in the US is Angus breed, so saying this place has Angus beef is just for advertising not quality.

Poison Ivy is not contagious. You cannot get it from someone who has it, you need to come in contact with the plant or sap from the plant.

Laughing and Calories

A study was commissioned by the comedy channel GO LD (Go On Laugh Daily) in Great Britain. Researchers, led by Helen Pilcher, PhD, looked into the number of calories burned by intense laughing and compared it to the calorie burn of other daily activities (strength training, running, and vacuuming).


They found that intense laughter by itself is its own workout. An hour of it can benefit you as much as a half hour of hitting it hard at the gym. Laughing burns calories, but it can also boost total energy expenditure by up to 20 percent. One hour of laughter burns up to 120 calories, about the same as 18 to 27 minutes of weight training, 15 to 20 minutes of walking, or 40 minutes’ vacuuming (unless you have a Roomba).

Skipping Breakfast

In a new study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers report that breakfast may have no impact on weight loss at all. In the study, a team of researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, analyzed 13 randomized controlled trials during the past 28 years. Of the trials, seven examined the effect of eating breakfast on weight change, and ten examined the effect on energy intake.

One of the arguments against skipping breakfast, weight-loss experts say, is that you will feel hungrier throughout the day and be more likely to overeat. The new study’s first finding was that people do not feel hungrier after skipping breakfast and do not overeat the rest of the day. The researchers’ second finding was that eating breakfast does not prevent overeating later in the day. The researchers also found that breakfast skippers weighed about a pound less on average compared to people who ate breakfast.

Six Inventions from NASA

Everyone’s famous handheld vacuum comes courtesy of NASA after the agency partnered with Black & Decker to build battery-operated tools for collecting samples from the moon’s surfaces during exploration. The device was so good at collecting samples that it was quickly adopted for use in hospitals, industry, and your home.
Transcend Brac-kets come from NASA and are a high technology orthodontic innovation in which individual translucent brackets, especially designed for each tooth, work in concert with a thin metal connecting wire to gradually reposition teeth, mouth and jaws into proper alignment. Intended to meet a need for an orthodontic appliance that was aesthetically appealing yet as clinically effective as plastic or metal braces, Transcend Brack-ets are made of a very hard, shatter-resistant alumina with high strength and maximum translucency. The translucency allows light to pass through the ceramic material to the tooth, thereby causing the bracket to appear tooth-colored. The brackets do not stain, discolor, deform or bend.
In an effort to lighten astronauts’ suits and equipment, NASA developed suits with blow rubber molding. Not only did the material shave the 30-pound suits by a third, but the fireproof material also became the cushioning gel used in the soles of athletic sneakers.
Speedo’s Aqualab Speedo now considerd the most efficient swimsuit yet: the LZR Racer was invented by NASA.
Martek, a bioscience company, partnered with NASA to develop a nutritional supplement to sustain astronauts during long-duration space flights. Coincidentally, the supplement was made, in part, of microalgae high in DHA and ARA, two fatty acids important for infant development. When the partnership was over, Martek made a spin-off of the supplement, now found in nearly 95 percent of infant formula.


Radiant barrier technology was developed by NASA over 40 years ago to normalize temperatures aboard spacecraft and stations, but it was not until 2004 that it found a use in homes. The barrier can be applied to increase the efficiency of home insulation, further reducing heating and cooling bills.

Food Myth

To minimize fat and calories, always remove the skin before cooking chicken. Not true - the better way is to bake, broil, grill, or roast poultry with the skin intact to preserve its natural juices. Cook with the skin on and then remove before serving if you prefer.

What's in a Name, Virgin

According to the company, Virgin was named to reflect the experience Richard Branson and associates had when starting the company. It was none, thus virgins.

Cell Phone Carrier Quality

RootMetrics gathered data on the four major cell phone providers—Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile to see which one had the best overall performance. They tested call, data, and text reliability in all 50 states and across 125 of the most populated metropolitan markets. Sprint consistently fell behind the other carriers in all metrics. Verizon came out on top, T-Mobile took second place, and AT&T came in third.

In a similar study, J.D. Power collected data from over 30,000 customers on call quality, data quality, and texting for the major carriers in six regions. Sprint came in last in all of the regions except for the Southeast, where it tied for last with AT&T.

International Happiness Day

Wednesday March 20 is International Happiness Day. March 20 is the International Day of Happiness and this year's theme is Happier Together, focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us. Everyone wants to be happy - and life is happier when we are together.

Mar 8, 2019

Happy Friday

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." ~Leo Tolstoy

You do not need to change the world to be happy, especially on a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

This weekend, 2am Sunday, March 10 is the time we in the US again ignore nature and wield our clock hour hands up and set them forward by an hour. The majority of other countries that also observe the futile effort to control time wait until March 31 this year.

Less than 40% of countries in the world are still trying trying to catch sunshine in a bottle and save it until the end of the day in this semi-annual ritualistic snub of nature. The smart 60% of countries have said, Meh.

Detroit Celebrates 313 Day

March 13 is the day Detroit celebrates its zip code and celebrates the city with parties and fun. If you are there on that day, tip one for me. Another excuse to have some fun and have some Detroit style pizza at Buddy's, or a Coney Island hot dog, or some great ham from Ham Heaven or Liles. If you are at home, have some pop and chips (Vernor's soda and Better Made Potato chips).

Funny Words

Professor Chris Westbury's newest psychology study is about farts. It is also about snots, chortles, wienies, heinies and bozos; things that are wriggly, jiggly, flappy, and slaphappy. That is because Westbury studies funny words and, more specifically, what makes some words funny and others not.

"As schoolboys of a certain age rediscover repeatedly, there is a sense in which simply uttering the word fart is a one-word joke," Westbury and Geoff Hollis, both professors at the University of Alberta in Canada, wrote in a study published Oct. 18 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General [Does It Fart? 10 Fascinating Facts About Animal Toots].

Westbury wondered, makes the word "fart" so funny? He already knew from a 2016 study he co-authored that part of a word's funniness could be explained by the popular theory of humor known as incongruity theory; the idea that something becomes funnier the more it subverts your expectations. In that study, students rated the funniness of several thousand meaningless, computer-generated words, or nonwords. The nonwords with surprising letter combinations that looked least like known English words, such as "snunkoople," "hablump" and "jumemo" were consistently rated funniest.

Dirty-sounding nonwords like "whong," "dongl," and "focky" also performed very well, suggesting that a word's perceived connotation played a role in humor, even for words that had no real meaning.


In their new study, Westbury and Hollis delved further into the relationship between word sounds, meanings and humor, this time, they started with a list of 4,997 common words previously compiled by a team of psychologists at the University of Warwick in the U.K. and scored with funniness ratings by a panel of 800 online participants. The Warwick psychologists found that words like "booty," "tinkle" and "nitwit" were consistently ranked as being very funny, while words like "pain," "torture" and "deathbed" were ranked as being decidedly unfunny.

They categorized words based on 20 different factors, including how long the word itself was, how positive or negative the word's meaning was, how common each letter or combination of letters was in English, and whether the word contained a crude or profane-sounding string of characters within it.

With these factors and the pre-existing humor scores for the words in the entire list, the researchers devised several different equations that could, theoretically, predict the humorousness of any given word. They tested two of their humor equations on a list of more than 45,000 words, then ranked the results in their new paper. One algorithm decided the top five funniest words on the list were:

1. Upchuck

2. Bubby

3. Boff

4. Wriggly

5. Yaps

The second equation, which was written with the help of a special data-modeling program Hollis and Westbury co-created in 2006, predicted the funniest words were:

1. Slobbering

2. Puking

3. Fuzz

4. Floozy

5. Cackling

The perfect funny word, the authors concluded, is "a short, infrequent word composed of uncommon letters," and has a meaning that is "human and insulting, profane, diminutive and/or related to good times."

MiFi vs. WiFi vs. Mobile Hotspot

MiFi is actually a brand name used for a portable broadband device that allows multiple end users and mobile devices to share a 3G or 4G mobile broadband internet connection and create an ad hoc network (mobile hotspot). Novatel Wireless owns a registered trademark on the “MiFi” brand name in many countries, but the term is used generically, like Kleenex. It is a bit expensive, but you can think of it as carrying around an internet connection in your pocket. Many think these will be used to connect non-5G devices to the coming 5G network.

A MiFi box is great to have if you are in an area with no internet access. Most devices are about two by four inches. Depending on carrier, there may be an additional monthly fee to your phone bill. Some devices have their own connection that you can pay for by the day. MiFi boxes prices range from about thirty to a few hundred US dollars onetime cost.

WiFi is a wireless networking standard that various devices, such as smartphones, TVs, computers, etc., use to communicate with each other or the internet without actual wires connecting them. Smart TVs use WiFi to connect to the internet to provide streaming, like Netflix, Amazon Video, and more.
A mobile hotspot is created by a portable device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or MiFi box that provide wireless or Ethernet internet access for many devices including laptops, other smartphones, computers, etc. One way to think of it is as a compact, battery powered WiFi station that taps into cellular networks like a smartphone does and then wirelessly shares its data connection with other WiFi enabled devices.
Mobile hotspots eliminate the worry of conducting business or personal work over an unsecured public Wi-Fi connection, and mobile hotspots often have faster connection speeds than public Wi-Fi. I have a friend who uses his phone to create a hotspot so he can watch streaming TV on his laptop while riding (not driving) in his car.

Bottom line, MiFi and Hotspot are devices with a wireless connection that other devices can connect to using WiFi. WiFi is a standard of communication.