May 25, 2015

Happy Friday

Life has no meaning, only living has meaning.

Living is doing something, like celebrating a Happy Friday!

National Tap Dance Day

 In 1989, a joint U.S. Senate/House resolution declared "National Tap Dance Day" to be May 25, the anniversary of Bill Robinson's (Mr. Bojangles) birth.

Names and Initials

You may have wondered about some famous person's initials.

  • E. E. Cummings - The famous poet's initials stood for Edward Estlin Cummings
  • E.B. White - Writer and author of English Language Sytle Guide, Elwyn Brooks White
  • H.P. Lovecraft - Horror author, Howard Phillips Lovecraft
  • H.G. Wells - "war of the worlds", "time machine", etc., Herbert George Wells
  • J.K. Rowling - The "K" in J.K. Rowling is not her name. Joanne Rowling does not have a middle name, but her publishers wanted to add another initial to her name for her book. She settled on Kathleen, the name of her favorite grandmother.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien - "Hobbit", lord of rings series, etc., John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Moon and Earth Names

Translations of the Bible into English was one of the earliest recorded uses of the name Earth – "God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good."

It is called ‘terra’ in Portuguese, ‘dünya’ in Turkish and ‘aarde’ in Dutch. The common thread in all languages is that they were all derived from the same meaning in their origins, which is ‘ground’ or ‘soil’.

The modern English word and name for our planet Earth goes back at least 1,000 years. Just as the English language evolved from ‘Anglo-Saxon’ (English-German) with the migration of certain Germanic tribes from the continent to Britain in the fifth century AD, the word ‘Earth’ came from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘erda’ and its Germanic equivalent ‘erde’ which means ground or soil. In Old English, the word became ‘eor(th)e’ or 'ertha '.

The Moon did have other names, including the name of an ancient deity, Luna, the Roman Goddess of the Moon. The word Luna is still associated with the Moon. For instance, Luna is the root of words like lunar.

When humanity first learned of other moons orbiting the planets in our solar system, one of the primary reasons they were given names was to differentiate them from the Moon, which is still the official name of our moon in English. The word “moon” can be traced back to Old English, where it is said to have derived from the Proto-Germanic word “menon”, which in turn derived from the Proto-Indo-European “menses”, meaning “month, moon”.

With few exceptions, the Moon has long been associated with women, fertility, and a whole host of other female attributes. In most cases, menstrual cycles more or less coincide with the phases of the Moon. It should then come as no surprise that across many languages, the words for “moon”, “month”, and the name for a woman’s menstrual cycle often has the same root word.

Potatoes Business

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and corn/maize. The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 BC. They first came to the US in 1621.

Did you know there is a National Potato Council, Potato Association of America, World Potato Congress, US Potato Board, US Potato Promotion Board, among others. In addition, Michigan has Mich. Potato Industry Commission, Mich. Seed Potato Assoc., and Potato Growers of Mich. There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes in the US. There are many more types of potato chips from around the world. Next week I will list a few of them.

Michigan supplies over a third of all potato chips in the US. Its annual Winter Potato Conference is one of the biggest in the country. It is overshadowed by the  Potato Expo, the largest conference and trade show for the potato industry held in North America.

Potatoes contain many of the essential nutrients that the dietary guidelines recommend Americans increase in their diet. Potatoes eaten with the skin provide nearly half of the Daily Value for vitamin C and are one of the best sources of potassium (more than a banana), iodine, iron, other trace minerals, and fiber. One medium-sized potato has 100 calories and provides complex carbohydrates needed to fuel our brains. Potatoes contain no fat.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London noted that a small "bag of ready-salted crisps" contains less salt than a serving of "Special K, All-Bran, Golden Grahams, Cheerios, Shreddies, and every brand of cornflakes on sale in the UK."

20/20 Vision

The 20/20 scale is different in different parts of the world. After examining a large number of people, American ophthalmologists decided on the 20/20 scale, saying that “20/20” is the normal visual acuity of the average person. That means standing 20 feet away from something, you can see what the average person can see standing 20 feet away from the same thing. In metric countries doctors measure how well a person can see at 6 meters away (19.69 feet).

The Snellen eye chart is the chart topped with the big E and consists of 11 rows of capital letters that get progressively smaller toward the bottom of the chart. A person is placed 20 feet away from the chart. Since most doctors’ offices are too small, mirrors are often used to simulate 20 feet. The doctor asks the person to read out the smallest line of letters that can be seen at that distance. Most people can read the fourth line up from the bottom without trouble, so if a person can do this, the vision is considered 20/20.

Using the Snellen chart, if a person can only see the big E up top and none of the other lines of text, he is considered to have 20/200 vision., meaning he sees at 20 feet what an average person can see at 200 feet away. 20/200 visual acuity and worse is considered legally blind in the United States, unless it can be corrected to better with glasses or contacts.

If a person can read the tiny bottom line of text on the chart at 20 feet away, it is considered 20/5 visual acuity. Most humans do not have the ability to have much better than 20/10 vision.

The 20/20 or 6/6 visual acuity is not a measure of a prescription as it does not take into account the nature of the problem, only the result of it.

Wordology, Base Jump

BASE is an acronym for Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth. Base jumps and other non-harnessed jumps are illegal in all US national parks.

Eight Useful Google Tips

Are you trying to remember the name of a song you heard? Try typing, winner takes it* abba and Google will try to complete your search.

You can search by file type by typing filetype:ppt or filetype:excel or any other file type.

Putting two periods, .. between two numbers will search within that range, such as news 2013..2015

If you are looking for a definition type, define: followed by the word you want defined.

Here is a very useful thing google can do for you. Set a timer by typing, set timer for and then the amount of time, as in, set timer for 10 minutes.

In a restaurant and need to figure out tip, type in, tip calculator and Google will present an onscreen calculator for you. You set amount, tip percent and it does the work for you.

If you want listen to some music, type in, music by Cher or any other artist and add youtube at the end.

You can do the same for books, type in, books by and the author name, (of course I had to test this by typing in my own name).

Discreet vs. Discrete

This pair of homophones (words that sound alike, but are different in meaning, spelling, or both) can be confusing. Discreet implies the showing of reserve in behavior or speech. Discrete means distinct, separate, unrelated.

Both words derive from the same Latin word discretus meaning “separated.” Until the 1700s, these words were each spelled many different ways including discrete, discreet, dyscrete, discreete, etc.

Eventually discrete and discreet came to be differentiated in spelling as well as in meaning. Discreet has yielded the noun discretion, but discrete's noun form is discreteness. For most of English history, discreet was more frequently used, but today discrete is much more frequently used than discreet; it has seen a dramatic rise since the 1940s.

If the e’s are separated by the “t”,  use “discrete” (meaning “separate”).

May 15, 2015

Happy Friday

How can you lose at the game of life when you have joy, friendship, happiness, and love on your team.

My team always plays to win and have a Happy Friday!

All the Same

Every day this week is the same forward and backward - 5/10/15, 5/11/15, 5/12/15, 5/13/15, 5/14/15, 5/15/15/, and 5/16/15.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy, pronounced 'mi-tonn-ə-mee' is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept, rather than by its own name. The words "metonymy" and "metonym" come from the Greek: metōnymía, 'a change of name'.

Metonymy and related figures of speech are common in everyday talk and writing. Synecdoche is a specific type of metonymy. Synecdoche refers to a thing by the name of one of its parts. For example, calling a car “a wheel” is a synecdoche. A part of a car, the wheel stands for the whole car.

One of the main purposes of using a metonymy is to add flavor to the writing. The name of a sports team can be used in place of its individual members.

Other examples: "Wall Street" is often used metonymously to describe the US financial and corporate sector, and "Hollywood" used as a metonym for the US film industry. The national capital is often used to represent the government or monarchy of a country, such as "Washington" for United States government or "Downing Street" for the Government of the United Kingdom.

Other metonymys - Crown. (For the power of a king.)
The White House. (the American administration.)
Dish. (To refer an entire plate of food.)
And finally, the old adage, 'the pen is mightier than the sword'
Pen. (For the written word.) Sword - (For military force.)

6 common Acronyms

CVS (Pharmacy) is now just called CVS, but when it first opened, the letters stood for Consumer Value Store.

The ZIP in ZIP Code stands for Zone Improvement Plan.

GEICO used to stand for "Government Employees Insurance Company."

The fashion retailer H&M is for Hennes & Mauritz.

The Smart Car was a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes Benz and originally called the Swatch and Mercedes Art Car.

Today TCBY stands for The Country's Best Yogurt, but used to be called This Can't Be Yogurt.

Power of Smiles

Research from Echnische Universität in Munich Germany shows a 2009 study. Scientists there used fMRI (functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain before and after injecting Botox to suppress smiling muscles. The findings showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile.

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a pleasure inducer, cannot match. In a study conducted in the UK (using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor to create “mood-boosting values” for various stimuli), British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; they also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds in cash.

And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.

Humans intrinsically know that smiling is powerful. This simple act goes a long way toward improving your mood and the mood of those around you, reducing stress, and spreading happiness in a way that is contagious.

Smile whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress.

A smile is the least expensive, most thoughtful, and personal gift you can give.

Only the emotionally destitute are too poor to share a smile.