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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Coffee

     Coffee is prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of "berries" from the Coffea plant. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The two most commonly grown are arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. 
     Once ripe, coffee beans are picked, processed, and dried. Green (unroasted) coffee beans are one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Once traded, the beans are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee. 
     The bean is a seed of the coffee plant; it is the pit inside the red or purple fruit often referred to as a cherry. Even though they are seeds, they are referred to as 'beans' because of their resemblance to true beans. The fruits - coffee cherries or coffee berries - most commonly contain two stones with their flat sides together. 
     Coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals. Caffeine is the major compound in coffee and it is a mild central nervous system stimulant. A typical cup of coffee provides approximately 80 – 100mg caffeine and extensive research has shown some beneficial effects of caffeine in the diet. In some individuals, however, there can be adverse effects, such as disturbed sleep patterns or gastric upset. 
     The effect of coffee on human health has been a subject of many studies; however, results have varied in terms of coffee's relative benefit. The majority of recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults. 
     According to Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic, coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills - from stunting your growth to claims that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all and, get this, the health benefits outweigh the risks. 
     Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Most studies find an association between drinking coffee and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality, although this may not be true in younger people who drink large amounts of coffee. Also, it seems earlier studies didn't always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers. 
     Studies have shown that coffee may protect against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. 
     That's not to say that there are zero risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels and some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk. However, coffee consumption is associated with increases in several cardiovascular disease risk factors, including blood pressure and plasma homocysteine. Also, the diterpenes in coffee may increase the risk of heart disease.
     According to Authority Nutrition – An Evidence Based Approach article, 13 Proven Health Benefits of Coffee, coffee is actually very healthy because it's loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. 
     WebMD reports that Australian researchers looked at 18 studies of nearly 458,000 people and found a 7 per cent drop in the odds of having type 2 diabetes for every additional cup of coffee drunk daily. There were similar risk reductions for decaf coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. But the researchers cautioned that data from some of the smaller studies they reviewed may be less reliable. So it's possible that they overestimated the strength of the link between heavy coffee drinking and diabetes. 
     Dunkin' Donuts and CareerBuilder did a survey on U.S. coffee drinking in the workplace and complied a list of the 15 heaviest coffee drinkers. They were:

1-Scientists and lab technicians 
2-Marketing and public relations 
3-Education administrators 
4-Editors and writers 
5-Healthcare administrators 
6-Doctors 
7-Food preparers 
8-College professors 
9-Social workers 1
0-Financial professionals 
11-Personal care givers 
12-Human resource benefits coordinators 
13-Nurses 
14-Government workers 
15-Skilled tradesmen 

     The world's most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, is "produced" by the palm civat of Indonesia. Also called toddy cat, it is a small animal native to South and Southeast Asia. Long regarded by the natives as pests, they climb among the coffee trees eating only the ripest, reddest coffee cherries. The coffee beans are then subjected to fermentation in their gastrointestinal tract which lowers the caffeine content. 
    Despite its high price, some drinkers claim it's pretty much indistinguishable from regular coffee. Others disagree. The aroma is rich and strong, and is almost syrupy, has a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste. 
   There are also similar types of coffee available. Elephant crap coffee: Black Ivory Coffee is made by passing coffee beans through the stomachs of elephants and then picking the beans out of their droppings. Or, if the idea of drinking coffee made from beans dug out of cat or elephant dung offends you, monkey parchment coffee may be the way to go;
it's produced by the beans spit out by the Rhesus monkey.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fake Name Generator

     This is a fun site. It randomly generates fake names, addresses, telephones numbers, etc. from databases. It even generates fake credit card numbers. Obviously, the credit card numbers can't be used to buy stuff, but they look real. 
     The site also generates a temporary workable e-mail address. 
     Assuming you are not a crook, why would you want all this fake information? The site lists several reasons. Also, they have a smiley face generator that allows you to create your own unique smiley by picking a head, eyes, and a mouth.
     For example, I did a German-American name and here is some of the generated information:



Markus Reinhardt
3094 Mulberry Lane
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 334-333-2336
Birthday: July 4, 1993
Age: 22 years old

Mr. Reinhardt works for Singer Lumber and he is in Accounts Receivable. He is 5 ft.-11 in. tall and weighs 158 lbs. He drives a 2003 Lexus IS.

     Obviously with billions of people in the world, there is a possibility that you will, as here, get a real person's name. The address may or may not be real. In this case, there is no such street in West Palm Beach.

Friday, August 21, 2015

You Can't Ride a Zebra

      They look sort of like horses, so why can't you ride them? Zebras can be domesticated and trained, but it's not practical or humane to do so. Efforts were made to train zebras for, among other chores, riding during the late 19th and early 20th century.

      One of the most famous of these attempts, and the most successful, was that of the accomplished but eccentric zoologist, Walter Rothschild, 2nd BaronRothschild.

      He put considerable effort into training zebras to pull carriages, eventually driving a carriage drawn by six Zebras to Buckingham Palace in order to prove the viability of doing so, but never trained zebras to be ridden. He realized that this wasn't practical. First, they are small animals and have not had the benefits of thousands of years of breeding to produce animals with backs strong enough to support the weight of a man. And, second, he realized zebras are very aggressive. They have to be.  They have to survive in Africa where lions are their main predator. In fact, there are recorded cases of zebras killing lions, usually by a kick to the head, which kills it or breaking its jaw causing the lion to starve.


      Zebras are mean and dangerous! Few people have walked away after being kicked by a zebra because a zebra doesn't just kick with its leg. It looks between its legs to see where it's kicking and then it bucks and kicks violently with both back legs. They also inflict nasty bites, not only on each other, but on people. They will bite even when tamed if people get too close.

      In order to get them to draw a carriage, Rothschild used their wild behavior. Zebra herds are made up of groups of females and young with one adult male. The females follow a strict order where the most dominant female walks in front followed by the other females in order of dominance. The male goes wherever it wants, but usually stays by the side or at the back of the herd. If there is a threat, the male will place himself between the danger and the herd. If a zebra passes or attempts to pass another zebra that is more dominant than themselves then they will be bitten or kicked by the more dominant animal. The young zebras inherit the position of their mother.

      Attempts were made by the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management to train zebras for work in the 1970s and 1980s, but it was determined that in order to train them, it was necessary to drastically change their natural instincts and the project was abandoned because in order to accomplish that, inhumane treatment was required.

      It can be done though. An American teenager named Shea Inman trained a zebra to be ridden by using persistence and lots of treats. She discovered that zebras have short attention spans and are not as good as retaining information as horses. As mentioned though, generally zebras aren't strong enough to carry most people on their backs. Another practical factor is that a zebra's body shape doesn’t take a saddle very well.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fake News Stories

     ScamBusters published an interesting article: “But in a new twist, con merchants are trying to pass off their websites as genuine newspaper or TV sites to convince victims about whatever it is they’re trying to sell. The really frustrating thing is that often they are not breaking the law. They invent a legitimate-sounding name for their “publication” or fake TV news station and dress the web page up to look like it’s a real report. Pretending to be impartial, the report usually either promotes a particular product or explains how you can easily make a fortune on the Internet. Sometimes, they carry videos that purport to be objective TV news reports explaining just how fantastic this new product or money-making idea is.” Read more… 

Cracked has an article, 5 Easy Ways to Spot a B.S. News Story on the Internet, that's worth reading. Business Insider says, “There’s a new online army of internet trolls, and instead of trying to hack networks they're simply trying to create chaos with false reports of breaking news.” 

“Rather than acting as a source of accurate information, online media frequently promote misinformation in an attempt to drive traffic and social engagement,” said the study led by Craig Silverman, a research fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. 

     On Facebook,Twitter and YouTube “news story” often make the rounds. You see posts made by people, many of whom are unaware the stories are made up or hoaxes, linking to these fake sites containing stories designed to spread disinformation and attack those who are deemed enemies. One site, The Internet Research Agency, is housed in a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg is a so-called “troll farm.” Its employees spend their days creating phony news stories, anti-American and anti-Ukrainian propaganda and engage in online harassment and endless arguments in comment sections of websites. Read more on The Daily Signal…
     Some sites do give warnings in the fine print that their stories are for entertainment purposes or satirical, but most people never read the fine print. You'll see sites that look like they are from NBC, NY Times and USA Today, but they're fake. 
     You might think these sites are meant to be funny, but in many cases they are not. They are designed to trick people into sharing false information. Many of them are by groups trying to brainwash us into believing whatever it is they want us to believe. Always look for the original source of any story. Also, in some cases, they are nothing more than advertisements disguised as news stories and it is possible clicking on links to these articles will give you a nasty virus. 
     According to a June 20th article in Reuters and Business Insider, Facebook said it has taken steps to clamp down on "hoaxes" and fake news stories when it introduced an option to allow Facebook users to flag a story as "purposefully fake or deceitful news" to reduce the distribution of news stories reported as hoaxes. 
     However, Facebook said it will not remove fake news stories from its website. Instead, the company's algorithm, which determines how widely user posts are distributed, will take into account hoax reports. At the same time Facebook said "satirical" content, such as news stories "intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire," should not be affected. At least they have made a half-hearted effort to weed out the junk.
     AmericanNews.com is one of many fake news sites on the Internet and its source is unknown. One interesting thing about the site is that when you click on the “About us” nothing comes up. Their mission seems to be to make the Tea Party and conservatives look bad. They frequently take video clips or facts from a real story and make up the rest. The intent is to get people angry and discredit those they oppose. I see people posting stories on Facebook from them all the time. 

Other fake news sites are: 
EmpireNews.com 
NationalReport.net 
The Daily Currant 

One list of fake Internet news sites included the following: 
The Onion 
Indecision Forever 
News Biscuit 
The Spoof 
Unconfirmed Sources 
Cap News 
Enduring Vision 
DERF Magazine 
News Mutiny 
Private Eye 
News Biscuit 
Empire News 
Empire Sports
Free Wood Post 
Global Associated News 
Huzlers 
Lapine 
Media Mass 
National Report 
The Racket Report 
Weekly World News 
World News Daily Report

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eye Witness to History



Eye Witness to History offers tons of stuff… 

Making an Ancient Egyptian Mummy 
The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC 
Everday Life in Ancient Greece 
The Suicide of Socrates, 399 BC 
 Ku Klux Klan, 1868 
Completing the Transcontinental Railroad, 1869 
Shoot Out with Wild Bill Hickok, 1869 
A Walk with President Roosevelt, 1908 
Children At Work, 1908-1912 
On Safari, 1909 
Birth of the Hollywood Cowboy, 1911 

plus more…like film clips from the past such as: Flying Ace, 1918 Advancing to the Front, 1918 Combat, 1918 Bond Rally, 1918 Armistice, 1918 and there are personal stories like…Captured by the Arapaho, 1875 and Massacre At Wounded Knee, 1890 just to name a couple and they even have “Voices from the past.” 

If you like history, this is a must visit site!!

Collection Agencies

     All banks have sleazy, underhanded practices designed to fleece unsuspecting customers. In fact, at least on of the dirtiest of the dirtbag collection companies is owned by one of the dirtiest of the dirtbag banks in the United States.
     Debt collectors are vicious and they make millions, much of it illegally. It may not be your debt, but it could be your problem. One of the collection agency's latest tactics is bullying blameless consumers into paying debts they never owed. They use illegal tactics to collect money and they don't care who they collect it from. They will try to collect from the wrong people even if that person never owed a debt.
     For example, the FTC charged that as much as 80 per cent of the money collected by Capital Acquisitions and Management, a large debt-collection firm, came from consumers who never owed the original debt in the first place. CAMCO agreed to a $300,000 civil penalty in March 2004, but that didn't stop them; they evidently considered the fine just another cost of doing business. The FTC eventually succeeded in shutting CAMCO down. Here's a guess: they reopened for business under another name.
     In July 2005, the FTC won a record $10.2 million court judgment against National Check Control after accusing the debt collector of illegally threatening consumers with arrest and wage garnishment. Again, many of the consumers targeted by National Check Control didn't owe the original debt, the FTC said.
     Allied Interstate was sued by the Minnesota attorney general for repeatedly calling innocent consumers despite requests to stop. Allied eventually agreed to a settlement that prohibits it from contacting such consumers after being orally told that they don't owe the debts in question.
     Applied Card Systems hassled relatives, neighbors and employers with repeated phone calls in its efforts to track down debtors, according to the FTC. The company ignored requests to stop calling, and its representatives sometimes used obscene language when its hapless targets protested that they didn't know how to contact the debtors. The company agreed to a consent decree that prohibits it from harassing consumers.

They frequently engage in illegal practices such as:
  • Filing lawsuits with no documentation
  • Pursuing debts that are not actually owed by the person being targeted
  • Attempting to collect, improperly suing, or threatening to sue people on debts that are past the applicable statute of limitations or were settled and closed via bankruptcy
  • Reporting inaccurate creditor information
  • Impersonating law enforcement and threatening to have a person arrested, garnish a person's wages, seize their property, etc.
  • Failing to validate debt in writing when requested
  • Continuing to call a person's place of employment when instructed not to
  • Ignoring cease-and-desist notices to stop telephoning and communicate only via mail
  • Verbally abusing, using obscene language, threatening consumers
     Debt collectors protest that most firms are ethical, law-abiding and provide a needed service that helps reduce borrowing costs for all consumers. But the economics of debt collection often encourage the dogged pursuit of innocent consumers.
     They often attempt to collect on debts so old that they used to be considered uncollectible and even many that have been discharged through bankruptcy. Getting a list of people who used to owe money can be had for as little as 25 cents for each $100 which means they can make a profit if they can get debtors to repay even a tiny fraction. They have also learned they can also extort money from people who don't owe it.
     Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collectors are supposed to advise consumers that they have a right to dispute the debt, but that if consumers don't do so promptly, in writing, the collector can assume after 30 days that the debt is valid.
     Once collectors are notified that they've contacted the wrong party or that the consumer denies owing the debt they are supposed to provide proof of the debts and if they can't they are supposed to cease all attempts at collection. Usually, they don't.

If you're contacted about a debt you don't owe:
  • Know your rights! 
  • Assuming the sleazy operators will provide it, get the name of the collector, its address and a telephone number. 
  • You can tell the collector on the phone to stop calling, but that won't preserve your rights under Federal law. 
  • Send a certified letter, return receipt requested and make clear they contacted the wrong party, that you don't owe the debt and that you don't want to be called again.
  • If they continue to call, contact your state's attorney general's office, but don't always expect them to do a lot; as government officials, they're always super busy (that's a joke). You can also complain to the Federal Trade Commission, but they won't intervene in individual cases.
You need an account at the FREE Credit Karma! If a collection agency posts false information on your credit report, dispute the item immediately with the credit bureaus. Include copies of the certified letter you sent the collector and any complaints you filed with regulators. Don't wait until you're about to apply for a loan to check your credit report! Check it regularly!!

Consumers can bring lawsuits against collectors but that can cost you. You can contact the National Association of Consumer Advocates for referrals to attorneys who handle such cases.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Using Coupons

     It may be surprising but only about one percent of shoppers bother to redeem coupons. In 2011, U.S. Consumer Packaged Goods distributed coupons valued at $470 billion for products like food, beverages, clothing, tobacco and household items with an average value of $1.54. Only $4.6 billion coupons were redeemed leaving $465 billion that went in the trash. The estimated average savings for the people that used the coupons was about $30-$50 a week. 
     One expert said the main reason why many people don't use them is because they think it is embarrassing. It either makes them look cheap or poor. Whatever it may look like, the reverse is true. Households with an income of over $100,000 and those with college educations are twice as likely to use coupons. 
     Using coupons is a serious way to save money not just at the grocery store, but on almost all purchases. It takes some time to sort through all the coupons available and organize them, but when you can save a lot of money, in the end it's worth a little time and effort. Coupons not only save money on items that are regularly purchased at the grocery store, but can be used to try new products and get free stuff.
     Usually people think of coupons as only being good for saving money on things like food, personal care items and paper products, but they are also valuable for purchasing things like clothing, restaurants, services and even large ticket purchases like refrigerators. For an example of what you can save on at department stores just check out the J.C. Penny or Sears sites. 
     If you're an extreme couponer it might be possible to save 50-90 percent on your grocery bill!! There are television programs showing folks spending days planning their shopping so they can go to the store and clear shelves buying tubes of toothpaste and boxes of cereal by the hundreds then stockpiling everything in their house. That's ridiculous because what are you going to do with a couple hundred boxes of breakfast cereal?! But buying, and stockpiling some things, if kept to a reasonable level, makes sense. It doesn't hurt to get a deal on deodorant, for example, and not have to buy any for a year. Or, you can share with family and friends, but there's no reason to go be greedy. 
     Living Rich With Coupons has a page called Couponing 101 that offer some good advice on how to get started that's worth a visit. In addition to browsing this site, you can find tons more information by simply Googling “couponing.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Poisonous Everyday Foods

     Some foods we eat all the time and that are considered beneficial to our health can actually be poisonous. Did you know, for example, that red kidney beans need to be cooked in boiling water for over 10 minutes to remove the poisonous phytohaemagglutinin?
     Phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) is a lectin found in plants, especially legumes. It is found in the highest concentrations in uncooked red kidney beans and white kidney beans and in lower quantities in many other types of beans. PHA has a number of physiological effects and in high doses, it is a toxin which can cause poisoning in some animals and humans. The consumption of raw or improperly prepared kidney beans presents the biggest danger. The danger can be reduced by boiling for at least 30 minutes at 100°C. Insufficient cooking, such as in a slow cooker at 80°C, however, can increase this danger. Poisoning can be induced from as few as five raw beans, and symptoms occur within three hours, beginning with nausea, then vomiting, which can be severe and sustained, followed by diarrhea. Recovery occurs within four or five hours of onset, usually without the need for any medical intervention. 
     Nutmeg is toxic if eaten in a large amount, resulting in headaches, nausea, dizziness and, possibly, hallucinations. In fact, any spice, such as rosemary and oregano, can result in hyperactivity. 
     Brazil Nuts can be dangerous. They contain Selenium and large quantities of it can be poisonous. Selenium is a mineral found in the soil and naturally appears in water and some foods. While we only need a very small amount, it's important for metabolism. Good natural food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts and walnuts, many fresh and saltwater fish, like tuna, cod, red snapper, and herring, beef and poultry and grains. But, there are risks with selenium. 
     Taken in normal doses there are usually no side effects, but an overdose may cause bad breath, fever, and nausea, as well as liver, kidney and heart problems. High enough and it could cause death. Selenium may also interact with medicines and supplements, such as antacids, chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, niacin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and birth control pills. 
     Selenium supplements should be avoided by people with a high risk of skin cancer. In addition, a study by the National Cancer Institute shows that men who already have high concentrations of selenium nearly double their risk of aggressive prostate cancer if they take selenium supplements. Another study found that people who took 200 micrograms a day of selenium were 50 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the recommended number of Brazil nuts should not exceed three a day. 
     Apricots, plums and cherries are OK, but their seeds contain a poison from the cyanide family. Notice that sometimes there is a warning sticker on different foods like jams, spreads, milk products and so on stating “Might contain seeds”. It is not recommended to crack, swallow or chew these seeds. 
     Potatoes with green spots usually means they are picked early and contain a poison, solanine, that does not wear off even when cooking and baking. Experts say that its not always helpful to take off the green spots and it’s better to not use any potatoes with green spots on them. 
     Solanine is a poison found in species of the nightshade family, which includes potatoes. It can occur in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine is a pesticide-like substance and it is one of the plant's natural defenses. 
     Symptoms of solanine poisoning are gastrointestinal and neurological disorders including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, nightmare, headache and dizziness. In severe cases, hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils, hypothermia and death have been reported.
     Ingestion of solanine even in moderate amounts can cause death. Symptoms usually occur 8 to 12 hours after ingestion, but may occur within 30 minutes. 
     Dried fruits are offered as a health snack, but they go through the process of industrial drying that includes using sulfur and potassium sorbate. Eating large amounts of sulfur might cause a sensitive stomach and other digestive problems. 
     Rhubarb is a good source of magnesium and dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium and manganese. It is also low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol, but it's leaves are poisonous. 
     It's usually sold in bunches, with the leaves trimmed off. And it's a good thing. The leaves contain poisonous substances, including oxalic acid which is a nephrotoxic and corrosive acid that is present in many plants as well as anthraquinone glycosides, another toxic substance, and it's believed the combination of the two is what makes them poisonous. 
     The symptoms are breathing difficulty, burning in the mouth and throat, coma, diarrhea, eye pain red colored urine, seizures, stomach pain, weakness and vomiting. Poisoning from rhubarb leaves is serious and requires immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person vomit if they have eaten the leaves and if the skin and eyes have been touched by the leaves, flush with lots of water. 
     Raw honey can also be toxic. You may come down with a case of food poisoning after eating raw honey because it is a potential source of botulism spores. Symptoms of food poisoning from botulism include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever. In adults, these symptoms are generally initially more uncomfortable than dangerous, but can become life-threatening if they are left untreated. In babies, whose immune systems are still weak, botulism is very serious and requires immediate medical attention. Babies under one year old should never be given honey and everyone should eat pasteurized honey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tomato Juice

     Ever get the urge to drink a glass of tomato juice on an airplane? Apparently many people do and there's a scientific explanation why. For many airplane passengers it's their drink of choice. 
     Supposedly this is because of a tradition that dates back to the days when flying was terrifying. My experience is that it still is for some. Anyway...it was supposed to calm peoples' nerves when they drank tomato juice. 
     A few years ago Lufthansa hired a German research institute to study why tomato juice is so well liked and the the research company put people in flight simulators to test things. People consistently rated tomato juice as tasting better during the simulated flight than it did on the ground. Apparently at higher elevations tomato juice tastes more acidic and has a bit more of a mineral taste. 
     At 30,000 feet or so, a normal cruising altitude, the plane's atmosphere is at the equivalent of about 5,000 feet so your blood gets less oxygen and as a result your odor and taste receptors are less sensitive. At the lower pressure your snot expands which makes it even harder to taste. Also, the humidity in most airline cabins is about 10 to 15 percent which dries out your mouth and nose which also adversely affects taste. In other words, your sense of smell and taste are greatly diminished which explains why airline food is so bland. So, tomato juice actually tastes better. 
     But if you aren't aware that tomato juice tastes better at altitude, why order it? So, the research company looked for answers to that question, too. Reasons varied; some drink it because it's filling and for others it settles a queasy stomach. But, that wasn't the main reason people drank it. Here's the real reason...they drink it because the airlines offer it. Surprise! 
     Tomato Juice Benefits: Colon health (I won't make any jokes about this one), digestive health, lowers cholesterol, it promotes prostate health (no jokes about this one either), it's good for your pancreas (whatever that is), it's an antioxidant, and the list goes on. Check it out at New Health Guide.

How to make fresh tomato juice ...a YouTube video
20 Amazing Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Drink the juice or eat the whole thing?

     Closely related to tomato juice are Clamato juice (a revolting concoction of tomato juice and clam juice) and V8 juice. What about them?  What type of people drink Clamato?   

     What about V8 Juice? Besides diarrhea and belching the stuff up for hours after drinking it that is.  Bad Side Effects of Drinking V8 juice Or worse yet, it contains dead animal parts.

Foreign News in English

  ...foreign that is unless you live there. I discovered an interesting site called The Local which has news in English from Norway, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Each country has its own separate site.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Thinking of Buying a New Computer...Why?

     If you are a gamer you may want more firepower, but for most of us, we don't need it. Most computers, even old ones, can do most of the things we use computers for: e-mail, word processing and using the Internet. Also processor performance increases haven't been huge in recent years...diminishing returns and all that. It used to be that CPU performance would leap drastically, but now that is no longer the case. Performance increases are actually quite small. 
     Microsoft wants everybody using Windows 10 so bad they are offering it as a free upgrade to all Windows 7 and 8 users. So, Windows 10 upgrading is really being pushed, but in order to run Windows 10, you need a PC or tablet with a lot of guts and older PC's may not be able to cut the mustard. That could mean if you want Windows 10 you may have to either upgrade or buy a new computer with Windows 10 already installed. If your computer will handle Windows 10 and you are using Windows 7 or 8, you get a free upgrade to Windows 10, but you have a year to do it and it's probably a good idea to wait and see what kinds of bug problems Windows 10 might have. 
    Windows 10 restores a nice feature of Windows 8, an operating system that was built more for touch screen stuff, plus it has a Windows 7-style Start menu and the ability to work on the desktop. I actually I do that with Windows 8 anyway. 


     Also, if you have Windows 7 the desktop gadgets don't work on Windows 10 and will be deleted when you upgrade. 
     Microsoft has a habit of trying to force us to use its latest operating system by ending support for its old operating systems, halting security updates and leaving us open to security threats, but if you have Windows 7 or 8, that's not likely to happen for years. Security patches for Windows 7 will be issued until January 2020 and for 8 until January 2023. 
     I don't use OneDrive in Windows 8.1, but for those that do, with Windows 10 OneDrive won't work because of the upgraded software for it. 
     Then there is the issue of things like printers and scanners. Microsoft doesn't always make sure that drivers for older devices work and some of your peripherals might not work. You don't want to replace a perfectly good printer, do you? 
     There is also Media Center, something else I don't use mostly because it's a nightmare to set up, but for those that do, guess what? Media Center won't work with Windows 10.
     Another thing that irks me is Microsoft Office. When I bought my previous laptop they wanted another couple of hundred dollars to install Microsoft Office. I discovered that Open Office and now Libre Office. Both work just as good and are compatible with Office and they are free. 
     Even if you have an old, slow PC you can boost its speed, sometimes for free. Check out PC World's 10 cheap or free ways to make you PC run faster. You can also upgrade to an SSD for under $100 depending on how much storage space you need. One word of caution though if you are running Windows XP - that operating system was ditched a year ago so you should get rid of it for security reasons. How? Replace it with Linux.
     Fortunately, when I purchased my new laptop a couple of years ago I was still working and getting rid of the pre-installed bloatware and setting it up was easy...I took it to work and the IT guy did it for me. All that crap is annoying and some dangerous, so it really needs to be removed but it can be a real hassle unless you are a computer nerd. 
     Then there is the cost. New PC's cost a considerable amount of money and so, ask yourself if you really need a new computer or would you rather have the extra money? Scammers are at work with Windows 10, too!   Check these out… 

Windows 10 users warned of two scams  
From ZDNet..New Windows 10 scam will encrypt your files for ransom
Scam Alert: Microsoft Is Not Upgrading Computers To Windows 10 Through Email Alerts

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar

     Vinegar is made in a two-step process. The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid, the main active compound in vinegar. 
     For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes and there are some medical benefits from taking apple cider vinegar which seems to be safe as there are no known side effects associated with normal consumption
     The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in cooking, salad dressings, etc., but it also has many other uses. 
     One thing I have successfully used it for is to remove a wart. It worked better than any commercial product!! Warts are the second most common dermatological complaint after acne so it's nice to have an inexpensive natural home remedy for such a common problem. 
     Warts are benign skin tumors that can occur alone or in large packs on just about any part of the body. They are caused by a virus, the human papilloma virus (HPV), which enters the body through tiny cuts and breaks in the skin. 
     Removing a wart with apple cider vinegar is very simple: you need the vinegar of course, cotton balls (or the end of a Q-tip) and a Band-aid. That's it. 
    Each night soak a small piece of the cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, apply it to the wart and then hold it in place with a band-aid and leave it on all night. In the morning change the cotton and Band-aid. The wart should disappear in a week or less. 
     Just a couple of warnings though. First, don't soak the surrounding skin, just the wart! Also, be aware that the wart will swell and may throb as it reacts with the vinegar. Not everyone experiences pain and it can last just a few hours, or it can last longer. It can be mild pain or worse. It just depends on you tolerance level, I guess. For me the pain was a relatively short burning sensation. 
     As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from the flu to helping with weight loss. Many of its supposed are unproven though! Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage, usually 1-2 teaspoons  to 1-2 tablespoons per day, but NEVER go above that, because excess consumption may have harmful effects.
     It is claimed to lead to all sorts of beneficial effects… some of which are actually supported by science. Here are some health benefits that have some basis in fact determined by scientific research.
     Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in the food and spoiling it. 
        For diabetics with type 2 diabetes apple cider vinegar helps lower blood sugar. Carol Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program and has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications. The vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch. “It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it definitely prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar,” Johnston says. 
     Elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes… it is believed to be a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases. So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable. The most effective way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can help. 
     Using apple cider vinegar for weight loss does not appear to be factual. Dietitian Debbie Davis, RD said, “It may have some benefits in terms of weight loss and weight management, but it is definitely not a quick fix." Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight, but in one study done with people in Japan, 175 obese but healthy people took vinegar daily for 12 weeks and on average lost only 1-2 pounds over the 3-month period. 
     Heart disease and stroke are currently the world’s biggest cause of death and some risk factors have been shown to be improved by taking vinegar consumption, but all of the studies were done in rats. What works on rats may not work on humans. There is a lot of hype about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar as some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. But, again, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes and rats. 

15 Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Everyday 
repel fleas on your pets, room freshener, soothe sunburn, etc.  
26 Genius Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar 
7 Surprising Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar by Dr. Oz

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Difficult Dogs to House Train and Dog Poop

     Don't laugh. If you are thinking about getting a dog or already own one these are serious subjects. Training a dog is not easy and some breeds are more difficult than others.  House-breaking a dog requires patience and if you have one of the following breeds, your job will be even more difficult! 
    Dachshunds are great dogs, but they are famous for being hard to house train. They are a highly intelligent breed. I know because we had one when I was a kid and she knew a dozen tricks, was smart and adorable. She was housebroken, but I do not know how my dad accomplished it. 
     West Highland White Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Maltese, Havanese, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Pekingese, Husky, Bichon Frise and Cocker Spaniel round out the list. 
     If you need detailed instructions visit Puppy Lover News for more information. Speaking of which...dog turds can tell you a lot about its health...things like color, shape, consistency, size and content are all important. So, here are some links that will tell you about all you need to know on the subject. 

The Scoop on Your Pet's Poop 
The Scoop on Poop: What You Can Tell about a Dog by his Doodie 
The Facts About Doggie Do-Do 
How Dog Poop Shows Signs of Health Problems 
Coprophagia – Why Dogs Eat Poop and What To Do About It 
How to Pick Up Dog Poop 
and, finally...Fake dog poop for sale at Brown Fido

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Protect Your Computer, Free Essential Security Downloads

Spyware, viruses, Trojans, and assorted malware are a constant threat and cause a lot of damage. Snoopers want to get at your personal information for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft. Fortunately, plenty of free software is available to protect your privacy and security and some free programs will work just as well as the expensive security software does. 

Avast Free Antivirus 
Avast's free sodtware finished second in PCWorld's 2012 free antivirus roundup. Avast Free Antivirus 7 mostly excelled in protecting against malware, it has a versatile interface, and it sped through their malware tests. Avast's defenses were weakest at blocking new real-world threats: It caught just 78.6 percent of them--not outstanding, but slightly above average. Avast did far better at stopping well-known malware, detecting 99.1 percent of samples in our zoo test--a very good showing. This package cleans up malware infections effectively, as well. It de­­tected all the malware residing on their test PC, and disarmed the invaders 93 percent of the time, tying for second-best in this test. The utility also removed all traces of infections two-thirds of the time. 

Stop Spyware in Its Tracks With Open-Source HijackThis
Downlaod from SourceForge
HijackThis helps you spot anomalies in your Windows and program installations. These irregularities can be anything from unknown DLLs in the system folder, to non-standard context menu entries, to unknown services or registry entries. It presents you with a list of said items, which you may then select for removal. Click the Fix This button, and they vanish. The vast majority of the items HijackThis displays are harmless, and in many cases necessary to the proper functioning of something legitimate. In other words, you can do a lot of damage with HijackThis if you start deleting items willy-nilly. If you don't have a good basic grasp on what goes where within the Windows operating system and application installations, or what malware and registry detritus looks like, keep your click-finger away from the Fix This button.

SpywareBlaster protects you by adding the URLs of risky sites to your browser's Restricted Zone, preventing malware from installing. The program doesn't scan or work in the background, but for a $10 registration, it will automatically download Restricted Zone lists. The only downside, and it doesn't happen often, is that the tool may lock out a site you visit. Just remove the site from SpywareBlaster's list.