Sep 13, 2019

Happy Friday

A smile is the window to your soul.
I always open the blinds to let the light shine in, especially on a Happy Friday!

Burger Sandwich

A burger is not called a sandwich because it is not sandwich. A sandwich is made by putting a filling between two slices of cut bread. Sandwiches can be hot or cold.
Only bread slices can make a sandwich, anything placed in a bun, roll, sub, cob, or whatever not a sandwich. A patty melt is a sandwich that has a burger between two slices of, usually Rye bread.

Palindrome Dates

This is the last full week of palindrome dates in this century. However, there are still plenty of single palindrome days to celebrate. If you are willing to add a zero to the beginning of the date, you can look forward to February 11, 2020 (02-11-20) and February 22, 2020 (02-22-20).
9-13-19 (91319)
9-14-19 (91419)
9-15-19 (91519)
9-16-19 (91619)
9-17-19 (91719)
9-18-19 (91819)
9-19-19 (91919)
A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward.

Steering Controls Trivia

In dual-control airplanes, the captain always sits on the left side of the plane. In helicopters, the captain sits on the right side.
Many early American motorized vehicles placed the steering wheel on the right hand side of the car, even though America used the keep-right driving rule.  This practice was ended largely due to Henry Ford. He preferred the left side steering wheel.  Ford cars adopted the left hand side steering wheel and, due to their popularity squashed right hand steering wheel cars in America.

Typing Emojis Tip

If you are a Windows user, there is a quick keyboard shortcut to add emojis to whatever you are typing. Hold down the Windows-key and tap the period (.) key. A new box will pop up from which you can select an emoji. Tap on one to add it to your document, email, etc. You can scroll down for more to use. The bottom row allows you to change categories, such as objects, people, food, etc.
After you open the emoji box with Windows-key/Period, you start typing and the box will search for a match.

Overpaying for Fast Broadband

Recently, 53 reporters worked with Stanford and another major University to develop custom software and high end routers to monitor speed at the router level as opposed to most speed tests that are done at the device level (such as your TV or PC).

They found that even trying to stream video to more than 7 devices at the same time, most people were never able to use more than on average 18 Mbps. Startup times for Netflix and other streaming services were within .6 seconds regardless of if you had a 15 mbps connection or a 500mbps connection. Ironically one of the few ways you are able to fill your full bandwidth is running a speed test. The test sends a large file and tests how long it takes to transmit it.

One of the few times having a super fast connection is useful is if you are downloading really big files, like movies. Most often, we just watch movies and do not download them.

For one or two TVs, 25mbps up and down is good, including Netflix, Prime and any other service. For families with many devices, children playing online games and multiple TVs being used at the same time, 50mbps up and down is more than sufficient. For most people, any speeds past these provide no benefit and are a waste of money.

I and Me

Here is a quick test for using I and me. Take the other person out of the sentence to see if it still makes sense.
"Draw this picture of my husband and me." "Draw this picture of me." Me is correct.

"Hanging out with my girlfriend and I." "Hanging out with I." It does not make sense, so I is incorrect.

Optimists May Live Longer

According to a US study, optimists are more likely to live longer than those who have a more negative approach to life. The theory is that optimists may find it easier to control emotions and so be protected from the effects of stress.

A recent study spanning thousands of people and three decades, confirmed optimists live longer. Optimistic people live as much as 15% longer than pessimists. Scientists combined data from two large, long-term studies: one including 69,744 women and another of 1,429 men, all of whom completed questionnaires that assessed their feelings about the future. After controlling for health conditions, behaviors, like diet and exercise and other demographic information, the scientists showed that the most optimistic women (top 25%) lived an average of 14.9% longer than their more pessimistic peers.
For the men, the most optimistic of the bunch lived 10.9% longer than their peers, on average. Results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The most optimistic women were also 1.5 times more likely to reach 85 years old than the least optimistic women, whereas the most optimistic men were 1.7 times more likely to make it to that age.

Prof Bruce Hood, chair of developmental psychology in society at the University of Bristol runs a course called "the science of happiness". He said the study supported existing evidence of the benefits of positive thinking. He added: "I think that one causal mechanism could be that optimists cope better with stress, and this could be by avoiding rumination about negative life events.

Sep 6, 2019

Happy Friday

Happiness is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of what you already have.

I am always fulfilled, especially on a Happy Friday!

Conception Day, Russia

September 12 is Conception Day, also called Procreation Day in Russia and couples get the day off specifically to have sex. Couples who “give birth to a patriot” during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

Origin of Cardboard Box

Few inventions have blended as seamlessly into our daily living routines as the humble cardboard box. During the 1st and 2nd century, the Han Dynasty of China was pioneering the use of paper. During the same era, sheets of bark from the Mulberry tree were used to wrap and protect food, one of the earliest examples of a sturdy, wood-based product being re-purposed for packaging.
The earliest form of the cardboard box as we know it today did not appear until the 1817 German board game The Game of Besieging. Throughout the 19th century, companies began using the boxes as a means of storage and transport for cereals and even for moth eggs used by silk manufacturers.
A pleat was needed in order to turn these carriers into something more durable. During 1856, top hat peddlers Edward Allen and Edward Healey used a stiffer paper made with a fluted sheet in the middle of two layers to provide stability and warmth to the lining. It was a precursor to corrugated cardboard.
The breakthrough came during 1879, when Robert Gair, owner of a Brooklyn paper factory, figured out he could both score a single sheet of cardboard and then have his printing press cut it at the same time, eliminating hand-cutting.
Gair sold consumer product companies on this handy new form of storage, eventually receiving a 2-million-piece order from Nabisco. Snack foods could now travel without the danger of being crushed, and soon the cardboard box was migrating from kitchen cupboards to anywhere a cheap, effective form of packaging was needed.

During the 1930s, the Finnish government adopted the boxes as part of a take-home maternity package for new mothers who may not have been able to afford cribs. Babies took their first naps in the mattress-lined box.

Blog Visitors

An interesting change this past month as the top twelve countries reading my blog were, in order: United States, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and South Africa. Welcome to my new BFFs. Am delighted by the diversity of readers.

More Phone Scams

Scammers are offering “free” genetic tests and claiming Medicare will cover it, so they can get your Medicare Number and use it to commit fraud and identity theft. They are targeting people through telemarketing calls, health fairs, and even knocking on doors.
Only a doctor you know and trust should order and approve any requests for genetic testing. If Medicare is billed for a test or screening that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by your doctor, the claim could be denied. That means you could be responsible for the entire cost of the test, which could be thousands of dollars.
To protect yourself, do not share your Medicare Number, Social Security Number, or other personal information with anyone who offers to give you a "free" in-person genetic screening or cheek swab, or a DNA testing kit in the mail. If you get a genetic testing kit in the mail, refuse the delivery or discard unless your doctor ordered it.
 - A scammer will call someone and inform them that due to "suspicious activity," their SSN has been "suspended," and in order to reactivate it, they need to either pay a small fee or "confirm" their SSN by reading it over the phone. During 2017, the Social Security Administration reported that 3,200 people had fallen victim to this scam, for a total cost of $210,000. In 2018, that figure rocketed to 35,000 victims and a total cost of $10 million. During 2019, from February and March alone, over 36,000 people were successfully scammed out of $6.7 million.

  - First a scammer will call your phone, being sure to only ring once, and then hang up. They do this again and again, in the hope that you are so flustered by the volume of missed calls that you do not notice you're about to call a premium-rate toll number based in some far-off country. You then get hit with a variety of charges, none of which you will find out about until your next phone bill, while the scammers walk away with a cut of the proceeds. Caveat Emptor.

World Wide Web Turns Thirty

The World Wide Web turns 30 during 2019. It took 16 years to add the first billion users, six more years to add the second billion and is now adding a billion users every 2.7 years.
During 2014, 26% of users connected to the web using a cellular phone. Today that has grown to 48%.
There are 11 new users on the web every second. The most considerable growth of internet users is in India, which had almost 100 million new internet users during 2018, a 21% increase. That represents 25% of all new internet users in the world for last year.
About 40% of internet users now interface with the web using voice. In China and India, over half of users interface the web with voice.

GlobalWebIndex reports that 92% of Internet users (about 4 billion) now watch video each month. Incidentally, there are an estimated 6 billion people around the world have access to a television.

Live Sports Delays

Have you noticed some sports channels seem to be a bit late? Here is the reason:

Live sports delays - At the game, no delay,
Over the air live 5 to 10 seconds behind real live so network bleep out bad content/language,
Cable/satellite 20 to 40 seconds behind live,
Streaming anywhere between 30 and 100 seconds behind live based on app and how you watch, such as roku fire tv, phone, etc.,

Just enough time to make a sure thing bet. You are welcome.

UPC vs. SKU vs. PLU

Stores use many codes for inventory tracking. Here are a few you might have seen, but not sure how they are used.
A UPC, or Universal Product Code, is the number (usually under the barcode) universally used to identify a certain product. Identical products at different stores will have the same UPC. There are multiple UPCs. UPC10, UPC11, UPC12, and UPC14 are frequently used, with UPC12 being the most popular.
A SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, is the product code used by an individual store. Many SKUs, for simplicity’s sake, were simply their UPCs, but most store-brand items have shorter SKU numbers. If a product’s packaging changes there might be two different UPCs represented by one SKU, because the newer item would eventually replace the older one.

A PLU is a Price (or Product) Look-Up. Some are universal, such as 4011 for bananas and some can be assigned by the store for unique items. Items with a PLU are generally sold by weight, or volume, or quantity. An item sold with a PLU could have 3 different numbers to represent its price, UPC, and the store’s stock keeping unit.

Calzone vs. Stromboli

When I was younger, a pizzeria where I lived advertised its stuffed pizza. It was really, a Calzone, but we were not familiar with that name. The place was wonderful and the "stuffed pizza" gained a loyal following. Another place I lived had a bakery with the best Stromboli and it was on the weekly list of must have dinners. Sadly, miss them both.
One of the major differences between a Calzone and a Stromboli, beside shape is the sauce. In a Stromboli the sauce is baked in and with a Calzone it is served on the side like a dipping sauce.
Calzone origin: Naples, Italy
Tomato Sauce: On the side
How it is made: Baked or fried
Shape: Crescent moon (think of pizza folded in half)

Stromboli origin: Philadelphia, PA
Tomato sauce: Baked in
How it is made: Baked
Shape: Log
My mouth is watering just thinking about both of the pizza treats.

Happy Friday

A smile is the quickest way to get a yes answer without asking a question.

Yes, I always enjoy a Happy Friday!

Burning of Zozobra

On the Friday before Labor Day each year, Santa Fe residents watch as their sadness and gloom go up in flames. Traditionally, burning Zozobra allows gloom and sadness to be dispelled so the fiesta can begin. The 50-foot-tall, white-clad, dreadful faced marionette is mounted high above Fort Marcy Park. His growls turn to agonizing screams as the Fire Spirit dances and throws flames at Zozobra’s feet. He begins to scream violently as he is set on fire and begins to burn. Fireworks burst forth from within the marionette, burning him completely and he crashes to the ground.

The crowd cheers as the monster representing their sorrows explodes before crumpling to the ground in defeat. Setting this massive marionette aflame rids Santa Fe of doom and gloom for another year.

International Bacon Day

Happy Bacon Day! August 31, 2019

I would be remiss if I forgot this wonderful day. It is always celebrated on the Saturday before the US Labor Day Holiday.

For a free peek at some wonderful bacon facts and trivia, try this link to my book 'Bacon Orgazmia' on Amazon

Skin Facts

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It makes up about 16% of your body weight and covers about 1.73 square meters.
The skin is composed of several layers. The very top layer is the epidermis and is the layer of skin you can see. The epidermis is waterproof and serves as a protective wrap for the underlying skin layers and the rest of the body. It contains melanin, which protects against the sun’s harmful rays and also gives skin its color. The epidermis also contains very sensitive cells called touch receptors that give the brain a variety of information about the environment the body is in. It is the layer upon the dermis, the second layer of skin.

The dermis contains hair follicles, sweat glands, oil glands, blood vessels, nerve endings, and a variety of touch receptors. Its primary function is to sustain and support the epidermis by diffusing nutrients to it and replacing the skin cells that are shed off the upper layer.
The bottom layer is the subcutaneous tissue which is composed of fat and connective tissue. The layer of fat acts as an insulator and helps regulate body temperature. It also acts as a cushion to protect underlying tissue from damage when you bump into things. The connective tissue keeps the skin attached to the muscles and tendons underneath.
Our sense of touch is controlled by a huge network of nerve endings and touch receptors in the skin known as the somatosensory system. This system is responsible for all the sensations we feel – cold, hot, smooth, rough, pressure, tickle, itch, pain, vibrations, and more. Within the somatosensory system, there are four main types of receptors: mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, pain receptors, and proprioceptors.
Mechanoreceptors perceive sensations such as pressure, vibrations, and texture.
Thermoreceptors perceive sensations related to the temperature of objects the skin feels.
Pain receptors detect pain or stimuli that can or does cause damage to the skin and other tissues of the body.
Proprioceptors sense the position of the different parts of the body in relation to each other and the surrounding environment.

Your skin regenerates itself about every 28 days and you have an entirely new layer of skin. It naturally sheds dead skin cells every day.

There are millions of bacteria on your skin. These bacteria are harmless, and your skin microbiota can even help your immune cells to fight microbes that can cause diseases.

Cartoon Villain Shape

The villains in cartoons, live action, and animated movies share many of the same characteristics. They often have horns, pointed ears, protruding chins, sharp eyes, pointed wings, V-shaped eyebrows, and devilish goatees.
This is because the facial and body shapes of villains are often drawn or designed to resemble triangles with pointed tips. Filmmakers and animators use triangles for villains, because our faces look triangular when we are angry. People also notice triangular and angry faces faster, because they appear threatening.

For movie directors, threatening and angry means evil. This is something backed by science. In one study, volunteers noticed the angry expressions first when shown the faces of smiling, angry, and neutral people. They also noticed the downward-facing triangles first when shown pictures of four triangles pointing up, down, left, and right.

Death Row

The United States has the 7th highest execution rate in the entire world, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Egypt. Since 1976, 1,500 people have been executed in the United States.
Texas, US has executed the most prisoners. In 2018, the 13 men that the state executed was over half of the total executions in the entire country (25). Last year, Texas had almost double the amount of executions compared to the previous two years, as 7 men were executed in both 2016 and 2017.
Twenty Two juveniles were executed between 1976 and 2005 for crimes that they committed while they were underage. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute juvenile offenders.
As of April 1, 2019, there were 54 women living on death row. Since the death penalty was reinstated during 1976, a total of 16 women have been executed.

Incidentally, Bathsheba Spooner became the first woman to be executed in the United States on July 2, 1778.

LEO and the Internet

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are much smaller and orbit closer to Earth than traditional satellites. The lower orbit dramatically reduces the time lag that usually comes with satellite broadband internet. The purpose of these satellites is to blanket the earth and provide wireless internet service everywhere.
Elon Musk's SpaceX has plans to launch as many as 12,000 satellites as part of its Starlink constellation. Each Starlink satellite weighs about 500 pounds (227 kilograms) and is about the size of an office desk. They will deploy into orbit about 273 miles (440 kilometers) up. After the first successful launch, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Starlink’s formal request to offer broadband service. That service will take a few years to get enough satellites in place for a viable network. Starlink’s ultimate goal is to launch 4,425 satellites by 2024, but it will likely start offering service before then.
Amazon plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit in order to provide internet to “unserved and underserved communities around the world.” Amazon confirmed that Kuiper Systems is one of its projects.
Telesat successfully launched a test LEO satellite in January 2018. Telesat announced during July 2019 that it had partnered with the Government of Canada in a mission to provide affordable high-speed Internet connectivity across rural and remote areas of Canada through the development of Telesat's LEO Satellite Constellation. Blue Origin will launch the next Telesat LEO satellites using its New Glenn rocket, which is currently under construction. Telesat plans to launch 120 LEO satellites by 2021, all with Blue Origin.
OneWeb has an initial 600-satellite constellation currently being built out to provide global satellite Internet broadband services beginning in 2021. The first six satellites of the constellation were launched in February 2019 and plans to launch 900 LEO satellites by the end of 2019 using Virgin Orbit and Blue Origin. OneWeb is considering nearly quadrupling the size of the satellite constellation over time by adding 1,972 additional satellites.
Jeff Bezos’s rocket company, Blue Origin, is not building a satellite network, but is building reusable spacecrafts to launch satellites for a variety of companies. Telesat, the largest satellite internet provider in Canada, is one such company.
Loon, started by Google and now run by parent company Alphabet, is slightly different from the other companies. It is not building a satellite constellation, but it is using similar concepts. Instead of an orbiting network in space, Loon uses weather balloons to float transmitters high in the atmosphere, essentially creating a floating network in the sky.
Facebook, filed a request with the federal government to fly a single experimental satellite in low orbit. It has not committed to deploy a full-fledged network or revealed much about its strategy. Other smaller companies with smaller wallets have also begun to join the race.

All will also require a network of Earth stations for the satellites to communicate with. There is much competition, many dollars to spend, and much work to do before we see the results in our living rooms.