Sep 28, 2012

Happy Friday

"He who learns, but does not think, is lost. He who thinks, but does not learn, is in great danger." Confucius

I think I have learned to have a Happy Friday!


Who said there are no new inventions. Here is one to benefit mankind. It is a machine that shoots a popcorn into your mouth when you say the word, "Pop." It uses a sound system to determine your direction and distance and shoots one kernel of popped popcorn directly into your mouth. LINK Not sure if you can actually buy one, but it is fun to watch.

Kitchen Tip

Glue a few magnets under your upper kitchen cabinets to attach your frequently used metal items, like kitchen scissors, mixing spoon, etc. It keeps them handy, but out of site and reduces drawer clutter.

Tooth Patch

The Japanese have developed a tooth-patch made of an ultra thin bio-compatible film made from hydroxyapatitte, the main mineral in tooth enamel. The microscopically thin film can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter. It could also mean an end to sensitive teeth. They are aiming to create artificial enamel.

Researchers can create film 0.00016 inches thick by firing lasers at compressed blocks of hydroxyapatite in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out. These particles fall onto a block of salt which is heated to crystallize them, before the salt stand is dissolved in water. The film is scooped up onto filter paper and dried, after which it is robust enough to be picked up by a pair of tweezers. The sheet has a number of minute holes that allow liquid and air to escape from underneath to prevent forming bubbles when it is applied onto a tooth.

The film is currently transparent, but it is possible to make it white for use in cosmetic dentistry.

It might be five years before the film could be used in practical dental treatment such as covering exposed dentin, the sensitive layer underneath enamel, but it could be used cosmetically within three years. The technology is currently patented in Japan and South Korea and applications have been made in the United States, Europe, and China.

Origin of Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk was not just a clever ploy built up by a marketing team as a a way to sell more milk to children. In fact, Sir Hans Sloane first created chocolate milk over 350 years ago. He had tasted chocolate while in the West Indies, but said it made him nauseous, so he added milk and sugar to make it more appealing. By 1700, people would often go to 'chocolate houses' instead of coffee houses, where they could choose from a range of different chocolate milk mixes.

Farenheit Scale

Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736). In 1717, Fahrenheit became a glassblower, making barometers, altimeters, and thermometers. After 1718 he was a lecturer in chemistry. At that time, temperature scales were not standardized and everybody made up their own scale. He originally copied another thermometer, but adjusted his scale so that the melting point of ice would be 32 degrees, body temperature 96 degrees, and water boil at about 212 degrees. 180 degrees made for even spacing of his scale.

Other scientists later refined it to make the freezing point of water exactly 32 °F, and the boiling point exactly 212 °F. That is how normal human oral body temperature became 98.6°.

The Fahrenheit scale was replaced by the Celsius scale in most countries during the 1960s and 1970s when converting to metrics. Fahrenheit remains the official scale of the United States, Cayman Islands, Belize (by Guatemala), Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Scientists use Celsius in all countries.

The Fahrenheit and Celsius scales intersect at −40° (−40 °F and −40 °C represent the same temperature).

Sep 26, 2012

Tips for Separating Eggs

Here is a little video that shows two easy ways to separate eggs without trouble. Don't worry if you do not understand Chinese, you can just watch. LINK  The second way, with a bottle is a also good way to store the yolks. Just put the cap back on the bottle and put back in the refrigerator.

Cheap Tablets

Fry's now sells a 7 inch tablet for $56. It has a bunch of models under a hundred dollars. Prices are dropping faster than anyone could imagine. At that price they become an impulse buy. It has mail, front camera, internet, and uses Wifi. Toys R Us is even selling a tablet specifically for children.

The name Wifi is not an acronym, it is just a trademark term with no meaning. Some erroneously think it means wireless fidelity, because it sounds like the old HiFi term.

O. Henry

In September, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of O. Henry, born as William Sidney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina. At age three, his mother died of consumption, now called tuberculosis, and he was raised by his physician father and maternal grandmother.

Porter spent his first twenty years in Greensboro with a love of reading and a talent for sketching. After high school, he became a licensed pharmacist and worked briefly in his uncle's drug store. At age 20, worried about a chronic cough that might develop into tuberculosis so he moved to Texas.

Porter traveled with Dr. James K. Hall to Texas in 1882, hoping that a change of air would help alleviate a persistent cough he had developed. He took up residence on the sheep ranch of Richard Hall, James' son and helped out as a shepherd, ranch hand, cook and baby-sitter.

Porter's health did improve and he traveled with Richard to Austin in 1884, where he decided to remain and was welcomed into the home of the Harrells, who were friends of Richard's. Porter took a number of different jobs over the next several years, first as pharmacist then as a draftsman, bank teller, and journalist. He also began writing as a sideline.

During the next several years, he became a well-known member of the social scene as a result of his involvement in musical and theater groups. He played guitar and mandolin and had a great singing voice. It was around this time that he also began to dream up plots for short stories and imagine an assortment of characters, often brought to life in his drawings.

By 1891, while devoting all his spare time to a self-published magazine 'The Rolling Stone', he took a job as a teller and bookkeeper at the First National Bank of Austin. In 1894, be was abruptly fired for embezzling funds, although no charges were filed. He moved to Houston, where his pieces in The Rolling Stone helped land him a job as a writer for The Houston Post.

Two years later, after a federal audit of the Austin bank, formal embezzlement charges were brought against him. The day before his trial, he fled to New Orleans and then to Honduras. A year later, after learning that his wife Athol was dying, he returned to Austin and surrendered to authorities.

In 1898, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. While serving his sentence at Ohio Penitentiary, Porter worked as a night druggist in the prison hospital, given a room in the hospital wing, and even provided with access to a typewriter to continue his writing efforts.

He had fourteen stories published in national magazines under various pseudonyms while he was in prison, but became best known as "O. Henry." When asked what the O stood for, he said, "O stands for Olivier, the French for Oliver."

He was released from prison after serving three years and moved to Manhattan, where he lived until his premature death at age 47 in 1910. He died of cirrhosis of the liver, complications of diabetes, and an enlarged heart. During the last decade of his life, he wrote nearly 400 short stories.

In an interesting twist, like many of his stories, O. Henry Hall in Austin, Texas is named for him and it previously served as the federal courthouse in which he was convicted of embezzlement.