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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Sen Toku I-400-class Imperial Japanese Navy submarines...

....were the largest submarines of World War II and remained the largest ever built until the construction of nuclear ballistic missile submarines in the 1960s. They were submarine aircraft carriers able to carry three Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft underwater to their destinations. They were designed to surface, launch their planes, then quickly dive again before they were discovered. They also carried torpedoes for close-range combat.
    The I-400-class was designed with the range to travel anywhere in the world and return. A fleet of 18 boats was planned in 1942, and work started on the first in January 1943 at the Kure, Hiroshima arsenal. Within a year the plan was scaled back to five, of which only three (I-400 at Kure, and I-401 and I-402 at Sasebo) were completed.  You can watch a fascinating 51 minute Youtube video on this submarine HERE.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


     PubMed is a handy US Government site that comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
     Provides free access to MEDLINE, NLM's database of citations and abstracts in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and preclinical sciences. Links to full-text articles found in PubMed Central or at publisher web sites, and other related resources.
     Provides Advanced search, Clinical Queries search filters, and Special Queries pages. Links to related articles and provides discovery tools for other data that may be of interest.
     Includes automatic e-mailing of search updates, the ability to save records, and filters for search results using "My NCBI". Links to NCBI molecular biology resources.

Simply enter your search topics - one or more terms - and click Search. PubMed can be searched using MeSH terms, author names, title words, text words or phrases, journal names, or any combination of these. Retrieved citations are displayed and their associated abstracts can be selected for viewing. A unique feature of PubMed is the ability to instantly find related articles for any citation.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Best 100 Free Games Online

PC Gamer has the 100 Best Free Online Games

Free games are excellent, especially when you don't even have to wait for them to download and install. Webgames promise instant delight. They can deliver a quick thrill and a punch line and then let you get on with your day. But there are deeper experiences out there as well.

Did you know, for example, that you can play Doom in your browser? In fact, you can play whole RPGs, explore intricate works of interactive fiction and wage space-war against your friends. They list their hundred favorite browser games—the best free online games in the world. They have divided up the list along genre lines.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Customer Service Scoreboard

...Ratings for Top Companies Based Upon User Feedback

Only 40 companies out of the 756 total companies with a CustomerServiceScoreboard.com rating currently rank as Acceptable or better. This is only 5 percent! People adding comments and ratings are also asked to rate each company on a scale of 1 - 10 when it comes to 5 specific aspects of their customer service interaction.

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


  It appears that lately there has been a big increase in the number of reports related to a threat known a Trojan.Poweliks. This is malware that works differently than usual malware. It's not a file on your computer...it lurks in a registry subkey that is found in the computer’s registry.
     The trojan spreads via malicious spam emails and exploit kits, especially spoof emails related to a missing package claiming to be from the Canadian Post or the U.S. Postal Service or details concerning your recent purchase at some department store, etc.
     Once the malware is in the computer it delivers ads, deals and coupons on your browser. It modifies browser default settings. As a result, stuff begins popping up like Whack-A-Moles on your computer. Not only that some words may be underlined hyperlinks redirecting you to some spam websites full of ads.
     The virus is an ugly one, too because once it's installed it adds its own entry to the window registry so that it can be activated at startup; also many other settings in windows registry can be messed up.
     With your windows registry all boogered up the computer won't perform properly. This trojan can disable the firewall and the anti-virus program, too and that means the infected computer can be attacked by more viruses and Trojans because ther's nothing to stop them.
     It can also create many junks files that waste a lot of space on the hard drive which slows down performance and it can also consume much of the CPU's resources so that it runs slower and slower.
     Cyber-hackers can gain access to your computer, too. Cyber-criminals mainly target financial stuff like bank accounts, credit card details, passwords and other personal information which may be stored on your computer. Be careful about storing this information on your cmputer! A lot of people have information stored right on the hard drive...like passwords and it's usually in a document named...'passwords.' Keep all that information on a CD or flash drive!!
     Malwarebytes is reportedly able to stop your pc from getting infected but apparently not the free version. The free version does however seem to block it once you get infected. My laptop was running very slow and I kept getting popups from MalwareBytes informing me it had blocked different stuff. They were poppong up every couple of seconds, but only when I was on the Internet.
     I am running Webroot Antivirus and it didn't prevent me from getting it nor did anything show up on a scan with Webroot. I ran a scan with the free MalwareBytes and it didn't show anything either.
     If you know what you are doing there are ways to remove it manually, but I had to sign on with Geek Squad, no easy chore because the laptop was running so slowly. Wouldn't you know it? My suscription expired yesterday! It cost me $200 to renew it for another year, but at least I got it cleaned off my laptop.
     The techie said it likely came from either downloading a program (which I haven't done) or clicking on a advertisement. I did accidently double click on something that opened an ad. I don't remember what it was because I wasn't interested in it so closed it right away, but apparently it was too late.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reality TV

     Most, if not all, of them are as fake as anything else you see on television.   
     Moonshiners is a docudrama that dramatizes the life of people who produce illegal moonshine in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. The series dramatizes their efforts, law-evading techniques and life. It should be obvious that no illegal liquor is actually being produced by the people depicted in the show. I saw a portion of an episode a couple of weeks ago where two guys broke into an abandoned building to set up their still. Really? They can't be filming felonies being planned and committed without being party to the crimes themselves. Also what moonshiner in his right mind is going to tell a television crew to film him as he goes about his illegal activities?
     On Cup Cake Wars they try to surprise the bakers with odd ingredients. Actually the contestants find out the ingredients months before the show. The House Hunters is another faked show. After the people have already purchased their house, the show tapes them viewing it then takes them to other houses to make it seem like they are picking between the three. Those restaurant and hotel salvaging shows: All of the problems are either made up or things that had been solved years ago but were re-created for the cameras.
     On American Idol people wait for hours and go through tons of judges who decide if they are TV material: crazy, bad singers or actually good enough to move on. Sometimes screeners toss people out based on appearance. Storage Wars...they stage stuff in the storage lockers. I went to a local storage facility one time that was auctioning off stuff in the lockers and it was obvious they had gone through them first and pulled out anything of value. I left after about 3 or 4 lockers.
     On Jerry Springer the stories, fights and arguments on stage are fake. It is hard to believe normal people would go on television and willingly make themselves look like stupid fools.  The Amish reality shows are fake. Pawn Stars is pretty much made up. Actual customers are not in the store during filming and, of course, they never call their buddies to come down and look at stuff; they're already there and booked up on the item. The Repo shows are reenactments based on real repos. Cops is all scripted...TV Guide article
     The History and Discovery channels really peeve me sometimes. I started watching something the other night on the Ark of the Covenant. Some 'expert' was explaining that unlike the Bible description, it was nothing more than a plain old wooden box because the Israelites had neither gold nor the skills to produce an Ark as described in the Bible. What is this 'expert' talking about? According to the account of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Egyptians gave the Hebrews a lot of gold, silver, and other treasures just to get rid of them. Also the Israelites had a pretty good knowledge of gold metallurgy from the Egyptians whose overlaying of gold on wood was quite common. Working with gold was not new to the Israelites. Then in chapter 31 of Exodus, God told Moses He would give the people the skills and wisdom needed to form the gold, silver, etc, and overlay the wood with it.  

Huffington Post Article

25 Reality Shows That Aren't

Monday, December 8, 2014

Latest Fun Sites to Visit

Space News-what's going on in the world of space exploration
Philosophy Experiments - Would you eat your cat? and other tests
According to the test, I don't think it would be wrong to eat Millie, but I wouldn't actually do it.

Hoax Slayer - Latest Email and Social Media Hoaxes - Current Internet Scams
American Pickers - I like this program even though I think most of these 'reality' shows are as phony as anything coming out of Hollywood.

Speaking of My Problems with Barnes & Noble...

    I am not the only one having problems...my wife has been dealing with Amazon over a defective Kindle since August! I have no idea how many times they have exchanged e-mails and Amazon representatives have called her at home to 'discuss' the problem. It seems nobody at Amazon has any authority to resolve customer service issues. The result is there has been a lot of discussion, but no resolution to the fact that the Kindle does not work right. As a result, she tracked down the e-mail of the president of Amazon and sent him an e-mail detailing the problems she has had. Will he answer? That remains to be seen.

Edit on 12-10  She got an e-mail from somebody (not the president, so he apparently forwarded it to some Amazon flunky) saying they would call her to discuss her problem and try resolve it, but they never did. How many times do they have to discuss it?  How hard is it to resolve a problem with a Kindle that quit working?  You replace it.  It seems like even an idiot could figure that out. 

UPDATE 12-13...no word from Amazon...HOW's THAT FOR LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE?

     It seems this is a common problem these days. Dealing with so called Customer Service Representatives is often frustrating at best. I understand from personal business experience that very often senior management leaves employees hamstung by not providing them the tools or the authority to correct anything. Let's face it, top management often thinks lower level employees such as sales clerks and customer service representatives are too stupid to make any decisions. Or they may make a decision that will cost the company a few dollars. So they put tight rules on these people that prevent them from solving any problems.  Not to mention the fact that very often companies outsource calls to service centers to other countries so you may get somebody who can barely speak English and lives 12,000 miles away.  Of course they don't give a rat's butt about your problem even assuming they actually understand what you are saying to them in the first place. 
     From the employee's perspective, they are often paid minimum wage, receive no benefits and work awful schedules. Throw in the facts that management thinks they are one notch above being retarded plus they have to spend their days at work dealing with the public's problems and guess what? They simply don't care about the fact that something went wrong with your purchase. They feel powerlessness and frustrated. The easiest solution is just to get rid of you, the complainer. 

     Resolution of your complaint is likely going to cost the company some money and profit is put ahead of customer satisfaction. I saw it all the time on my job before I retired. Customer Service Reps have as a goal beating the customer rather than serving them. Restrictive policies are often placed on clerks because companies are deathly afraid that their people will give away some money. Want to speak to their supervisor? There's a possibility they'll get into trouble if their supervisor has to be bothered with you, so expect to get stonewalled if you ask to speak to one.

     I recently had a problem with a doctor's bill and the insurance company's payment of it. All it should have taken was a quick phone call to resolve the issue. Instead I had to make many, many phone calls and send out several e-mails.  It was a waste of time because nobody did anything. And guess what? It was a bill from the hospital for which my wife works! They would not even return her phone calls and e-mails she made from her office at work. 
     That's when I decided to take matters higher and called for the e-mail and/or phone number of the hospital's Vice President of Patient Services. Guess what? They would not provide me with that information!! After a 2-hour Google search I managed to find the e-mail myself. Fortunately, the VP answered my e-mail within a few minutes and the problem was solved the next day! It looks to me like nobody below the rank of Vice President had either enough gumption or authority to deal with the problem. One person I dealt with told me after I had explained the problem, "I can't help you. Have a nice day." then hung up.
     What can you do to combat bad customer service? Here are some suggestions:

10 Ways To Retaliate Against Bad Customer Service
Bad Customer Service? Three Smarter ways to Complain
How To Handle Bad Customer Service

If you still don’t experience satisfaction take, your complaint as far up the corporate totem pole as possible even if it means spending some time on Google to ferret out the e-mail or phone number of a top executive.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nook for PC

   My Nook Color was destroyed back in May when our house flooded and it was just yesterday that I got around to installing the Nook for PC app which I downloaded from the Barnes and Noble website. This app allows you to read your books from your laptop. It didn't work.
     I tried signing on to the live chat and the first time got timed out before I could even finish typing my message. It happened the second time, too. The third time I managed to get in contact with somebody and she asked me if I was having trouble with the Nook for PC app; that was strange because that is exactly what I said in my initial contact, 'I am having trouble with my Nook for PC app.' So, she asked the nature of the problem and my reply was, 'I can't read the books I paid for, only the free ones.'  She typed back, 'You can't read the books you paid for, only the free ones?' What the ...! Isn't that what I just wrote?  Anyway, before I typed 'Yes.' I got timed out.
     So, I called their toll free help number and was told to archive and unarchive the books and it should work. I did and it didn't. I called back and was put on hold for a few minutes. When the lady came back she said wait about an hour and something about it takes that long to sync. I waited and the Nook for PC app still didn't work so I called a third time.
     This time the young lady on the help line informed me, 'We no longer use the Nook for PC app because there were so many problems with it. You have to read your books online fron the Barnes and Noble website. I would suggest you go ahead and delete the app from your laptop.'
     I asked her why, if it does not work, is it still available for download from their site. She didn't know, but told me she was going to notify somebody that the app should be removed from the website. I also informed her that their chat is as worthless as the Nook for PC app so she said she was going to make a note of that also for the technicians to look at.
    The whole experience was bizarre.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Alternative News Sources

Natural News is a science-based natural health advocacy organization led by activist-turned-scientist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. The key mission is to empower consumers with factual information about the synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, hormone disruptors and other chemicals found in foods, medicines, personal care products, children's toys and other items. Natural News covers holistic health, nutritional therapies, consciousness and spirituality, permaculture , organics, animal rights, environmental health, food and superfoods , and performance nutrition. The site strongly criticizes drugs-and-surgery medicine, vaccines, corporate corruption, animal testing, the use of humans for medical experiments, the chemical contamination of foods, heavy metals in consumer products, factory farming and government corruption.

The Huffington Post - offers news, blogs, and original content and covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women's interests, and local news.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Perfect Geeks Test Blog with Software Reviews

Tech and how to blog since 2007...worth visiting if you are looking for software...it's how I found the OCR software in the post below.  Perfect Geeks

OCR Software

     I was using a program called Free OCR to Word but when I recently had to go online and re-install Windows on my laptop, the program, along with some others, got wiped out. When I went to the site to download and re-install Free OCR to Word I got malware messages. This was not a problem when the program was initially installed, but I understand there have been recent complaints about malware in the program, so as good as it was, I do not recommend using this program.
     As a replacement I found a program called SimpleOCR that is easy to use and works with Windows 8, Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit, Windows XP and Vista. SimpleOCR converts scanned files of text that is stored in images to full editable doc or txt files. There is a 14-day demo for a paid feature that allows the conversion of hand written text. The program includes a spell checker that will suggest words to replace those that do not look correct. You can save in either Word or txt format. If your documents have multi-column layouts, non-standard fonts, poor quality or color images, you will need one of their commercial OCR applications.  I did a couple of quick test scans on a printed document and it scanned very nicely. Recommended.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Abi Word Processor and Serif Software

Looking for a FREE Word Processor which works and looks a lot like Microsoft Word?  If you do not have a good word processor this is a good one. It has Spell-check so your documents and letters won’t be filled with misspellings! Abi Word is a good choice.

Another good site for free programs for desktop publishing, website design, graphic design, photo editing and more is Serif. Their programs are full versions, not trial software, so once downloaded you can use them forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for a long time. Sample offerings:

Page Plus Starter Edition- Desktop publishing software. Create everything from business cards to posters .
Web Plus Starter Edition – Web design software. Create professional looking websites in minutes – no experience required
Other Starter Editions -Photo Plus, Movie Plus, Panorama Plus, Craft Artist, Free Content Packs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Red Green Show

     The Red Green Show was a Canadian television comedy that aired in Canada, with its ultimate home at CBC Television, and on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations in the United States, from 1991 until the series finale April 7, 2006, on CBC. It was essentially a cross between a sitcom and a sketch comedy series, and is a parody of home improvement, do-it-yourself, fishing, and other outdoors shows.
     The title character, Red Green (Steve Smith), was a handyman who tried to find shortcuts to most of his projects, trusting most of his work to duct tape, which he calls "the handyman's secret weapon". He is the president of the Possum Lodge, a fictional men's club in the small northwestern Ontario town of Possum Lake, near the also-fictional town of Port Asbestos.
    The show's structure evolved over time and included several regular segments that appeared in almost every episode. These segments were interspersed with each episode's three main plot segments. The most frequent segments were "The Possum Lodge Word Game", "Handyman Corner", and "Adventures with Bill".
     Red attempted to demonstrate creative and often humorous ways to tackle relatively common tasks, such as taking out the trash or making use of derelict cars, or to create something extravagant out of whatever he could get his hands on.
     A black-and-white segment in the form of a narrated home movie, in which Red attempted to accomplish a task, trying out a sport, or go on some adventure, invariably leading to slapstick comedy.
     In The Possum Lodge Word Game the objective was to get a contestant to say a certain word in 30 seconds by giving them various clues. The contestant almost always gave answers that were either way off or very odd throughout the segment, but finally said the correct word by accident.
     Red gave sage advice from behind his fly tying workbench, usually talking to older men about married life or coping with changing society. In many shows, Red was sitting at a campfire, usually strumming a guitar and singing an original humorous song.
     A regular segment involved reading a letter supposedly from a viewer and Red would answer it, often misinterpreting what the viewer was asking always give ridiculous advice, often debating on what the viewer meant or needed. The show usually concluded with Red giving a message to his wife, Bernice and delivering his signature piece of life advice in the form of a hockey metaphor: "Keep your stick on the ice."
     This was followed by a general meeting of the Possum Lodge membership while the credits rolled, which began with the ritual stating of the Lodge motto: "Quando omni flunkus moritati" (Pseudo-Latin for "When all else fails, play dead"). This was often followed by the Man's Prayer: "I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess."  Red Green YouTube Channel

Monday, November 3, 2014

Amazing Facts About the Human Body

     The Jump to Light Speed Is a Real Killer - Han Solo talks about making the "jump to light speed." If the Millenium Falcon is somehow jumping to light speed, it implies a nearly instantaneous acceleration. The Falcon might be traveling along at 50 miles per hour, and then suddenly it's traveling at 186,000 miles per second. Let BMW try to beat that acceleration! It's no problem for Han to accelerate the Falcon from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. Inertia will push him slightly back in his seat. But accelerating from zero to 186,000 miles per second in five seconds will push Han back so forcefully that he'll become a splat on that fine vinyl upholstery. The speed of light is so fast, that to accelerate to it safely would take months! We measure acceleration in g's, with one g equal to the acceleration caused by Earth's gravity—the acceleration of falling objects on Earth. The reason we measure acceleration in terms of gravity is because the two have the same effect. The gravitational force on an object is equivalent to the inertial force on an object undergoing a comparable acceleration. Just as gravity pushes you down against the Earth, inertia pushes you back against your seat. READ MORE

What wind speed will blow someone off his/her feet? - I'm sure you folks at the observatory have a good feel for this! My guess is the variables are: -- Person's weight including gear -- The ground surface, especially whether smooth or slick -- Whether the wind comes in a sudden gust -- (Related to the gust factor) Whether the person is braced and/or balanced on their feet READ MORE

100 Interesting Facts About the Human Body - The human body is an incredibly complex and intricate system, one that still baffles doctors and researchers on a regular basis despite thousands of years of medical knowledge. As a result, it shouldn’t be any surprise that even body parts and functions we deal with every day have bizarre or unexpected facts and explanations behind them. From sneezes to fingernail growth, here are 100 weird, wacky, and interesting facts about the human body. READ MORE

How the 105-mph Fastball Tests the Limits of the Human Body - A Triple-A pitcher shocked the baseball world with a pitch clocked at an insanely fast 105 mph. Here's why we won't see pitchers throw it much faster than this—ever. READ MORE

What Are the Limits of Human Survival? - One hears epic accounts of people surviving bullets to the brain, 10-story free falls or months stranded at sea. But put a human anywhere in the known universe except for the thin shell of space that extends a couple of miles above or below sea level on Earth, and we perish within minutes. As strong and resilient as the human body seems in some situations, considered in the context of the cosmos as a whole, it's unnervingly fragile. READ MORE

Landing in Water From Great Heights - Describe what will happen to the human body, when a person jumps from a commercial airplane without a parachute and lands in the ocean. Let us say they are 20 feet above the ocean. Is it true that landing in ocean water at this speed is like landing on cement? My students actually believe that a person could survive a jump from a commercial plane flying over the ocean. I would like some scientific answer. READ MORE

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Virus Total

   Highly Recommended!
  VirusTotal, a subsidiary of Google, is a free online service that analyzes files and URLs enabling the identification of viruses, worms, trojans and other kinds of malicious content detected by antivirus engines and website scanners. At the same time, it may be used as a means to detect false positives, i.e. innocuous resources detected as malicious by one or more scanners. VirusTotal will scan, and detect, if appropriate, any type of binary content, be it a Windows executable, Android APKs, PDFs, images, javascript code, etc.
     While VirusTotal provides a second opinion on a given file or URL it is by no means a full-fledged antivirus and it is not intended to be. VirusTotal is not available for download, it is  a web application.

VirusTotal's main characteristics are:

Free unbiased service: VirusTotal, is offered freely to end users as long as its use has no commercial purpose and does not become part of any business activity. VirusTotal does not distribute or advertise any products belonging to third parties, but simply acts as an aggregator of information. This prevents them from being subjected to any kind of bias and allows them to offer an objective service.

Runs multiple antivirus engines and website scanners: The data is the output of different antivirus engines, website scanners, file and URL analysis tools and user contributions.

Real time updates of virus signatures and blacklists: The malware signatures of antivirus solutions are periodically updated as they are developed and distributed by the antivirus companies. The update polling frequency is 15 minutes.

Detailed results from each scanner: VirusTotal not only tells you whether a given antivirus solution detected a submitted file, but also displays the exact detection label returned by each engine.

Desktop applications for interacting with the service: VirusTotal's team has released a number of desktop applications and tools for interacting with the service (one-click file uploader, browser extensions, etc.). Many of VirusTotal's users have also developed their own applications and have made them publicly available on the Internet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian is probably the most fascinating museum I have ever visited and even if you can’t be there, they have tons and tons of stuff you can enjoy right from your computer. Museums include such things as: African American History and Culture and Art, Air and Space, American Art, American History, American Indian Museum, Arts and Industry, Sculpture, Zoo, Portraits, Postal museum, etc. For example, click HERE for a fascinating site on the world’s oceans that has stories, videos and photos.

Missing Money

     If you live in the United States you can go to Missing Money and check by state to see if you are owed any money.
     Missing Money searches all participating states to find your family's missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets. I live in Ohio and every year 200,000 Ohioans lose track of their funds because they put money in financial institutions and forget about it or simply cannot track it in their records. Also, sometimes people are owed money by financial institutions and for whatever reason, they cannot be located. Because of this, Ohio, like most other states and Canadian provinces, have set up a Division of Unclaimed Funds.
     All you have to do is visit the site and enter your name, or the name of a relative (hopefully a rich one) and see if you have any money being held b y the State. If you do, you can download a claim form right from the site. The site is maintained by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) which is a non-profit organization that maintains a national database to help people find unclaimed property.  Good Luck!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Free US Government Publications

Publications.USA.gov is operated by the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC), U.S. General Services Administration. It serves as a central source of information about federal government publications helpful to citizens. Consumer, scientific, medical, and other publications are available both in hard copies and for download. If print copies are available, publications are free. If print copies are unavailable for distribution, you may download and print copies of these publications for free. There is also a US Government bookstore.

Thinking of getting a dog?

  Some information on this site may make you think twice about what dog to get. DogsBite.org is a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks. They conduct research on the public safety issue of severe and fatal dog attacks inflicted by dangerous dog breeds. They champion the rights of victims through their research, education and advocacy. In the 9-year period from 2005 to 2013, two dog breeds accounted for 74% of the attacks that resulted in death: pit bulls and rottweilers.  Dogsbite


Friday, October 24, 2014

Free Kindle and Nook Apps

   I was surprised to find out some people thought you had to have a Kindle or Nook to read digital books, but that’s not true. Whether you have a Kindle or Nook you can generally purchase books online cheaper from Amazon or Barnes and Noble (for the Nook) than from a book store and the digital editions are usually cheaper. By the way, most of the free books are digitized books that are out of copyright protection and most of them are of very poor quality. There’s not much point in trying to save a little money downloading them; they are usually boring and sometimes hard to read; if you want cheap download the $0.99 ones.

     Both the Amazon app for Kindle and the Barnes and Noble app for the Nook offer pretty much the same things. You load them on your tablet, smartphone or computer and when you buy a book once you can read it on any device with the app installed. Of course, you can also read that same book on the Kindle or Nook if you own one. I used to have the Nook, but it got destroyed when our house flooded back in May so now I just download and read books on my laptop.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


TSC Shops enable you to find anything and everything you need for your home from home furnishing goods, pet supplies, toys, and even apparel. Their wide range of products are sold from over fifty retail websites.

Selection - They have the largest selection of products and it's easy to find exactly what you want.
Shipping – They ship UPS, USPS, Fedex, and LTL Freight.
Low Prices - the lowest anywhere. If you see an item for less, send them the place where you saw it and they will beat it or match it.
Authorized Dealer - They are authorized dealers for all products listed on their website.
BBB Accredited Business - BBB has determined that TSCShops.com meets BBB accreditation standards.
SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - Everything listed is unconditionally guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with something, send it back within 30 days of receipt for exchange, credit, or refund the cost of the item. Shipping and handling cannot be reimbursed.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Buy From Tiger Direct

Tiger Direct offers deals on electronics, tablets, phones, office supplies, video games and more. They are a direct online and catalog retailer of computers and consumer electronics with headquarters in Fontainebleau, Florida. They also have locations in Miami, Naperville, Illinois (distribution center, corporate sales offices, retail stores in Chicago, Jefferson, Georgia and North Carolina. In Canada they have stores in Ontario: Markham(superstore), Etobicoke, Vaughan, Mississauga, Burlington, London, and Richmond Hill. Before I retired the company IT guy ordered just about all the company’s computer equipment from them and when I was looking for a new laptop TigerDirect was the place he suggested to get the best deal.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Save Big Money at Restaurants!

A local favorite of mine
    This is one of my favorites because we like to eat out. Restaurantdotcom offers gift certificates that allow you to save a lot of money at thousands of restaurants across the country.

     Simply select the restaurant and certificate denomination of your choice, complete the purchase process, and present your certificate to the server on your mobile phone or take a printed copy with you just like any other coupon. The savings will appear on your bill. Plus, Restaurant.com Gift Certificates never expire.
     Just some examples from where I live: A favorite Mexican restaurant: $5.00 certificates cost $2.00. A fine dining restaurant that overlooks Lake Erie: a $25 certificate costs $10 and a $50 certificate costs $20.
     We first learned of these when our house flooded last May. My wife’s employees took up a collection and bought us some coupons to use while we were living at a motel. We ate well at the hotel next door and there was no catch. They are also a great way to save money if you are going on vacation and will be eating out a lot.

Clean infected computers with a collection of repair tools...free

     Emsisoft Free Emergency Kit's can scan and clean malware-infected PCs without having to be installed. Free Emergency Kit runs from USB drives and similar devices which makes it pretty handy for, as the name implies, emergencies. It detects, quarantines, or removes viruses and malware, adware, PUPs and other programs that may be annoying, unwanted, and unnecessary but not a threat.
     The Scanner program searches for viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware, worms, dialers, keyloggers among others. Also included is Commandline Scanner but doesn’t have a GUI and is for professional use; it’s not something most of us will want to mess with. The same with HiJackFree; it helps advanced users to detect and remove Malware manually. BlitzBlank is another tool for experienced users or anybody else who is plagued with Malware on a daily basis. It deletes files, registry entries and drivers at boot time before Windows and all other programs are loaded. Not something computer illiterates will want to mess with.
    You begin by running Smart Scan, which ferrets out malware and then run a full scan. The program recommends quarantining any items in the scan results if you're not sure they can be safely deleted. If everything runs OK, you can delete the quarantined files later. If your computer is packed full of crap the process can take a long time, but normally it’s fast and will often find stuff other software won’t. That said, you should not rely on this software as your only protection.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Do NOT Eat this Crap!

    I am not a health nut, but do like to eat healthy. I DO eat junk food sometimes, but generally avoid eating it by the boat load if possible. The following foods provide virtually no health benefits while posing health risks.

White bread, refined flours. White bread and refined flours in general are toxic because they have been stripped of almost all vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients. Refined white flour has been bleached with chlorine and treated with bromide, two poisonous chemicals that have been linked to causing thyroid and organ damage.

Frozen meals (aka TV Dinners). They are loaded with preservatives, processed salt, hydrogenated oils and other artificial ingredients, not to mention the fact that most frozen meals have been pre-cooked, reducing their nutrient content. Most of them are pretty nasty tasting anyway, so they are easy to avoid. See my Blog post HERE.

White rice. White rice has been stripped of most of its nutrients, and separated from the bran and germ. Even “fortified” white rice is nutritionally deficient. Brown rice is absorbed more slowly and does not cause the same spike in blood sugar that white rice does.

Microwave popcorn. Unhealthy is the best way to describe this stuff. Genetically-modified corn kernels, salt and preservative chemicals are used to enhance its flavor. It also contains diacetyl, a chemical that can actually destroy your lungs. It’s better to eat organic kernels that you can pop yourself.

Cured meat products with nitrates.  Deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, and many other meats sold at the grocery store are often loaded with sodium nitrite and other chemical preservatives that have been linked to causing heart disease and cancer.

Most protein and energy bars. They are marketed as being part of a healthy diet which is another advertising lie.  They usually have processed soy protein, refined sugar, hydrogenated fat, and other unhealthy additives. Before buying them read the ingredient labels!

Margarine. This stuff is an ingredient in all sorts of processed foods. It’s a hydrogenated trans-fat oil, which is something you should avoid.

Soy milk and soy-based meat substitutes. This is a big health fraud these days. Most soy additives are processed using a toxic chemical known as hexane which is linked to causing birth defects, reproductive problems, and cancer. Soy that has not been fermented is also highly estrogenic, which can throw your natural hormone balance out of whack.

“Diet” anything. Most of this stuff contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda), both of which are linked to causing neurological damage, gastrointestinal problems, and endocrine disruption. They also usually have chemical flavoring to take the place of fat and other natural components that have been removed in order to reduce the calorie content.

Time for supper...