Jul 11, 2020

Happy Friday

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." ~Mother Teresa
Always try to make people happier, especially on a Happy Friday!

National French Fry Day, July 13, 2020

During 1802 Thomas Jefferson served "potatoes served in the French manner" at a White House dinner. Jefferson originally knew them as pommes de terre frites à cru en petites tranches (potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings). Incidentally, the average American eats 29 pounds of French fries a year

Chewing the Fat

Before ships were equipped with refrigerators, salted beef, which was cheap, would keep well, and was standard fare for men at sea. One piece of the jerky could often be chewed for hours. Now, the phrase means to have an informal chat with someone, something the sailors likely did while “chewing the fat.”


Laughter does have positive psychological, physiological, and immunological impacts on our health. The term for the study of laughter and laughing and the examination of its effects on the human body is “gelotology” — from the Greek gelos, meaning  “laughter.”

In their study “Humor and Laughter May Influence Health” in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Mary Payne Bennett and Cecile A. Lengacher report that a sense of humor influences psychological and physiological well-being. Among their findings:

Laughter leads to increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption, similar to aerobic exercise. After intense laughter, body muscles relax.
Like other strong emotions, humor seems to activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which shows an increase in such hormones as urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine, but blood pressure remains stable. (Sad emotional stimulus results in higher blood pressure.)
Exposure to a humorous stimulus decreased self-reported anxiety.
Laughter in response to humorous stimuli correlates with improvement of natural killer (NK) cell activity — the immune cells that kill cancerous cells and prevent some types of viral illnesses.

Laughing has social benefits. Since much laughter is a social response rather than a reaction to jokes, laughing facilitates social reaction.

Laughter is also contagious. If you see someone laughing, you will probably laugh, too. One reason is because the sound of laughter is contagious: Researchers recently found that we often mimic one another’s behavior, copying words or gestures due to the mirroring system in the brain.

Here are some laughing exercises for you to try.

Smile with stretching: First breathe in and out through your mouth. When you exhale, smile. Repeat few times, and then do it while stretching. Breathe in and stretch your body, and breathe out, smile, and relax.
Facial release: Move your facial muscles. Stretch and squeeze or make a dance with your face. You will find your face becomes much more relaxed and ready for laughing.
Create laughing sounds: Make laughing sounds like ha-ha-ha while shaking your body a little bit or gently tapping your body parts or clapping hands. Imagine all the stress is released.
Laugh out loud: Start with small laughing sounds and a little motion, and then create bigger motions and louder laughter.

Wordology, Draw a Blank

According to 'English Language Centres', “draw a blank” originated in Tudor England when Queen Elizabeth I set up the first national lottery in 1567.

For this lottery, there were two pots. One pot contained slips of paper with the names of all of the participants. The other pot contained the same number of slips, only some bits of paper had prizes written on them while others were blank. One slip of paper was pulled from each pot at the exact same time and if the person matched with a prize, then they would win the prize. However, if the person’s name was drawn with a piece of paper with no writing, then they would not win anything. They were unsuccessful and “drew a blank.”

Ten Interesting Internet Facts

37% of the internet is porn.
Porn websites attract more visitors each month than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined.
15% of American adults do not use the internet.
Over 100,000 .com domains are registered each day.
Internet users send 204 million emails per minute.
China has more internet users on mobile devices than on PCs.
"LOL" used to mean "lots of love" before the internet.
The first thing ever bought and sold across the internet was a bag of marijuana around 1971. (Back when it was an academic network Arpnet.)
In 1973, the entire internet consisted of only 42 computers.
India has more people using the internet than the entire population of the U.S.

Online Fax

Many of us have long since abandoned our home fax machines, due to lack of use. For that rare occasion we need to send a fax, because email attachment will not do, there is a free internet service called Faxzero. You can go to the site add your document and send a fax for free. Some limitations, but quick and easy when you need it. LINK

Pronounce This

Route, The pronunciation of the word "route" is a little bit complicated. Though Northeasterners tend to pronounce it so it rhymes with "hoot" and Midwesterners tend to pronounce it so it rhymes with "out," just over 30 percent of respondents in the Harvard Dialect survey noted that they can (and do) pronounce it both ways.
Get, "The word get does not rhyme with yet here in the South," writes Sarah Johnson, a South Carolina native and Southern accent specialist. "We say it like 'git.' There is a common rhyme teachers use at school when students complain about not getting their first choice. In the North, you might say: 'You get what you get, so don't be upset.' We say, 'You git what you git, so don't throw a fit.'"

Can't, according to Johnson, "the word can't in many small towns in the South rhymes with paint."

What's in a Name, Donald Weder

If you have ever enjoyed an Easter basket with plastic eggs and grass, then you can thank Donald Weder, the man who invented both. Weder not only holds the patents on these holiday staples, he also holds a total of 1,413 U.S. patents, including ones for water-based inks, flower-pot covers, and decorative wrappers. That is more than Thomas Edison, who held just 1,093 U.S. patents.

Jul 4, 2020

Happy Friday

"Do not run after happiness, but seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you." ~ James Freeman Clarke
If you are chased by happiness, turn around and embrace it, especially on a Happy Friday!

July 4

After the members of the Second Continental Congress approved and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, John Adams wrote about the occasion in a letter to his wife Abigail: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations as the great anniversary Festival." Adams went on to suggest that it should "be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty." He then added: "It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

Reading these words, you might describe Adams as prescient, except he was talking about July 2, 1776, when the document was approved and signed, and not July 4th, when it was formally adopted by the Continental Congress. For the remainder of his life, Adams considered the Second of July to be America's true Independence Day, and he was so miffed when the Fourth became the accepted holiday that he refused to participate in any celebrations on that date.

Wordology, Under the Weather

Originally, sailors used the phrase “under the weather bow,” referring to the side of the ship that would get the brunt of the wind during storms. To avoid getting seasick when the waves got rough, they would bunker down in their cabins, literally under that bad weather, to let the storm pass.

Georgia Peaches

Georgia may be known as the Peach State, but according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, California grew 541,000 tons of peaches in 2017. Meanwhile, Georgia was not even in the top three, even though peaches are its official state fruit. New Jersey was second and Pennsylvania was third.

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda

Difference between baking powder and baking soda.

Baking soda and baking powder both leaven baked goods. Baking expert Zach Young explains the difference during his Cranberry Scones class. Baking soda is activated by the acid in the recipe (like yogurt or buttermilk). Baking powder, on the other hand, is typically activated twice: first when it is added to a wet batter and second when you put it in the oven.

Oldest Grapevine

Located in Maribor, Slovenia, the oldest grapevine in the world that still produces grapes—and in turn, wine—has been around since the 1500s. Each year approximately 100 small, 250-milliliter bottles are made from the fruits produced from the vine. Incidentally, each bottle of wine and grape variety is different, but on average, there are about 736 grapes in a single bottle of wine.

Windows Key Tips

Use the first combination to get the desired size, then the second to take a screenshot to print or email it.

Win + “+” and “-” keys — Zooms in and out with the magnifier tool (you can zoom in on any app, desktop, or folder).

Shift + Win + S — Selects any desired area of the screen and takes a screenshot of it.

Grow Mint Reduce Bugs

Mint prefers well-drained, but moist ground, tolerates shade, and needs minimal care. Mint is the plant that we love thanks to its strong fragrance. Some animals and bugs just can’t stand the smell of mint. It can repel ants, mosquitoes, slugs, snails, and mice.

What's in a name, Grapefruit

“The fruits are borne usually in clusters of from 3 to 15,” explains the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, published 1901, “hence the name Grape-fruit (in clusters or bunches like grapes), by which it is known by in Jamaica.”

Even back then, however, at least one expert took issue with that answer. Here’s the editor of The American Botanist grousing back in 1902: Another horticultural magazine gravely informs its readers that the grape-fruit (Citnis decumana) receives its common name from the fact that it grows ‘in grapose clusters.’ Everybody that has seen the grape-fruit growing knows that the fruits hang singly, like their near relatives the orange and lemon. ‘Grapose clusters’ favors facts manufactured to fit the explanation.

American Flag Facts

A few years after welcoming Vermont and Kentucky, states 14 and 15 into the union (in 1791 and 1792, respectively), a new version of the flag was created that had 15 stars and 15 stripes. As the U.S. continued to add new states, there was concern about having to continually add additional stripes. The solution: revert to 13 to represent the original 13 colonies, and let the stars represent the States.

Incidentally, there have been 27 official versions of the U.S. flag, each with a different number of stars.

Jun 29, 2020

Happy Friday

"Happiness has always seemed to me a great achievement." ~Françoise Sagan

We all try to achieve happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Over The Hump, Covid

We have officially passed the middle of 2020. The good news is that we appear to have escaped Armageddon. Future historians will likely replace, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot" with "Where were you when the virus hit?." We will endlessly debate which was worse, the negative media hype, the lock-down, or the disease. What we do know is that this pandemic is not the worst. Also, since the beginning of June, there are more cured cases than active cases. According to WebMD, early estimates predict that the overall COVID-19 recovery rate is between 97% and 99.75%.

As of June 24, the number of people the CDC confirmed infected is at 9.2 million, or .13% of the world population and the death toll is (475 thousand) .06%.
CDC estimates that, from October 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020, there have been between 39 and 56 million seasonal flu illnesses.

From MPH Online, an independent online resource for public health students -

HIV/AIDS Pandemic had a Death Toll of 36 million. (Congo)
Between 2005 and 2012 the annual global deaths from HIV/AIDS dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.

Flu Pandemic 1968 had a Death Toll of 1 million. Hong Kong))
The 1968 pandemic had a mortality rate (.5%) and resulted in the deaths of more than a million people.

Asian Flu Pandemic (1956-1958) had a Death Toll of 2 million. (China)
The World Health Organization noted approximately 2 million deaths.

Flu Pandemic (1918) had a Death Toll of 20 -50 million. (Spanish, but disputed)
Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks.

Wordology, Ineffectual vs. Ineffective

Both refer to failure, but only ineffectual refers to the kind of failure that happens when the effort was weak, impotent, and/or incompetent without satisfactory or decisive effect. An ineffectual person does not have the ability or confidence to do something well.
Ineffective means not producing intended results and there is no effect.  For example, ineffective communication includes talking instead of listening actively.

Likely ten percent of people will notice or care when one of these words is used instead of the other.

Text Books Online

LibraryGenesis (gen.lib.rus.ec) is a completely free library of almost every textbook and college manual, cookbooks, comics, etc. You can likely retrieve all of them in pdf or epub form. Some of it is in Russian, such as magazines. Still a good source for free books.


Whether it is planting trees or serving food to the homeless, volunteering your time for the greater good makes a difference in the lives of many. Doing good deeds also benefits your body, too. A study from Harvard shows that people who regularly volunteer enjoy longer, happier, healthier lives.
Researchers say that people over 50 years old who volunteer for about two hours weekly have a considerably lower risk of death. They are also less likely to develop physical impairments and do exercise more frequently. All of these benefits naturally lead to a stronger overall well-being versus people who do not volunteer.
“Humans are social creatures by nature. Perhaps this is why our minds and bodies are rewarded when we give to others,” explains lead author Dr. Eric Kim, of the Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. “Our results show that volunteerism among older adults doesn’t just strengthen communities, but enriches our own lives by strengthening our bonds to others, helping us feel a sense of purpose and well-being, and protecting us from feelings of loneliness, depression, and hopelessness.”

The researchers randomly selected nearly 13,000 participants a national study conducted between 2010-2016. Participants were split into two groups and tracked for four years each. The research team used health data, face-to-face interviews and surveys to evaluate the effects of volunteering on 34 specific physical and mental health outcomes.

Espresso and Caffeine

Espresso is a form of coffee made by grinding the beans very finely and subjecting them to hot water at high pressure. Espresso has a more concentrated flavor. Ounce for ounce, espresso does have more caffeine than a regular drip brew. A shot of espresso has 120 to 170 mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of coffee has 150 to 200 mg. It would take two or three espresso shots to equal the caffeine in a 16-ounce Starbucks coffee.

Car Production 2017

In case you were thinking the US still manufactures the most cars, here is a startling picture.

Five Interesting Car Facts

There are 1 billion cars currently in use on earth.
Volkswagen owns Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi, Ducati, and Porsche.
In 1924, half the cars in the world were Fords.
Half of all new cars in Norway are electric or hybrid.

95% of a car's lifetime is spent parked.

Soundbase vs. Soundbar

When it comes to speakers for TVs, some models are described as a “soundbase.” Soundbase and sound bar are similar,and they might even share identical technological feature sets, but they are not the same thing. A soundbase is specifically designed to sit on a cabinet and support the weight of a television. Their form factor means they cannot be mounted to the wall.

Normandy Cemetery

At the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, French caretakers take the sand from Omaha Beach and scrub them into the letters to give them the brown/gold coloring as a method of remembering the names as they often get washed out being engraved into bright white stone. One user said the sand does not last all too long, but it is more about the intent than the result.

YouTube Hack

If you want to watch an ad free YouTube video, just add a period (.) at the end of the URL. It should look like .com. - https://www.youtube.com.

Jun 19, 2020

Happy Friday

If you want to know how rich you really are, add up all the things you have that money can not buy.
Always enjoy what you have, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy Father's Day, June 21

Father's Day always falls on the third Sunday in June. It is the day we can remember and honor our fathers.
A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd established an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went around to local businesses to gather support for her idea, and on June 19, 1910, the state of Washington celebrated the first-ever Father's Day.

On May 1, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4127, which declared Father's Day as a national holiday, with the first official celebration on June 18, 1972. "Let each American make this Father's Day an occasion for renewal of the love and gratitude we bear to our fathers, increasing and enduring through all the years," he wrote in the document. Incidentally, we are all used to telling our mothers, "I love you." It is OK to tell dad the same.

What's in a Name, Q-tips

The Q stands for quality. Q-tips were first conceived by Leo Gerstenzang, who observed his wife stick bits of cotton to toothpicks. He decided that his wife had the right idea and decided to found the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Co. in 1923, which would manufacture ready to use cotton swabs.

USA Geography

You want to start an argument between New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, bring up this bone of contention. Even though the US Geological Survey has placed Liberty Island in New York's 8th Congressional District, the island actually resides in New Jersey's waters, and is much closer to Jersey's mainland than New York's.
The Mississippi River is the longest in the US at 2348 miles. The Missouri River is 2,341 miles.
The Aleutian Islands in Alaska cross over the 180th meridian, which means that the islands on the far side of the line are technically in the farthest eastern longitudes of the world an the easternmost point of North America. The islands on this side of the line also make Alaska our westernmost state as well.
The Florida Keys are a picturesque haven for tourists who flock to the southernmost geographical marker in Key West, but it is just the southernmost continental point. Hawaii, in fact, reaches down nearly to the 21st latitude, only 1,465 miles from the equator.

According to a 2016 census estimate, Wyoming has the fewest residents, with just below 586,000, ranking it No. 50 in state populations. Vermont comes after that with about 625,000, while Alaska is ahead at 48th, having nearly 742,000 residents.

Mobile Phone Tip

Hide a folded bill behind your phone case so you have some emergency cash if you forget your wallet or purse. In the old days, my sisters used to pin a bill to their bra, in case someone ran out of gas or had a flat tire.

Mobile Phone Facts

Most mobile phone users check their phones up to 63 times daily.
Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily.
Currently, there are 272.6 million smartphone users in America.
13% of Millennials spend over 12 hours on their phones daily.
Baby Boomers spend 5 hours using their phones. 

Mosquitoes are Killers

The mosquito emerged 190 million years ago. During 2018 mosquitoes killed 850,000 people, but the annual average is around 2 million. Sharks, by contrast, killed 10.

There are 110 trillion mosquitoes stalking the world at this time (with only a few places, like Antarctica, the Seychelles and a few French Polynesian islands outside the range). These insects harbor at least 15 lethal diseases. The most deadly are malaria and yellow fever, but mosquitoes also transmit other lethal viruses, like West Nile and Zika, worms, and parasites.

Mosquitoes on average kill more humans than any other animal, including man himself. The annual average number of deaths worldwide caused by:
    Mosquitoes: 2 million
    Humans: 475,000
    Snakes: 50,000

Google Lens

Google Assistant has an option called "Google Lens" which can recognize almost any flower, plant, insect, animal, logos, landmarks, etc. that you point it at. It can also translate text into other languages.

Open the Google Assistant and tap the camera icon to the left of the four colored dots at the bottom. This will open Google Lens, which is an AI able to recognize almost anything you point the camera at. You can even load pictures you have already taken by tapping the picture icon in the top right corner.

The free app is available to download for iPhone and Android. Great for getting the names of flowers and plants in your yard that you forgot the name of.

Coffee Bag Holes

The little holes in coffee bags are there to release carbon dioxide. After roasting, coffee beans can release carbon dioxide for two weeks and without the one-way hole the bag would swell up and burst.

CDC Covid Tracker

Here is an interesting site from the CDC with various statistics by state. Interesting. LINK

History of the Hawaiian Shirt

During 1916, Hawaiian records outsold all other genres. During the Great Depression, Americans added another piece of Hawaiian culture: the aloha shirt. The aloha shirt first appeared in Hawaii in the 1920s or ’30s, probably when local Japanese women adapted kimono fabric for use in men’s shirting. The shirts achieved some popularity among tourists to Hawaii and found greater commercial success when they hit the mainland.

After Pearl Harbor service members returning to the mainland from the Pacific made the signature apparel more popular than ever. In the past five years, fashion magazines have been heralding a comeback, and high-end labels like Gucci are taking the aloha shirt to new heights, with prints that draw on Japanese designs favored in the garment’s early days. Meanwhile, some shirt makers from Hawaii’s old guard are still going strong.

Happy Friday

Make happiness a family trait you pass along.

It is a good habit to exhibit often, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Pegman

Pegman is the name of the little yellow figure in Google maps. Drag him to a location on the map and it changes to street view.

Google Maps Street View

You can travel back in time with Google Maps using Street View. You can see what a landmark looked like over the years as part of a digital timeline.

Look for the clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of many Street View images. Click on it and move the slider that pops up left and right to travel through “time” to see images of a structure in the past and in present. There are various thumbnails you can look through to see how it looked in the past.

Wordology, Altitude vs. Elevation

Altitude is used to describe a point above sea level in the air. Pilots use altitude. Elevation is a point above sea level on land.

National Monument vs. National Park

Enacted in 1906, the American Antiquities Act established the protection of "natural and cultural resources" in the United States, paving the way for national monuments and parks. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed four national monuments in that same year. The first of those was Devils Tower in Wyoming. This massive column of igneous rock attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.

The first official national park is Yellowstone in Wyoming, established by President Grant in 1872. The difference between a national monument and a national park is that parks are set aside by Congress for their scenic or natural significance, while monuments can have historic or scientific significance of any kind and are created via executive order. Buildings and ruins, for instance, can be monuments, not parks.

What's in a Name, Mount Rushmore

This famous of American landmarks did not get its name from the mountain it is built on nor is it named after the man who sculpted it. In 1884, an attorney named Charles Edward Rushmore visited the Black Hills area to verify some legal titles. According to the National Parks site, Rushmore asked a local guide what the name of the mountain was. The guide replied, "We will name it now, and name it Rushmore."

Two More Myths Debunked

A camel’s hump does not store water. Camel humps store fat. The fat allows the animal to remain nourished during long periods between eating, an attribute for which camels are less well-known. As the fat is burned by the animal’s metabolism, the humps sag, replenished when the camel again has access to food. Camels drink massive amounts of water, up to 20 gallons at a time, which is stored in their bloodstream, not in their humps. In truth, a camel’s hump holds little water, and none as storage for long desert journeys.
Gum remains in the stomach no longer than any other food ingested. For most people is 30 minutes to two hours. For most healthy people, the stomach is emptied within that time period. Chewing gum is not intended to be swallowed, but the idea that it remains in the stomach indefinitely, growing into a larger mass, is totally false.

Browser Tip

If you are frustrated with sites that open a link on top of the page you are reading, you can hold down the CTRL key and left mouse click on the link and it will open in a new tab so you can finish reading the page you are on and then switch to the linked page.

Another way is to right mouse click and choose Open Link in New Tab.

Sayings From the Bible

"By the skin of my teeth"
This is one of the many proverbs that owe their origin to the colorful language of the Book of Job. The tormented hero Job is complaining about his woes. He has become, he says, so emaciated that “my bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.” The proverbial meaning is that he has missed death by a tiny margin—as narrow as the (non-existent) skin on a person’s teeth. Biblical scholars have argued endlessly about what the phrase originally signified. Some argue for a more literal interpretation: that Satan kept Job’s mouth—the skin of his gums, jaws, and lips—healthy in order to encourage him to blaspheme against God.

"A drop in the bucket"
Stuck between the mighty pharaohs on one side, and a succession of great Mesopotamian empires on the other, Israel was always destined to be a small fish in a big and dangerous pond. By the middle of the sixth century BC, the Jewish kingdoms had been conquered repeatedly, and a decent chunk of the population was living in painful exile in Babylon. Amid all this geopolitical gloom, the Book of Isaiah had some words of comfort. Compared to God, says the prophet, “the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance.”

Jun 7, 2020

Happy Friday

Happiness is the greatest gift which life can grant us.

I like to hand out gifts, especially on a Happy Friday!

National Doughnut Day

National Doughnut Day is celebrated each year on the first Friday in June. Doughnut lovers all rise to celebrate a wonderful circle of sweet, doughy goodness that has a day set aside holey in its honor.
Smoky Bones features a 3/8th-inch thick slice of Applewood smoked bacon, hand-carved and then candied in brown sugar and black pepper. The chunk of meat is then roasted until crispy and shaped into a traditional doughnut ring. The sugary, peppery and crispy slice is then dipped in the restaurant’s “signature vanilla cake batter and cooked until perfectly golden brown.” On top of that goes a second glaze of confectioner’s sugar and maple sugar. It is then topped with even more smoked bacon pieces. Smoky Bones is a nationwide BBQ restaurant.

Incidentally, donut is the spelling from Dunkin Donuts.

Online Tips

Here are a few interesting sites to help you use up some of the Covid extra stay-in-place time.

Is it down for you or the entire world?
The video conferencing service Zoom recently experienced audio and video issues that left many virtual Sunday church goers without weekly service. While confused users flooded social media to try to fix their computers, phones, or tablets, they could have used this site. There was nothing they could do.
Zoom was experiencing a service outage. If a site you use is experiencing issues, Downdetector will display a live outage map, information on where the outage occurred, the time it happened, and the most reported problems. 
Tap or click here for this smart trick to use when a site or service is down.
See life in numbers
You can use this site when it is someone’s birthday to give the celebrator some fun facts about his or her life so far. Try it for yourself. At Life Stats, enter your date of birth and you instantly see the number of times your heart has beaten, how many days you have spent asleep, what a dollar was worth when you were born, and more facts including life expectancy statistics.
Tap or click here to get your life stats.
Try a custom ambient sound maker
We all have preferences when it comes to sound. Would you rather get something done in a bustling coffee shop or a silent room? Do you prefer gentle white noise or complete quiet when sleeping?
A Soft Murmur is beautiful, useful and endlessly customizable. Here’s how it works. Visit the site and choose your background noise of choice from basics like rain, thunder, waves and wind to crickets, birds, fire and coffee shop chatter. Set the level for each sound to create your perfect mix. Maybe it's a coffee shop and rain or waves, wind and birds for a more calming effect.
Tap or click here to create your perfect background noise.
Cook based on your fridge and pantry
Right now, most of us are stocking up on groceries to avoid going back to the store every few days. This makes it difficult to whip up fun new recipes.
If you are stuck in a rut, try MyFridgeFood. Check off the items in your fridge and pantry, and find recipes based on what you have on-hand.

Tap or click here to get delicious recipes using what you have at home.

What's in a Name, Herostratus

Herostratus burned down the Temple of Artemis. He did it for the sole purpose of becoming famous. His acts prompted the creation of a damnatio memoriae law forbidding anyone to mention his name, whether orally or in writing. The law was ultimately ineffective, as evidenced by mentions of his existence in modern works and parlance. Thus, Herostratus has become a metonym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous.

Clock Time

This will take you back to school days when teachers needed to interpret everything for our curious minds. “AM” stands for “ante meridiem” meaning “before noon” or “before midday.”

PM stands for “post meridiem,” meaning “after noon” or “after midday,” and  applies to the times from noon onward.

Interesting Date Facts

Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth were born in the same year, 1926. Anne Frank and Martin Luther King junior were born in the same year (1929). Swiss women got the right to vote the same year the US drove a buggy on the moon (1971). Harvard University did not offer calculus classes for the first few years after the school was established, because calculus had not been invented yet. Charlie Chaplin died in 1977, the same year Apple was incorporated.

Origin of Sayings

The walls have ears - Origin: The face Louvre Palace in France was believed to have a network of listening tubes so that it would be possible to hear everything that was said in different rooms. People say that this is how the Queen Catherine de’Medici discovered political secrets and plots.

Blood is thicker than water - Meaning: Family relationships and loyalties are the strongest and most important ones. Origin: Even though many might think this saying means that we should put family ahead of friends, it actually meant the complete opposite. The full phrase actually was “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” and it referred to warriors who shared the blood they shed in battles together. These ‘blood brothers’ were said to have stronger bonds than biological brothers.

One for the road - Meaning: A final drink before leaving a place. Origin: During the middle ages, the condemned ones were taken through what today is known as Oxford Street to their execution. During this final trip, the cart would stop and they would be allowed to have one final drink before their death.
Butter someone up - Meaning: Flatter or otherwise ingratiate oneself with someone. Origin: The people ancient India used to throw balls of clarified butter at the statues of gods in order to seek a favor.

Beat about the bush - Meaning: Discuss a matter without coming to the point. Origin: Beating about the bush is actually an action performed while hunting, driving birds and other animals out into the open. After this was done others would than catch the animals.

Top Three Countries Internet Users

These have the most internet users in the world.
China 854,000,000
India  560,000,000
USA 313,323,000

Deep, Dark, and Surface Web

Surface Web: This is the web that you and most people are already familiar with. Major websites like Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook. Sites on the surface web are “indexed,” which means they can be easily located via search engines. Activity on the surface web can also be easily tracked by advertisers.

Dark Web: The “private internet” includes encrypted websites that are hidden from search engines and other indexing services. While not everything on the Dark Web is, strictly speaking, illegal, this is the place to go if you run shady operations like data laundering and cybercrime. Accessing the Dark Web requires special encryption software like Tor Browser.

Deep Web: The term deep web is often used interchangeably with Dark Web, but the definitions are different. The deep web simply includes all online data that is not registered with search engines. This includes back-end data for most of the world’s biggest websites and platforms, as well as encrypted information stored on private networks and cloud servers.

Happy Friday

"An unshared happiness is not happiness." ~Boris Pasternak

I always share my happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Obscura Day, May 30

Here is a set of ten places to visit to indulge your Obscura fantasy.

Around the World in 7 Futuristic Farms

13 Places to Indulge Your Inner Horse Lover

The Definitive Guide to the World’s Hidden Blunders

A Collection of 13 Eclectic Collections

30 Places to Go Deep in the Art of Texas

8 Bars and Beverages That Outlasted the 18th Amendment

10 Big Things in America’s Smallest State

15 Wonderfully Repurposed Places

10 Bathrooms You Should Pee in Before You Die

11 Themed Eateries to Indulge Your Secret Obsessions

Wordology, Recto and Verso

The term “recto” refers to an artwork public-facing front. “Verso” refers to the back of an artwork, which is normally hidden.

National Burger Day

Also Hamburger Day. No matter how you say it, yesterday, May 28 was the day to be eating out and enjoying some great burgers. This day is always toward the end of National Hamburger month.
There are 1259 people listed in whitepages.com with the last name 'Hamburger' and 17,617 people with the last name 'Burger'.
Referring to ground beef as 'hamburger' dates to the invention of the mechanical meat grinder during the 1860s.

'Filet de boeuf a la Hambourgeoise,' was sold in Boston in 1874.
Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers comprise 71% of the beef servings in commercial restaurants. Burgers account for 40% of all sandwiches sold.

The Hamburger hall of fame is located in Seymour, Wisconsin.

YouTube Tip

If you see something in a YouTube video that you want to share at a particular point, you can get a link that takes people directly to that moment. Click the Share button below the video. Look for a checkbox below the link. It will automatically display the time at which you currently have the video stopped.

You can stick with this time or choose a different time. Copy the link and share it or email it to a friend. When someone views the link, the video will automatically skip right to the point you chose. Very handy, especially for long videos.

Smile, You are on Camera

One billion surveillance cameras will be deployed globally by 2021, according to data compiled by IHS Markit. China’s installed base is expected to rise to over 560 million cameras by 2021, representing the largest share of surveillance devices installed globally. The US is rising to about 85 million cameras. When taking populations into account China will continue to have nearly the same ratio of cameras to citizens as the US.

In 2018, China had 350 million cameras installed for an estimated one camera for every 4.1 people. That compared to one for every 4.6 people in the US where 70 million cameras were installed. Taiwan was third in terms of penetration with one camera for every 5.5 citizens in 2018, followed by the UK and Ireland 1 to 6.5 and Singapore 1 to 7.1.

Cable Costs

Spectrum in Los Angeles had an advertised price of $89.97 for new subscribers to get internet, cable and phone service. After USA TODAY tried signing up for that offer, after adding the fees for two DVRs and cable boxes, and the "broadcast fee" to watch local cable channels, the final tally was $131.95.

Consumer Reports found that cable companies pocket $28 billion a year in imposed fees that are not mandated by the government and that these fees cost subscribers $37 per month and add an extra 24% to the cost of the bill. Respondents paid a median price of $173 per month for bundles, across all providers.

About 33 million people ditched their cable or satellite subscription during 2018, according to researcher eMarketer, up from 24.9 million in 2017.

22 percent of members said they use an antenna to get free over-the-air TV signals on one or more of the sets in their home.

Jun 5, 2020

Wilderness Fact

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%. The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%.

Wordology, Chronophobia

As the population ages, an old phobia is getting some news lately. Chronophobia is the fear of time. It is characterized by an irrational persistent fear of time and of the passing of time.

Chronophobia is related to the rare chronomentrophobia, the irrational fear of timepieces, such as watches and clocks. Chronophobia is considered a specific phobia.

May Inventions

May 15, 718 - James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world's first machine gun.

May 17, 1839 - Lorenzo Adkins patented a water wheel.

May 18, 1827 - 1830 - Edwin Beard Budding of England signed a licensing agreement for the manufacture of his invention, the lawn mower.

May 19, 1896 - Edward Acheson was issued a patent for an electrical furnace used to produce one of the hardest industrial substances: carborundum.

May 20, 1830 - D. Hyde patented the fountain pen. 1958 - Robert Baumann obtained a patent for a satellite structure.

Positive and Negative Words

Smart was first used in Old English to describe things that cause pain. Weapons, nails, and darts were smart. Shakespeare’s Henry VI has the phrase “as smart as lizards’ stings.” It took on connotations of sharpness, quickness, intensity, and, through smart, pain-causing words or wit came to stand for quick intelligence and fashionableness.
Egregious was a positive word that turned negative. It used to mean "eminent and distinguished," but because people started using it sarcastically, it came to mean "bad and offensive."
Sad started with the meaning of "satisfied or sated," also sometimes "steadfast" or "firm." It then went from meaning "serious," to "grave," to "sorrowful."
Smug first meant "crisp, tidy, and presentable." A well-dressed person was smug in this way, and it later came to mean "self-satisfied and conceited."
Devious comes from de via, "off the way." It once meant "distant" or "off the road." It took on the meaning of wandering, such as devious comets, devious minnows, and, because to do wrong was to stray from the right path, it eventually came to mean "scheming and deceitful."
Facetiousness was once to have elegant, gracious, high style, and to be jokey and witty. It came from a Latin term for playful humorousness. It is still connected with a type of humor, but with an unproductive or annoying connotation.

Bully used to be a term of endearment for men or women. A bully could be a good friend or a sweetheart. It then came to stand for a swaggering braggart and than a coward who picks on others.

Friends With Benefits

When the show came to an end, the cast of the popular TV show Friends negotiated syndication rights for themselves. That means they receive a percentage of the revenue (2 percent) from reruns airing across all broadcasting companies. Since the much-loved TV show still pulls in around $1 billion of revenue, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry each make about $20 million per year.

Costco Shopping Tip

According to Redditt, “For extra lean (and cheap) ground beef, ask the meat department for a 10lb chub. We sell our regular ground beef (88/12 percent) for $3.49 a pound. The way we make it is we take our fat trimmings from cutting steaks and mix it with the chubs to bring up the fat content and increase our profits. The 10lb chubs are probably sitting around 5 percent – 8 percent fat and only cost $2.99 a pound. You will have to ask for these specifically as we don’t normally put them out for sale.”

One interesting tip is to request a chub of beef. Although most people are unfamiliar with this meat-packing term, a “chub” is a tube of ground beef, sealed in plastic. Looking a bit like an over-sized hot dog, chubs contain the same ground beef, but in packaging that is less expensive than the traditional foam box with clear plastic topper. The Costco deli can package your beef at your request and the chub is usually sold at a discount.

Google Tip

If you know you are looking for a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation or another type of file that has been uploaded to the web, you can search “filetype:PDF,” “filetype:xlsx,” “filetype:ppt” etc. It is a quick way to find reports from agencies, and examples of presentations on certain topics and more.

Five Ways to be Happy

Know that you are in control of your happiness. Science tells us that about 50 percent of our happiness is based on genetic factors, 10 percent is on environmental factors (marital status, health, career), and the remaining 40 percent consists of the activities that we intentionally choose to participate in. Simply realizing that you can do something about how happy you are is a powerful first step on your journey to a happier life.
Choose specific activities. The results of several "happiness experiments" in a research lab showed that people who made very specific plans, including an activity, a time, and his/her companions, were the happiest people in the study. Pick an activity that you have always wanted to try, like signing up for a dance class, exploring a museum, trying a new food, or traveling to a new place.
The more the merrier. You have probably heard this all your life, but that is because it is scientifically true. In studies, we saw that people who enjoyed an activity with someone else — a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend — were the happiest people. Find a partner in happiness, make a plan, and as the date approaches, the anticipation you experience will increase your hope, which is a major factor in creating happiness.
Exercise. This is one of those activities that you can make more fun with a partner in happiness, and it is an important one to incorporate into your lifestyle if you are seeking greater happiness. Studies show that people who exercise are about 20 percent happier on average. As you may have heard, exercising releases endorphins, which basically make the brain happier. Just 20 focused minutes of walking a day can make a difference.
Get enough sleep. People who are sleep-deprived tend to remember negative thoughts more easily than positive thoughts. Even cat naps or power naps during the day will help boost your mood.

Happy Friday

If you wake up with a smile, you will go to bed happy and vice versa.

I like to do both, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Disgruntled

Back in the 1600s “gruntling” meant “grumbling.” So if someone was gruntling, they were even more upset if they were disgruntling. The first known use of “gruntled” as an adjective to mean “in good humor” or “pleased” in the Oxford English Dictionary is attributed to P.G. Wodehouse, who included this sentence in his 1938 novel The Code of the Woosters: "He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."

Instead of being negative, the “dis-” prefix in “disgruntled” is an intensifier. It means “utterly” or “completely” and adds emphasis to the root.

Gruntled” is a back-formation that people derived from “disgruntled.” In other words, so many people thought “disgruntled” should have the corresponding positive word, “gruntled,” that it emerged and was accepted.

Superman Fact

The original comic book Superman could leap tall buildings in a single bound, but then he had to come back down to Earth, because he did not fly. It was not until the 1940s, when animators for a new animated series decided it would be too difficult to routinely draw him bending his knees, that it was decided that Superman could take off into the air. Readers were able to see smooth animation, and a superhero gained a new power.

Google Tip

If you are looking for comparisons or more varied reviews, an easy way to find them is to type the name of the product you are interested in into Google, followed by “vs.” An example is iphone vs. android. You will see other popular alternatives.

Wordology, Pronounciations

Crayon - Some people pronounce it cray-awn, rhyming with "dawn," and others pronounce it cray-ahn, rhyming with "man." According to Crayola, the correct way to say it is cray-awn, but even they admit that there are too many regional differences to try and implement a single pronunciation.

Coupon - You do not pronounce the word "cool" with a /q/ sound, so you would not think to pronounce the word "coupon" with a /q/ sound either. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Though the word's accepted pronunciation is the simple koo-pon, many an educated individual pronounce the first syllable of the word like "kyoo," as if they are sounding out the letter q.

Poem - Wherever you travel to in the United States, you will find people who pronounce the word "poem" as both pome (rhyming with "home") and po-emme. The pronunciation of this word is not limited to regions, but to personal preference.

Bowie Knife - Bow-ie knife, or Boo-wie knife, depends on who you are talking to. In the Harvard Dialect Survey, researchers found that approximately 19 percent of respondents, most of whom lived in the Northeast region pronounced it the second way.

Monday - Most people will say the days of the week—Monday, Tuesday, etc.—and pronounce the second syllable so that it rhymes with "day." A small portion of the population, however, primarily in the South and Midwest, will say this syllable so that it rhymes with "dee."

Huge - A majority of Americans pronounce the letter "h" in words like "huge. In the Harvard Dialect Survey, though, approximately 3 percent of respondents, mostly people in the Northeast, do not pronounce the "h" sound when saying words like "huge," "humor," "humongous," and "human."

Quarter - Most Americans pronounce the word "quarter" so that it has a [kw] sound at the beginning. However, some people in the Northeast and Midwestern regions pronounce this word so that the first syllable is more of a [k] sound.

Roof - There are actually two common ways to pronounce this four-letter word. While people born and raised in the West tend to pronounce the word as if it rhymes with "hoof," those from the East see it as rhyming with "poof."

Six Words That Changed Meaning

Fun was first a verb meaning "to cheat or hoax." It came from fon, an old word for "fool." It still retains some of that sense in “make fun of,” but now also means a good time.
Fond also goes back to fon, and it once meant "foolish and weak-minded." It came to then mean over-affectionate in a negative, cloying way. Now it is positive. At its root, being fond of something is basically being a fool for it.
Terrific root is terror, and it first meant terror-inducing. It then became an exaggerated intensifier (“terrifically good!” = so good it is terrifying) and then a positive term.
Tremendous has its roots in fear. Something tremendous was so terrible it caused trembling or shaking. It also became an intensifier (“tremendously good!”) before it became positive.
Awe originally referred to “immediate and active fear.” It then became associated with religious, reverential fear, and then to a feeling of being humbled at the sublime. While awful retains the negative sense, awesome took on the positive one.

To grin was to bare the teeth in a threatening display of anger or pain. It then became the term for a forced, fake smile, before settling into an expression of happiness.

Happy Friday

Keep your head up so everyone can see your smile.
I like to smile so all can see I am enjoying a Happy Friday!

National Nurse Week

Every year we celebrate this holiday, but this year is especially relevant. National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday. Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English, social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. The theme this year is Compassion|Expertise|Trust.

SpaceX Starlink Broadband

The new satellite service from Elon Musk is almost here. Musk said that private beta testing for the service will begin in about three months, with public beta testing beginning in about six months.
In early 2019, SpaceX received approval to launch 12,000 satellites into space to build a low earth orbit network of satellites, enabling the company to sell home internet. After another successful launch of 60 satellites, there are now 422 Starlink satellites in orbit.

This week, SpaceX’s director of satellite policy, David Goldman, said in a document filed with the FCC that limited service will be offered by the end of this year, with rapid expansion to “near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.”