Dec 20, 2019

Happy Friday

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

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

Winter Solstice

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

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

Reindeer Sex

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

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

Slovak Christmas Drink

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

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

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

Ingenious Gift Wrapping Tips

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

Bacteria vs. Germs

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

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

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

Waste Management, San Francisco

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wordology, OMG

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

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

Medical Education Progression

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

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

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

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

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

Doctorate Degrees

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

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

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

What's in a Name, Rubik's Cube

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

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

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

Happy Friday

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

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

Night of Radishes

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

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

Incidentally, Oaxaca is pronounced Wah haw kah.

Eight Ways To Burn Calories

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

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

Laughing for 10 minutes burns between 20 and 40 Calories.

More TV Facts

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

Highlights from the study:

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

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

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

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

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

Fast Food Size Comparisons

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

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

Six School Bus Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free TV Channels

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dec 7, 2019

Happy Friday

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

Wordology, Contronym

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

Happy Birthday WiFi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ketchup Catsup Facts

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

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

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

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


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

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

New Prostate Cancer Test

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

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

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

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

Wordology, Anosognosia

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Hugs

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