Mar 29, 2011

Tally Ho

A few hundred years ago, as the Englishmen were out on a hunt, they would yell out "Tallio, hoix, hark, forward". Which came from a long French phrase not worth spelling out. The cry is meant to encourage the hunting dogs and get them moving, kind of like saying giddyup to a horse. Mercifully, it has been abbreviated to simply "Tally-ho."

Spam a Lot

Have you ever wondered how much spammers make and how many spam emails are sent out? UC San Diego and the International Computer Science Institute wondered too, so they hijacked a botnet to find out. The team intentionally infected eight computers with a middleman virus, software they found that was relaying instructions between a botmaster computer and the network of computers it had secretly turned into spam-sending zombies. That is how many viruses work.

They changed the orders for their own research. Instead of sending people to the botmaster’s website, spam ads instead funneled them to a site built by the team. It looked like an authentic Internet pharmacy, but didn't take orders, it just gave an error message. The team used the info to calculate an estimate of how much money the spammer grossed per day.

Interesting statistics from the spam experiment -  23.8% of messages were actually delivered, of those, .0127% of people responded, and 2.66% went to the site to buy something for an average price $100. In all, they infected just 550 PCs which each sent out an average number of 1.7 million emails per day. The average daily take was about $7,000. Annual take $2.55 million.

Considering that spammers infect much higher numbers of PCs and some mail out many more than 1.7 million messages, and they do it 7 days a week, it begins to quickly add up. If you just did five times that amount, it comes to $12.8 million a year. Not too bad for a few lines of code and letting all the others do your mailing.

What's in a Name

When George Lucas was mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying "R2D2". George liked the way that sounded so much he integrated that into one of his other projects, Star Wars.

Denny's Made Up Name

My buddy, John Chapman sent this LINK to me. Seems Denny's has come up with Baconalia to describe a bunch of new dishes containing bacon, including bacon meatloaf, bacon maple sundae, and more. They call it a bacon love-fest. Mmmm, time for breakfast.

Mar 26, 2011

Happy Friday

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.

I plan to plop down in my favorite chair, have a good belly laugh, and prepare to have a Happy Friday!

Blue Roses

In some cultures, blue roses traditionally signify a mystery, or attaining the impossible, or never ending quest for the impossible. They are believed to be able to grant the owner youth or grant wishes. Historically, this symbolism derives from the rose's meaning in the language of flowers common in Victorian times.

The color blue is also traditionally associated with royal blood, and thus the blue rose can also denote regal majesty and splendor. In Chinese folklore, the blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love.

Due to the absence in nature of blue roses they have come to symbolize mystery and longing to attain the impossible with some cultures believing that the holder of a blue rose will have his wishes granted. In 2004, researchers used genetic modification to create blue pigmented roses, but they were a bit dark and leaned more to lavender. Recent work using cloned pigments from Irises, along with depressing the production of cyanidin has produced a mauve colored flower, with only trace amounts of cyanidin. Genetically modified blue roses are patented and currently being grown in test batches by Suntory Ltd., Japan

Five Ways to Find Someone on the Web

There are a dwindling number of sites that provide name or phone number info for free. Seems we all need to make a living. There are a few interesting sites that provide more information about you than you might like to see. One of them is Type in your name and it spits out a host of information, like pictures, addresses, comments you may have posted on the web, facebook and myspace account info, plus much more. Worth a visit.

Scam callers are an increasing problem but there are a few sites to report the information and you can use them to see if anyone else complained about a particular number. One site Identifycallers lets you post comments and read others comments. and yellowpages,com offer name to number and number to name lookups for people or businesses, just as the paper versions do.

Addictomatic is another site that offers a wealth of information, mainly from blogs, tweets, YouTube, Yahoo,  facebook, etc., but not personal info, such as address, phone.


Barney Kroger used his life’s savings of $372 to open his first store, The Great Western Tea Company, in 1883 in downtown Cincinnati. (Remember A&P, it was the great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. It started in 1869.)

By 1902, Kroger had opened 40 stores and renamed it the Kroger Grocery and Baking Company. Less than 20 years later, the company had grown to more than 5,000 stores nationwide. Kroger’s stores featured bakeries and were among the first to combine meat markets and grocery stores under one roof.

He advertised regularly in newspapers and started a private-label line of goods to sell in his stores, including sauerkraut and pickles made by his mother. Kroger retired in 1928, but the company continued to grow and remained a pioneer in the industry. In 1972, Kroger was reportedly the first grocery retailer to test an electronic scanner. Today, Kroger has sales of more than $70 billion.

Laughter as Medicine

The old adage "laughter is the best medicine" has proved its worth among children coping with pain, according medical experts in the US, who found laughter helped children relax, which had a major impact on how they dealt with and accepted pain.

They believe the healing power of humor can reduce pain and stimulate immune function in children with cancer, Aids, or diabetes and in children receiving organ transplants and bone marrow treatments. Their study reinforces practices adopted by UK hospitals, where laughter is used as a tool to make hospital wards a friendlier place.

Dr Margaret Stuber, who led the US research, said, "We think laughter could be used to help children who are undergoing painful procedures or who suffer from pain-expectation anxiety. In the future, patients watching humorous videos could become a standard component of some medical procedures."

They asked 21 children aged eight to 14 to put their hand into cold water and found the whole group tolerated the temperature longer while watching a funny video.

Those who laughed most remembered less of the pain and hormone tests on their saliva showed their stress levels were lower after laughing.

Dr Stuber said: "Rx Laughter's goal is to ease ill children through some of these medical procedures and minimize the traumatic effects that children experience. The US study, Rx Laughter, is a collaboration between the entertainment industry, pediatrics, and psychiatry.

"In some instances laughter may even reduce the amount of anesthesia necessary."

Distraction therapy

Hospitals in the UK have recognized the power of laughter and some use "clown doctors" to go into children's wards and inject a bit of fun. The team of 10 clown doctors visit about 30,000 children and their families every year at hospitals in London, Manchester and Cambridge.

Humorous videos, especially cartoons, are already used in anesthetic rooms at Manchester Children's Hospital. They have found the videos help the children relax before going into the operating room. Go ahead and have a great laugh today. it's good for you.


Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming's  desk was often littered with small glass dishes filled with bacteria cultures scraped from boils, abscesses, and infections. Fleming allowed the cultures to sit around for weeks, hoping something interesting would turn up.

One day, he decided to clean the bacteria-filled dishes and dumped them into a tub of disinfectant. He soon noticed a dish in the tub, which was still above the surface of the water and cleaning agent. As he did, Fleming suddenly saw a dab of fungus on one side of the dish, which had killed the bacteria. The fungus turned out to be a rare strain of penicillium that had drifted onto the dish from an open window.

Fleming began testing the fungus and found that it killed deadly bacteria, yet was harmless to human tissue. However, he was unable to produce it in any significant quantity and didn’t believe it would be effective in treating disease, but he wrote up the findings in a paper he presented to the scientific community. A decade later, another team of scientists followed up on his lead. Using more sophisticated techniques, they were able to successfully produce one of the most life-saving drugs in modern medicine.

Mar 22, 2011

Wayback Machine

If you are interested in what a particular web site used to look like, you can use the Wayback Machine website to help. It shows a calendar and  you pick the date you wish to see what the site looked like. I mentioned this last year, but thought it was worth mentioning again.

Some get around it and the pages are no longer available. For instance, I was looking up some info from the Obama campaign where he answered questions that were sent in. The pages have all been replaced with a page that sends you to the site. LINK  Seems the answers from back then might not be the same today and we might be confused. However, I did manage to find a way to the original site by another means.

Sortie and Sally

The papers have been mentioning that the military has been making many sorties over Libya. A sortie is an offensive military mission. The term was used originally to mean an attack from a fortress, but now most commonly used to describe a single mission by a single military aircraft. it can also be called a sally, which is an action to burst forth (sally forth). Sortie was first used in the 1700s and comes from the French, sortir, to go out.

More on Sally and Sally forth - Sally ports" were a feature of castles and fortresses, a closely-guarded opening in the wall of a castle designed to mount quick attacks on whatever enemy army might be besieging the castle.  A "sally," from the Latin "salire" meaning "to jump," was originally a sudden rush out of a besieged position, a lightning attack designed to surprise the enemy. The troops would sortie from the Sally Port. A good soldier does not sally slowly.

Sally Forth Comics

There were two comic strips named Sally Forth. Sally Forth was a syndicated comic strip from the sixties and seventies about a voluptuous female soldier, targeted at overseas US servicemen. A second, unrelated strip, started in the eighties (and still being produced) was about a sarcastic, American, middle-class mother at home and work. Her name was a takeoff to describe her adventures.

Dirty Dishes

A change in dishwasher detergents that became final in 2010 may cause some changes in your kitchen. The new formulas lack phosphates, chemicals that are bad for the environment, but good for cleaning. Check the package and try something new for a change. Your old cleaner may not have been reformulated to replace the cleaning power of the old ingredients. Does your old cleaner seem as effective as it used to? Do you seem to use more to get those dirty dishes clean?

Consumer Reports, in September 2010, generally scored tablets and packets higher than cheaper powders and gels, but it said new products are still evolving. Rinse aids help, and are often combined with detergents in the newer products. If you spot spots, it's time to change.

Mar 18, 2011

Voice Mail

Do you remember answering machines? They were a precursor to voice mail systems of today. In 1986, Scott Jones and Greg Carr started Boston Technologies, and began working on a system where you could dial a number and find out stock information. One good idea led to another and the pair thought they could provide people with built in voice mail.

Until 1988, all phone companies besides AT&T were legally banned from providing voice mail. When the ruling was reversed, the pair approached several telecom companies and got financial backing. Within 3 months, their ideas were realized. Voice mail is slowing in popularity with some age groups due to text messaging, but is still a staple of the telecommunications industry. I don't think voice mail will be replaced for a while.

Iodine and Nuclear Fallout

There has been a run on iodine pills in Hawaii, Finland, and some European countries where people are expecting trips to Japan or are worried about Nuclear fallout.

Iodine may be used in radioiodine-contamination emergencies, such as nuclear accidents, to "block" the thyroid's uptake of radioiodine.

Potassium iodide was approved in 1982 by the US FDA to protect the thyroid glands from radioactive iodine from accidents or fission emergencies. In the event of an accident or attack at a nuclear power plant, or fallout from a nuclear bomb, volatile fission product radionuclides may be released, of which 131I is one of the most common by-products and a particularly dangerous one due to thyroid gland concentration of it and this may lead to thyroid cancer. By saturating the body with a source of stable iodide prior to exposure, inhaled or ingested 131I tends to be excreted.

Potassium iodide’s value as a radiation protective (thyroid blocking) agent was demonstrated at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident when Soviet authorities distributed it in a 30 km zone around the plant. The purpose was to protect residents from radioactive iodine, a highly carcinogenic material found in nuclear reactors which had been released by the damaged reactor.

Potassium iodide cannot protect against any other causes of radiation poisoning, nor can it provide any degree of protection against dirty bombs that produce radionuclides other than isotopes of iodine. Also, using common table salt is not an effective substitute. Even with that, salt supplies have been almost completely depleted in stores around Japan.

Corn Flakes

The Kellogg brothers, John and Will , in Battle Creek, MI, were trying to boil a pot of grain and they accidentally left the pot on the stove for several days. The mixture turned moldy, but the product that emerged was dry and thick and turned flaky, rather than the desired doughy. Being frugal, they toasted the flakes and served them. Through experimentation they eliminated the mold part and created corn flakes. They continued to experiment with other grains Incidentally, they thought that this type of bland food was good to reduce the sex drive.

They were also the first to add a goodies in the cereal box to boost sales, a Funny Jungleland Moving Picture Booklet was first in the early 1900s. Battle Creek is still home to Kellogg and hosts a major Balloon Festival every year. I'll bet you didn't know the name of the corn flake mascot, since 1959, is Cornelius (Corny) Rooster.


From bites to bytes - Last year, manufacturers shipped 5.1 exabytes of storage devices. An exabyte is a quintillion bytes, or a thousand trillion. Below are some more interesting tidbits about exabytes and the internet.

* In 2004, global monthly Internet traffic passed 1 exabyte for the first time and six years later, it is estimated at 21 exabytes per month, or 252 exabytes per year.

* Mobile data traffic is growing faster than non-mobile traffic, has tripled each year for the past three years, and is projected to rise another 26-fold to about 75 exabytes per year by 2015. (The top 1 percent of mobile data subscribers generate over 20 percent of mobile data traffic,)  

* Non-mobile internet traffic has averaged 151% growth each year since 1997.

* By 2013, annual global internet traffic will reach two-thirds of a zettabyte or 667 exabytes.

* Global mobile data traffic will reach over two exabytes per month by 2013.

*  It is estimated that there was 988 exabytes of data created last year, 2010. That is over 18 million times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written.

Bytes in Perspective

Below is the sequence of names for describing digital information - Think of a byte as a letter or number, such as 1 or T.  A kilobyte is exactly1,024 bytes, but common usage rounds it to a thousand. One page of text is about one kilobyte.

Here are some more comparisons to give you a sense of scale - A terabyte is roughly a trillion bytes and our national debt is measured in trillions of dollars. One terabyte can hold about 3.6 million images or about 300 hours of good quality video. A terabyte can hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten terabytes can hold the total printed collection of the Library of Congress. We are adding about a terabyte of information to the internet roughly every minute of every day.

kilobyte (kB)     103
megabyte (MB) 106
gigabyte (GB)   109
terabyte (TB)    1012
petabyte (PB)   1015
exabyte (EB)     1018
zettabyte (ZB)   1021     
yottabyte           1024

There are more names going up to ten to the 63rd power, but only those above have so far been approved. I have a friend who is so old, he remembers plain old bytes, now we have moved from Kilobytes to Exabytes. Hope to be around for the Yottabyte revolution.

How to Make a Book

This YouTube shows the way books used to be made, all by hand and machines. We have come a long way from those days and modern machines spit books out one-at-a-time on demand. New printing presses act more like high speed copiers. There is no paper and no process from digital book to hard copy book. The video, in old news style, is nine minutes and takes you from typing a manuscript to a mechanically finished book. Interesting to watch.  You may remember from a previous Friday Thoughts why paper and pages are the size they are.

Mar 15, 2011


This revolutionary technology is mostly unknown to people that do not play computer games. Kinect uses a 3D camera and motion recognition software to let people play videogames on the Xbox 360 using natural body movements and voice commands instead of hand-held controllers. Watch for many hackers developing cool ways to use this gesture sensing technology for interacting with computers.

Microsoft tells us that sales of the gesture-sensing Kinect for the Xbox 360 videogame console makes it the fastest-selling consumer electronics device ever and it has sold more than 10 million standalone Kinect games worldwide.

Microsoft sold an average of 133,333 Kinect units per day between the day of its launch on November 4 and January 3. No other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span. Amazing that profoundly changing technology comes out as a game first. Move over Apple, Microsoft has a hit.

If I had my Druthers

Have you ever thought about what a 'druther' is? This is an American phrase that began popping up in the late 1800s. It's short for 'would rather' or I'd rather'. It means 'If I had my choice'. It is usually used in the plural, but can be singular.

There was a Johnny Mercer song: If I had my druthers, I'd druther have my druthers, than anything else I know. Also, John Denver:  If I had my druthers I'd go fishin, Find myself a lake and a lazy day, If I had my druthers I'd quit wishin, Get off the old caboose get on my way. If I had my druthers, I would rather read some of Shubnell's books.

Searching in a Kayak is an interesting meta-search engine. Kayak itself sells nothing, but what it does do is find airline prices and information. That's something that had been limited to Priceline, Orbitz, etc., and the airline sites.

When you log onto, you are presented with a simple search form that asks where you wish to travel. You can search for one-way or round-trip trips, as well as multi-city itineraries. Clicking the "Search multiple sites" button starts the action.

The results page graphic shows airline websites being scanned for their up-to-the-moment information. Kayak has the ability to go to nearly all of the airline databases, extract their information and reformat it into something understandable. The animated display also shows you an interim status of specific airlines that are being scanned at that moment.

When Kayak is done, you are presented with an ordered list of flights that meet your search criteria. The default is to sort them by price, from the most economical to the very expensive, but can change the sequence as you desire. It has many other cool features and can also help with hotels, cars, etc. A great alternative that is not beholding to any airline.

Mar 11, 2011

Happy Friday

Humility is a virtue all men preach, few practice, and yet everybody is content to hear.

I don't preach, I practice and am always content with having a Happy Friday!

Laughter Competition

The United States' first-ever laughing championship takes place tomorrow, Mar 12, in San Luis Obispo, CA. A few dozen gigglers, guffawers, snigglers, and chortlers will laugh it up in hopes of winning the coveted title of "California's Best Laugher."

The contestants will compete in events, such as "Best Diabolical Laugh" and "Most Contagious Laugh" and face off in "Laughter Duels" to see who can make the other person crack up most.

It's part of a serious effort by Albert Nerenberg to raise awareness of the power of laughter. He says, "When two people laugh together, there is a limbic lock. Their brains actually merge and they're on the same frequency."

We all know laughter is good for you mentally and physically, but, wow, a 'limbic lock'. It almost sounds lewd
. I looked it up and found - The immediate, involuntary reaction involves the most direct communication possible between people – brain to brain – with our intellect just going for the ride. It actually causes a physical sensation.

Cold Weather Balm

It is almost time to put away the lip balm as spring is here. It is OK to sneak a rub in the summer as you slather your lips in this bacon balm. Make your man love you even more. Mmmm!

Flexi Straws

Did you ever think about how they came up with this little device? Joseph Friedman was sitting at his brother's soda shop, watching his daughter drink a milkshake. She was struggling to drink her beverage through a straight paper straw, but she was short and could hardly reach the end.

He thought about how he could help and inserted a screw into the straw. He then wrapped and tightened floss around the straw to create a ribbed texture. When he took the screw out, the straw naturally bent over the rim of the glass and his daughter was able to drink with ease. He patented his idea in 1937 and started his own company to produce the straw. The rights to the flexible straw were eventually sold to the Maryland Cup Corporation, which now sells about 500 million of them every year.

What's in a Name

Nintendo - The three words “Nin” “ten” “do” is Japanese for “we do all that we can, as best as we can, and await the results.” Nintendo is a motto and company name all in one.


In the early 19th century, Bernard Courtois had a factory that produced saltpeter (potassium nitrate), which was a key ingredient in ammunition, and thus a hot commodity in Napoleon’s France. On top of that, Courtois had figured out how to fatten his profits and get his saltpeter potassium cheaply. He collected the seaweed that washed up daily on the shores, burned it, and extracted the potassium from the ashes.

One day, while his workers were cleaning the tanks used for extracting potassium, they accidentally used a stronger acid than usual and strange clouds billowed from the tank. He noticed dark crystals on all the surfaces that had come into contact with the fumes. He had them analyzed and discovered previously unknown element, which he named iodine, after the Greek word for “violet.”

Iodine is plentiful in saltwater and concentrated in seaweed. It was soon discovered that goiters, enlargements of the thyroid gland, were caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. Eventually, in addition to its other uses, iodine his routinely added to table salt. Of course you know that they also put in other ingredients to keep the salt from clumping like it used to. For you old timers, rice in the shaker is no longer needed. Check the container next time you buy salt to see if it is iodized.

Nike Swoosh

The Nike swoosh was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student University student, and purchased by Nike for $35, based on the $2 per hour he was paying her. In 1983, Knight gave Davidson a diamond Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his ongoing gratitude.

Strange Marriage Customs

For the 3 days and 3 nights following weddings of Tidong people from northern Borneo, both the bride and groom are prohibited from urinating, defecating, or bathing. They believe that custom will lead to a long, happy, and fertile marriage. In order to achieve this, the newlyweds are allowed to eat and drink only very small amounts and are watched very closely for compliance by family members.

Friends of Scottish brides-to-be take her by surprise and cover her with eggs, spoiled milk, feathers, and other disgusting slop and parade her around town. The purpose is to prepare the bride for marriage, because it will make marital problems seem easier by comparison.

Polterabend is a German pre-wedding tradition where friends and family come together for an informal party and break dishes, flowerpots, tiles, toilets, etc., except glasses or mirrors. The bride and groom must clean everything up to symbolize working together through future difficulties. BTW - married men, on average, change their underwear twice as often as single men.

Mar 8, 2011

Top Ten Visitors

The top ten countries to visit my blog last week in order: US, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Philippines, India, Russia, Thailand, Singapore. In total, 42 countries visited. Thanks to everyone who visited. I Hope it made you smile.

Stuffy Nose Tips

Try alternately pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Then press between your eyebrows with one finger. "This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain."

Reverse Aging

One cause of the physical degeneration associated with aging involves telomeres, which are segments of DNA found at the ends of chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter, and once a cell runs out of telomeres, it can't reproduce anymore and dies. There is an enzyme called telomerase that reverses this process and it is one of the reasons cancer cells live so long.

In November, 2010, researchers at Harvard Medical School announced in Nature that they had administered telomerase to a group of mice suffering from age-related degeneration. The damage went away and the mice didn't just get better; they got younger. Proponents of the Singularity see this as just a natural progression and predict that aging is just another problem that can be overcome, likely in the next twenty to thirty years. I agree.

Did You Know

If you hook Jell-O up to an EEG, it registers movements almost identical to a human adult's brain waves. March 17, 1993, technicians at St. Jerome hospital in Batavia tested a bowl of lime Jell-O with an EEG machine to confirm the earlier testing by Dr. Adrian Upton that a bowl of wiggly Jell-O has brain waves identical to those of adult men and women. Not sure why anyone would want to do this, but it is interesting.

Tiger Oil Memos

There is a number of absolutely wacky memos from irascible Edward 'Tiger Mike' Davis, CIO of Tiger Oil, written in the 1970s. Did some checking and he did exist and did have a terrible attitude toward his employees. If you think you have boss problems, they are minor, compared to this guy.

Sample:  "I swear, but since I am the owner of this company, that is my privilege...There will be absolutely no swearing, by ANY employee, male or female, in this office, ever." "Anyone who lets their hair grow below their ears to where I can't see their ears means they don't wash. If they don't wash, they stink, and if they stink, I don't want the son-of-a-b**ch around me." "We do not pay starvation wages, and there are some people left in this world who want to work. I am not fond of hippies, long-hairs, dope fiends or ­alcoholics." BTW, Tiger Oil went bankrupt. Not sure if it was related to Tiger Mike's memos.

Here is a LINK to these and more originals. I think some should be framed for posterity.

Mar 4, 2011

Happy Friday

It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, and an entire life to forget them.

I spend my minutes, hours, and days trying to have and not forget a Happy Friday!

How Come

The oldest reference for "how come" in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is an entry in Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms published in 1848. The OED calls "how come" an American coinage, but the entry in Bartlett's indicates it originated in England: "Doubtless an English phrase, brought over by the original settlers." "How come" is believed to be a shortened from "how did it come about that," or "how comes it, then"  It makes sense, but has somehow been lost in current usage and many people do not really know what it means, but use it anyway. That phrase bugs me. How come people say how come instead of why?

Bacon Flavor Envelopes

It is time to show your good taste, but don't over lick the bacon flavored glue on the envelopes designed in classic bacon style. Lick, Lick, Yum, Yum!

Great Britain

Do you know the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom? This video explains it all. LINK  Very fast talker, but interesting way to get the facts.

What's in a Name

Despite popular belief, the way that the buttons look a bit like the seeds of a berry has nothing to do with the name Blackberry device. The name was purely a marketing decision.

RIM wanted a name that would be distinctive, memorable, fun, and that would work well internationally and appeal to a wide range of customers. RIM decided to go with a connotative word for the brand name rather than a descriptive or invented word.

Employment Numbers

People actually employed per US dept of statistics:

Jun 2007 - 153, 072,000
Aug 2008 - 154,853,000
jul 2009 - 139,817,000
dec 2009 - 137,960,000
jul 2010  -139,860,000
dec 2010 - 139,206,000

Dental Devices

If you think going to the dentist is tough these days, check out these devices for pulling teeth. They were used until the early 1800s.

Pelicans are instruments for extracting teeth and it is generally accepted that they are so named because of the similarity of the claw to the beak of a bird although it appears in different shapes and with variable features. They was used to remove a tooth from the row sideways and with considerable force. The claw went over the tooth and the bolster pressed against the vestibular alveolar bone. To function well two strong and healthy teeth were needed for the bolster to react against. Ouch, more gas please!

Mar 1, 2011


Nitrous oxide was discovered in 1772, but for decades the gas was considered no more than a party toy. People knew that inhaling a little of it would make you laugh (hence the name “laughing gas”), and that inhaling a little more of it would knock you unconscious.

In 1844, Horace Wells, a dentist in Connecticut, had an idea after witnessing a nitrous mishap at a party. A friend of Wells took some gas and fell and suffered a deep gash in his leg, but he didn’t feel a thing.

To test his theory, Wells arranged an experiment with himself as the guinea pig. He knocked himself out by inhaling a large does of nitrous oxide, and then had a dentist extract a bad tooth from his mouth. When Wells came to, his tooth had been successfully pulled.

After further experiments, Wells was jailed while high on chloroform and he committed suicide. In 1864 the American Dental Association formally recognized him for his discovery.

Speaking of Sleep

Dolphins and whales do not sleep for the first month of their life.

Giraffes. the tallest land-living animal, sleep only 4 to 6 hours a day.

Cats along with mice, pigs, and cheetahs can sleep for 12 hours per day.

Rats, gerbils and lions can sleep for 13 hours a day.

Squirrels sleep about 14 hours a day.

A human baby of age 1-12 months can sleep 16 hours a day (in between feedings and diaper changes).

The Lemur sleeps for 16 hours a day.

Owl Monkeys will sleep 17 hours a day.

Armadillos and tigers go to sleep for about 18-19 hours a day.

Brown Bats  sleep for 20 hours a day and Koalas sleep up to 22 hours a day.  I'm tired just thinking about this stuff.

Printing Skin

The range of uses for three-dimensional printers is increasing all the time, but now scientists have 3D "bioprinters" that print out skin, cartilage, bone, and other body parts. 3D printers print by depositing material line by line and then vertically layer by layer. They have been used to make sculptures and more.

Professor James Yoo, from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science his group is developing a system that will allow them to print skin directly onto burn wounds. Their research is funded by the US Department of Defense.

The bioprinter has a built-in laser scanner that scans the wound and determines its depth and area. The scan is converted into three-dimensional digital images that enable the device to calculate how many layers of skin cells need to be printed on the wound to restore it to its original configuration. The system has successfully printed skin patches 10 cm (almost 4 inches) square on a pig.

Day of the Geese

Antzar Eguna, is a Spanish tradition in which a greased goose is suspended over water and young men jump from boats and attempt to rip off the head of the goose. This competition serves as a way for young men to prove their strength and eligibility to females. The winner also gets to keep the goose. Although this tradition was once practiced all over Spain with live geese,  it is now only held during the San Antolin festival in Lekeitio, with a dead goose.