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Friday, January 19, 2018

Explosion Over Michigan

     There was a rumble that shook the ground and a bright burst of light illuminated the sky as a meteoroid about 6 feet wide entered Earth’s atmosphere about 8:08 pm and exploded with power of 10 tons of TNT over Southeastern Michigan on Tuesday. 
     Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is often used to quantify the energy released by an explosion and the blast wave impact on a human body depends on how close to the epicenter it is when the explosion occurs.

Blast Hazard Definitions 
Primary Fragments – are the most obvious hazard which consists of flying glass pieces and shards that can travel at speeds of 68 mph to excess of 136 mph. Blast Pressure – It only takes 15 PSI to rupture eardrums and cause lung damage. Depending on the blast load and distance from target, the pressures created during an explosion can be extreme. Secondary Fragments – such as shrapnel, rocks, and dirt can be propelled at very high speeds and travel large distances. Structural Collapse/Damage – Structural collapse occurs when a pressure load is stronger than the actual building components themselves, causing building structure failure. 

     The meteor registered as a 2.0 earthquake. A reading of between 2.0–2.9 will cause minor and be felt slightly by some people and cause no damage to buildings. There are over one million earthquakes per year in this range. 
     It was moving at 28,000 mph when it entered the atmosphere and when it heated up and began to melt away it produced the bright light that people. At least once a month or so objects this size make their way into the atmosphere, but most people don’t see meteors this bright. 
     The USGS said the meteoroid entered about five miles from New Haven, Mich. Shooting stars, or meteors, are bits of interplanetary material falling through Earth’s atmosphere and heated to incandescence by friction. These objects are called meteoroids as they are hurtling through space, becoming meteors for the few seconds they streak across the sky and create glowing trails. Meteorites are the pieces that land on the ground, according to NASA. In the case of the Michigan meteoroid, there are probably meteorites on the ground in southeast Michigan. 
     The circumstances suggest the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart which was what produced the sounds heard by many observers. It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near the region.  The Michigan meteor was no where near the size of a killer space rock; a meteor would have to be 100 feet in diameter or larger to wipe out a city.  A five to six mile wide meteor would produce a planetary impact, meaning it would affect all of Earth. 

Visit NASAs Meteor Watch Facebook page

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ming Tsai, My Favorite Chef

     One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is watching cooking shows on public television. No, I don't cook, I just like to watch. 
     One of my favorites is Ming Tsai. Ming (born March 29, 1964) is an American restaurateur, television personality, and celebrity chef. Tsai's restaurants have focused on East-West fusion cuisine. Tsai currently hosts "Simply Ming", a cooking show on American Public Television, now in its fifteenth season. Past shows Tsai hosted include Ming's Quest and "East Meets West". Tsai appeared in the Food Network cooking competition The Next Iron Chef back in 2010. 
     Ming Hao Tsai was born in Newport Beach, California and was raised in Dayton, Ohio where he attended The Miami Valley School. He assisted with the cooking as he was growing up in the restaurant owned by his mother, Mandarin Kitchen. Tsai later attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then proceeded to study engineering and play varsity squash at Yale University. There, he was a member of the Phi chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1986.
     Tsai was named as an All-Ivy League squash player in 1986. While attending culinary school in France, Tsai played professionally on the European circuit. He received a master's degree in hotel administration and hospitality marketing from Cornell University in 1989. Either the summer after his sophomore or junior year at Yale, he attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Tsai speaks four languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish. 
     Tsai began his television career on chef Sara Moulton's cooking show Cooking Live while she had him fill in for one week for her in 1997. He hosted East Meets West on the Food Network from 1998 to 2003 and currently he hosts Simply Ming. In 2005, he was a judge on the PBS show Cooking Under Fire. Tsai was a contestant in The Next Iron Chef in 2010, where he was eliminated in the seventh week. Tsai appeared on an episode of Top Chef in 2014. His other television appearances include participation in a Zoom Out on Zoom in 2005 and on the PBS children's television show Arthur episode in 2005 about food allergies.
     In 1998, Tsai and his wife opened his first restaurant, Blue Ginger, an Asian Fusion restaurant, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The restaurant has won many awards. Tsai was named "Chef of the Year" by Esquire Magazine.  In March 30, 2010 Tsai opened Blue Ginger Noodle Bar, a mini-restaurant, inside Blue Ginger. In June 2017, Tsai closed Blue Ginger after 19 years of business. The reason was due to the end of a lease and Tsai's focus on a new fast-casual stir-fry concept restaurant, ChowStirs, scheduled to open in Boston during the early part of 2018. Tsai opened Blue Dragon in 2013 in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston, an East-West tapas-style gastropub which was named an Esquire Magazine "Best New Restaurant" in its opening year. He has authored several cookbooks. 
     Tsai won the Daytime Emmy award in 1999, in the category Outstanding Service Show Host.  His Blue Ginger Restaurant was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012 and in 2000, Ming was on the 50 Most Beautiful People list published by People magazine. 
     Tsai and Polly Talbott were married April 1996 and have two sons, David and Henry. David Talbott, Tsai's squash coach at Yale, and Mark Talbott, a former World No. 1 hardball squash player, are Tsai's brothers-in-law. 
     One of Tsai's sons has food allergies, and Tsai has become a food allergy advocate who promotes awareness of food allergens. He has been a national spokesman for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and in 2012 was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his advocacy work from the organization, including his work on the state of Massachusetts food safety bill. Tsai is currently the President of the National Advisory Board for Family Reach, an organization that provides a financial lifeline to families fighting cancer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


   I have two blogs, this one and one on chess, and I do not care to discuss personal views on politics or religion in either one of them, but sometimes I see something that is really annoying.
    Generally, my position is that of chess Grandmaster and strict Orthodox Jew, Samuel Reshevsky when his Rabbi asked him to talk to Bobby Fischer. Since Fischer was technically Jewish (although Fischer denied it), Reshevsky's Rabbi asked him, through personal efforts or in some other way, to try to help Fischer. Reshevsky was happy to do it, but when Fischer, who expressed strong anti-Jewish beliefs, was not interested Reshevsky simply commented, “He has his beliefs. I have mine.”
     Today I saw a headline on Yahoo reading, “Maryland pastor attacks Trump with Vice President Pence sitting in front pew.” VP Pence and his wife were attending the pastor's church Sunday when the pastor attacked President Trump (though he did not mention his name) by calling his comments on Haiti and Africa "hurtful," "dehumanizing" and "vulgar."
    The pastor commented, “I stand here today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject such characterizations. Whoever said it is wrong, and they oughta be held accountable.” The congregation loudly applauded.     
     What President Trump may or may not have said is not the point. The pastor commented, "As a pastor, I have to speak up for my people. And the vice president just happened to have been there." He could not be more wrong.
     I am reminded that when I was in the military we saluted officers, but only if they were in uniform. The reason was because the salute was not to honor the man, but the uniform and what it stands for. Likewise, officers were required to return the salute for the same reason.  We were taught to respect the position if not the man.
     While we should not shrug our shoulders at cultural and moral decay and social injustice, it is not a pastor's calling to speak on those matters. Their duty is to preach and teach the Bible, pray and guide their people in religious, not political or social, matters.
     If a pastor claims to be Christians his guide should be the Bible. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul gave instructions to a young pastor named Timothy. He advised him to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, guard it and continue in it.
     Paul also wrote to the Christians in Rome, who most certainly lived under an oppressive government, to obey those who ruled over them. Paul warned them to watch out if they didn't because rulers don’t carry a sword for no reason. 
     People were also told to pay their taxes and to give to everyone what was owed them. He wasn't talking about just money. Paul also asked, “Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it. Pay everything you owe.” 
     When Paul wrote to Timothy he also gave qualifications for a Bishop (pastor). He must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome and not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children respectful for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? Paul also added that a pastor must be well thought of by outsiders so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
     Paul also instructed Timothy that in addition to preaching the word of God, he should also make petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness because it is good and pleases God. And that is what the pastor should have been doing Sunday.  Just my opinion.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Alberta Clippers, Panhandle Hooks and Lake Effect Snow

    Alberta is a Canadian province that shares a border with a portion of Montana and an Alberta Clipper is a storm system during the winter months that originates from the Canadian province of Alberta although sometimes the system can originate from Saskatchewan, Manitoba or even Montana.
     The term "clipper" originates from the clipper sailing ships because of their quick speeds. They were ships built in the 1840s and 1850s with three masts that were created to transport small loads of cargo. The clipper ships could travel up to 400 miles a day which was a great distance at the time. 
     An Alberta Clipper is a quick-moving storm, or low-pressure system, that develops on the lee side of the Canadian Rockies, gets caught up in the jet stream and travels southeastward into the northern Plains, through the Great Lakes and eventually off the mid-Atlantic coast into the Atlantic Ocean. 
     A clipper will usually bring smaller amounts of snow (generally 1-3 inches) because of its speed and lack of deep moisture, but higher amounts are possible. Along with the quick burst of snow, a clipper generally brings colder temperatures and, often times, gusty winds. However, when lake effect snow is factored in, snow accumulation can double with a clipper swinging through the Great Lakes regions. 
     Most clippers occur between December and February, but can also occur occasionally in November and is the most common winter system for the upper Midwest. 
     A Panhandle Hook is a low pressure systems that originates in the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma which initially move east and then "hooks" or curves more northeast toward the upper Midwest or Great Lakes region. 
     In winter, these systems usually deposit heavy snows north of their surface track. Thunderstorms may be found south of the track. 
     They are ugly. For example, on February 13-14, 2007 snow began falling in Cleveland, Ohio on the morning of the 13th and finally let up during the morning of the 14th. Wind gusts of 30-35 mph were blowing the newly fallen snow around. Then a Panhandle Hook developed, moved into the Mississippi River valley and into the central Appalachians which affected all of Ohio. Snow totals ranged from a foot near Toledo in the northwest of the state to a swath of 17 inches and greater from Mansfield, Medina and the southern Cleveland suburbs. Temperatures were in the 20s while the snow was falling, but in the nights following the snow, temperatures dipped into the single digits. On the 15th, Cleveland Hopkins Airport dipped to -4 degrees F. 
     Old Man Winter wasn't done. In Cleveland on Lake Erie temperatures had warmed into the 70s at the end of March and on April 3rd the high was 80 degrees! That was a distant memory two days later when the high temperature dropped to 29 degrees. 
     A strong cold front had swept across the area and lake effect snows started. A reinforcing trough of low pressure moved over the area during the 7th and 8th. This trough, combined with a steady northerly flow over Lake Erie, allowed for lake effect snow to continue and one band formed across downtown Cleveland dumping two feet of snow in the heart of the city. Amounts to the east in the snowbelt topped 30 inches from April 5 through April 8th. Lake-effect snow recently dumped 65 inches on Erie, Pennsylvania. 
     People who live outside the Great Lakes may well have never experienced this weather condition because the Great Lakes is the only place where it happens in the United States, except occasionally at the Great Salt Lake in Utah. 
     It happens when very cold, windy conditions form over a not-so-cold lake. For example, the lake might be 40 degrees and the air zero degrees. That temperature differential creates some instability and the water provides a moisture source and when it gets over land, it deposits water vapor as snow. Lake-effect snow generally doesn't fall over the water because it needs the friction and topography of the land to squeeze out the snow. 
     Winds usually blow west to east in the Northern Hemisphere, so the lake-enhanced snow is pushed to the eastern side of the Great Lakes. Lake-effect snow can be extremely localized, especially when hills and mountains cause these little weather systems to stall out and deposit a lot of precipitation in one spot. They can dump 20 to 30 inches of snow in one spot and five miles away only a couple of inches and the sun may be shining just a mile or two away in either direction. 

     Upstate New York and the cities of Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse are notorious for lake-enhanced snow in the United States. That area is located east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, which have a more east-west orientation than the other Great Lakes. That means there's more time and distance for the lake-enhanced snow to build up and the snow can pile up with amazing speed. Recently in Erie, Pennsylvania 34 inches fell in one day and 26.5 inches the next.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How Much Does A Circus Performer Get Paid?

     Circus performers are professional entertainers and there is a lot of different talents in the circus ranging from acrobats who perform on a tightrope high above the ground to the clown mingling with the audience. 
     Circus life is demanding because a touring circus often gives over 300 performances in a year. Performers rarely stay in the same city for more than a few days and might not get back to their homes for months or even a year. 
     Salaries for circus performers depend on many factors, including experience, the act and the reputation of the circus company. The average circus performer in the U.S. makes between $21,000 and $55,000 with the average being $38,595. 
     In the past, elephants, lions and tigers were the stars of the circus, but in recent years some circus companies have begun shifting their focus away from animal acts and developing other acts. Bello Nock, a circus clown with foot-high red hair, became very popular performing for Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was paid a salary of $600,000 per year. His job benefits included a personal assistant and a driver for his 78-foot custom RV. For most circus performers that kind of pay is out of reach; entry-level performers make about $300 per week plus they also get room and board. 
     Circus pay also varies according to the performer’s act. Because it's physically more difficult an acrobat will be paid more than a juggler. Trapeze artists generally earn between $40,000 and $70,000 per year. 
     It's tough to make a living as a clown. Some people are afraid of them. Refer to the Guardian article HERE.   A Connecticut school district is banning clown costumes and other “symbols of terror.” 

     So the demand for clowns is shrinking and clown salary is not going provide you a luxurious lifestyle. The World Clown Association membership has plummeted by about one-third, to 2,500 members, down from 3,500 a decade ago. 
     Anyone insisting on being a clown would probably do best to be a rodeo clown. The have the dangerous job of distracting bulls sway from so fallen riders and so they make about $51,000 per year. 
     How do you get into the circus business? Acrobats, clowns, jugglers and other artists can prepare for a career in the circus by attending a circus school. Circus Center in San Francisco offers an aerial arts program and a clown conservatory. Students at the Center receive help in creating an act or repertoire. Circus companies hold auditions where aspiring performers demonstrate their acts. Circus performers generally enter into employment contracts for one or two years. Some performers work with an agent to find a job with the circus and the agent can help them negotiate salary terms.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Montford Point Marines

    When I was at Montford Point at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 1964 it consisted of Marine Corps schools and were we completely unaware of its history.
     At the beginning of World War II African Americans got their chance to be members of the previously all-white Marine Corps. The first recruits reported to Montford Point, a small section of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 26, 1942. By October only 600 recruits had begun training although the call was for 1,000 for combat in the 51st and 52nd Composite Defense Battalions. 
    Between 1942 and 1949, approximately 20,000 African-Americans completed recruit training and became known as the Montford Point Marines. Despite the challenges presented to them, their valor and performance at Peleliu, Iwo Jima paved the way for those that were to follow. The men of the 51st soon distinguished themselves as the finest artillery gunners in the Marine Corps, breaking almost every accuracy record in training.

     Unfortunately, discrimination towards African Americans still existed and when shipped to the Pacific, the 51st and 52nd were posted to outlying islands, not where the primary action was. The only Montfort Marines to see action, and record casualties, were the Ammunition and Depot Companies in Saipan, Guam, and Peleliu. Private Kenneth Tibbs was the first black Marine to lose his life on June 15, 1944.
     In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 to establish the Fair Employment Practice Commission, banning discrimination "because of race, creed, color, or national origin" in all government agencies. Recruiting for the Montford Marines began on June 1, 1942. Thousands of African-American men, eager to serve, flocked to recruiting offices. The quota of 1,200 men were housed in prefabricated huts near segregated Jacksonville, N.C., where railroad tracks divided white residents from black. The troops at Montford experienced. For example, unless accompanied by a white Marine, these men were not allowed to enter Camp Lejeune.          
     In the beginning recruits were trained by white officers and NCOs, but citing a desire to have blacks train blacks, the Marines singled out several exceptional black recruits to serve as NCO drill instructors. 
     In January 1943, Edgar R. Huff became the first black NCO and in February Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, a 19-year veteran of the Army and Navy, became the first Drill Sergeant. 
    By May 1943 all training at Montford Point was done by black sergeants and drill instructors with Johnson as chief DI. Both Johnson and Huff would be renowned throughout the entire Marine Corps for their demanding training and exceptional leadership abilities. By 1945, all drill instructors and many NCOs at Montford Point were black.
     The Montford Marines performed well in their duties at home and abroad, despite the strictures placed on them. In practice, these men surpassed all anti-aircraft gunnery records previously set by Marines, and named their weapon "Lena" after their favorite singer, Lena Horne. The Montford Point Marines made it impossible for the Marine Corps to return to its prewar policy. President Harry S. Truman eliminated segregated units in 1949. But the Montford Point Marines have not been forgotten.
     In 1998, Parris Island drum major Staff Sgt. Vernon Harris composed the music to a song, "I'll Take the Marines," commemorating the group. The words had been written by a Montford Marine, LaSalle Vaughn. "If African Americans at that time could go through the rigorous training of Marines when it was segregated and they were looked down on and still be proud Marines … it encourages all Marines to look forward and recognize our progress," Harris said.
Gilmon D. Books, U.S. Marine
     On June 19, 2017, Montford Point Marine Gilmon D. Brooks died at the age of 91. Brooks witnessed history when the American flag was raised on Feb. 23, 1945, on Iwo Jima during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. He was a Montford Point Marine. A Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient and retired chief warrant officer, he served in three wars.
     While attending UCLA as an ROTC student, Brooks was recruited to enlist in the Marines and in October, 1943 he went through basic training at Montford Point where black recruits lived under miserable conditions with no toilets and no running water.
     Brooks became an expert rifleman and was promoted to Private First Class. A part-time musician in college, he was assigned to be a bugler and later to the Eighth Marine Ammunition Company. After undergoing training in Honolulu, his unit was sent to the Pacific where he served as an ammunition platoon sergeant.
     At Iwo Jima his unit went ashore February 23, 1945, just four days after the initial landing, to provide ammunition to a tanker outfit. Brooks was struck with shrapnel and evacuated to a hospital ship in Hawaii and later received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
     Black Marines returning home after the war faced the same discrimination they encountered previously and in 1949 Brooks enlisted in the Army and was later was promoted to chief warrant officer and saw combat duty in the Korean War. He retired from the military in 1962 but returned for an assignment in Vietnam in 1973 with the Department of the Navy.
     In 1985 he retired from the federal government as a civilian personnel manager at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He was a Boy Scout leader and served on the local school board and the Monmouth County Drug Board. He also served the St. Augustine Episcopal Church where he served on the vestry and clergy search committee.

Bitterly Cold Temperatures

      The prolonged period of bitterly cold temperatures is setting numerous records across the central and eastern U.S. A long-lived Arctic outbreak has brought dangerously cold conditions to much of the central and eastern United States since Christmastime and will continue through this week.
This prolonged cold spell has already been notable for several reasons, including its severity, duration and widespread impacts. Wind chill warnings and advisories stretched from the Canadian border in the northern Plains to the Gulf Coast which is not something you see every day. It was minus 58 degrees in Hettinger, North Dakota last Sunday morning. These cold temperatures have a number of effects.
      The frigid weather is the byproduct of a bomb cyclone and polar vortex and wind chills in one part of New Hampshire were forecast to hit negative 100 degrees. The wind steals your breath and freezes your eyelashes. Cold stabs your face and numbs your earlobes to rubber. Toes and fingers, including those wrapped in multiple layers of clothing, can quickly go numb and the wind turns snowflakes into projectiles that feel as if they are piercing any skin that is exposed.
      The cold weather can affects one's blood pressure. Lower temperatures narrow the blood vessels, which elevates blood pressure. The constriction of blood vessels in colder conditions is actually a survival mechanism that helps conserve heat and maintain body temperature, it provides less room for blood to move around.
      According to a 1961 study on seasonal variations in blood pressure it was found that cold weather can increase a person’s blood pressure. It was also found that low temperatures are strongly associated with increased hospital admissions for acute heart attacks, stroke and result in higher cardiovascular mortality. How much blood pressure increases in cold weather depends on variables including the current temperature, wind chill, how long a person is exposed to colder weather and the person’s health.
     University of Florida researchers found that being exposed to a temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit for only five minutes can cause a significant increase in blood pressure. Blood pressure elevations in winter were highest among people aged 80 and older. To combat the impact of lower temperatures on blood pressure, guess what the recommended solution is? Keep warm.
      Another side effect of extreme cold temperatures is the vulnerability of power systems. Sometimes the power goes out, but why would power go out when it’s cold outside? The electric system consists of thousands of components that are mostly electro-mechanical, with lots of moving parts and these systems work best when they operate in the middle of the temperature and moisture/humidity range they were designed for.
      When they are new, these devices are designed and rated to operate correctly in even extreme temperatures. But as they age they may not operate well in extreme conditions. When it gets too cold, hot, or moist, many of these devices operate slower, faster, or less predictably than they normally would especially when they are called upon to perform really hard work, such as a circuit breaker or switch opening fast enough to protect the system from a short circuit caused by a tree branch falling on a line.
      Trees and other nearby items can pose a threat to power lines. But even if there is no snow and ice to send branches tumbling onto the above-ground lines, tree roots can cause problems by providing a pathway for ice to build up around lines underground. In both cases the lines are already stiffer than usual from the cold, making them more vulnerable.
      Wind can also cause problems by blowing tree limbs into lines or rocking trees hard enough to have the roots of the trees rub against the underground lines. Over 40 percent of outages come from trees, and another 20 percent come from animals. In cold weather, a warm transformer can be very inviting to a small animal or bird, which can result in malfunctions.
      Another issue with extreme temperatures is that consumer demand for energy is higher. This can result in local or widespread overloads that may cause service to some areas to go offline or switch to rotating blackouts.
      The polar vortex isn't the only reason for these cold temperatures. A polar vortex is a swirling mass of frigid air typically found over the Arctic that occasionally ventures southward. But the vortex is just one of the culprits.
      The jet stream is a river of wind that typically sits about 20,000 feet (6,100 m) or more above the Earth's surface and influences how air masses and weather systems are distributed. The jet stream guides weather systems across the country and also separates warm air masses in the South from those cold air masses in the North. When the jet stream is north of a particular location, that region usually experiences mild weather because the jet stream is blocking the cold air. But when the jet stream has plunges south the cold air generated by the polar vortex has plunges with it.
      The “bombs” are low pressure systems thatbcause a strong bend in the jet stream pattern, forming a sort of slide through which cold air from the Arctic whooshes down into states east of the Rocky Mountains.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Google Image Search

You can use a picture as your search to find related images from around the web.  When you search using an image, your search results may include:

Similar images
Sites that include the image
Other sizes of the image you searched for

Search using an image works best when the image is likely to show up in other places on the web. So you'll get more results for famous landmarks than you will for personal images like your latest family photo.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Free Calculator – CalcTape

     When I recently needed a simple calculator for my desktop I tried several, including a couple that resulted in Webroot Antivirus warning me that the apps contained malicious content. After trying out a few different calculators I finally settled on CalcTape (formerly known as SFR Calculator) because of its ease of use and nice look.
     It's best for simple calculations, however, it will perform some advanced operations, exponential and percentage calculations.  One nice feature is that you can switch from the calculator mode to the text editor mode, highlight the "paper" view and copy it into a Word document. 
     It comes in both an Android and Windows version and uses a menu ribbon that functions like MS-Office menus. Work can be saved as file. When installed you have three choices: 1) free version, 2) Pro version or 3) register the program. It also has a free mobile version for Android. The versions for Mac and iOS systems are not free. 

Download from the author's site HERE

Friday, December 29, 2017

Colonel Dinshah P. Ghadiali

    Dinshah P. Ghadiali was born in 1873 in Mumbai, India and died in 1966 in Malaga, New Jersey. From 1920 to 1959 he promoted quack spectro-chrome colored light therapy.
    The degrees he claimed to had were Doctor of Chiropractic, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Legal Law" (sic). He also claimed the following honors: Fellow and Ex-Vice-President, Allied Medical Associations of America, Member and Ex-Vice-President, National Association of Drugless Practitioners, President, All Cults Medical Association, President, American Association of Spectro-Chrome Therapists, President, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Member Anti-Vaccination League of London, Member American Association of Orificial Surgeons. None of which was true. It is known that during World War One he seems to have received a commission in the New York Police Reserve.
     When the device he peddled, the Spectro-Chrome, was dismantled by a FDA agent, the agent described it “consisted essentially of a cabinet equipped with a 1000-watt floodlight bulb and electric fan, a container of water for cooling purposes, two glass condenser lenses for concentrating the light, and a number of glass slides of different colors.”
 The machine looked like an aluminum slide projector mounted on a stand.
     Col. Ghadiali claimed to be able to cure almost everything with its twelve colors. Examples: after intensive treatment with “attuned color waves,” a badly burned infant had satin-white silky skin; a blind girl’s sight had been restored; a paralyzed woman was able to walk again.

     Ghadiali claimed his device was NOT a lamp; it was a system, a new, original and unique science. By 1946, he had sold nearly eleven thousand of the things, the most expensive of which cost $750...that's the equivalent of over $8,500 in today's dollars. Let's see...11,000 x $750 = $8,250,000!! Almost $95 million in today's dollars. 
    Those who purchased the device were members of the “Scientific Order of Spectro-Chrome Metrists” and were encouraged to wear a special purple skullcap as a symbol of their allegiance. Patients, who came for rest-cures at the institute’s “Chromarium” had to adopt Ghadiali’s many prejudices: he was against high-heeled shoes, silk stockings, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pills, potions, furs and, get this, enemas.
     Ghadiali also persuaded “patients” to follow his lead and become a vegetarian, gargle with salt, bathe in coconut oil, brush their teeth after each meal (surprise...he sold a special toothpaste). He also had another curious habit; he preferred squatting over a hole rather than using a toilet. Actually, he may have been on to something there. See the article For Best Toilet Health: Squat Or Sit?
     Like a modern day televangelist, when people wrote to him asking about a cure for whatever ailed them he sent them a “Free Guidance Chart” with instructions about what colors to project where and when along with some personalized instructions.
     The use of colored light treatment became fashionable in America in the late nineteenth century. While seeking a way to grow bigger grapes in his greenhouse in Philadelphia (the city where Ghadiali first established his Spectro-Chrome Institute), the retired general Augustus Pleasanton discovered that alternating panes of clear and blue glass was also the secret to restoring health. He published the results of these experiments. Seth Pancoast then published his Blue and Red Light: or, Light and its Rays as Medicine in which he cautioned against “light quacks.” Pancoast claimed to have cured an eight-year-old paraplegic, after only a week under red glass and a young widow suffering from severe sciatica, after only three treatments using blue light bath.

     The along came Edwin Babbitt in 1878, an American teacher and mesmerist who described a complex color theory in The Principles of Light and Color. Babbitt believed that everyone radiated their own brightly colored energy and that sickness was visible to psychics as an upset in the natural harmony of this color field. He invented a device to restore equilibrium that he called the Chromolume. It was a stained-glass window composed of sixteen colors which sold for ten dollars.
     The mania for chromo-therapy spread to Europe, where Charles Fere, a psychiatrist working at a hospital in Paris, used violet glass to create calming and curative effects. The fashion reached as far as India where Ghadiali, then working as the stage manager of a Bombay theater, applied Babbitt’s principles of color therapy when a friend’s niece was dying of mucous colitis, which no ordinary medication seemed able to cure. He made a DIY Chromolume out of an empty purple pickle bottle and a powerful kerosene lamp borrowed from the Highway Department; he irradiated milk in a blue glass container which he also had her drink. Within three days she was apparently totally cured and Ghadiali devoted the rest of his life to practicing what you might call medical showmanship.
 Ghadiali emigrated to America in 1911 and set himself up as an inventor in New Jersey where he began to elaborate on Babbitt’s theories, mixing them with Parsee philosophy, and updating the Chromolume for the era of electric light. Four years after he arrived, the New York Times reported that he had filed a patent for the Dinshah Photokinephone, which he claimed was the first film projector able to coordinate sound with flickering images without the use of a phonograph. The article claimed that he already had “several inventions to his name,” such as the “Dinshah Automobile Engine Fault-Finder.” The Spectro-Chrome, invented after a wartime stint as a pilot in the New York Police Air Reserves (where he rose to the rank of Colonel), promised to be even more miraculous.
     In case Ghadiali’s device appeared to be too simple, he obfuscated by using a language of his own to explain its workings. The therapists Ghadiali trained at the Spectro-Chrome Institute had to spend six hundred hours (!) studying his convoluted three-volume instruction manual, The Spectro-Chrome Metry Encyclopedia.
     Ghadiali believed that the body was made up of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon, which were colored blue, red, green, and yellow respectively. When the four colors are out of balance, people become sick, and the Spectro-Chrome promised to restore a natural harmony. Ghadiali published a chart which showed the twenty-two parts of the body that particular colors should be projected onto to cure different illnesses, and specified the exact time of day each hour-long sitting should take place in a series of complicated regional astrological tables. “Tonations” had to take place in a darkened room while the patient was naked, with eyes open and head facing north, so the body would be aligned with the earth’s magnetic fields. Ghadiali’s slogan was, “No Diagnosis, No Drugs, No Surgery.” “Stop Insulin at once,” he advised diabetics, “and irradiate yourself with Yellow Systemic alternated with Magenta on Areas 4 or 18 and eat plenty of Raw or Brown Sugar and all the Starches!!!.”
     The inevitable was a run-in with the medical establishment. Ghadiali had never received any medical training and he would often appear in full military regalia in the advertising material he used as Colonel Dinshah P. Ghadiali (Honorary) M.D., M.E., D.C., Ph.D., LL.D., N.D., D.Opt., F.F.S., D.H.T., D.M.T., D.S.T. All of these qualifications, except the ones he awarded himself as president of the Spectro-Chrome Institute, were bought from diploma mills. He claimed doctors were envious and threatened by his cure-all.
     In 1931, Ghadiali was arrested in Buffalo, New York for second-degree grand larceny after someone who had bought a Spectro-Chrome complained to officials that it did not perform as promised. Ghadiali persuaded three surgeons to testify in his defense.
     Dr. Kate Baldwin, Senior Surgeon at the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia, claimed that she had successfully treated glaucoma, tuberculosis, cancer, syphilis, gastric ulcers, and serious burns with the Spectro-Chrome. As a result, Ghadiali was acquitted (he’d already spent eighteen months in jail in 1925, accused of having sex with his secretary, who was underage, though he maintained he’d been framed by the Ku Klux Klan). In December, 1925, Ghadiali was sentenced to five years' in the Atlanta penitentiary. During his incarceration there was an outbreak among the prisoners in the penitentiary, and because of Ghadiali's services at that time, his sentence was commuted and he was released in March of 1929.
     The American Medical Association, feeling that the government’s expert witnesses had been humiliated in the trial, began their own investigations. They concluded in 1935 that the Spectro-Chrome was worthless. Referring to it as a Rube Goldberg device.
     After the passage of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, the government began to assemble evidence against Ghadiali. Finally, in 1946, Ghadiali appeared in court charged with introducing a misbranded article into interstate commerce, a violation of the criminal code. “The use of colored lights would have no effect on health,” the FDA concluded, “and when used as directed, or in any manner whatsoever, may delay appropriate treatment of serious diseases, resulting in serious or permanent injury or death to the user.”
     Lawyers for the prosecution called seventy-six witnesses, including several of the experts in diabetes, heart disease, tuberculosis and cancer from whom they’d commissioned independent clinical trials and animal tests. They had found the Spectro-Chrome to be of no value and any cures that had been made were attributed to auto-suggestion or to the diseases and fevers having run their natural course. 
 The government proved that his claims to have cured patients were false and three had died from their conditions.
     In his defense Ghadiali called over one hundred satisfied Spectro-Chrome; fifty-seven of whom suffered only from constipation. The trial lasted two months, but Ghadiali’s case crumbled when a patient he claimed to have cured of epilepsy went into seizures on the witness stand, slumped to the floor, vomited, and swallowed his tongue. A real doctor stopped him from choking to death by holding his tongue down with a pencil. After seven and a half hours’ deliberation, the jury returned to declare Ghadiali guilty; he was given a three-year prison sentence and fined $20,000; all his promotional literature was ordered to be burnt, and further production of Spectro-Chromes outlawed.

      On his release in 1953, Ghadiali wasn't done. He simply changed the name of his organization to the Visible Spectrum Research Institute; in 1958, the FDA obtained a permanent injunction through a federal judge and closed him down.
     He died in 1966, aged ninety-two. Ghadiali made millions of dollars, he died fourteen thousand dollars in debt. He spent his money on development, lectures, advertising, buildings, lawyers and very little for personal use. His son, Darius Ghadiali, took over the company and began selling his father’s books and pamphlets, but not his devices . However, he published a booklet describing how to build a Spectro-Chrome out of cardboard, filters and lamp. After Dinshah’s death in 1966, his son, Hom Jay Dinshah became the founder and president of the American Vegan Society and editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine until his own death in 2000. Colored light therapy is still around, just Google it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Human Toe Length Myth Busted

     Those silly posts one sees on places like Facebook that claim your toe length reveal your personality are a myth. For example:

     If the piggy that went to market, is longer than the others, it means you're bright and creative. You creatively solve your problems and can easily think outside of the box. You find it difficult to stay focused, however, and tend to abandon projects partway through. If it's smaller than the other toes, it indicates pretty much the opposite. You're an effective multitasker but you tend to do things by the books.
     If the piggy that stayed home is longer, you are a born leader. You're great at managing people and coordinating efforts. You're energetic and resourceful and stand up for what you believe in. If it's shorter than the others, it means you may have trouble standing up for yourself, though you are more level-headed.

     It the little piggy had roast beef is longer, you tend to have a more dynamic personality and are successful in your field of work. This toe is linked with your energy and willpower, as well as your drive. You tend to be a perfectionist. If it is shorter, you live a simpler life and enjoy the small things. Chilling out is your go-to.
     If the piggy that had NO roast beef is long and straight, you care deeply about your family life. Personal matters come before anything else and you're a wonderful listener. Your family is where you draw your strength. If it is shorter and curved, you may need to unwind a little bit, as you're prone to being a worrier. Focus on your family and love life.
     If the toe that said wee, wee, wee all the way home is very little, it may indicate that you don't handle responsibilities all that well and you get easily bored and lose focus. You're a joker and tend to be well liked, but responsibilities aren't your strong suit.
     And, if your little toe wiggles independently of the others, it indicates an adventurous, charming, impulsive spirit. There is NO basis in fact for any of that.

     Most of us have come to realize the power of opposable thumbs. Without a thumb we would struggle to open jars, use a hammer, shake hands or hundreds of other things. But have you ever considered your toes?
     They could be a matter of balance. After all, six toes on one foot and four on the other would make walking difficult because it would result in an inconvenient list to one side. But, nobody knows why ten is the magic number.
     One theory is the Limb Law developed by a fellow named Mark Changizi, a theoretical neurobiologist. According to Limb Law, a mathematical formula can be used to explain the number of limbs an insect or animal would need based on how long its limbs are. The shorter the limbs, the more that are necessary.
     According to the law, fingers and toes should be considered limbs of the hands and feet. We need enough, but not too many, fingers so that we can perform certain tasks: make a fist, grasp objects and more. Turns out, the correct ratio for the human hand is five. Convenient, considering that's the way most people are born.
     Scientists are pretty convinced 10 is a good number for appendages on the feet and hands and more is not better. Adding a sixth finger to each hand or a sixth toe to each foot wouldn't offer much in the way of improvement. We don't need six fingers to grasp an object, and a sixth finger would just get in the way for many tasks, including the ability to make a fist. However, adding to the confusion is that robotic hands used as prosthetics actually have been shown to be nearly as effective with two, three or four fingers instead of five.
     Toes. In some people, the big toe is longer than the second toe (called "L," for long big toe), while other people have the big toe shorter than the second toe ("S"). This is sometimes said to controlled by one gene with two alleles (one of two or more alternative forms of a gene that arise by mutation and are found at the same place on a chromosome), with the allele for S dominant to the allele for L. There is no good evidence for this myth as the small number of toe length studies give contradictory results.
     Actually, the relative length of the big and second toes varies considerably and there aren't just two categories of toe length. Some studies have found about 5 percent of the populations have the big toe and second toe equal in length and six percent of people have the big toe longer on one foot and the second toe longer on the other foot. Studies indicate that while there is clearly a genetic component, many people do not fit the model. Whether the big toe is longer or shorter than the second toe is influenced by genetics, but it may be determined by more than one gene, or by a combination of genetics and the environment.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Paranoid Personality Disorder

    I have often wondered why so many people on Facebook are posting stuff about how many people are “haters” or are out to get them or the boss is persecuting them on the job. Generally, at work, if you do what they tell you and keep your mouth shut, they will leave you alone.
     It turns out there is such thing a Paranoid Personality Disorder. It's a mental disorder that is on the rise. Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated fear that others deliberately intend to cause one harm.
     In a recent study of 1,200 people at Oxford University researchers found levels of paranoia are much higher than previously suspected; it was almost on a par with depression. More than 40 per cent of the subjects were convinced that negative comments are being made behind their backs, 20 per cent worry about being observed or followed, and 5 per cent are afraid that there is a deliberate conspiracy to do them harm. According to the Cleveland Clinic paranoid personality disorder is more prevalent in males than females. 
   A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent. Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive them, even if no evidence exists to support their belief. It pervades virtually every professional and personal relationship they have. These people are generally difficult to get along with and often have problems with close relationships.
     Their beliefs that others are out to get them are often expressed in argumentativeness, constant complaining, or by quiet, hostile aloofness. They may act in a guarded, secretive, or devious manner and appear to be cold. Although they may appear to be objective, rational, and unemotional, they more often display a labile range of affect, with hostile, stubborn, and sarcastic expressions predominating. Their combative and suspicious nature may elicit a hostile response in others, which then serves to confirm their original expectations. They need to have a high degree of control over those around them and are often rigid, critical of others and they have great difficulty accepting criticism.

Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder
* Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
* Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
* Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
* Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
* Persistently bears grudges (i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights)
* Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others, and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
* Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner

     Researchers don’t know what causes paranoid personality disorder; however, there are many theories about the possible causes. Most professionals think the causes are likely due to biological and genetic factors, social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children), and psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by their environment and learned coping skills to deal with stress). If a person has this personality disorder, research suggests that there is a slightly increased risk for this disorder to be passed down to their children.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Tom Tom GPS

    Last year for Christmas I got a TomTom VIA 1515M 5-Inch Portable Touchscreen Car GPS Navigation Device - Lifetime Map Updates. This device is absolute junk
     It takes it a long tome to find a valid signal and when it does, the device often loses it while driving. The company has offered a patch to correct this, but every time I try to download it an error message comes up that there's something wrong with my computer. Of course, the problem is with Tom Tom, not the laptop. 
    As for their claim there is a lifetime update of maps available, well, that's an outright lie. Connecting it to the laptop to download the patch their program hijacked my laptop and tried to make Tom Tom my home screen
     Now, after sitting idle for three months in my car the battery won't charge!
I give this scumbag company two thumbs down, more if I had them!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fark and Total Fark and Bare Fark

    An amusing site. Fark is what fills space when mass media runs out of news. Fark is supposed to look like news... but it's not news. It's Fark. VISIT SITE
     It is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site which receives around 2,000 or so news submissions from its readership, from which they hand-pick the funny and weird notable news plus sdome stuff that isn't news. With a subscription to Totalfark you get to upvote and downvote headlines plus some other benefits. BareFark is Fark for people who hate ads. You can sign up for BareFark for $2.50 per month, or $25 for the entire year.
     Not a few posts are from what appear to be tabloid sites and are probably as real as fake news can be.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Get There Faster...Don't Tailgate

    According to a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study we would have fewer "phantom traffic jams" that arise without any apparent cause if drivers quit tailgating. 
    Their research shows that if drivers kept an equal distance between the cars in front of and behind them everyone would get to their destination almost twice as quickly! Naturally, researchers gave a name to keeping an equal distance between cars; they call it "bilateral control."
    One of the researchers stated that we tend to view the world in terms of what's ahead of us, both literally and conceptually, so it might seem counter-intuitive to look backwards. But, the outstanding claim was that driving like this could reduce travel time and fuel consumption without having to build more roads or make other changes to infrastructure.
     It's unlikely drivers will ever stop tailgating so, so the suggestion was that auto manufacturers design cruise-control systems and add sensors to both their front and rear bumpers. It is claimed that traffic would get noticeably better even if just a small percentage of all cars were outfitted with such systems. In future work funded in part by Toyota, there are actually plans to do simulation testing to see if this idea really is faster and safer.    
     Researchers were actually influenced in part by how flocks of starling birds move in tandem and claimed it requires knowing what is going on all around you, not just in front. One proposed approach is to electronically connect vehicles together to coordinate their distances between each other. Doesn't sound very practical to me. Supposedly the research team's solution would require new software and some inexpensive hardware updates.    
     Research involved looking at the density of entire highways and how miles of traffic patterns can be affected by individual cars changing speeds (called "perturbations). Their research showed that if drivers all keep an equal distance between the cars on either side of them, such 'perturbations' would disappear as they travel down a line of traffic, rather than amplify to create a traffic jam. For an explanation and short video of how these traffic jams work see HERE and HERE.
     Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman on the old Mythbusters had a better solution: