Aug 26, 2016

Happy Friday

Sharing happiness is like shining a floodlight on your soul.

I always open my soul to friends when sharing a Happy Friday!

Mr. Hyde National Burger Day

Yesterday, 25 August was the fourth annual National Burger Day in the UK (celebrated on last Thursday in August). It was launched by Mr. Hyde, a daily email service for men covering style, culture, film and places to eat meat. It began three years ago in a fit of mild indignation that there was not a National Burger Day in the UK, but were two in the US. The event set out to right that wrong.

During 2015 there were 475 restaurants across England, Scotland, and Wales giving 20% discounts for burgers on the day. This year's events were bigger and better. As of last month, over 925 restaurants signed up nationwide to celebrate the big day. Nice to see our English cousins enjoy a good, wet, juicy burger almost as much as we do.

August Facts

In common years no other month starts on the same day of the week as August, except during leap years when February starts on the same day. August ends on the same day of the week as November every year.
What we think of as tumbleweeds are actually Russian thistle, and they first showed up in the US in a shipment of flax-seed that was sent to South Dakota. A few years later, they were found all over the West, from California and North into Canada.

Single plants can get as large as a small car and bear up to 250,000 seeds at once, making the invasive species a massive problem that was already getting the attention of the US Department of Agriculture in 1880.

Since tumbleweeds can thrive with little water, they were capable of taking over towns and driving people from their homes as they spread across the wide expanse of the West.

Pony Express Facts

The Pony Express (The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express) only lasted for 18 months and ended in October 1861 with the development of the telegraph. Since it was so expensive to send mail, around $5 per ounce, it was generally reserved for businesses and official correspondence rather than personal mail. Riders were responsible for carrying the mail the relatively short distance of about 32 kilometers (20 mi), and most riders were boys.

Barometers and Smartphones

Weather predictions rely on sensors on the ground that report data, such as barometric pressure, which can help scientists determine when the weather is about to change. These sensors are also used to help local forecasters predict the weather.

During the last five years, the number of pressure sensors in the world has exploded, because Smartphone manufacturers have started putting them in Smartphones. The purpose is to help determine a device’s altitude for location tracking. Samsung’s Galaxy Smartphones have barometers built-in since 2011, and the feature came to Apple’s iPhone during 2014.

Now, many of the almost three billion Smartphones in the world have one. Developers and weather forecasters have been talking about using smartphone sensors for years, but the phone operating systems do not make available the pressure readings taken by their Smartphones.

Recently, a popular weather app called Dark Sky introduced an opt-in feature that automatically takes barometric pressure readings. It gets more than a million pressure sensor reports a day.

Dark Sky has several different ways to inform about important weather conditions in the exact spot you are standing with your phone. Precise down-to-the-minute notifications alerts when rain or snow is about to start. Severe weather alerts inform of dangerous conditions, and more. It even has detailed maps. LINK

Another opt-in app, WeatherSignal, takes automatic readings and sends data to a number of academic partners for processing. Organizers are hoping for a commercial piece in the near future.

It may be time we begin to help the weathermen, rather than curse their ignorance.

Windows 10 Touchpad Tips

Windows 10 has some awesome new Touchpad gestures that should make navigating the OS a lot easier. There's pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scroll, three-finger multitasking, and more. Below, gesture for zoom in and zoom out - squeeze fingers together or apart.

Some of these gestures are customizable as well, go to Settings > Devices > Mouse and Touchpad. You can change the actions of finger taps, adjust scrolling, right click, and more.


WikiLeaks stays in the news and has for many years, but few of my friends have actually visited the website, or even know it exists. It is described as an international non-profit, journalistic organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. The published editorial policy says it accepts only documents that are "of political, diplomatic, historical, or ethical interest" and excludes "material that is already publicly available." Its website was initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organization Sunshine Press. It no longer uses the 'wiki' method of user input and also is not related to Wikipedia.

WikiLeaks relies on volunteers and describes its founders as a mixture of Asian dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. As of June 2009, the website had more than 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board, including Julian Assange and seven other people. It is entirely run on donations. Lawyers around the world provide pro bono assistance as needed.

Its leader, Julian Assange described himself in a private conversation as "the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest." LINK

Charlie Chaplin Music

Have written about his many talents before, but keep finding more interesting info about him. Charlie Chaplin composed the music for almost all of his films. In fact, he was the only person to write, produce, direct, compose, conduct, and act in his movies. Charlie was never classically trained in music, but played a number of instruments. He even sang LINK.

Customarily in scoring silent pictures the Wagnerian Leitmotiv system, a distinctive musical theme associated with a character and idea. He wrote the ninety five musical cues in "City Lights" and the passages where the music follows or mimics the action in what is generally known as “mickey-mousing” from its use in the scoring of animated cartoons.

Here are a few of his songs: "Smile", "Eternally", "Terry's Theme", "Limelight", "This is My Song", "Oh that Cello", "There’s Always Someone You Can’t Forget", "Sing a Song”, “With you, Dear, in Bombay”, "Falling Star",  “A Paris Boulevard”, “Tango Bitterness”, and “Rumba”.

A few of his songs have become classics, top ten hits, and endure long after his death on Christmas Day, 1977 (He was born in 1899). Have included a few links below for a brief musical interlude.

"Smile" was made famous by Nat King Cole  LINK and was also covered by Michael Jackson, Timi Yuro, and Tony Bennett.

"Eternally" was covered by many, including Placido Domingo, Englebert Humperdink, Jerry Vale, Vic Damone, and Sarah Vaughn LINK.

"This is My Song" covered, among others by Petula Clark LINK and Judith Durham LINK.