May 31, 2019

Happy Friday

It is impossible to fill your heart with happiness, love, and joy. There is always room for more.

Expand your heart by celebrating a Happy Friday!

Save on Streaming

The beauty of cutting the cable habit of by-appointment-TV is that you can cancel non-cable anytime without penalty. A good way of finding alternatives and varying your watching is to sample different services for a week or month.
Once you paid for a month of HBO Now, CBS All Access, or pretty much any other streaming TV service, you are entitled to that full month even after you cancelled. These companies do not do prorated refunds, which is unfortunate if you forget to cancel a free trial, but it is great for avoiding automatic renewal in the first place. With so many new services offering their own exclusive shows, subscribing in one-month increments is a great way to keep your monthly TV bill in check and finding more variety of entertainment.

Cancelling a streaming service is still much easier than shutting off cable or satellite TV, as most providers have direct links or clear instructions on how to stop service without the problem of talking to a person trying to get you to not cancel.

Internet Update

It has been about 30 years since the beginning of the internet. As of April 2019, an estimated 4.4 billion people around the world use the internet. That is about 56% of the world's population, and 81% of the developed world.

Microwave Tips

Before you chop onions, place the whole onion in the microwave for 45 seconds. By heating the onion before cutting it, you help break down the chemicals that cause your tears.
Peeling garlic does not have to be a daunting task. Pop a full bulb in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it, making peeling easier. The cloves will slide right out of their skins with no mess or sticky, smelly garlic juices.
Get every last drop out of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. If a recipe calls for citrus juice, zap the fleshy fruit in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds. Then, slice it in half and squeeze.

Steam all types of vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, asparagus, green beans, and artichoke. You only need some water in a microwave-safe bowl and a microwave-safe plate to cover it.

Wordology, Cataglottism

This means kissing with the tongue, or a French Kiss. Derives from Greek cato (down) and glotta/glossa (tongue). Sure makes it sound much less sexy.

BBC, Bombs, and Perry Como

The BBC banned a song because listeners kept clapping to its lyrics. “Deep in the Heart of Texas” was written by June Hershey and Don Swander. Perry Como recorded the song two days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The song quickly became popular in both the US and the UK. It remained at the top of UK charts for five weeks during 1942.


Listeners often clapped along with Como as he sang. The BBC soon realized this could become a problem, because workers in bomb-making factories might accidentally drop their bombs while clapping. So it banned its broadcasters from playing the song during work hours.

Fixed Phones Fading

Recently saw a funny video on YouTube of teenagers trying to dial a rotary phone. LINK

Made me realize how quickly technology changes. Most of us have abandoned our home phone, the old "land line". The once staple of every home is quickly fading away. In fact, the World Bank estimates that the number of fixed telephone subscriptions in the world fell to just over 13 per 100 people during 2018.

Spray on Skin

Biomedical scientists have 
created a device that sprays stem cells onto wounds, helping them grow a new, healthy layer of skin in as few as four days. Biotech firm Renova­Care recently obtained a patent for the ­SkinGun and has used it to successfully treat dozens of burn patients in trials. While the device still needs FDA approval, it could help eliminate the painful and scarring process of skin grafting.

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 “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.


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:
 Pea protein isolate
 Expeller-pressed canola oil
 Refined coconut oil
  - also 2% or less of:
 Cellulose from bamboo
 Potato starch
 Natural flavor
 Yeast extract
 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.