Mar 29, 2011

Tally Ho

A few hundred years ago, as the Englishmen were out on a hunt, they would yell out "Tallio, hoix, hark, forward". Which came from a long French phrase not worth spelling out. The cry is meant to encourage the hunting dogs and get them moving, kind of like saying giddyup to a horse. Mercifully, it has been abbreviated to simply "Tally-ho."

Spam a Lot

Have you ever wondered how much spammers make and how many spam emails are sent out? UC San Diego and the International Computer Science Institute wondered too, so they hijacked a botnet to find out. The team intentionally infected eight computers with a middleman virus, software they found that was relaying instructions between a botmaster computer and the network of computers it had secretly turned into spam-sending zombies. That is how many viruses work.

They changed the orders for their own research. Instead of sending people to the botmaster’s website, spam ads instead funneled them to a site built by the team. It looked like an authentic Internet pharmacy, but didn't take orders, it just gave an error message. The team used the info to calculate an estimate of how much money the spammer grossed per day.

Interesting statistics from the spam experiment -  23.8% of messages were actually delivered, of those, .0127% of people responded, and 2.66% went to the site to buy something for an average price $100. In all, they infected just 550 PCs which each sent out an average number of 1.7 million emails per day. The average daily take was about $7,000. Annual take $2.55 million.

Considering that spammers infect much higher numbers of PCs and some mail out many more than 1.7 million messages, and they do it 7 days a week, it begins to quickly add up. If you just did five times that amount, it comes to $12.8 million a year. Not too bad for a few lines of code and letting all the others do your mailing.

What's in a Name

When George Lucas was mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying "R2D2". George liked the way that sounded so much he integrated that into one of his other projects, Star Wars.

Denny's Made Up Name

My buddy, John Chapman sent this LINK to me. Seems Denny's has come up with Baconalia to describe a bunch of new dishes containing bacon, including bacon meatloaf, bacon maple sundae, and more. They call it a bacon love-fest. Mmmm, time for breakfast.

Mar 26, 2011

Happy Friday

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.

I plan to plop down in my favorite chair, have a good belly laugh, and prepare to have a Happy Friday!

Blue Roses

In some cultures, blue roses traditionally signify a mystery, or attaining the impossible, or never ending quest for the impossible. They are believed to be able to grant the owner youth or grant wishes. Historically, this symbolism derives from the rose's meaning in the language of flowers common in Victorian times.

The color blue is also traditionally associated with royal blood, and thus the blue rose can also denote regal majesty and splendor. In Chinese folklore, the blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love.

Due to the absence in nature of blue roses they have come to symbolize mystery and longing to attain the impossible with some cultures believing that the holder of a blue rose will have his wishes granted. In 2004, researchers used genetic modification to create blue pigmented roses, but they were a bit dark and leaned more to lavender. Recent work using cloned pigments from Irises, along with depressing the production of cyanidin has produced a mauve colored flower, with only trace amounts of cyanidin. Genetically modified blue roses are patented and currently being grown in test batches by Suntory Ltd., Japan

Five Ways to Find Someone on the Web

There are a dwindling number of sites that provide name or phone number info for free. Seems we all need to make a living. There are a few interesting sites that provide more information about you than you might like to see. One of them is Type in your name and it spits out a host of information, like pictures, addresses, comments you may have posted on the web, facebook and myspace account info, plus much more. Worth a visit.

Scam callers are an increasing problem but there are a few sites to report the information and you can use them to see if anyone else complained about a particular number. One site Identifycallers lets you post comments and read others comments. and yellowpages,com offer name to number and number to name lookups for people or businesses, just as the paper versions do.

Addictomatic is another site that offers a wealth of information, mainly from blogs, tweets, YouTube, Yahoo,  facebook, etc., but not personal info, such as address, phone.


Barney Kroger used his life’s savings of $372 to open his first store, The Great Western Tea Company, in 1883 in downtown Cincinnati. (Remember A&P, it was the great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. It started in 1869.)

By 1902, Kroger had opened 40 stores and renamed it the Kroger Grocery and Baking Company. Less than 20 years later, the company had grown to more than 5,000 stores nationwide. Kroger’s stores featured bakeries and were among the first to combine meat markets and grocery stores under one roof.

He advertised regularly in newspapers and started a private-label line of goods to sell in his stores, including sauerkraut and pickles made by his mother. Kroger retired in 1928, but the company continued to grow and remained a pioneer in the industry. In 1972, Kroger was reportedly the first grocery retailer to test an electronic scanner. Today, Kroger has sales of more than $70 billion.

Laughter as Medicine

The old adage "laughter is the best medicine" has proved its worth among children coping with pain, according medical experts in the US, who found laughter helped children relax, which had a major impact on how they dealt with and accepted pain.

They believe the healing power of humor can reduce pain and stimulate immune function in children with cancer, Aids, or diabetes and in children receiving organ transplants and bone marrow treatments. Their study reinforces practices adopted by UK hospitals, where laughter is used as a tool to make hospital wards a friendlier place.

Dr Margaret Stuber, who led the US research, said, "We think laughter could be used to help children who are undergoing painful procedures or who suffer from pain-expectation anxiety. In the future, patients watching humorous videos could become a standard component of some medical procedures."

They asked 21 children aged eight to 14 to put their hand into cold water and found the whole group tolerated the temperature longer while watching a funny video.

Those who laughed most remembered less of the pain and hormone tests on their saliva showed their stress levels were lower after laughing.

Dr Stuber said: "Rx Laughter's goal is to ease ill children through some of these medical procedures and minimize the traumatic effects that children experience. The US study, Rx Laughter, is a collaboration between the entertainment industry, pediatrics, and psychiatry.

"In some instances laughter may even reduce the amount of anesthesia necessary."

Distraction therapy

Hospitals in the UK have recognized the power of laughter and some use "clown doctors" to go into children's wards and inject a bit of fun. The team of 10 clown doctors visit about 30,000 children and their families every year at hospitals in London, Manchester and Cambridge.

Humorous videos, especially cartoons, are already used in anesthetic rooms at Manchester Children's Hospital. They have found the videos help the children relax before going into the operating room. Go ahead and have a great laugh today. it's good for you.