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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mind Mapping - Valuable Tool or a Hoax?

    Mind Mapping is purported to be a powerful graphic technique which provides a key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, color and spatial awareness – in a uniquely powerful manner. This is supposed to give you the freedom to roam the expanses of your brain and its proponents claim it can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance performance. The idea is to get information in and out of your brain in a creative and logical way. It's a means of note-taking that maps out your ideas.
    All Mind Maps are organized in a way that starts at the center and use lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. It converts a long list of monotonous information into a colorful and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain's natural way of doing things. Does it work? Maybe, maybe not. 5 Reasons To Stop Mind Mapping
     Mind mapping sparks creativity, aids learning, makes ideas concrete and boosts productivity by reproducing in visual form the way the brain functions and allows freelancers, entrepreneurs and other creative workers to take a peek inside their head and understand what’s on their minds.
     Advocates say it can be very beneficial, BUT...it might not work to help you learn something because the charts you create are unorganized, messy and they don’t follow any recognized learning methods and they do nothing for retention. That's because the technique is a visualization tool rather than a learning tool. Basically what it does is, it allows you to visualize information you already have in your head; creativity and productivity only happens after the map has been created.

Michael on Mind Mapping-Everything You Need To Know To Benefit The Most Out Of This Powerful Tool 
LifeHacker - How to Use Mind Maps to Unleash Your Brain's Creativity and Potential
Mind Mapping Didn't Work for Me-Part 1 
Mind Mapping Website 
Free Mind -free mind-mapping software written in Java 
Mind Mapping Software 
Mind Mapping: A great waste of time? 
Get Rich Quick and mind Mapping 
Pseudoscience and mind mapping

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Science Daily

Science Daily - Your source for the latest research news. This website covers the latest news on: Health, Physical/Tech, Environment, Society/Education and Quirky

Washing Clothes in Cold Water

More than 60% of Americans still wash their laundry in warm water. It’s a practice that’s as costly as it is environmentally unfriendly. What’s more, it doesn’t make our clothes appreciably cleaner. Here’s why you should make the switch to cold water. Read more 

Consumer Reports...Want to pay nothing for laundry detergent this year? Start washing your clothes in cold water. It could save you $60 or so in energy costs (or more if you live in a state with higher-than-average electricity rates), which should just about cover the cost of your detergent, assuming you do the average 300 loads of laundry per year. But you'll need to reach for the right detergent, based on Consumer Reports latest laundry detergent tests. Read more 

Counter Argument from Eco Nuts. There are good reasons to use cold water and good reasons to wash on hot so let’s explore why temperature is important in certain situations and clear some myths and misconceptions about washing on cold and hot water. Read more

Friday, May 29, 2015

Earthquakes in Ohio

     When they think of earthquakes in Ohio, most Ohioans think they only happen in California or some far off country, but it's not so! 
     On April 12, 2015 there was an earthquake measuring 2.3 out in the eastern end of Lake Erie some 5 miles down. The water in that area is about average for Lake Erie, slightly more than 60 feet, so the quake was way underneath the bottom of the lake. A quake of 2.5 or less is usually not felt; between 2.5–5.4 they are often felt, but only cause minor damage. 
     On May 11 there was a 2.5 quake in southern Ohio near Portsmouth on the Ohio River. And these have not been the only recent quakes. You can see a record of recent quakes HERE
     An earthquake on June 18, 1875, caused damage in western Ohio. Walls were cracked and chimneys fell in the cities of Sidney and Urbana. The shock was felt at Jeffersonville, Indiana and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. 
     Slight damage was reported at Lima from a September 19, 1884, earthquake. At Columbus, chandeliers kept swinging for several minutes after the tremor. The shock was felt at Washington, D.C., by workmen on top of the then unfinished Washington Monument, about 500 feet above the ground! This earthquake was felt throughout a broad area, from Pennsylvania to Kentucky and West Virginia to Michigan. 
     Several towns in southeastern Ohio experienced moderate damage on November 5, 1926. Chimneys toppled at Keno and Pomeroy. A brief but strong shock was felt over a wide area in western Ohio on September 30, 1930 and the tremor was accompanied by a rumbling noise. Less than one year later (September 20, 1931), another damaging earthquake occurred in the same area. The strongest tremor of this series occurred at 11:45 p.m., March 8, 1937, again in Anna, where chimneys repaired after the March 2 earthquake were again toppled. Organ pipes were twisted in one church. There was also a strange phenomena common to both of these quakes: tombstones were rotated and there were changes to water wells. 
     On March 9, 1943, an earthquake centered east of Cleveland and on June 20, 1952, an early morning tremor at 3:38am awoke most of the people in the Zanesville area. 
     The one I remember happened on January 31, 1986. It was late morning and I had just walked into my boss's office which was on the second floor when the building started trembling and as I looked out the window I saw telephone poles shaking. Startled, I asked, “What's that?!” Having been originally from California, he replied that it was an earthquake. At the time, I found that hard to believe because I was unfamiliar with the fact that Ohio has earthquakes. This one caused minor property damage in several towns in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania; 17 people were injured in the epicentral area. Most of the damage to houses and commercial buildings occurred in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Trumbull, and Wood Counties in Ohio and Crawford and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania. It mainly included fallen ceilings and plaster; cracked chimneys, foundations, and brick walls; and broken windows and underground pipes. Changes in the flow of water were observed in more that a dozen wells in Lake and Geauga Counties, east of Cleveland. The changes included variations in the flow of water and sediment deposits in water. In Leroy Township, a small pond was formed from the flow of a new artesian well. Another artesian well suddenly began feeding water to an old water trough. Over the next 2 months, 13 aftershocks of magnitude 0.5 to 2.4 were recorded on the area, and 13 more aftershocks of about magnitude 1.0 were detected through April 15, 1987. 
     The main earthquake was felt over a large area of the Eastern United States, covering all or parts of eight States (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) and Ontario, Canada. It also was reported by people on the top floors of multistory buildings in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C. 
     Although most people do not think of Ohio as an earthquake-prone state, at least 200 earthquakes with epicenters in Ohio have been felt since 1776. In addition, a number of earthquakes with origins outside Ohio have been felt in the state. At least 15 earthquakes have caused minor to moderate damage in Ohio. 
Click to enlarge
    Ohio is on the periphery of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area in Missouri and adjacent states that was the site of the largest earthquake sequence to occur in historical times in the continental United States. Four great earthquakes were part of a series at New Madrid in 1811 and 1812. These events were felt throughout the eastern United States and were of sufficient intensity to topple chimneys in Cincinnati. Some estimates suggest that these earthquakes were in the range of 8.0 on the Richter scale. 
     A major earthquake centered near Charleston, South Carolina, in 1886 was strongly felt in Ohio. Three areas of the state are particularly susceptible to seismic activity. Shelby County in western Ohio has experienced more than 40 felt earthquakes since 1875. Although most of these events have caused little or no damage, earthquakes in 1875, 1930, 1931, and 1937 caused minor to moderate damage. As mentioned, two earthquakes in 1937, on March 2 and March 9, caused significant damage in the Shelby County community of Anna. 

     Southeastern Ohio (Scioto Count, Meigs County and Perry County) has been the site of at least 12 felt earthquakes since 1776. The origins of Ohio earthquakes are poorly understood. Those in Ohio appear to be associated with ancient zones of weakness in the Earth's crust that formed during rifting and continental collision events about a billion years ago. These zones are characterized by deeply buried and poorly known faults, some of which serve as the sites for periodic release of strain that is constantly building up in the North American continental plate due to continuous movement of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust.   
Wikipedia – Earthquakes 
Ohio Earthquakes 
Scott Sabol's Cleveland Earthquake History
Magnitude Chart 2014 
Ohio Earthquake Due to Fracking 
Fracking and Ohio Earthquakes
What is fracking and why is it controversial? BBC News

Dead Sea Scrolls

   The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between the years 1947 and 1956. They have been called the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times.
     The Scrolls were discovered when a shepherd left his flock of sheep and goats to search for a stray. Upon discovering a cave in the crevice of a rocky hillside, he threw a stone into it and heard breaking pots. Upon entering the cave he discovered the first Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in jars. ‏
     He and several companions brought the scrolls to a Bethlehem antiquities dealer and ended up selling them to two antiquities dealers, one of who resold four scrolls to the head of the Syrian Orthodox Monastery of St. Mark in Jerusalem. 
     When a Hebrew University professor heard of the Scrolls discovery he investigated their significance by a clandestine meeting with one of the dealers at the British military zone at the Jerusalem border. Upon seeing a fragment he recognized the ancient writing. He then went with the dealer to Bethlehem to see the Scrolls in his possession and was amazed to see Hebrew manuscripts that were a thousand years older then any existing biblical text. 
     For the first 40 years after their discovery, the study of the Scrolls was monopolized by a small group of international scholars. In the early 1990s the Israel Antiquities Authority took steps to advance the publication of the Scrolls and by 2001 most had been published and were located in academic libraries. The Scrolls are important because they enhance knowledge of both Judaism and Christianity. 
     In all, scholars have identified the remains of about 825 to 870 separate scrolls divided into two categories—biblical and non-biblical. Fragments of every book of the Hebrew canon (Old Testament) have been discovered except for the book of Esther. Also, prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel not found in the Bible are written in the Scrolls. The Isaiah Scroll is especially important because it is relatively intact and ia 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah and they also contain never before seen psalms attributed to King David and Joshua. The nonbiblical writings consist of commentaries on the OT, expansions of the Law, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymn compositions, benedictions and writing on wisdom. The scrolls contain unknown stories about biblical figures such as Enoch, Abraham, and Noah and there is also a story of Abraham that includes an explanation why God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. 
     For the most part they are written in Hebrew, but some are written in Aramaic, the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and of the first two centuries A.D. There are also a few written in Greek. 
    The library is believed to have been hidden by the Essenes around the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-70) when the Roman army advanced against the rebel Jews. The Essenes are mentioned by Josephus and in a few other sources, but not in the New testament. They were a strict Torah observant, Messianic Jewish sect that was led by a priest they called the "Teacher of Righteousness," who was opposed and was possibly killed by the established priesthood in Jerusalem. 
     One of the most interesting scrolls is the Copper Scroll which records a list of 64 underground hiding places throughout Israel which contain gold, silver, aromatics, and manuscripts that are believed to be treasures from the Temple at Jerusalem which were hidden for safekeeping. 
     Curiously the Qumran community existed during the time of the ministry of Jesus but none of the Scrolls refer to Him, nor do they mention any of His follower's. The Dead Sea Scrolls are thought to have been produced by a group known as the Essenes who, it is believed, fled Jerusalem in protest against the way the Temple was being run and the worldliness of Jerusalem and the priests. The Essenes believed they were the true form of Judaism. 
    The Scrolls are significant because it was known that Judaism in the time of Jesus was a very diverse religion. The Jewish historian Josephus lists the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes and the New Testament mentions the Herodians and there are also Rabbinic writings that mention other groups and when the war, in the year 66, took place a large number of other groups existed. The Scrolls shed light on the Essene community and reveal a whole range of previously unknown books or had books that were known about only in fragments or only in quotations. The Dead Sea Scrolls do not shed any light on the person or ministry of Jesus. 
    Since Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, the scrolls are important for understanding the earliest Christians and the New Testament writings. But, because the earliest followers of Jesus was Jewish in nature the more that is understood about Judaism during that time, the stronger the basis for understanding their writings. The views of early Christians and the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls are very different. The followers of Jesus were given the task of spreading His message to all peoples to the ends of the earth and their understanding of God’s plan was very different than either that of the Jews in Jerusalem or the Essenes. 

More on Dead Sea Scrolls   
Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls   
Digital Collection of the Scrolls  
Free e-book on the Dead Sea Scrolls  
Biblical Archeology Society

Thursday, May 28, 2015


1. a canned meat product
2. Unsolicited e-mail, often of a commercial nature, sent indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups; junk e-mail.

    As for the second definition, anybody that has a blog has probably encountered these cockroaches. The more popular a blog becomes, the more spam it is likely to get and I am starting to get a lot on this blog. I usually keep pretty close track of my blogs and I get e-mails notifying me when someone has made a comment, so when I see a comment that has a link to another site, I immediately get suspicious. This site is for fun and I want visitors to enjoy coming here and not clicking on a link to another website that takes them somewhere they will wish they never went!

     Blogger has some sophisticated ways to block Spam, but for now the easiest way is for me to just delete it. This blog got almost 1800 hits last month, the chess book review blog got half that and the chess blog got over 9000, but most visitors don't comment so it's not a big problem. 
     As for the first definition of Spam, I actually like that kind. Spam is a brand of canned precooked meat products made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was first introduced in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 2003, Spam was sold in 41 countries on six continents and trademarked in over 100 countries. In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold.
     According to its label, Spam's basic ingredients are pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, sugar, and sodium nitrite as a preservative. Of course there is also that nasty natural gelatin that forms during cooking in its tins on the production line...that's kind of gross. Spam is especially popular in the state of Hawaii, where residents have the highest per capita consumption in the United States.  For a complete history of the stuff see Wikipedia.
     You know what amazed me? I really enjoy watching Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. This guy eats rotten shark, slugs, the still-beating heart of a frog, raw fish and meat of every description, animal organs, he loves testicles and I've heard him comment that certain stuff he has eaten has a “poopy” taste. But he can't stand Spam. 
    Of course we all have foods we dislike and Zimmern just grew up hating the stuff. I grew up hating tomatoes because I just plain didn't like the way they tasted and my father grew them by the bushel. It did not help that one day he insisted I at least try one. Being stubborn I refused, but he was more stubborn; I had to sit at the kitchen table until I decided to taste one. I remember still sitting at the kitchen table while my parents were in the living room watching television and periodically my dad would yell, “Have you tried that tomato yet?” I eventually gave in, but never ate a tomato again for 40 years. I eat them today because it seems that as you get older your taste changes. Why is that?

A Brief History of Spam 
Spam History
11 Spam Recipes 
Eight Things You Didn't Know About Spam
More Tasty Spam Treats: Spicy Spam Snackers, Spam Nachos, Spam Pancake Slammer With Spam Fries, Spam and Macadamia Nut Sundae, Peanut Butter Ice Cream And Candied Spam Popsicles, etc.

Friday, May 22, 2015


    KeyNote is a freeware program that is very user friendly; you can install it and start using it immediately. This handy program is an “outliner” that allows you to organize text or place random pieces of information into tree-type notes or a well organized database. It's very handy for storing stuff in one location without having it scattered all over your hard drive.
    It allows you to keep notes or other stuff in a hierarchy of folders. You can create folders and pages, as well as sub-folders and sub-pages, and you can re-organize them easily by drag-and-drop. You can use colored fonts, bullet point lists and hyperlinks. You can also store images.
    What can you use it for? Personal information management, a personal diary or journal, a scratchpad for quick notes and ideas, writing and structuring small articles or larger documents, creating and storing electronic texts, outlines, reports, recipes, personal contacts.
    It is also a good way to store information on accounts, passwords, PIN numbers, but...you must remember to encrypt the file!
    You can makes lists such as what's in you collections, keep a list of Internet bookmarks, archive documents, such as articles downloaded from the Internet, store document templates, etc. Teachers could use it for class notes, student attendance and assessment notes. The possibilities are limitless.


 5 Neat Things About Warthog Skeletons   

Warthogs are members of the same family as domestic pigs, but present a much different appearance. These sturdy hogs are not among the world's most aesthetically pleasing animals—their large, flat heads are covered with "warts," which are actually protective bumps. Warthogs also sport four sharp tusks. They are mostly bald, but they do have some sparse hair and a thicker mane on their backs. Read More 

Wikipedia on Warthogs 

Warthog Facts - African Wildlife Foundation 

San Diego Zoo - Warthogs may not be the most beautiful or graceful creatures in the Animal Kingdom. But they are remarkable for their strength, intelligence, and flexibility!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Computer Art and Software

Museum of Computer Art - The MOCA site is host to hundreds of world-class digital artists and thousands of their images, all available for viewing here. 

Top 20 Most Essential Software for Artists and Designers -These are the twenty essential programs that every artist needs to consider training in to become the best in their industries. 

Paint like a pro with free digital art software

Tux Paint: Open Source Drawing Software for Children - free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12. Tux Paint is used in schools around the world as a computer literacy drawing activity. It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


    Lifehacker is a cool site that's fun browsing and you might find something of interest. It contains a variety of life hacks. Life hacks are tricks, shortcuts, skills, or novelty methods that increase productivity and efficiency. That is, life hacks are just about anything that solves an everyday problem.
     The posts cover a wide range of topics including: Windows, Mac, Linux programs, iOS and Android, as well as general life tips and tricks. The staff updates the site about 18 times each weekday, with reduced updates on weekends. The Lifehacker motto is "Tips and downloads for getting things done."
     Lifehacker has four international editions, Australia, Japan, India and the latest one - UK which feature most posts from the U.S. edition along with extra content specific to readers from those countries.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Libre Office

     OpenOffice was installed on my old laptop, but after replacing the hard drive I opted to install LibreOffice. There isn't much difference between the two, but I went with LibreOffice because the latest release of this open source productivity suite is leaner, smarter, and more compatible with Microsoft Office docs than the old OpenOffice. 
     The developers of LibreOffice are keeping it updated and while it may not be the perfect replacement for Microsoft Office, the problems will be very minor, if noticeable at all, for most users. LibreOffice 4.4 handles Microsoft Office documents better than ever before even though document compatibility is not always possible. For me, it's really a non-problem, but it could be in some professional office applications, I guess. 
     In any case, I am very pleased with LibreOffice and have not run into any problems when using it for home applications. Highly recommended as a replacement for the pricey Microsoft Office. Visit Site


     Before the hard drive on my laptop started going bad I used an OCR program called Simple OCR, but after installing a new hard drive running Windows 8.1 Simple OCR would not work for some reason. 
     I searched the Internet for a replacement, but kept getting warnings from my antivirus program, Webroot, that the downloads were unsafe. Fortunately, I eventually found one that did not give any warnings and worked beautifully. It's called FreeOCR. 
    FreeOCR allows you to import directly from twain scanners, PDF and popular image formats and the latest release has been tested with Windows 10. Available default languages are English, Danish, German, Finnish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish. 
    FreeOCR outputs plain text and can export directly to Microsoft Word format. Free OCR uses the latest Tesseract (v3.01) OCR engine. It includes a Windows installer and It is very simple to use and supports opening multi-page tiff documents, Adobe PDF and fax documents as well as most image types including compressed Tiff's which the Tesseract engine on its own cannot read. 
     FreeOCR V4 includes Tesseract V3 which increases accuracy and has page layout analysis so more accurate results can be achieved without using the zone selection tool. The program is a freeware and you can do what you like with it including commercial use. The included Tesseract OCR engine is distributed under the Apache V2.0 license. Latest release: March 2015 v5.4 Totally free OCR software for Microsoft Windows 

Visit Site

Monday, May 4, 2015

Excel Spreadsheet Credit Card Calculator

     I do not like credit cards but they are about the only way to establish a credit history, rent a car, a hotel room and many other things. They advertise no interest credit cards all the time, but if you keep taking out new cards and transferring balances, it's going to hurt your credit history! Credit cards are NOT income! They are an expense. 
     Most people know they should pay their credit card bills in full every month, but few do. A credit card calculator translates things into hard numbers that will enable you to make the most cost-effective course of action. 
     A calculator can tell you the monthly payments you'll need to make to rid yourself of credit card debt within a certain amount of time or how different monthly payment amounts affect the length of time it will take to pay down what you owe. A calculator also helps you see how much debt is truly costing you because credit card companies assess interest on a daily basis, which means interest accrues on interest making it difficult to appreciate the true cost of big-ticket purchases paid off over time. Credit card debt calculators tell you exactly how badly you are getting screwed. 
     How fast could you get out of debt and how much can you save in interest payments? You can find out easily by downloading the Debt Reduction Calulator at Cnet. It's nothing fancy, just an Excel Spreadsheet and no installation is required.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

DraftSight FREE CAD Software Download

     For years in my professional life I used the industry standard for drafting, AutoCAD, and also had it installed on an old home desktop, but when I wanted a drafting program on my laptop, I was no longer able to install AutoCAD. Fortunately I discovered the free version of DraftSight (they also have a professional version for a fee). 
     The first thing I noticed was that it is very similar in appearance and function to the AutoCAD with which I was familiar, so the learning curve was almost zero. You can access existing AutoCAD DWG files and create new ones so the old drawings of my house were available without having to redraw them. 
     DraftSight is a proprietary free 2D computer-aided design (CAD) software application developed by Dassault Systèmes. It lets users create, edit and view .dwg and AutoCAD DXF files. As mentioned, the user interface is quite similar to AutoCAD. 
     The standalone, single-user version of DraftSight is free until a user saves or prints a document for the first time. They will then be asked to activate the product within 30 days using a valid email address and reactivate after six months and thereafter at 12-month intervals. Activation email and industry sectors must be the same as when initially activated, or the installation becomes unusable and must be installed again. 
     Dassault is known for its 3D CAD software in the Aerospace industry and elsewhere. Extra productivity features and services are available for a low price with Packs and Plugins and it's available in 14 languages, including all the help files; you can switch from one language to another at anytime. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Highly recommended.