Feb 1, 2014

Kosher Salt Facts

Kosher salt is not kosher, does not come from the Dead Sea, is not necessarily blessed by a rabbi, and may contain additives, although it is usually free from iodine.

Kosher salt refers to any coarse-grain salt that is used to make meat kosher. Kosher salt usually is mineral salt, which may mined anywhere. A rabbi does not "bless" the salt to make it kosher (although Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt in the past has claimed to be packaged under Rabbinical supervision). As with any other salt, some commercial Kosher salt, uses anti-caking additives to make it free-flowing.

Seven Types of Twins

There are seven different types of twins: Identical, Fraternal, Mirror-Image, Polar Body (Half Identical), Mixed Chromosome, Superfecundation, and Superfetation. Some are obvious, such as identical and fraternal.

Mirror-Image twins occur only in identical twins. In approximately 23 percent of identical twins the egg splits later than usual, most often day seven or beyond. The original right half of the egg becomes one individual and the original left half becomes the other. These twins will often have "mirror images" of their features, such as hair whorls that run clockwise in one and counter clockwise in the other, a birthmark on the right shoulder of one and the left shoulder of the other, etc. The determination is made by observation only, and the twins must be identical.  One twin will be right-handed, while the co-twin is left-handed. This may be a partial explanation for the fact that a little over one third of identical twins are left-handed, double the rate in the general population. In extreme cases, all of the internal organs are reversed in one of the twins, with the heart on the right, the liver on the left and the appendix on the left.

Polar Body or Half Identical twins are unusual and rare. The polar body appears when the egg has been developing, even before fertilization. It is a small cell that does not function and will usually degenerate and die. It is thought that in some cases, when the egg is old, the splitting off of the polar body takes place in an abnormal way. It then becomes larger, receives more nourishment, and does not die as it usually does. Instead, it acts as a second egg. The polar body and the egg share identical genes from the mother, but they may then be fertilized by two separate sperm from the father. This will result in twins who share half their genes in common (from the mother) and the other half different (from the two sperm). They share some features of identical twins and some features of fraternal twins and thus are called half-identical twins.

Mixed Chromosomes or Chimerism is thought to occur if two separate sperm fertilize two separate eggs which then fuse, producing individuals with different sets of chromosomes. Some have been identified that have more than one distinct red blood cell type and individuals who are both XX and XY (the sex chromosomes - XX being female and XY being male.) This phenomenon might also be associated with fused placentas causing intermixing of the circulations. It is extremely rare and fewer than twenty-five cases have been identified.

Superfecundation Twins can have different fathers. It happens when the mother ovulates more than one egg and has more than one partner during her fertile period. One egg is fertilized with sperm from one partner, and the other egg from sperm of the second partner. These types of twins are always fraternal or dizygotic.

Superfetation occurs when a women ovulates more than one egg, but the eggs are released at different times, sometimes up to 24 days apart, and they are fertilized when they are released. The resulting twin pregnancy has different conception dates, so the babies may be quite different in size. Days or weeks may separate the births. It is quite an unusual event. This is called interval birth.

Wordology, Smithereen

It is the smallest particle that results from exploding an object.

Venomous or Poisonous

Fish, snakes, and spiders are often described as either being venomous or poisonous. The difference is in the delivery system. Those that are venomous inject their target with their toxin through a bite, sting, or sharp body protrusion. Those that are poisonous have toxins that must be swallowed or inhaled in order to be dangerous.

Venomous animals need to get their toxins beneath the skin and then into the bloodstream to be effective. Some have a venomous bite, but are safe to eat. Many caterpillars have defensive venom glands associated with specialized bristles, known as urticating hairs, which can be lethal to humans. There are about six venomous snake and about seven venomous spider fatalities in the US each year. Venoms are usually not lethal if swallowed.

Poisonous fish can be potentially deadly if eaten. Poisons work mostly through the digestive system and mucous membranes of the body. Some poisons can be transferred easily to humans by merely touching or handling.

The yellow-bellied sea snake has both a venomous bite and poisonous flesh.

There are several types of venom. Neurotoxins attack the brain and the nerves. Animals whose bite results in paralysis use this type of venom. Cytotoxins are a type of venom that causes the most pain, as this venom attacks cells directly, causing them to rupture and release their contents into the body. Hemotoxins attack blood cells directly and most kill red blood cells, which interrupts the flow of oxygen throughout the body. Not all poisonous or venomous creatures are fatal to humans, but they are all discomforting.

Stamp Price Increase

In case you did not notice, the price of a US stamp went up 6.5% to 49 cents on January 27. Slipped past me this past week.

IKEA Naming System

The system was created by dyslexic founder Ingvar Kamprad, who wanted to avoid relying on numbers. Here is the system for naming items:
Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish place names
Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
Bookcase ranges: Occupations
Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers, and bays
Chairs, desks: men's names
Fabrics, curtains: women's names
Garden furniture: Swedish islands
Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
Children's items: mammals, birds, adjectives
Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
There are too many more to mention here, but if you want to learn the rest, you can go to http://lar5.com/ikea/ and peruse the IKEA Dictionary.

Double Meaning Animals

We do not often think of the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, and we ignore how many times we egg someone on by calling them chicken. Here are a few more ways we use animals in discussions.

Someone tried to buffalo me into this.
She double dog dared me
And hounded me for no good reason.
I knew it was a bunch of bull
And was not sheepish in telling her,
But still, I tried to ferret out some information,
Because I could not weasel out of it.
I also could not worm my way out of it.

I was fishing for how to begin this
Without being a leech or trying to sponge off of anyone.

Too often we wolf down food or just plain pig out.
We feel playful and horse around or monkey around.
When we get caught, it is time to pony up.
Children often ape their parents and may parrot what they say.
When someone gooses you, it is time to duck out, but most often they just do it as a lark.

You probably think it is time for me to clam up, but I am not done yet.
I have a few more squirreled away, just to badger you a bit more.
Luckily there were no moles in the crowd to give away my secrets.

Did you ever notice how some people cat around,
Even the coyote ugly ones.
Of course, I am not a social butterfly.

Quit carping, you know I out foxed you.
I led you down the rabbit hole
And snaked my way through another post.
I did not rat anyone out and am still crowing that I managed to finished this
Even if many think the whole thing is for the birds. (OK, so the egg part was a stretch, but it seemed to work.)

New Way to Achieve Goals

Came across an interesting idea this week. If you really want to accomplish something, the normal process is to set a goal by making it a TODO item, such as: 'Lose five pounds in one month'.

An alternative idea is to turn that goal into a question, such as, 'How can I lose five pounds in one month'? The ideas quickly come, because our mind needs to solve the puzzle we posed. People have a built in need to come up with an answer to a question. It has less need to accomplish a goal.

That question, "How can I drink more water?" might spark all kinds of follow-up questions and ideas. What if I connect drinking water to certain triggers, e.g. taking a swig of water every time I check my email? What if I put a desired amount of water in a bottle each day? The various what, if, and how questions may help you arrive at a concrete plan, instead of just a goal.

Free Smile Friday

No words needed