Feb 3, 2020

Pluto and Stirr

If you have a smart TV, or Fire TV, or ROKU, or Android box, or Apple, etc. There are two apps that you need to download, Pluto TV and Stirr. They have a multitude of stations of live TV, live sports, movies, major networks, some local news (depending on location), and more. Hundreds of stations to watch, with many categories, like old TV shows, westerns, mystery, science, horror, etc. They both also have live TV guides that we are all familiar with.
You can download free from Amazon, Google Play, Apple App store, etc. If you have a smart TV and a box, download to both.

The best news is that they are totally free (with ads) just like regular antenna TV. Even after cord cutting, these can provide more entertainment than you are paying for with other services like Apple TV, Fubo, Sling, etc. Save some more money and stay totally entertained. You are welcome!

Incidentally, there are a few new apps that will combine antenna TV guides, Pluto TV guide, and others into one monster TV guide. I will be watching close and let you know when any seem to be viable.

Largest Freshwater Lakes

It depends on your criteria. Freshwater lakes can be ranked by either the volume or surface area. Some of the large lakes by surface area are slightly shallow and do not hold a lot of water.

Lake Superior is the largest lake in North America and also the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and the third-largest by volume. Its surface area is approximately 31,700 square miles. The lake is shared by the province of Ontario in Canada, and the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the US. Lake Superior has a volume of 2,900 cubic miles. The lake measures 350 miles long, 160 miles wide, and 483 feet deep on average. Although Lake Superior is the largest lake by surface area, by volume it ranks 3rd after lakes Baikal and Tanganyika.
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second-largest by volume, and the second-deepest. It is the world's longest freshwater lake.

Lake Baikal is 6th by surface area, but the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world's fresh surface water. Baikal is the world's deepest lake. It is considered among the world's clearest lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake.

Starbucks Hack

A Starbucks tall is 12 ounces; grande is 16; venti is 20 and trenta is 31 ounces. To save a bit, you can order a “short.” A Starbucks short is 8 ounces and is a member of the Starbucks product offering. It is just not on the menu.

Incidentally, refills are free if you order with the Starbucks app or fifty cents for regular coffee or tea (hot or iced).

How Do You Pronounce That

Here are ten words that are pronounced differently, based on where you are from in the US.

This morning staple has several ways of being pronounced. Most people, including New Yorkers pronounce the word as bay-gull, but many Midwesterners pronounce it like bah-gull.

The West Coast and Midwest pronounce the word "caramel" with two syllables like car-ml, the majority of the East Coast pronounce the word as three syllables, pronouncing it car-a-mel.

Could you pass the seer-up? No, but I can pass the sirr-up. Both pronunciations are considered acceptable.

America's Western and Midwestern states and you will find that the "a" in pajamas is pronounced like "jam," but in any Southern or Eastern state and you hear an "a" as in "father."

Inhabitants of the East Coast refer to it as Nev-AH-da (with an "a" like "odd") The correct pronunciation, according to the state's residents is Nev-AD-a (with an "a" like "add").

Contrary to popular belief, it is not pronounced Or-a-gone, but Or-a-gun.

New Orleans
Even locals cannot agree on how to pronounce the name of this city. Some people say New Oar-lins, others say New Or-leans, and a small subset even add an extra syllable to make it New Or-lee-uhns.

The region is named after the Caribs (pronounced kar-ib), the technically accurate pronunciation of the word "Caribbean" is kar-i-bee-in. However, many people (some Caribbean natives included) prefer the pronunciation ka-RIB-ee-in, and both are common.

Most Americans, Floridians included pronounce the first syllable in Florida to rhyme with "sore." However, there are three other ways to pronounce this word: Flow-ri-da, Flah-ri-da, and Flaw-ri-da. For the most part, these alternate pronunciations can be heard in Southern and Northeastern states.

The majority of people pronounce Texas with an [s] sound. According to the Harvard Dialect Survey, just over 5 percent of respondents, primarily people in Northern and Midwestern states say the state's name with a [z] sound.

Firefox Browser Reader

Firefox browser users may not now about a handy little reader addon that sits in the box to the right of where you see the site name you are on. (The icon looks like a page of text).Not every site has it, but the next time you see the little box, click on it.
reader icon
It offers you a page view without all the crazy ads flashing in your face. It also allows you to adjust the type font size and also has a reader that will read the text to you. I find it handy to read text without distractions. Click it again and go back to the original page. You are welcome.

Dyslexia and Lexilight

Dyslexia is a medical condition that affects 8 to 10 percent of people worldwide. It makes the reading experience difficult, because when they read, they see a mirror image appearing on top of the text on the page. A dyslexic person has two dominant eyes that send two different streams of information to the brain simultaneously, creating confusion and mirror images that disturb the reading process.

Lexilight is a device that aims at bringing relief to those who suffer from dyslexia. It corrects the issue by enabling the brain to process the information as if it came from the single dominant eye, using a pulsed and modulated light that reduces the mirroring effect.

The specific light waves emitted by the LEDs in the lamp can be customized to match the vision profile of each user. The device can adjust several LED parameters, including the refresh rate, to drive one eye to take precedence over the other to reduce the mirroring effect.

Happy Friday

If you are going to live, leave a legacy of happiness.

It will nourish generations, especially on Happy Fridays!

Perception of Time

The Roman Empire still existed when Johannes Gutenberg's work on the first printing press was completed in 1440. The Roman Empire was not dissolved until 1453. That was the year when the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, just two years before the mass production of the Gutenberg Bible began.
Queen Elizabeth has seen 13 different American presidents. She was crowned Queen in 1952, during the presidency of Harry Truman, the 33rd president. In addition, she has been alive for 16 presidents, since she was born in 1926, during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge.
The same year as Nintendo was founded; construction of the Eiffel Tower was finished in1889. The year Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo (originally as a playing card company) in Kyoto, Japan was1889.

People were still traveling the Oregon Trail and covered wagons were heading out west in the mid-nineteenth century, with the first major wagon train hitting the trail in 1843. That same year, a Scottish inventor named Alexander Bain received a patent for a machine he developed called an “Electric Printing Telegraph.” The machine was the direct predecessor of the fax machines that were staples of offices everywhere in the late twentieth century - and still are in the medical industry.

Australia is Moving

All of earth's tectonic plates are shifting, but Australia’s is moving so quickly that it requires regular updates to maps and GPS systems. It moved almost 5 feet between 1994 and 2016, according to National Geographic.

Origin of High Heals

High heels are so closely associated with women that one would think they were invented for women, but high heels were created for men.

The first high heels were made for male Persian soldiers back in the 10th century. The heel allowed them to lock their feet in their stirrups (the devices horse riders put their boots in) while riding. This improved their balance and accuracy when they wanted to shoot arrows or attack their opponent with some other weapon while on the move.

High heels reached Europe in the 17th century where they were adopted by the male aristocrats to make them appear taller and more intimidating. In one notable incident, King Louis XIV of France distributed high heeled shoes to the male members of his cabinet in 1673.

Women also began wearing high heel shoes during the 17th century. Women started wearing high heels, because it made their feet appear smaller. At the time, most women wore long skirts that reached their ankles. The high heeled shoes raised the mid and rear parts of their legs so that it was hidden under their skirts. Only the front part of their feet was visible, giving people the impression that they had smaller feet.

Male and female high heels slowly began to diverge as women made their heels thinner. Women also streamlined the front of their shoes so that they appeared smaller and pointy. Meanwhile, men maintained the original high heels with wide heels and flat fronts. Men dumped the high heel fashion during the 18th century, because it had become a feminine item.

Socialism vs. Communism vs. Fascism

People seem to be throwing out these terms as though they are the same thing, but they are not.

Socialism is economic. It believes that the means of making, moving, and trading wealth should be owned or controlled by the government as a whole. In Marxist theory, socialism is the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism.

Communism is economic and one party government. Communism recognizes no religion.
Fascism is economic and government. Fascism is a form of authoritarian characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy. Fascists are against democracy.

None of the three offers more for doing more, so doing the minimum is the result. With all three there is no incentive to do better.
Socialism - from each according to his ability to each according to his contribution.

Communism - from each according to his ability to each according to his need.

Socialism and communism are founded on the idea of collective cooperation, but differ in that communists believe that cooperation should be run by a government made up of one political party (the elite that socialists decry).

Historically, fascist governments tend to be militaristic, and racist. Hitler was a fascist. Many scholars say fascism has historically attacked communism, parliamentary liberalism, and conservatism.

Surveillance Cameras

One billion surveillance cameras will be deployed globally by 2021, according to data compiled by IHS Markit and first reported by The Wall Street Journal. China’s installed base is expected to rise to over 560 million cameras by 2021, representing the largest share of surveillance devices installed globally, with the US rising to around 85 million cameras. When taking populations into account, China will continue to have nearly the same ratio of cameras to citizens as the US.

In 2018, China had 350 million cameras installed for an estimated one camera for every 4.1 people. That compared to one for every 4.6 people in the US where 70 million cameras were installed. Taiwan was third in terms of penetration with one camera for every 5.5 citizens in 2018, followed by the UK and Ireland (1 to 6.5) and Singapore (1 to 7.1).

Winter Weather Words

The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as having strong winds greater than 35 mph, combined with heavy or blowing snow to produce "very poor visibility." Visibility needs to be under a quarter-mile to qualify as a blizzard.
The swirling storms that typically bring heavy snow, rain, and coastal flooding to areas in the Northeast are known as "Nor'easters." The storms moving up the East Coast of the U.S. received their name, because their winds typically blow from the northeast, even though the storm is moving from southeast to northeast. That is because the winds are moving in a counter-clockwise around the area of low pressure.

Winter storms that strengthen rapidly, including nor'easters, are dubbed "bomb cyclones." The term “bombogenesis” comes from mid-latitude storms that intensify rapidly, dropping 24 millibars (atmospheric pressure) over a 24-hour span, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A typical range in millibar change is around 10 to 15 in 24 hours. A bombogenesis storm can be tropical or non-tropical. “The term bombogenesis comes from the merging of two words: bomb and cyclogenesis. All storms are cyclones, and genesis means the creation or beginning.

Sleet is known as a combination of a snowflake and water that is frozen, according to forecasters. One of the types of precipitation people commonly describe as "hail" is actually sleet. Sleet is ice pellets or granulates of frozen rain, and occurs when rain falls through air with temperatures below freezing, according to the NWS. While the raindrop is falling, if it goes through above-freezing air, it turns back into liquid-- until it refreezes before hitting the ground.

Freezing rain is defined as rain that falls and lands on a surface with a temperature that is below freezing, causing it to freeze on contact. The rain that falls and freezes eventually forms a coating of ice or glaze that can make walking or driving extremely difficult. A freeze may or may not be accompanied by a frost, which is the formation of ice crystals that develop when dew gathers in temperatures of at least 32 degrees.
A flash freeze occurs when temperatures drop quickly below 32 degrees and cause a rapid freeze.
When there is a flash freeze, water on untreated surfaces can form "black ice." If the water present is very thin and on a surface such as black asphalt, it can be difficult to see. It can be extremely dangerous and very slippery.

The NWS counts snow showers as snow falling with varying intensity over brief periods, possibly accumulating. Snow squalls, however, are more intense snow showers and the most common. Brief, intense weather is typically accompanied by strong, gusty winds and may produce significant accumulations.

In addition to temperatures on a thermometer, "wind chill" tells us how it feels outside. The NWS defines a wind chill index as the apparent temperature, plus the effect of falling temperatures and the rate of heat loss from a human body, caused by the wind.

"As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person's body at a more accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature," according to the NWS. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to more quickly cool the object to the current air temperature. The object will not cool below the actual air temperature.

Jan 24, 2020

Happy Friday

Happiness does not need rules. It is unfettered by constraint.

I love to be unfettered, especially on a Happy Friday!