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Friday, December 19, 2014

Want Some Hydrogen Cyanide, Formaldehyde and Toluene with That?

"That" is cigarette smoke. Here's a list of chemicals beside nicotine that's found in cigarettes and other common products.

Ammonia: Household cleaners, fertilizer
Benzene: Gasoline, motor oil, automotive degreaser, carpet glue, furniture wax, spray adhesive
Cadmium: Batteries, car wax, motor oil
Carbon monoxide: Car exhaust
Chromium: Stainless steel, metal adhesive
Formaldehyde: Embalming fluid, car wax and shampoo, carpet cleaner, fabric softener, explosives, wood glue
Hydrogen cyanide: Insecticide, rat poison, chemical weapons
Lead: Old paint, ammunition, batteries, motor oil
Toluene: Paint thinner, paint, car exhaust, gasoline, rubber cement, stain removers
Vinyl chloride: PVC plastic and vinyl products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings, and automotive parts

When you light a cigarette, you unleash more than 7,000 chemicals. More scary stuff about smoking can be found HERE. They also offer help in quitting.

That said, which is more dangerous...smoking or drinking alcohol?
Alcohol is  the third leading cause of disease and disability in the world.  There is a discussion HERE.


Grooveshark is a free, internationally-available music streaming service and song recommendation engine. It allows users to search for, stream, and upload music, free of charge. Users upload digital audio files, which can then be streamed and organized in playlists.The Grooveshark website has a search engine, music streaming features, and a music recommendation system. The legality of Grooveshark remains undetermined...read New York Times Article.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Salt Binge

     If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you must change your lifestyle, especially what you eat. My blood pressure has been very good lately but when I took it this morning it was pretty high, 143/75...what happened? Yesterday it was 121/65. Then I remembered...French fries
     Last night we stopped at Arby's on the way home from shopping and my wife doesn't like their curly fries so gave them to me...I ate two helpings along with my roast beef sandwich. Consuming two servings wasn't a good idea because they have hefty doses of saturated fat, sodium and calories. The average daily sodium intake for Americans is 3,400 milligrams per day, an excessive amount that raises blood pressure and poses health risks. In general, Americans should limit daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams, but this is an upper safe limit, not a recommended daily allowance.
     According to a study by WebMD, Arby's curly fries are second to sodium only to Carls. And, according to NBC News' Heart Health just 30 minutes after you scarf down French fries changes can be seen in your arteries. They found that salt-laden foods quickly impair the ability of blood vessels to widen even in people with normal blood pressure. They did a test using healthy volunteers and gave eight of them a cup of low salt tomato soup and the other eight got 10 times more salt. Testing showed the arteries of people who got the high salt soup widened about half as much as those who consumed the low salt version. In the experiment the effect passed within about two hours so does it matter if the arteries can’t expand as much for a short period of time? Studies have shown that this kind of impaired artery function might set a person up for atherosclerosis. Salt can have permanent effects and there is no doubt that people with a high salt intake eventually develop high blood pressure.
     I thought the salt from the curly fries would be flushed out after a couple of hours, but that appears not to be the case. About half of the sodium retained in our body is fat soluble but the other half is water soluble so can be "flushed" out within 3 to 5 days. But the sodium stored in our fat cells is what elevates our blood pressure and it does not "go away" as easily. If you binge on salty foods, you'll likely feel the effects just a few hours later. Eating too much salt causes your body to retain water and the extra water in your body can amount to a few extra pounds of weight and elevate the blood pressure. Your kidneys can filter only a little sodium out of your blood at a time, so there's no magic way to get rid of the extra salt. All you can do is reduce your sodium intake, keep your metabolism high and wait. If you've binged you probably have consumed much more than 2,300 milligrams in a day.

Here are the worst food you can eat, not just for salt, but food that are just plain bad for you:

Canned Chicken Noodle Soup
If you suffer from hypertension or heart problems, make sure to avoid it. A one-cup serving of canned chicken noodle soup has 866 mg of sodium.
This one makes me sad. Bacon is high in saturated fat and sodium and just one slice of it contains 150 mg of sodium.
Frozen Pot Pies
A single pot pie equals a serving of about 1400 mg of sodium. Frozen pot pies also include trans-fat and an unhealthy dose of saturated fat. So, if you’ve got blood pressure problems avoid frozen pot pies!
Several studies have shown that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause to the rise of blood pressure to unhealthy levels. At last, something that I have no problem avoiding! Doughnuts
How bad are doughnuts? Many researches think that skipping breakfast is better than eating a doughnut.
Another thing you should certainly eliminate from your diet is soda which contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories and 30-55 mg of caffeine. Studies have also linked soda to osteoporosis, tooth decay and heart disease, plus drinking all that sugar will likely to suppress your appetite for healthy foods.
They are loaded with sodium. Just one can be over 1/3 of your sodium limit (2300 mg) for the day!
A half cup has over 460 mg of sodium
Whole Milk
A one cup serving of whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated. Saturated fats are worse for you than other types and has been linked to heart disease.
Ramen Noodles
Ramen noodles are not a healthy meal. One package of Ramen noodles adds 14 grams of fat to your day AND 1580 MG of sodium!
Margarine - just be sure to pick the kind with no trans fats.
Foods with extra calories and full of sugar cause you to gain weight. The extra weight puts surplus strain on the heart and slows down the blood flow.
Red Meat
A healthy eating plan should include only a small amount (if any) of saturated or trans-fats. Fatty foods are bad for both the heart and blood vessels. Avoid red meat and fast food along with other fats that include hydrogenated oils.
Table Salt
Too much sodium does direct damage to the heart and arteries and raises blood pressure significantly

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eat More Lard!

    About a year ago we went to a Chinese restaurant where they cook your food right at the table and when we sat down there was a big tub of white stuff sitting on the grilling area and my wife asked me what it was. I hadn't seen anything like it in years, but knew it was...LARD! My grandfather raised pigs and so my family cooked, actually fried, everything in lard. I remember my mother sending me to the meat market to get a big tub of the stuff. Later she switched to Crisco because it was more convenient.

     In recent generations, lard, once a staple cooking fat, has pretty much disappeared. That's because now when somebody says “lard” you think of clogged arteries. But there are lard proponents who claim it's healthy! Something about it’s all about chemistry
     You know... saturated fats have single bonds between all the carbon molecules of the fatty acid chain and are therefore the most heat-stable. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond replacing a single bond in the carbon chain. Double bonds in fatty acids are unstable and can break with heat. Polyunsaturated fats are the most unstable, because they have numerous double bonds in the carbon chain. When the double bonds in mono- or polyunsaturated fats break, the fatty acid undergoes a process called oxidation.
     Understand all that? I don't so here it is in a nutshell: oxidized fats = free radicals. Free radicals = cell damage. While we inevitably have some free radicals in our body, we should minimize these damaging molecules as much as possible to protect health and reduce inflammation. Now lard is typically 40% saturated fat, 50% monounsaturated fat and 10% polyunsaturated fat. The percentage of saturated fat in lard protects the more vulnerable mono/polyunsaturated fats from oxidizing with heat, blah, blah, blah. 
     Bottom line... lard is an excellent choice for cooking and baking. Lard is an animal fat and it is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but proponents claim lard is part of a healthy diet and will not give you heart attack. They point out that our grandparents ate tons of the stuff and they were healthy. That may be. My grandfather ate pork fat sandwiches, smoked and drank a lot of beer and he lived well into his 90's. Oh, by the way, he worked on the railroad and when he got home at night he worked in the garden to feed all those kids plus he had about an acre of corn he raised to feed all those pigs. The man must have burned about a million calories a day.
     According to analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition there is no evidence that saturated fat consumption raises the risk of heart disease while a low fat diet has been shown to increase triglycerides, which is a risk factor for heart disease. The director of the large Framingham Heart Study concluded, “We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.” Supposedly heart disease and diabetes have skyrocketed as animal fats were replaced with vegetable oils and margarine. Besides frying stuff in lard makes it taste better.  Top Three Reasons You Should Be Eating Lard...and if three reasons aren't enough, here are Seven Reasons You Should Eat Lard.

Monday, December 15, 2014

USS Cod in Cleveland Ohio


     USS Cod (SS/AGSS/IXSS-224) is a Gato-class submarine, the only vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the cod, the well-known food fish of the North Atlantic and North Pacific.
     Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut on 21 July 1942. She was launched on 21 March 1943 and commissioned on 21 June 1943 with Lieutenant Commander James C. Dempsey in command. She is now permanently moored in Cleveland, Ohio and is open to visitors
     A handful of Clevelanders formed the Cleveland Coordinating Committee to Save Cod, Inc., to preserve her as a memorial on the city's lakefront and in January 1976, the Navy gave guardianship of the submarine to the group. Cod began her career as a floating memorial in May 1976 when she opened for public tours and quickly established herself as a popular tourist attraction. In 1986, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated Cod a National Historic Landmark. Cod is now a museum ship in Cleveland, Ohio and is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.
     The public is invited to visit the boat daily between 1 May and 30 September each year. Cod is one of the finest restored submarines on display. Visitors to this proud ship use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew; unlike most other museum submarines, Cod has never had an access door cut in the side of her hull. Cleveland can claim partial credit as Cod's birthplace, since the submarine's four massive diesel engines were built by General Motors' Cleveland Diesel plant on Cleveland's west side.
     When I first visited the Cod it had a tour guide who had actually served aboard the boat in WW2 and he had some stories to tell that unfortunately, no one will ever get to hear again.

Not Sure Which Browser to Use?

The era when Google Chrome was head and shoulders above the competition has ended. Today’s popular browsers compete on a level playing field. Internet Explorer 11 — the oft overlooked Microsoft standby — has blossomed into a lean and fast browser for Widows 8. Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome continue to ramp up their version numbers, and Safari tenaciously scuttles along as the under-appreciated byproduct of Apple’s quest for global domination. Gone are the days when choosing a browser for all your Internet perusing needs was a no brainer. Today, with all the competition, choosing the right browser has become a something of a tough decision. Fortunately, you can’t really go wrong with any of the popular browsers anymore, but there are a few things here and there that give each its own competitive edge over the others. Read more at Digital Trends.

NASA Television (NTV) is a resource designed to provide real-time coverage of Agency activities and missions as well as providing resources for kids like games, art & stories, and activities. For students they offer homework help, learning opportunities, career info, and contacts for students. For educators the offer learning resources, professional development, contacts for educators.