Oct 26, 2019

Happy Friday

Laughter is the sharpest weapon in the arsenal.

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

Yuca vs. Yucca

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

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

Wordology, Mukbang

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

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

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

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

Movie Trailer Colors

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

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

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

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

Scary Thought

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

Magnetic Particle Imaging

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

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

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

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

Irish Rovers

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

More Satellites

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

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

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

Happy Friday

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

Spam Amazon Invoice

There is another new spam. I received two identical invoices from what appeared to be Amazon with a price I did not recognize (clue 1). They were sent about half hour apart to an email that I do not use for Amazon (clue 2). There was no item description (clue3 ). It was from ar2-amazon@uni-bielefeld.de, weird email (clue 4). Tried to get me to open up PDF invoice (clue 5). The major number of spams ask to open a PDF, or other attachment. Always bad, as that is where they can take over your computer.
Checked Amazon and indeed, no items with that charge (clue 6).

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

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

Interesting Movie Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kobe vs. Wagyu

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

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

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

BMI Facts

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

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

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

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

English Phrase Origins

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

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

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

8K TV Price Drops

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

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

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

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

Oct 11, 2019

Happy Friday

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

Champagne, vs. Prosecco

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

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

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

New Logo NextGen TV

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

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

Screen Casting vs. Mirroring

Screen Casting vs. Mirroring - Screen Mirroring and Screen Casting are often used interchangeably, but they are different.
With Screen Mirroring, everything you see on your smartphone, including streaming services, apps, videos, web pages, and other content on your TV. In addition to content, the smartphone's menu bars and status icons appear on your TV.
Casting involves showing just the chosen content shows on to your TV screen, no phone menu bars or status icons. If a smartphone app is compatible with casting, such as YouTube or Netflix, the Cast Logo

will appear near the top of your smartphone screen of the app you want to cast.

As content plays, you can perform other tasks on your phone at the same time including finding other content to cast, make a phone call, or turn the phone off. The casted content will play on the TV until you change to another app, channel, or setting on the TV.

Alaska Facts

Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined at about 34,000 miles (54,563 km). Alaska has more inland water than any other state (20,171 square miles). It is the only state to have coastlines on three different seas: the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Bering Sea. New Hampshire has the shortest at 131 mi (211 km)

Opt Out Paper Mail

To reduce ads and mailers, create an account with the Direct Marketing Association You can cancel mailings from a few thousand organizations, individually or in bulk, as well as to stop many catalogs, promotional flyers, donation requests, and even “Current Resident” junk mail. For two dollars, you get a 10 year stoppage.

Catalog Choice is a similar option, and free, but it covers only catalogs, and you have to cancel mail from each brand individually. If your mailbox is regularly stuffed with coupons, the ubiquitous coupon slinger Valpak has its own opt-out form, and RetailMeNot, which sends mailers from many big brands, lets you cancel online. (If you actually like some coupons, remember this option stops all mailings.)

New Ted Meat Research

Scientists have found there is little evidence that eating red meat causes health problems. Ian Johnson, a nutritional expert at the UK’s Quadram Institute, welcomed the new findings, telling Reuters, “This study will, I hope, help to eliminate the incorrect impression… that some meat products are as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke, and to discourage dramatic media headlines claiming that ‘bacon is killing us’.”
The research, led by Dalhousie University and McMaster University in Canada, counters official guidance from the World Health Organization, which in 2015 labelled meat a carcinogenic.
The new paper was based on the research of an international team of specialists and published on this month in Annals of Internal Medicine. Bradley Johnston, associate professor at Dalhousie University, said, “Based on the research, we cannot say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.”
The study’s author elaborated, “From 12 randomized controlled trials enrolling about 54,000 individuals, we did not find a statistically significant or an important association in the risk of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes for those that consumed less red or processed meat."
"In the meantime, the best we can do is understand the parameters of the evidence that we do have. While the precise downsides of bacon, for example, are unclear and possibly nonexistent, what is apparent is that we don’t really have enough evidence to consider it a bad food."

Some scientists have been pushing to stop meat consumption on the grounds that it is bad for one’s health, others have led with the angle that it must be reduced because of the so-called ‘climate emergency’.

Happy Friday

Happiness is infectious and incalculable.

I am overcome with happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Hidden Internet

Most people are not aware that undersea cables carry over 99% of the internet and other electronic traffic between continents, with the small remainder provided by satellites.

The first transcontinental undersea cable was completed in 1858 to deliver telegraph messages between the US and England. As of 2019, there are over 400 active undersea fiber cables in place that stretch over 745,000 miles (1,198,961km). Cables are laid down using specially-modified ships that carry the submarine cable on board and slowly lay it out on the seabed. Undersea cables are designed for a 25-year life, and so cables are regularly being retired and replaced.
These cables are owned by countries, cable operators, and companies, such as Google, Facebook, etc. Huawei Marine Networks Co., majority owned by the Chinese telecom giant, recently completed a 3,750-mile cable between Brazil and Cameroon. It also recently started work on a 7,500-mile cable connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa in addition to finishing up links across the Gulf of California in Mexico.
There is an average of about 25 undersea fiber cuts per year, caused by earthquakes, underwater mudslides, ship anchors, and even a few from sharks. Repairs are made by ships that pull the cut ends of the fiber to the surface and splice them back together.

Incidentally, as an indicator of speed, 4.8 million HD movies could stream at the same time in high-definition through one strand, in one direction, of the 4,104 mile (6,600km) Marea cable from Spain to the United States. The cable is composed of an eight-pairs fiber-optic thread bundle, a bit larger than the size of a garden hose.

Prostate Facts

I was surprised to read researchers found that seventy five percent of men over fifty were not able to identify the prostate’s main function correctly. That is a bit troubling as they are group likely to have problems.

About one man in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one in thirty nine will die of this disease. About 80% of men who reach age eighty have cancer cells in their prostate. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in US men, behind skin cancer.

The prostate is about the size of a ping pong ball, weighs about an ounce, and is located between the base of the penis and the rectum. The gland is responsible for supplying seminal fluid that mixes with sperm, helping it survive and travel from the testes.

Just over one-third of respondents were able to correctly identify associated disorders, such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED), and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), and erectile dysfunction (ED) are separate problems, but curable. BPH causes problems in the bathroom and ED in the bedroom. A range of treatments can relieve enlarged prostate symptoms, such as medications, minimally-invasive office procedures, and surgery.

Prostate cancer comes in many varieties and most are slow growing and non-life threatening. However, there are some that escape the prostate and move to other parts of the body. These are called metastatic prostate cancer and can grow in organs, bones, lymph nodes, etc.

The PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. It measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. A score of less than 4 is considered a safe level, 4 to 10 is suspicious, and above that is considered dangerous. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate. The test became very popular and led to more aggressive treatment than necessary, so lately doctors are less apt to prescribe the test for men over 70, because many types of prostate cancer are slow growing. The problem is that some are fast growing and if not caught, could be fatal. Another test is the uncomfortable rectal finger test to find abnormalities on the prostate surface.

Bottom line is that it is good to be tested and not to fear the word cancer when it comes to prostate. Ninety two percent of men who have caught it early survive and die of other causes, not because of the cancer.

Canadian Actors

Here are a few you might not have known are Canadian: Pamela Anderson, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Tommy Chong, Michael J. Fox, Ryan Gosling, Lorne Green, Mathew Perry, Keanu Reeves (by naturalization), Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogan, William Shatner, and Martin Short.

Incidentally Bruce Willis was born in Germany as was Martin Lawrence,  Joaquin Phoenix born in Puerto Rico, Freddie Mercury born Tanzania, Lou Diamond Phillips born Philippines, Mel Gibson born in New York, and Charlize Theron in South Africa.