Oct 30, 2020

Happy Friday

 Happiness is like lightening, it causes smiles to rain down on all who see it.

Every day try to be somebody's rainbow, especially on a Happy Friday!

Origin of NEWS

It does not derive from the four cardinal directions.

The word news can be traced back to late Middle English around the 14th century as a plural for the adjective “new” or “new thing”.  This is a somewhat rare instance of an English adjective becoming a noun when made plural.   Making this leap from “new” to “news” in English is thought to have been influenced by the Old French “nouveau”, meaning “new”.

Before the 14th century, instead of using the word “news”, English speakers typically used the word “tidings”, more or less meaning the “announcement of an event”. This Middle English version started before the 11th century and stems from the Old English term “tidung” meaning “Event, occurrence, or a piece of news.” 

Mouth and Taste Facts

 There are about 9,000 taste buds on the surface of the tongue, in the throat, and on the roof of the mouth. Taste buds contain chemoreceptors that respond to chemicals from food and other substances that are dissolved by the saliva in the mouth.

Our mouths produces 1 liter (1.8 pints) of saliva a day. We each produce about 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime. Saliva is required for taste. Until food is dissolved by saliva, we cannot taste it.

The average American eats 50 tons of food and drinks 50,000 liters (11,000 gallons) of liquid during his life. It also takes food seven seconds to go from the mouth to the stomach via the esophagus.

Origin of Broad

Broad, as referring to a woman rather than something with great breadth, has less certain origins. It first popped up being used this way in the early 20th century. Theories as to its origin include simply referencing a woman’s broad hips, or perhaps from the American English “abroadwife,” which was a term for a slave woman, or just a woman who was separated from her husband.

Another popular theory is that it came from a slang term for a ticket, such as a train ticket, a meal ticket, a sporting event admission ticket, etc.  This slang term became common around 1912 and by 1914 “broad” was being used, among other things, to refer to a prostitute, thus a pimp’s “meal ticket”.

“Broad” possibly came to mean “ticket”, from the 18th century practice of sometimes calling playing cards “broads”. This derives from the fact that in the early 20th century, many types of tickets often resembled playing cards. 

This theory is attested in the 1914 work A Vocabulary of Criminal Slang, by Jackson and Hellyer where they define Broad as: Noun, Current among genteel grafters chiefly. A female confederate; a female companion, a woman of loose morals.

When “broad” first showed up as referring to a woman, it generally was used to signify a prostitute or immoral women. This gradually changed somewhat in the century since with “broad” slowly coming to be less used as a derogatory term and more used just to be synonymous with “woman”. One of the earliest instances of this was in the 1932 “Guys and Dolls”, where one characters refers to another as a broad without any negative connotation.

In the cases of “broad” and “slut”, there have also been recent efforts to “take back” the terms and spin them in a more positive light. For instance, in A Dictionary of Words About Women, by Jane Mills, a broad is defined as “a woman who is liberal, tolerant, unconfined, and not limited or narrow in scope.” “Slut”, while still retaining the same modern “loose woman” connotation, has begun to be a label worn proudly in some circles, though not without controversy. 


 Study after study has pointed to the health benefits of laughter: Research from Loma Linda University showed that laughing improved the memory of adults in their 60s and 70s. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that hilarious movies improved the function of blood vessels and increased blood flow in a group of 20 thirty-somethings. Other research has shown that laughing can improve immunity, help regulate blood sugar levels, and improve sleep.

Charlie Brown Fun Facts

 Charlie Brown was modeled after Charles Schulz. “We always say that each of the characters represents a piece of our dad,” Craig Schulz, Charles’ son, says in a new book about the production of the new movie, The Art and Making of the Peanuts Movie. “Charlie Brown was his real self, while Snoopy was what he wanted to be.”

There are 17,897 Peanuts comic strips. They ran between 1950 and 2000, each one drawn by Schulz. Schulz died from colon cancer at age 77, the day before the last original strip ran.

Charles Schulz did not choose the name Peanuts (nor did he like it). Charlie Brown first appeared as a character in a comic strip called Li'l Folks, but when Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate about a publishing deal in 1950, the syndication service thought the name was too close to two other comics it ran at the time, and changed it to Peanuts. Schulz never liked the new name; he thought it "made it sound too insignificant."

Iconic Peanuts characters like Lucy and Linus didn’t show up until years into the comic. The Peanuts gang in CGI in The Peanuts Movie (2015). Design by Tyler Carter, Color by Robert MacLenzie. © 2015 Peanuts Worldwide LLC. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

The first Peanuts strip featured Shermy, Patty (a separate character from Peppermint Patty), and Charlie Brown. It ran in seven newspapers in October 1950.

In the early Peanuts strips, Lucy was younger than Charlie Brown. In her first comic strip in March 1952, Lucy was a toddler. Later, Schulz decided to make her Charlie Brown’s peer. Lucy would later be the character to observe “Happiness is a warm puppy” in an April 1960 strip.

Linus did not speak for the first two years of Peanuts strips. He appeared as Lucy’s security-blanketed younger brother in September 1952, but did not get a line in the comic until 1954.

Franklin’s first appearance in the Peanuts comic was in July 1968. In it, Franklin recovers Charlie Brown’s lost beach ball. At the time, Franklin’s inclusion was seen as controversial, and Schulz received letters complaining about the character.

Snoopy has his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame, right next to Schulz's.

Schroeder loves Beethoven (and his house at 1770 James Street is a nod to the composer’s birth year) but the first piece he played in the strip was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s "Prelude in G Minor."

In most of the Peanuts comics, Marcie has no eyes. Marcie’s glasses mask her eyes throughout most of the original comic, only appearing in rare moments, like a May 1980 strip where Peppermint Patty tries to convince her to wear her glasses on top of her head.

The little red-haired girl is never fully seen in the Peanuts comic strip. The daily strip only showed the object of Charlie Brown’s affections once, in silhouette, in 1998. He did get to meet her in the television special 'It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown', which aired in 1977.

Snoopy has five siblings. Spike was the first Snoopy brother, introduced in 1975 and named after Charles Schulz’s childhood pup. Snoopy’s other siblings include Marbles, Olaf, Andy, and his only sister, Belle.

If you look closely, you will notice that Snoopy’s eyes are on the same side of his nose. It looks natural in the comic, but was a particular challenge to animate in 3D.

Even the U.S. Postal Service loves A Charlie Brown Christmas. In 2015, to mark the 65th anniversary of the comic and the 50th anniversary of the television special, the USPS released Forever Stamps with images like Snoopy ice skating, Linus kneeling with the Christmas tree, and Charlie Brown checking the mail for a Christmas card. The Peanuts gang also got a commemorative stamp from the USPS in 2001.

What's in a Name, Quokka

 The quokka (its name rhymes with mocha) is the happiest animal. They are not only always smiling, but they are also one of the friendliest animals toward humans. Many people outside of Australia had never heard of the quokka, a Muppet-cute marsupial with an irresistible smile.

These social plant-eaters hang out in clans, munch on swamp peppermint and other greens, store fat in their tails for lean times, dig tunnels through vegetation for napping and hiding, and hop like kangaroos, a close relative (along with wallabies).

More Internet Statistics

 Over 80% of internet users use mobile devices to surf the web.

    83% of mobile users expect a flawless experience whenever they visit a website with any mobile device.
    Up to 70 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
    95.1% of active Facebook traffic comes from mobile devices.
    57% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile.
    Mobile devices are responsible for more than 70% of watch time on YouTube.
    90% of Twitter views happen on mobile.
    Google is responsible for 96% of search traffic coming from mobile.
    80% of Alexa’s top-ranked websites are mobile-friendly.

Oct 9, 2020

Smile Facts

“In our research we found that when you forcefully practice smiling, it stimulates the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state,” an artificial cognition expert explains.

“For mental health, this has interesting implications. If we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as ‘happy,’ then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health.” Social smiles use only the mouth muscles. True smiles, known as Duchenne smiles, cause the eyes to twinkle and narrow and the cheeks to rise.

“Spontaneously produced facial expressions of emotion of both congenitally and non-congenitally blind individuals are the same as for sighted individuals in the same emotionally evocative situations.” said study author David Matsumoto, PhD, of San Francisco State University. “We also see that blind athletes manage their expressions in social situations the same way sighted athletes do.”

Seventeen studies provided evidence that blind and sighted spontaneously produce the same pattern of facial expressions, even if some variations can be found, reflecting facial and body movements specific to blindness or differences in intensity and control of emotions in some specific contexts. This suggests that lack of visual experience seems to not have a major impact when this behavior is because blind individuals cannot, from birth or shortly thereafter, see others’ expressions; they cannot learn to produce expressions by modeling.

Results provided evidence that visual experience is not necessary to spontaneously produce adequate facial expressions for basic emotions such as happiness, anger, and fear.

When our brains feel happy, endorphins are produced and neuronal signals are transmitted to your facial muscles to trigger a smile. When our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system, and further increasing our level of happy hormones, or endorphins.


Costco Discounts

Ten retailers will price match Costco, and all you need to do is show proof of price, such as the Costco flyer from the mail or the website.

    Best Buy
    Fry’s Electronics

Ten Interesting Facts

 Finland is the world's happiest country, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report.

McDonald's buys about 2 billion eggs every year for their U.S. restaurants alone.

1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every day.

Japan has more than 50,000 people who are over 100 years old.

Japan consists of over 6,800 islands.

The key to happiness is spending your money on experiences rather than possessions, according to studies.

By law, only dead people can appear on U.S. currency.

To be legal, prop money for films in the U.S. must be one-sided and less than 75% or more than 150% of the size of a real banknote.

69% of Americans have less than US$1,000 in savings.

California's official state animal, the California grizzly bear, is extinct.

Grapefruit Origin

The grapefruit first appeared after 1693 when Captain Shaddock transported some pomelo seeds to the West Indies and planted them close to some orange trees. The pomelo and orange later cross-pollinated to create the grapefruit. However, the grapefruit was still unknown outside the Caribbean.

Europeans learned of this citrus fruit in 1750 when Reverend Griffith Hughes encountered one. Hughes was so surprised with the discovery that he named the grapefruit “the forbidden fruit.” That was the name until 1814 when John Lunan called it the grapefruit because grapefruits resembled the smaller and unrelated grapes when they were still growing.

The grapefruit reached the United States in 1823 but was mistaken for the pomelo. It was only determined to be a distinct fruit in 1837. However, botanists were still confused about its origin. It wasn’t until 1948 that they discovered it was a hybrid of the pomelo and the orange.


IHOP and Real Eggs

Ask for real eggs in your omelet or when you want scrambled eggs. IHOP uses powdered or liquid eggs to make scrambled eggs and omelets, but if you ask for real eggs, they will be happy to make your meal that way instead for no extra charge.

Flu Shot Facts

  It is that time of year again for flu shots. Here are a few interesting facts you may not be aware of. The shots are generally free or cheap at Walmart and various pharmacies. T

The flu virus comes in numerous strains, or types. The strain called H1N1 is now a common type of seasonal flu. The bird flu, also known as H5N1 or H7N9, has made a lot of birds sick, but rarely spreads to humans unless they have handled infected birds.

Each shot contains a tiny bit of dead flu virus. The virus is grown in fertilized chicken eggs, then extracted and deactivated with microscopic amounts of formaldehyde. A chemical called octylphenol ethoxylate pulls out even smaller pieces of virus, which helps reduce the chances of side effects. Gelatin holds the virus together and keeps it stable during shipping, and a preservative called thimerosol keeps the vaccine from going bad on the shelf.

There is no reason to be concerned about any of these chemicals; they are present in such small quantities that your body will barely register them.

You should get a flu shot even if you think you never get the flu. Just because you have never had it before does not mean you are invincible. In addition, even if you never have symptoms, you could be carrying the virus around, exposing everyone else to it.

You need to get a flu shot every year. There are many types of flu. Each year, researchers and public health officials determine which strains seem like they are going to be a threat, and formulate a vaccine that protects against those strains. To stay protected against the latest flu risks, you must keep your shots up to date.

This year's flu shots will protect against three or four strains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three or four kinds of flu viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. The 2020-2021 flu shot has been updated to protect against three virus strains: A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus, A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus, and B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus.

Quadrivalent flu shots, which are designed to protect against four types of flu, will protect against an additional B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

The flu shot can't give you the flu. The flu shot is either made with dead (deactivated) flu virus or, in the case of the recombinant flu vaccine, with no actual virus at all. You may have some side effects after getting your shot, but those are usually limited to pain or swelling around the site of the injection. In rare cases, you may have a low-grade fever or mild muscle aches, but these are side effects, and not the flu.

You can get the flu shot if you are allergic to eggs. For a while, doctors were cautioning people with egg allergies to stay away from the flu vaccine, but this seems to have been unnecessary. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recently stated that “no special precautions are required for the administration of influenza vaccine to egg-allergic patients, no matter how severe the egg allergy.” If you are concerned about an allergic reaction, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to get you an egg-free flu shot.

Incidentally, If you get the flu, antibiotics will not help. The flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria; antibiotics respond only to bacteria. Antibiotics will not do anything to fight the flu virus.

Origin of Football Huddle

There are a few different stories about how the huddle originated (in 1918 at Oregon State, in 1921 at the University of Illinois, and in 1924 at Lafayette College are a few of them).

It was first used in the 1890s when Paul Hubbard, the quarterback for Gallaudet—a Deaf college in Washington, D.C., which is now a university—had his offense form a tight circle so that they could discuss plays without the other team seeing what they were signing. Another Gallaudet football innovation was the giant drum on the sidelines that would be used for the snap count (the players could feel the vibrations).


Approving Political Ads

 Political ads conclude with a disclaimer that the politician being endorsed has sanctioned the spot. Usually, the person will say or be quoted as saying “I approve this message." It is a requirement.

During 2002, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was passed, along with the Stand By Your Ad provision. The Act, which was backed by then-senators John McCain and Russell D. Feingold, was intended to further legitimize campaign contributions by banning large corporate donations.

Stand By Your Ad mandates that anyone running for federal office stamp “I approve this message” as part of their campaign commercials. The goal was to curb muckraking, where candidates would lob insults and accusations at one another. With Stand By Your Ad, lawmakers were hoping political candidates would think twice before engaging in dirty tactics and then attempting to deny any involvement.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is very specific about how that disclaimer should appear. According to the FEC, the written statement must come at the end of the ad, appear for at least four seconds, be readable against a contrasting background, and occupy at least 4 percent of the vertical picture height. The candidate will typically identify themselves and say the message aloud.

If the message was not approved by a candidate, then the spot will typically name the entity that is responsible—a political committee, group, or person. There is also usually language about who financed the commercial.

Negative campaign ads made up 29 percent of political persuasion spots in 2000, and that number rose to 64 percent in 2012. In the week before the 2016 presidential election, 92 percent of ads were characterized as negative.

One possible reason: By stamping a negative message with “I approve,” candidates might actually be perceived as more credible by voters, as they are showing that they are willing to stand behind what viewers infer to be truthful statements.

In a study of 2,000 people using both real and fictional ads, researchers found that “I approve this message” did not change their perception of positive ads or personal attack ads, but did increase their confidence in politicians using policy-based attack ads.

Laughter and Smiles

Find a mirror and observe your face for a while. Look very carefully at your face. It is said that the face is a reflection of the mind. Is your face shining or gloomy? Is it tense or relaxed? Is it joyful or irritated? Or is it more or less blank?

Smile at yourself in the mirror. Watch your smile. Does your smile look natural and comfortable? Is your facial expression too hard to express a big smile because of tension?

Relax your shoulders and close your eyes. Then smile gently and feel your brain. Can you feel your face and brain become relaxed with your smiling? Soon you will feel the same comfort in your heart, as there is an energy line that connects your heart to your brain.

Now laugh intensely, shaking your whole body. First, make your face laugh, then your chest, your belly button, your knees, and finally your toes. When you are laughing, every energy center in your body is wide open, from the top of your brain to the bottom of your feet. Now you will be brimming over with energy.

Incidentally, we are 30 times more likely to laugh if we are with others. Laughing makes us more productive and seem more competent at work. Simpler jokes are considered funnier than complex ones. Laughter helps deal with stress. Even smiling helps.



 Sept. 22: Happy Equinox! At 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT), autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere while the Southern Hemisphere will have its first day of spring. It happens two times a year, Vernal & Autumnal, spring and fall.

"Equinox" literally means "equal night", giving the impression that the night and day on the equinox are exactly the same length; 12 hours each - about equal almost everywhere on Earth.

Incidentally, the biggest difference between the equinox and the solstice is that a solstice is the point during the Earth's orbit around the sun at which the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator, while during an equinox, it is at the closest distance from the equator.

Birthday Cake Origin

The ancient Egyptians are actually credited with “inventing” the celebration of birthdays. They believed that when pharaohs were crowned gods it represented their “birth” as a god and the day needed to be celebrated.

Ancient Greeks borrowed the tradition and decided it would be even better with the addition of a sweet treat. They made moon-shaped pies to honor Artemis, goddess of the moon, and added lit candles to make the cakes shine like the moon. That is where we get birthday candles tradition from.

Since the ingredients to make a cake were expensive, the tradition did not become popular until around the Industrial Revolution when the ingredients started to become more plentiful.

Cholesterol Level Myths

Setting targets for ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels to ward off heart disease and death in those at risk might seem intuitive, but decades of research have failed to show any consistent benefit for this approach, reveals an analysis of the available data, published online in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs are now prescribed to millions of people around the world in line with clinical guidelines.

Those with poor cardiovascular health; those with LDL cholesterol levels of 190 mg/dl or higher; adults with diabetes; and those whose estimated risk is 7.5% or more over the next 10 years, based on various contributory factors, such as age and family history, are all considered to be at moderate to high risk of future cardiovascular disease.

Although lowering LDL cholesterol is an established part of preventive treatment, the approach has never been properly validated, say the researchers. They systematically reviewed all published clinical trials comparing treatment with one of three types of cholesterol lowering drugs (statins; ezetimibe; PCSK9) with usual care or dummy drugs (placebos) for a period of at least a year in at-risk patients.

Each of the 35 included trials was categorized according to whether it met the LDL cholesterol reduction target outlined in the 2018 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines.

The researchers then calculated the number of people who would need to be treated in order to prevent one ‘event’, such as a heart attack/stroke, or death, and the reduction in absolute risk in each study that reported significantly positive results.

Their analysis showed that over three quarters of all the trials reported no positive impact on risk of death and nearly half reported no positive impact on risk of future cardiovascular disease.

And the amount of LDL cholesterol reduction achieved did not correspond to the size of the resulting benefits, with even very small changes in LDL cholesterol sometimes associated with larger reductions in risk of death or cardiovascular ‘events,’ and vice versa.

Thirteen of the clinical trials met the LDL cholesterol reduction target, but only 1 reported a positive impact on risk of death; 5 reported a reduction in the risk of ‘events’.

Among the 22 trials that did not meet the LDL lowering target, four reported a positive impact on risk of death while 14 reported a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events. This level of inconsistency was evident for all three types of drugs.


More McDonald's Facts

 McDonald’s first drive-through opened in 1975 in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The restaurant was located near a military base, and soldiers were not allowed to leave their cars while wearing fatigues.

There are almost more than one-and-half times more McDonald’s locations than hospitals in the United States.

The four McNugget shapes have names; boot, bone, ball, and bell.

McDonald's food is served to more than 70 million people every day, with more than 75 burgers sold every second.

A franchisee is responsible for all the costs of running the restaurant while also paying McDonald’s for rent (up to an average of 10.7 percent of their sales), a $45,000 franchisee fee, and a monthly service fee equal to 4 percent of gross sales.

Add an egg to any burger. Decide what kind of egg you want ( round McMuffin egg, folded eggs, scrambled eggs or scrambled egg whites). You will most likely have to pay somewhere between $1.19 and $1.59 for the egg.

Windex Facts


Windex Facts - Things to never clean with Windex - Leather, “Do not use Windex on leather furniture; its alcohol content can cause permanent discoloration.”

Plexiglass, “I often see homeowners make this big mistake: they clean their art pieces framed in plexiglass with original Windex,” says Maria Brophy, owner of Brophy Art Gallery in San Clemente, California. “Windex with ammonia will ruin the plexiglass.”

Shower doors, “In my experience, Windex does not work well on soap scum buildup on a glass shower door.”

Stainless steel, “I don’t recommend using Windex on stainless steel appliances,” says Carol Smith, owner of Toronto-based Hireamaid. “Their finishes and how they interact with Windex can vary."

TV or computer screens, “Monitors can be damaged by the chemicals in original Windex because they can warp plastics, including the tint on your flat panel screen.”

Copper, “The alcohol contained in Windex will affect the patina of the copper and could cause permanent discoloration."

Granite or marble, “Windex should not be used on granite or marble kitchen tops. Cleaners like Windex can etch or dull the surfaces of natural stone.”

Laminate countertop or glass top stove, It’s important to note that original Windex offers no disinfecting or cleaning properties."

Grout, Want the grout in your kitchen or bathroom to be white and bright? Do not reach for Windex—it will not lighten up the lining between your tiles.

Bathtubs, Bathtubs, showers, and toilets are other areas you will want to scrub down and disinfect and not with the original Windex.