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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.

     If 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:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Slow Loris As A Pet

     I recently saw an article about the inadvisability as having these adorable animals as pets. They are cute, but as pets, they suffer horribly. They are victims of the illegal pet trade.
    The trend in keeping slow lorises as pets has been steadily growing. Pop star Rihanna recently posted a selfie of herself holding one while Lady Gaga had planned to use one of the animals in a music video until she was bitten by the terrified creature; good for the slow loris!!
     The slow loris might look like a harmless, big-eyed baby, but it is one of the only venomous mammals in the world. It carries a toxin that is released from the brachial gland on the sides of its elbows. If threatened, the loris can take the toxin into its mouth and mix it with saliva. The animal may also lick or rub its hair with this mixture to deter predators from attack. The toxin can cause death by anaphylactic shock in some people. The animal's bite is accompanied by hiss-like noises, sinuous moves, and it defensively raises its arms above its head.

Slow lorises are nocturnal animals. Therefore, being kept in a brightly lit room is incredibly uncomfortable and causes pain and suffering.
Slow lorises cannot express natural behaviors in captivity. In the wild they travel long distances at night in their search for food. Confining them in small cages is cruel.
In the wild the slow loris feeds on a diet of fruits and insects which are is hard for an owner to duplicate. As a result, the animal often suffers health problems.
Slow lorises have a venomous bite that is harmful to humans. Usually their teeth are clipped but if their teeth are still intact they mix venom secreted from a gland inside their upper arm with saliva to deliver a venomous bite. This can cause anaphylactic shock and even death in humans.
It is illegal in many countries to keep a loris as a pet.
Slow lorises are in serious danger of extinction, with the biggest threat to survival being the illegal trade in wildlife.
They use urine to mark their territory.

     People may may believe that their pet slow loris was born in a pet shop, but this is highly unlikely because it is notoriously difficult to breed lorises in captivity. How the slow loris makes its way into the pet world:

Thousands of slow lorises are poached from the wild to be illegally sold on the street or in animal markets. The animal has been poached from the wild, transported in terrible conditions and kept in a cage, in a brightly lit room, fed an inappropriate diet and unable to perform natural behaviors.
Teeth cutting
Before a slow loris is sold as a pet, its teeth are cut out using nail clippers, wire cutters or pliers with no anesthetic. This makes them easier to handle and protects humans from their potentially deadly venomous bite. This is an incredibly painful procedure; think of having your own teeth pulled or broken off with no anesthetic! This procedure can also lead to bacterial infections and pain and suffering.
Lorises are transported hidden in dark, overcrowded and poorly ventilated containers. The stress of this transport results in a mortality rate of between 30 to 90 percent.

     People like to tickle the slow loris because their reaction is cute. But when a slow loris is tickled and raises its arms above its head it is not enjoying it.  The poor animal is trying to defend itself by accessing a venomous gland on the inside of its elbow. Given the chance, and if its teeth are still intact, it would give the person doing the tickling a serious bite.

Slow loris information

Friday, December 15, 2017

Paper Clips

   The paper clip is a pretty simple everyday object, or so we think. 
   Paperclips owe their success to the fact that they fill a need...there are billions of pieces of paper that need to be clipped together. A close challenger may be staples, but once you’ve clipped the papers together, you’re probably going to have to unclip them at some point and they leave little holes in the paper. Plus, the unclipping process requires a tool of some sort unless you are willing to risk breaking a fingernail or stabbing yourself.
      Most everyday objects evolve over time, but paper clips have remained pretty much the same. Back in the old days when clerks worked endless hours at a thankless task they stored bundles of paper, often tied with string, in pigeon holed desks. Then somebody came up with the idea of fastening papers together with a straight pin. The pin-making business was greatly helped along with the advent of mechanized technology.
     In the old days one man drew the iron wire, another straightened it, another cut it and another sharpened it. A pretty slow process. It was actually a 10-part process that took 10 individuals and they produced about 48,000 pins a day. An 8 ounce box cost about $0.40, so they were cheap and disposable. The main problem was that they rusted leaving little stains on whatever the were stuck in.
     It wasn't until 1855 that the availability of low-cost steel with the strength and flexibility to make tracks, pipes, wire, etc. became available. It was a boon for manufacturers who could then make rust-free hooks, safety pins, clothes hangers, and paper clips.
     But it wasn't until 1899 that a patent was issued to William Middlebrook for the design of the machinery that was used to make paper clips. He sold the patent to Cushman and Denison, office-supply manufacturers, and they trademarked the design as Gem clips in 1904.
     Middlebrook’s patent drawing shows the clip as we know it today, but they weren't the only design for paperclips around. The Gem clip has faced competition, but it's never been beat. Oh, there's been a few minor enhancements: ridged clips patented in 1921 grip paper better. Clips with a bent-up lip are easier to slip on, but they make stacks bulky.
     A “time-saving” clip was patented in 1992 has two loops on either end, but they didn't sell. The Gothic clip, patented in 1933, had a pointed inner loop and longer legs and it was claimed it was less likely to bend and tear the paper. It's still used by some. And then there are paper clips that are coated with different color vinyl.
     Paper clips also have other handy uses; they can be twisted, pulled apart and used as a tool for many applications like picking locks or cleaning under your fingernails. In the military we made a “short-timer chain.” When you got to 90 days left on your enlistment, you made a chain of 90 paperclips and every day took one off. Another use is straightened out they make a good, short piece of wire. In fact, as I type this my reading glasses have tiny pieces of a paperclip serving as replacements for the screws that fell out of the ear pieces.
      Choosing the right paper clip may seem like a no-brain decision, but it's not. To get the right clip for the job is going to require some thought. If you work at a place like I used to it may take a meeting of company executives. 

Paper clips come in different sizes and are sized by number:
Jumbo = 1-3/4 inches long
No. 1 = 1-3/8 inches long
No. 2 = 1-1/8 inches long
No. 3 = 15/16 inches long

Finishes are non-skid and smooth:
Nonskid: ridges, which prevent sliding and they keep papers in place.
Smooth: most basic paper clip. They have a smooth surface without the ridges.
Plastic coated: coated with plastic.

Gold toned

Economy: the basic paper clip we usually think of. Just bare wire.
Premium: a higher quality made with heavy gauge wire that offers superior holding power.
Recycled: Eco-friendly made from recycled materials.

Quantity: A box usually contains 100, but sometimes they are sold by the sleeve with 10 boxes per pack. One office supply store gives the following instructions:

If you order one pack of Universal No. 1 paper clips you will get 10 boxes (1,000 clips). If you would like to purchase them by the box use the same item number but add BX at the end. So UNV-xxxxxBX will give you one individual box of 100 paper clips. They admit it gets confusing so their phone number is listed and you're invited to call them.

Dispensers in case you don't want to keep them in the box they came in.
Basic magnet dispenser: holds 100 paper clips
Push button dispenser: dispenses the clip with the touch of a button.
Two-compartment dispenser: has two compartments...presumably for different sizes.
Clip cups and other items for storing paper clips.

For more interesting facts about paper clips than you will probably ever need visit Paper Clip History.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Two Second Coordination Test

     This test takes 2 seconds. It is from an orthopedic surgeon..............
This will confuse your mind and you will keep trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but you can't. It is pre-programmed in your brain!

1. While sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles...

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

There's nothing you can do about it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


   Who knew this existed? SBS, or paruresis, is the inability to urinate in public restrooms, especially while standing next to someone. An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from it and an estimated 1 to 2 million have their social and professional lives severely hampered by it. While both sexes are susceptible, 9 out of 10 sufferers are men. 
     It is considered a social phobia by mental health professionals because the person who has it knows it's irrational. Some people have been known to have held their bladder for 12, 16, 20 hours because they could not find a “safe” bathroom. People with this condition get anxious and fear that others may be watching or listening and the internal sphincter shuts off and urination is impossible. For many, the only “safe” place is in the privacy of their own home.
     While some trace their problem to emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or some to a particularly anxiety-provoking toilet training experience, most blame a specific, traumatic event in early adolescence. Some psychiatrists claim that for males at least, is it a manifestation of castration or penis size anxiety, especially when standing shoulder to shoulder with a stranger. 
     A common early adolescence event was being teased, harassed or hurried by classmates at a sensitive age, usually around puberty, while trying to pee. Subsequently, to avoid anxiety the person avoids public bathrooms and the behavior ultimately becomes ingrained and eventually it's no longer a choice; the person is physically unable to urinate in public. 
     There are actually support groups for people with paruresis who often feel isolated and ashamed. Once a person seeks treatment from a therapist or urologist they can usually be helped. The most common treatment is for the person to attempt to urinate while a friend waits at a comfortable distance. Each time, the friend moves a bit closer, until the patient is able to relax and let go with someone in the next room, then with someone standing right outside the door, and eventually, in a public facility. It often takes 8-10 weeks.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Spurious Correlations

      Tyler Vigen, a student at Harvard Law School and the author of Spurious Correlations, has made sport of spurious correlations on his website which charts farcical correlations.
     While his charts are comical, some are not so much. In statistics, a spurious relationship or spurious correlation is a mathematical relationship in which two or more events or variables are not causally related to each other, yet it may be wrongly inferred that they are, due to either coincidence or the presence of a certain third, unseen factor.
     Biases and conditions alone may create statistical errors, errors from interpretation, false reporting, wrong assumptions, improper samples, false relationships and even bad math. You can prove or disprove just about anything.

Common occurrences of spurious correlations include:
Apples and Oranges Comparing Dissimilar Variables - Y axis scales that measure different values may show similar curves that shouldn’t be paired. This becomes pernicious when the values appear to be related but aren’t.
Skewed Scales Manipulating Ranges to Align Data - Even when Y axes measure the same category, changing the scales can alter the lines to suggest a correlation. In these charts the left Y-axis is different increment than the right Y-axis.
Ifs and Thens Implying Cause and Effect - Plotting unrelated data sets together can make it seem that changes in one variable are causing changes in the other.

About Tyler Vigen
Discover spurious correlations  
Everyday examples

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Old Is Your Dog?

     The rule of thumb for determining the age of a dog compared to humans is usually one year for a dog equals 7 years for humans, but that is not a very accurate rule. Dogs mature more quickly than humans do, so the first year of a dog's life is equal to about 15 human years. Size and breed also play a role, but this chart should give you a good sense of where your dog is in the development/aging process.
6 months for a dog equals 10 years for a human
12 months for a dog equals 15 years for a human
24 months for a dog equals 24 years for a human

3  28
4  32
5  36
6  40
7  44
8  48
9  52
10  56
11  60
12  64
13  68
14  72
15  74.5
16  77
17  79.5
18  82
19  84.5
20  87
21  89.5
22  92
23  94.5
24  97
25  99.5
26  102
27  104.5
28  107
29  109.5
30  112

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Things You Can Do With Used Pet Fur

    After your dog or cat no longer needs its hair and sheds it all over the place, what can you do except vacuum it up and throw it in the trash? You'll be surprised to know that there are several good uses for it.
     The California-based nonprofit Matter of Trust accepts donations of both pet and human hair. Hair clippings of hair from salons, fur from pet groomers, etc. is stuffed into hosiery and made into “booms” that are dispatched to polluted waters. They also produce felted hair mats for public works departments to use in storm drains and coordinate with large-scale clean water efforts that need stuffed sausage-shaped hair booms.
    For hundreds, maybe thousands of years, people have been making yarn out of pet hair and it can also be used as pillow stuffing. Interested? See this article: How to Spin Pet Fur Into Yarn at the Craftsy website. Cats love toys made out of their own fur. Watch THIS video.
     Pet hair is rich in nitrogen so it works wonders on your soil. Because hair takes so long to decompose, your best bet is to cut the hair into smaller strands before adding it to your compost bin, or skipping the compost all together and adding it straight to the soil.
     Birds love it for building nests. Put a basket full of hair in the yard along with twigs, pine needles, and strips of bark and the birds will love you. Just don't use hair from pets that have been treated for fleas and ticks with sprays, powers or other products.
     Slugs and snails eating your garden produce? Sprinkle pet hair around your plants. This can also work for bigger pests like gophers, rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks, deer and other critters.
     Does working with dog or cat hair sound gross? You may already own stuff made out of it! Got any clothes made from is “chiengora”? Chien is French for “dog” and jackets, vests, scarves, hats sweaters, slippers, neckties, mittens, baskets, miniature toy animals and some yarn have been made out of dog fur.

Friday, December 1, 2017

How Does Elvis Know the Time of Day?

    For several years now there has been a cat which I named Elvis prowling our neighborhood. Elvis is a girl cat, but I named her before I knew that. Elvis seems to healthy and well-fed, so I assume she has a home somewhere. Besides that, she's rarely seen on bad days when it's raining or snowing. 
    On nice days she whiles away her time in the woods behind our house and if I am out during the day and she sees me she'll climb the fence and come running. After a belly rub she heads back into the woods. On a couple of occasions when I wasn't around she has, as cats have been known to do, left me a gift. One time it was a dead garter snake and another, it was a dead field mouse.
     The thing is, I have been getting up at 6am for years and the first order of business is to go down to the laundry room and feed our cat. On those nice days Elvis will be sitting by the back door waiting for her breakfast. How does she know what time it is?
     Some researchers say that time is an abstract notion only humans can comprehend and animal cognition researchers say animals are “stuck in time,” living only in the moment. But any animal owner knows that animals possess some kind of internal clock.
     Cats, like other animals, just seem to “know” when it's time for something to happen. Obviously, they don't carry watches and couldn't read one if they did, but they are good at picking up on regular indicators of the time like the birds singing and daylight. That's why our cat, Millie, wakes me up before dawn, pestering me to feed her; she just “knows” it's time to eat.

     Animals probably don’t experience time in the way we do, but one anthrozoologist, John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense, writes that “Humans categorize events by when they happened, but cats probably do not. … We have no evidence to suggest that cats can spontaneously recall memories and place those events as having happened a few days ago, as opposed to a few hours or weeks previous – something we find easy to do.” adding that “cats have a general sense of the rhythm of the day.”
     Cats are creatures of habit and get used to having certain activities occur at the same time each day, such as meal time. Cats will also take their cues from the onset of daylight and night. This probably explains why they know when their owners, or in Elvis' case me as her meal ticket, are where they are and the time they are there. Dog and cats are able to anticipate such things as the time their owners are coming home from work, but exactly how do they do it is something of a mystery.
     One somewhat weird theory is that dogs smell time. Dogs’ sense of smell with its 300 million olfactory receptors in its nose (compared to a human's 6 million) can use their sense of smell to find everything from bedbugs to corpses underwater. Another theory is they are telepathic. But those theories seem a little far fetched.
     Squirrels understand that some foods spoil and they will dig up perishable food first. Crows, rats, orangutans, and pygmy chimps have been shown to differentiate between now and later. The animal is shown two jars, each with a treat, but one of them disappears within a short period of time. After five minutes, the animals are allowed to choose one jar to open; they get a second chance in an hour. After just a few trials, the animals all chose the vanishing treat first.
     Time is actually a regular cycles of motion, but it can also be measured by the decay of a scent or by daily fluctuations of the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field or by some other method as of yet undiscovered.
     Researchers can test how different species perceive, for instance, what is called “critical flicker frequency” — the point at which an intermittent light seems steady. Humans cannot process the flicker. Think of an image on television which flickers too fast for us to to perceive, so we see it as a steady flow. Researchers trained animals of different species to behave one way when they see a flickering light and another way when they see a steady light. They found that small animals with fast metabolic rates perceive more information in a unit of time. A fly, for instance, can see 250 flashes per second. Larger animals tend to experience action more slowly. A leatherback sea turtle can only see 15 flashes per second.
     Researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that rats are able to keep track of how much time has passed since they discovered a piece of cheese, but they don't actually form memories of when the discovery occurred.
     Rats visited the arms of a maze at different times of day. Some arms contained moderately desirable food pellets and one arm contained a highly desirable piece of cheese. They found the rats could remember that they did something, such as hoard food a few hours before or five days ago. But, the more time that passed, the weaker their memory was and they didn't remember that an event occurred at a specific point in time in the past. According to the researchers, this suggests that animals are stuck in time with no sense of time extending into the past or future. A human's memory involves retention of the point in past time when an event occurred and we retain the information much longer.
     Elvis knows when it's time to get fed as evidenced by the fact that she shows up at 6am. The odd thing is, it doesn't matter if it's daylight in the summer or dark in the winter, she is still out there at 6am. Exactly how she knows is still a mystery.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Favorite 1950 Comic Book Ads

     During the 1950s the US presidents were Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) and the Cold War created a tense decade for the American people as schoolchildren prepared for nuclear war by being told to "duck and cover." We watched “training films” and had drills in which we hid under our desks with arms over our heads and teachers warned us that the Russians had nearby large cities targeted. 
     At the same time, prosperity reigned, salaries and disposable income were on the rise and consumers felt optimistic about the future. People were ready to spend money because for the first time Bank of America introduced the credit card; that was in 1958. A new home cost from $8,000 to $10,000 and they were often sold equipped with a washing machine and a television. 
     A lot of growth was due to television as many advertisers began to rely on TV to sell their product. Because of a lag in production after World War Two, it wasn't until about 1953 that supply caught up with demand and consumers had purchased the necessities of life. As a result, marketers began to offer continuously updated products which resulted in more consumer spending. Auto manufacturer General Motors had introduced the concept of planned obsolescence in the 1920s and now the push was on to replace cars annually, simply to make sure they remained in style. At the beginning of the decade on 59 percent of American households had an automobile, but by the mid-1950s nearly every household owned at least one car. 
     In the late 1950s there was a big push to coax consumers into purchasing products that weren't necessities. To accomplish this, advertisers began to rely on techniques such as motivational research and demographic targeting. Children became a target market for advertising; teenagers, who came into their own as a separate demographic segment, saw ads for records and phonographs, radios, magazines, soft drinks and clothing designed just for them. Advertiser didn't forget about kids either. 
     Before and after television comic book ads lured kids to buy all kinds of junk. Who could resist purchasing X-Ray Specs? They were sold with the disclaimer that they were only an optical illusion, but the prospect of seeing through people's clothes caused one to ignore the fine print. What you actually received was a pair of cardboard “glasses” printed with red and white spirals and the words "X-Ray Vision" where the lenses should have been. Did they work? If you stared at your hand long enough in bright light, you could almost imagine you were seeing a blurry x-ray image of you hand. Maybe that was because of the feathers glued inside each of the cardboard "lenses." 
     Equally alluring was the Hypno-Coin. Imagine what you could do with a pair of X-Ray Specs and a Hypno-Coin! With the X-Ray Specs you could decide if using the Hypno-Coin was in order. With the Coin, a swirly pattern on a badge that wiggled, the promise was that if you held it in front of the person you wanted to hypnotize and gently vibrated the disc the motion was so fascinating that it captured and riveted your subject's eyes on the whirling disc. You could then proceed to give hypnotic suggestions and commands. Imagine the possibilities! It cost a dollar. If it didn't work there was even a money back guarantee. The only catch was that you had to properly package it for return, pay the postage and...insure it. Hardly worth the effort and expense to get your dollar back. 
     The same fellow who gave us X-Ray Specs, Harold von Braunhut, also gave us brine shrimp as pets. If you ordered them you quickly learned that they could be observed only through a magnifying glass and they looked nothing like the cartoon characters featured in the ads. No matter; they were still pretty neat. 
     A dollar would get you a Frontier Cabin; $4 would get you five of them! And...get this! The ad said they were big enough to hold 2-3 kids! What you actually got was a padded 9"x14" manila envelope containing a tightly folded vinyl sheet that had the design of a frontier cabin printed on it. You had to drape it over a card table or other piece of furniture to make it resemble a log cabin. The vinyl fumes were a problem. 
     A quarter would get you a “Ventriloquist Device” that promised to astound everybody. What you got was swazzle. A swazzle is a device made of two strips of metal bound around a cotton tape reed that is used to produce the distinctive harsh, rasping voice. You placed it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth so that when speaking the air passes between the two metal strips, causing the reed to vibrate. Deft movements of the tongue allowed one to make squeaky, whistling high-pitched noises. It had to be soaked in spit before use. Care had to be taken not to choke on it. It also came with a small pamphlet that taught you "How to Become a Ventriloquist" that gave hints on how to speak without moving your lips. The swazzle wasn't mentioned. 
     The Charles Atlas program promised to turn scrawny 97-pound weaklings into he-men. Charles Atlas once won a bodybuilding contest and attempted to start his own mail-order business that never really took off, so he got into selling courses in comic books that promised to make you into a real man. I guess it was better that waiting until you were old enough to join the Marine Corps who promised that they built men.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ball Lightening

    Whether lore is full of rare phenomenon. Amphibians raining from the sky happens when frogs, fish or small waterborne animals are caught in a waterspout. They are picked up and unceremoniously dropped off on land, assuming the waterspout ventures to shore. I remember once seeing a small fish in a puddle in my employer's parking lot after a thunderstorm.
     Then there are triple rainbows. While double rainbows are impressive, they're not that unusual. Triple rainbows are a big deal though because you can only see two of the rainbows with the naked eye; the third occurs behind you and is obscured by the sunlight. They are so rare that no convincing photographic evidence even emerged until 2011.
     A rare weather event also occurred in the Grand Canyon in 2014 when the entire basin of the giant canyon was fogged in. As the ground cooled after a hot day and cold, humid air rolled in, low stratus clouds filled the canyon from the ground up. The result? The 277-mile long, 18-mile wide and 1-mile deep canyon was completely filled with thick, foggy clouds.
     Another rare phenomenon is ball lightening. Some people have been skeptical of accounts of ball lightening. Were these balls actually lightning? The skepticism began to wane in 1963 when a group of scientists flying from New York to Washington, D.C., witnessed a blazing orb drift down the aisle and disappear through the rear of the plane. That began their research.
     While some people may believed they didn't exist, I know better. Many years ago during a thunderstorm when I was in elementary school a ball of lightening about the size of a basketball passed through the classroom window and exploded in a cloud of smoke. I also remember my father, who worked on the railroad, telling me of the time he saw a ball of lightening bouncing down the railroad track and exploding in a cloud of smoke.
     Ball lightning appears as glowing orbs that seem to occur during thunderstorms, usually following a lightning strike. These floating fireballs shine as brightly as a 100-watt light bulb and they can be white, yellow, orange, red or blue in color and are typically about the size of a small grapefruit, although sightings suggest they can range in size from golf ball to beach ball.  Emanating from the fireball are little tendrils that seem to jerk the ball around and they move slowly and erratically and are followed by smoke trails that form spirals around them. And after a moment, they disappear. There's no scientific explanation for balls of lightning, although there are several proposed theories.
     Speculations about the cause have ranged from the existence of standing waves of electromagnetic radiation to plasma clouds and from short-circuiting power lines to St. Elmo's Fire. While no theory has yet to explain ball lightning, a promising theory focuses on silicon.
     The most popular current theory, proposed by John Abrahamson at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, suggests that ball lightning is the result of a chemical reaction of silicon particles burning in the air.
     When lightning strikes the ground, silicon that occurs naturally in soil combines with oxygen and carbon and turns into pure silicon vapor. As the vapor cools, the silicon condenses into a fine dust. The particles in this fine dust are attracted to each other by the electrical charge created by the lightning strike, binding together into a ball. The glow and heat come from the energy created as the silicon recombines with oxygen in the air. And once the silicon has burned out, the ball lightning disappears.
     This theory also suggests materials such as aluminum and iron metals may also cause the orbs, and that any atmospheric discharge, not necessarily lightning, may explain why ball lightning has been sighted near power poles, electrical fitters, and even active faults.
     Researchers Antonio Pavao and Gerson Paiva of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil have been working with the silicon hypothesis and believe they have verified the theory with silicon substrate and a high-voltage arc. They applied 140 amps of electricity to silicon substrate, which vaporized the substrate and sometimes produced golf ball-sized fireballs.
     Also, two scientists at Tel Aviv University accidentally created ball lightning with a device they call a "microwave drill." This microwave drill was made from a 600-watt magnetron taken from a conventional kitchen microwave oven and a powerful microwave beam capable of penetrating solid objects. The tip of the drill aims the beam at a solid substance and creates a hot spot in the solid. When the drill is pulled away from the hot spot, the drag produces a fireball resembling ball lightning.
     Recently researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, have proposed that the bright glow of lightning balls is created when microwaves become trapped inside a plasma bubble. At the tip of a lightning stroke reaching the ground, a electron bunch can be produced, which in turn excites intense microwave radiation. The eerie orb-light glow is created when microwave radiation given off during a lightning strike becomes trapped inside a plasma bubble. While ball lightening usually appears during thunder storms, it has been know to form inside closed rooms and, as mentioned above, inside aircraft. Exactly how ball lightning seems to float through walls or windows, however, is still up for debate.

Dream Serenity Cool Breeze Memory Mattress Topper

     Consumer Reports mattress pricing reports that Sealy makes models at a wide range of prices, from $500 for a queen to more than $4,000 for a foam mattress. A plush pillow-top (queen mattress only) can range from $800 to $3,000. See Consumer Reports.
     Obviously, buying a mattress can be an expensive proposition and a while back someone mentioned to us that they had purchased a mattress topper and were very pleased with it. It was like sleeping on a new mattress, they said. So, we purchased a Dream Serenity 3" Cool Breeze Memory Mattress Topper at Walmart for $130 and love it. Highly recommended!
     Memory foam consists mainly of polyurethane as well as additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. Higher-density memory foam softens in reaction to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body in a few minutes. Newer foams may recover more quickly to their original shape. A memory foam mattress is usually denser than other foam mattresses, making it both more supportive and heavier. 
     The Dream Serenity comes packaged in a box and upon removal it took about an hour to expand and it fit the bed perfectly and did not slide around. It also came with a cloth cover that fit very well. We have gotten a good night's sleep and there has been no aching back upon awakening. 
     A common complaint about memory foam mattresses is the unpleasant chemical smell produced by the topper which for some is unbearable. 
     Memory foam mattress toppers are manufactured using chemicals such as polyurethane, so it isn’t surprising that it emits an unpleasant odor. Even if some other material is used, they still have to be treated with flame-retardants comply with the federal standards concerning flammability of toppers. These compounds are called volatile organic compounds. This off gassing is a well-documented property of the toppers and mattresses. Also, some wonder if there are health issues related to this off gassing, but most people have reported that they didn’t face any health issues due to their usage of memory foam toppers but a minority of people reported the contrary. 
     Emissions from memory foam mattresses may directly cause more respiratory irritation than other mattresses. Memory foam, like other polyurethane products, can be combustible. Laws in several jurisdictions have been enacted to require that all bedding, including memory foam items, be resistant to ignition from an open flame. 
     Manufacturers caution about leaving babies and small children unattended on memory foam mattresses, as they may find it difficult to turn over, and may suffocate. 
     Short-term exposure to high concentrations of some chemicals in memory foam irritates the nose and throat. The effects of long-term exposure in humans involve the central nervous system, and include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and memory loss. Animal studies indicate that inhalation of some chemicals affects the liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system. The Dream Serenity we purchased did not have any odor at all. 
     There are some solutions to the smell problem though:  
Air it out – remove all the plastic packaging and place it outdoors for a few hours on a non humid and dry day. If you are unable to take it outside at all, just prop it up in a well ventilated room against a chair so that it releases the smell from all sides. Open all windows and turn the fan on. 
Baking Soda – after airing out, sprinkle baking soda all over the topper and let it sit for a few hours. The vacuum the baking soda. 
Patience – the won’t last long. How long depends on the finishing of the product, the type of foam, the room ventilation or the sensitivity of the person.