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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Phone Scams

The EveryCaller website allows you to look up unknown callers and, if you want, block calls and text messages...

EveryCaller is a free service to help consumers identify unknown callers and stop unwanted telephone calls. Most American's receive some form of unwanted telephone call on a regular basis, telemarketing, fraud and debt collectors. This site provides a forum for users to find out who's calling and to help put a stop to those calls. To find out who called just type in the telephone number that showed up on your caller ID in the search box and information about who possibly could be calling from that number will be displayed, including a list of user comments displayed which contain information about the person or company calling from that number. You can leave your comment if you have unique information to add and make available to others. Download their mobile app Call Control on Google Play App Store for $7.99. According to ScamAdvisor this site is rated: High Trust Rating. This Site Looks Safe To use.

For complete details on this site see the letter to the Federal Communications Commission HERE.

It is also recommended you register your phone number on the Federal government's  Do Not Call Registry. For whatever good is might do, you can also file a complaint on the same site.

Additional Sites of Interest: 
Scambusters 
Forbes Magazine article,Don't Return Calls From These Area Codes -- It's A Scam! 
US Government  - Common Scams and Frauds 
Federal Communications Commission - One Ring Wireless Phone Scam - Some wireless consumers are receiving calls from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that appear to be domestic, but are actually associated with international pay-per-call phone numbers.    
     These calls often disconnect after one ring, not giving the consumer time to answer the call and tempting them to return the call. If you receive a call like this and do not recognize the number of the incoming call, do not return the call. If you return the phone call, you may be connected to an international hotline than can charge a fee just for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees if they can keep you on the phone. These charges may show up on your bill as premium services.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tim Storms, Elephants, Submarines and Sound

     The lowest vocal note produced by a male is G -7 (0.189 Hz) and was achieved by Tim Storms, bass singer for the vocal group Pierce Arrow, at Citywalk Studios in Branson, Missouri on 30 March 2012. Storms was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in Waterloo, Indiana and began his singing career in Christian music shortly after graduating. His record was a remarkable 8 octaves below the lowest G on a piano. As well as holding the record for the lowest note produced by a human, Storms also has the widest vocal range, with the incredible ability to hit notes across ten octaves. 
     The record was witnessed by two college music professors and an acoustician. The frequency output of his voice was measured using a low frequency microphone, precision sound analyzer and laptop for post analysis. 
     These notes are so low they can only be heard by elephants and are so low that even Storms himself cannot hear them. He says he can feel them, explaining,"I kind of hear them in my head as far as the sound my vocal chords are making but, as far as the frequencies, it's something more or less that I feel." 

     Elephants are fascinating creatures. Their eyes are about 3.8 cm (1.5 in.) in diameter, but their vision is only moderate. Elephants navigate primarily orienting with the trunk, as opposed to sight. There have been documented occurrences of elephant herds being led by a blind member. The complete lack of vision did not hinder the blind member’s ability to fulfill its leadership role. 
     Elephants have good hearing though and are able to detect sounds as low as 14 to 16 hz (human low range: 20 hz) and as high as 12,000 hz (human high range: 20,000). Elephants frequently use infrasonic sounds, which are sounds emitted below the human hearing range, in long—distance communication. Research has shown that elephants are capable of recognizing calls and voices of particular individuals from 1 to 1.5 km (0.6-0.9 mi.) away. Their ears are used to funnel in sound waves from the environment, contributing to its keen sense of hearing. 
     In general, animals with large heads and wide-set ears are better adapted for hearing lower frequency sounds because the larger skull encompasses longer ear canals, wider tympanic membranes and larger middle ears. 
     Elephants also have a keen sense of smell, detecting water sources up to 19.2 km (12 mi.) away. Their sense of smell is in constant use, with the trunks moving back and forth, detecting new scents and information. Once a scent is drawn in through thee nostrils, there is a series of seven olfactory turbinals, located in the nasal cavity. Turbinals are curls of bone that have millions of olfactory receptor cells associated with them. 
     If smelling does not provide enough information, elephants may collect the substance with the trunk. Then the chemical information is passed on to its Jacobson’s organ, a chemical—detection unit located in the soft tissue of the upper palate (roof of the mouth). The organ is attached to the oral/nasal cavities and primarily functions to detect the estrus (reproductive) status of a female. This behavior is known as the flehmen response and is characterized by the elephant curling its trunk into its mouth. 
     Elephants are very tactile in nature, using all parts of their body to interact with one another in all forms of behavior, including parental, playful, aggressive, defensive, exploratory, sexual, and anti-predator. 
     The trunk is one of the most tactile appendages elephants have. It is used to stroke, touch, explore, caress, or reassure in care—taking and may also be used to slap or block in defense or dominance situations. The trunk is so sensitive to touch that it is capable of perceiving pressure differences as light 0.25 mm (0.01 in.) in depth, which is equivalent to a light brush against the skin. The strength of an elephant’s trunk is capable of lifting weights in excess of 250 kg (550 lb.). 
     Elephant trunks have extensive sensory motor cells, called pacinian corpuscles, that enable them to have a strong sense of touch. The pacinian corpuscles are composed of concentric membranes of connective tissue, similar to the layers of an onion. Between each layer of connective tissue is a slimy gel. When a movement or vibration is detected, the pressure deforms the gel and connective tissue layers of the pacinian corpuscles. This stimulates nerve endings and sends a signal to the brain. Pacinian corpuscles are also found in the soles of elephant feet, assisting in the detection of seismic vibrations of the Earth.
     Many animals including elephants survived the Asian tsunami in 2004. It is thought these animals had advanced warning to the tsunami due to their detection of seismic vibrations. The tsunami’s approaching vibrations were detected by the pacinian corpuscles in the elephant’s feet and alerted them to the approaching storm. 

     Speaking of low frequency sounds, communication with submarines is difficult because radio waves do not travel well through good electrical conductors like salt water. The obvious solution is to surface and raise an antenna above the sea level, then use ordinary radio transmissions. However, a submarine is most vulnerable when on the surface. Early submarines mostly traveled on the surface, diving mainly to evade immediate threats because of their limited underwater speed and endurance. 
     During the Cold War, however, nuclear-powered submarines were developed that could stay submerged for months. To communicate with submerged submarines several techniques are used. Q and A about life on a submarine (U.S. Navy)  Global Security's article on submarine communications simply explained.

Here is a LINK to a fascinating site describing the world of sound, including communicating underwater.  


Deep secret – secure submarine communication on a quantum level

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All About Tomatoes

     While searching for why I have a lot of green tomatoes on the plants, but they are not ripening, I discovered this site that tells you just about everything you would ever want to know about them.
      As for my problem, it seems that this is about the time each year (mid to late summer) a lot of gardeners get frustrated because their tomatoes won't ripen. They’re big and green on the vine, but they just sit there!
      Apparently there is nothing’s wrong. Under normal conditions it takes about 50 days until a tomato reaches full maturity. 
     They are doing several things all at the same time: producing and ripening fruit, putting on new growth, developing root systems and making components for color and flavor.
      When conditions are ideal (favorable climate, plenty of spring showers and moderate summer temperatures) the plants thrive and the tomatoes ripen quickly. But, when the weather quickly becomes hot and dry the plants are faced with demands that change how their energy is distributed.
      The key starts with sufficient leaf surface. When plants become laden with tomatoes additional foliage surface area is needed to keep up with these increased demands so even though tomatoes reach full size in about 25 days, they don't completely ripen until sufficient compounds are present to give them the color and taste we are looking for.
      Air temperatures above 85 degrees will slow down ripening because above that tomatoes stop making carotene and lycopene pigments, two of the most important. Also, the temperature below the ground is important. The roots require soil temperatures below 80 degrees for optimal growth and if the below ground temperature is higher than that, more of the plant's energy is directed to developing a deeper root system. This is another factor that contributes slow ripening.
      One tempting “solution” is to add more fertilizer, but that's a BAD idea. It'll exacerbate the problem by forcing the plants into a growth mode.
      I am assured that they’ll adjust in due time. And, since my plants have a lot of green tomatoes, the recommendation is that I pick some of them so there is less demands on the plants. And...be patient.  Being patient is the hard part because, now that my cilantro is ready, I'm ready for some home made salsa.

Arm Chair Travels



  The Terminal Tower, Cleveland, Ohio
Google street view

  Some people are unable to travel because of a lack money, lack of time or illness or maybe they just don't want to or it could be a variety of other reasons. It's a poor substitute, but you can always take a leisurely drive on Google Maps. 
     Armchair travel without the expense, the worry about getting lost, mugged, sick from the strange foo, etc. can be the way to kill a little time and see some interesting site. 
     Maybe you want to “visit” Stonehenge. the Canadian Rockies or the Grand Canyon, New York City, London or Paris, you can. Or, maybe you want to take a boat ride down the Amazon. You can do that HERE. They also have shots of other places like Bali, Prague, the Pyramids of Giza and more. 
      Google street recordings have caused controversy because some residents have complained they invaded their privacy and Germany, India and Austria have all sought bans. But, Google is careful to blur out things like addresses, faces and license plate numbers, so personally, I don't see a problem. In any case, it can be an enjoyable way to visit remote places from home. 
      Here's a fantastic Site: Google Earth Tours - Take flights over entire metropolitan areas in 3D - See 3D trees in parks, neighborhoods, and forests - Travel back in time with historical imagery - Dive to new depths in the ocean - Explore 3D tours of buildings, cities and famous landmarks – Explore Mars – many more!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wild Game Recipes

     Backwoods Bound is a website where you can learn about outdoor activities, find information and products you need to plan outdoor adventures and discover some great tasting recipes for some usual stuff like chicken and fish plus some exotic animals. Alligator, Armadillo, Bear, Beaver, Deer, Dove, Duck, Elk, Frog, Goose, Moose, Pheasant, Rabbit, Raccoon, Snake, Turtle and more. 
     Just Game Recipes has over 2,900 recipes for just about every wild animal you can think of from Alligators to Wild Turkey. 
      According to the Mayo Clinic, in general, wild game is leaner than domesticated animals, because animals in the wild are typically more active. In comparison to lean cuts of beef and pork, game meat has about one-third fewer calories and quite a bit less saturated and total fat. Since it’s wild, the animal is not being exposed to medications or antibiotics. Its diet is not forced or prescribed – they just eat what is available in nature. For the meat itself, the benefits are those of any grass-fed, lean cut. 
     However, with game there are a few health-related precautions to keep in mind: Chronic wasting disease is similar to mad cow disease, CWD is found in deer and elk. While human infection is a potential concern, there have been no verified cases. To minimize risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that hunters who harvest deer or elk from known CWD-positive areas consider having the animal tested for CWD before consuming the meat. A number of studies have demonstrated that lead ammunition can cause lead contamination of game. Whether this is a concern has yet to be determined. However, the CDC recommends discarding portions of game that contain lead bullet fragments or using non-lead ammunition.      Food Safety For Wild Game

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PC World's Recommended FREE Programs

These are the programs you want to install on a new PC first. Visit PC World for download.

Chrome, which won PCWorld’s browser showdown
Ninite makes loading up a new computer a breeze. Simply head to the Ninite website, select which free software you’d like to install on your PC—it offers dozens of options, including many of the programs named here—and click Get Installer to receive a single, custom .exe file containing the installers for those programs. Run the executable, and Ninite installs all of them in turn, and it automatically declines the offers for bundled bloatware so many free apps try to sneak in.
AVG AntiVirus Free
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
PC Decrapifier - Now that you’ve installed security software to protect your PC from invasion, it’s time to clean all the preinstalled junk off your computer. Most boxed PCs come chock-full of bloatware intended to make dough for the PC makers, and you probably don’t need (or want) most of it clogging up your system resources.
Benchmarking and stress-testing software
Unlocker - What if Windows refuses to uninstall some software and tosses up the dreaded ‘Program is in use’ message? Unlocker can neutralize pesky active processes, leaving programs open to slaughter. Simply right-click the software you want to uninstall, select Unlocker from the context menu, and then unlock or kill ’em all. Just be mindful during the installation process: Unlocker tries to install lots of bloatware on your PC
Recuva - What if you accidentally deleted a program or file that you desperately need to get back? Recuva’s deleted-file recovery skills can usually save your bacon as long as you wiped your data using standard means rather than a “file shredder”-style tool.
Ccleaner
Secunia PSI - Programs that aren’t up-to-date are programs with gaping security holes and missing features. Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector automatically keeps your software patched, or—if it’s unable to update an app for some reason—notifying you when updates are available.
A Start-menu replacement
ModernMix - Many of Windows 8’s native programs are modern-style apps, which practically forces you to take a jaunt into the Start screen from time to time. That is, unless you have Stardock’s stellar ModernMix, a $5 utility that opens modern apps in desktop windows. A word of warning: As with Start menu replacement software, improvements in Windows 10 will render ModernMix useless.
VLC Media Player - Windows 8 has one other prickly problem: Unlike Windows 7, it’s incapable of playing DVDs out of the box. Your PC might have a DVD-playing program installed if you bought a boxed system, but if not, the simply wonderful VLC media player can play your flicks (and music, and podcats, and…) for free. It can even play (some) Blu-ray discs with a little fiddling.
Paint.net
Sumatra PDF - Adobe Reader is the go-to PDF reader, but it’s clunky, constantly updating, and frequently targeted by malware peddlers. If you need only basic functionality, go with Sumatra PDF instead.
CutePDF - Want to transform a doc or website or image or just about anything else into a PDF? Turn to CutePDF, a freebie that installs as a printer driver and lets you transmogrify things into PDFs via the standard File > Print interface.
Wizmouse - This small program fixes a major irritation in Windows. If you hover your mouse cursor over a window in Windows and try to use the scroll wheel, nothing happens if the program isn't the currently selected app. That's a headache if you're using several programs simultaneously in numerous smaller windows. Just install WizMouse and you'll be able to scroll through any inactive window you hover your mouse over.
iTunes or Spotify - The iTunes Windows client notoriously sucks, but it gets the job done—and that job includes giving you access to a vast universe of premium music downloads and keeping your iPhone’s music library synced with your PC. Spotify, meanwhile, is an all-you-can-eat streaming service with millions of top-tier tunes available, all for free if you don’t mind listening to a few ads.
A password manager
Cloud storage
A productivity suite - few PCs ship with a productivity suite installed. Microsoft’s legendary Office is great but you don’t have to drop big dollars on Office. OpenOffice and LibreOffice (my personal choice) are free-and-open-source options.
Steam - Valve’s outstanding PC game marketplace, Steam, has an in-home streaming feature, which you can use to transform any PC into a gaming PC (as long as you have a true gaming PC in your house, that is).

U.S. Military Veteran Discounts

  
     
     A few weeks back while in the Verizon store I was wearing a Marine Corps baseball cap and the clerk asked if I was a veteran and that's when I discovered that by bringing in a copy of my DD-214 I could get a discount on my phone bill. It wasn't much, about $5.00 a month, but five dollars is five dollars and it's better to have it in my pocket than put it in theirs. As it turns out, there are quite a few places that offer discounts to active duty personnel, retirees and veterans, but you usually have to ask.
      VeteransAdvantage is a military benefits program for national brand-name companies that want to honor and thank those who serve our country with military savings. Their partner companies offer exclusive military offers redeemed with the VetRewards Card.
Veterans Advantage members never need to show or make copies of their government issued military IDs. Members securely redeem their savings with the VetRewards Card ID from Veterans Advantage. Veterans Advantage issues the VetRewards Card that verifies eligibility for military discounts at the point of sale, online or by phone.
      U.S. Active Duty, Retired Military, Military Veterans, National Guard and Reserve, both former and currently serving, from all branches and periods of service, including peacetime, are eligible to enroll in Veterans Advantage. Family members may enroll in their own Member Plan and receive full member benefits. Family members must be the 'next of kin' spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter of a current or former military service person (living or deceased).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Is That Website Safe?

One common misconception is that only high-traffic, popular websites are targeted. From personal experience I can tell you that's NOT true! A few years ago when I started my chess blog and I was only getting about a hundred hits a week the site got hacked or something and when you went to it, you got re-directed to a bunch of pay per click shopping sites. There was nothing I could do about it and because it was a free Blogger blog, their customer service was no help. In fact my e-mails went unanswered; you get what you pay for. I ended up having to delete the blog and start over.
   Anyway, the point is, even little guys are susceptible to attack, so how can you be sure a site you want to visit is safe? Or that the site itself isn't a scam? 



     The Sucuri sitecheck scanner allows you to simply enter a URL (example: checkthis site.net) and the Sucuri SiteCheck scanner will check the website for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, and out-of-date software. It also scans the pages linked off of that page and then the results indicate whether the site has been blacklisted by Google Safe Browsing, Norton Safe Web, or Phish tank. It also lets you know whether malware, malicious javascript, or malicious iFrames were detected. Finally, it tests for drive-by-downloads (downloads that happen without your knowledge or intent), anomalies, Internet Explorer-only attacks, suspicious redirections, and spam. The service is free.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gatorade

    Sports drinks are often touted as the ideal way to prevent dehydration. Many claim to hydrate the body “better” than water and many contain a host of novel ingredients including vitamins, herbs and caffeine, which claim to boost athletic performance. Sports drinks have been called adult Kool-Aid with some sodium and, in some instances, potassium added. Many commercial sports drinks are flavored (and colored) with chemicals and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, a simple sugar that can cause fluctuations in blood sugar. The most common complaints with sports drinks is stomach upset.
     Electrolytes—not sugar—support hydration to the cellular level and with sports drinks you will max out on sugar before you’re adequately hydrated. Supposedly, Gatorade and similar drinks are an electrolyte that helps replace water lost by perspiration. Too much salt in your system causes your blood pressure to raise. If you are not perspiring a lot, like athletes do, then you could be building up compounds inside your body faster than they can be expelled without sweating. 
     Too much anything can harm your body. People who drink too much plain water have gotten sick due to build up of excess water in their bodies. Then there is the extra sugar which is needed if you are active but not needed if you are a coach potato. 
     Gatorade, in moderation, offers a healthy option if you use it for your sports nutrition needs. However, dietary choices are especially important if you are concerned about your blood pressure -- and too much Gatorade potentially leads to high blood pressure. Read more…

Do you really need it? Read article... 

 "If you are drinking Gatorade while watching TV or working on the computer, you're just intoxicating yourself with salt." Read more…

Side Effects: 

Weight gain: There are around fifty calories for every eight ounce of Gatorade. Active people may be able to burn these calories however, those who live a sedentary lifestyle should refrain from taking Gatorade since it may lead to weight gain. 

Increase in blood pressure: Consuming one bottle of Gatorade may mean that you had consumed eight hundred milligrams of sodium or around thirty three percent of your daily recommended intake. Drinking Gatorade while eating salty foods may cause an increase in your blood pressure. 

Too much sugar: One regular sized of Gatorade may contain fifty six grams of sugar. Replacing the lost sugars maybe a good idea however, taking too much sugar may also be harmful to your cells. People suffering with diabetics should monitor their sugar level while taking Gatorade. Some diabetic people may suffer with sudden increase of glucose after taking half bottle of Gatorade while others may have several bottles before their glucose spikes. 

Hyperkalemia: Taking one bottle of Gatorade may provide thirty milligrams of potassium. However, if you are taking potassium supplements, try to avoid Gatorade because you are at risk of developing hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a condition that occurs when there is too much potassium in your body. People suffering with kidney disorder especially kidney failure are at high risk of developing hyperkalemia. 

Coping with Heat & Humidity as We Age...Exposure to heat greater than 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humid weather while performing vigorous exercise -- especially while in the sun -- is susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Other factors that make a person susceptible to heat illness include older age, heart disease, other chronic diseases, extreme exercise, sunburn, obesity, sleep deprivation, alcoholism and certain medications. Patients taking beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, aspirin and diuretics are predisposed to heat disorders. Gatorade can be helpful in those cases. Read article…

Low Potassium…Read article...

Low Potassium symptoms

How to Restore Potassium Levels With Gatorade...Potassium is a mineral that the body needs to function properly. Because it is electrically charged, potassium can be transported in and out of cells to change their electrical charge. For some cells, such as muscles and nerves, this proves necessary for them to function properly. You lose potassium from your body in a variety of ways, such as by sweating, and you can take Gatorade to replenish your potassium levels. Read article…

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Amazon Offers Trade-ins




The Amazon Trade-In Program allows customers to receive an Amazon Gift Card in exchange for over a million eligible items including DVDs, CDs, video games, electronics, and books. The process is easy and convenient with free shipping, an immediate offer, and no required registration or listing. In general, all items must be in at least acceptable condition and the item you wish to trade in must match the exact version displayed in the Trade-In search results or on the product page on Amazon.com.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Clickjacking!

This morning on Facebook I was greeted with this post: 



Clicking on the link could lead to disaster. It's an old trick that's been around for a while, but it never fails to catch the unwary!

Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking a Web user into clicking on something different from what the user perceives they are clicking on, thus potentially revealing confidential information or taking control of their computer while clicking on seemingly innocuous web pages. A clickjack takes the form of embedded code or a script that can execute without the user's knowledge, such as clicking on a button that appears to perform another function.  

What it is 
About Clickjacking on Facebook PC Magazine article

ZoneAlarm – Clickjacking on Facebook

Brain Food

    New research has found that New Zealand black currants may help keep us mentally young and agile. The study’s findings could have potential in managing the mental decline associated with aging, or helping people with brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or depression, according to scientists at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research. Read the article
     You might also want to pay a visit to the Institute for Plant and Food Research site. The interests of the institute are based in horticulture, arable and seafood research, specifically in the areas of sustainable production, bioprotection, elite genetics & intelligent breeding, food and health science and biomaterials. 

10 Foods to Boost Your Brain Power 
Brain Food is Real 
6 Snacks that are good for the mind. Good news! Dark chocolate is on the list! 
Food Porn

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tux Paint – Free Drawing Program for Kids




This free program is a multi-platform kid's drawing program that works on Mac OS X (10.4 through 10.9), Windows (Windows95 through Windows 8), Linux and other systems. It has a simple interface that's suitable for kids age 3 – 12. They don't need any knowledge of sizes (e.g. pixels or inches) and it saves their drawings as thumbnails so no knowledge of drawing types (bitmap, jpeg, etc.) are needed. Additionally, size and layout are kept simple. The features are actually considerable so older kids can get quite creative with brush sizes, rubber stamps, filpping, rotating, shapes, etc. Recommended. Download


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How to Butcher and Cook a Rat...PLUS...

...other fun rat facts.


     What animal can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter? What animal has teeth so sharp they can grind through cinder block, wire or even glass? If you guessed the rat, you’re right. These rodents are smart and agile. 

  • They are usually about 10 to 14 inches long, including their tails. 
  • Rats eat almost anything. They like meat, grain, seeds, fruit and vegetables. 
  • Norway rats are big and aggressive. They fight with each other and will even attack humans. Rats have sharp teeth that constantly grow. They chew on wood to keep the teeth short and sharp. 
  • Pet rats live about 3 years. 
  • Rats can have up to 20 babies at once. 
  • Rats have a good memory and sense of taste. They can recognize and remember the taste of rat poison. 
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size. Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid rodent, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is smaller, the name includes the term mouse. The muroid family is broad and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific.  

Rats are edible! They are available street food in some Southeast Asian countries, but rodents have fallen out of favor in most Western cuisines, relegated to mere vermin. So how would you go about cooking a rat if you'd never tried it before? Here's how... We Ate Rat Salad...Includes details on to butcher and cook a rat.

Rat Facts:
Wikipedia 
Ten Worst Cities in the World for Rats 
Rat Behavior and Biology 
Rat Management 
Equador's Rat Battle 
Rat Facts 
17 Loveable Facts About Rats