Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pets and Mental Health

From the [UK] Mental Health Foundation

The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress 

A pet can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for the owner. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives.

Pets and depression

Pets are also a great motivator for people. Dogs especially are great at encouraging owners to get exercise, and this can be beneficial for those suffering from depression. Pets can also have calming effects on their owner. Just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet can give the owner a chance to relax and calm his mind. Caring for a pet also gives your day purpose, reward, and a sense of achievement. It also helps you feel valuable and needed.

Pets and socializing

Walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners and this helps owners to stay socially connected and less withdrawn. People who have more social relationships and friendships tend to be mentally healthier.

Pets and loneliness

A pet is great companion. They give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with. Pets can be especially valuable company for those in later life and living alone.

Pets and people in later life

People in later life experiencing typical life stresses can be comforted by a companion pet. It is thought that a dog can be a stress buffer that softens the effects of adverse events on a person. With an animal in the home, people with Alzheimer's are thought to have fewer anxious outbursts.

Pets and children with ADHD

Children with ADHD can benefit from working with and keeping a pet. Taking charge of the jobs on a pet care schedule, such as feeding, walking and bathing, helps a child learn to plan and be responsible.

Pets need to play, and playing with a pet is a great way to release excess energy. Your child can burn off energy walking a dog or running around with a kitten, making them more relaxed later in the day and calmer at night. Fresh air and good circulation from aerobic exercise increases oxygen-filled blood flow to a child's brain, therefore increasing their ability to concentrate.

Children with ADHD are used to their parents trying to calm them down or reprimanding them. A pet is a great listener, and offers unconditional love and will not criticize a child for having too much energy. This can aid a child’s self-confidence.

Pets and Autism

Sensory issues are common among children with autism. Sensory integration activities are designed to help them get used to the way something feels against their skin or how it smells or sounds. Dogs and horses have both been used for this purpose. Children with autism often find it calming to work with animals.

It has been claimed that in the case of people with autism, animals can reduce stereotyped behavior, lessen sensory sensitivity, and increase the desire and ability to connect socially with others. Further research into this area needs to be carried out, however.

Our research

We carried out a study with Cats Protection in 2011 which involved over 600 cat- and non-cat-owning respondents, with half of them describing themselves as currently having a mental health problem. The survey found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends.

Half of the cat owners felt that their cat’s presence and companionship was most helpful, followed by a third of respondents who described stroking a cat as a calming and helpful activity. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Four Types of Millennial

New Study Identifies Four Distinct Types Of Millennial News Consumers
Research reveals new strategies for connecting
with the Millennial generation.

NORC at the University of Chicago -- September 25, 2015 -- A new study explores the news habits of Millennials and identifies four distinct groups of news consumers. The study, a deeper analysis of a survey conducted earlier in 2015 by the Media Insight Project, finds that as it relates to their information use and the way they consume information about different topics, adults age 18 to 34 are not a monolithic group. The survey results identify the following groups of Millennials who share certain characteristics in their information consumption: the Unattached, the Explorers, the Distracted, and the Activists. The Media Insight Project is a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

“This study identifies truly distinct characteristics that typify each group of news consumers and identifies challenges and opportunities for news publishers attempting to reach the Millennial audience,” said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. “Clearly they are not a single group.”

Some of the key characteristics of each group include:

·                   The Unattached: Younger, age 18-24, bump into news, rather than seeking it out. Most have not yet started families or established careers. They primarily go online for social or entertainment activities, and few follow current events. Most do not pay for news, but many still keep up generally with what is going on in the world and are open to differing opinions.

·                   The Explorers: Younger, also age 18-24, actively seek out news and information; many demographic similarities to the Unattached, but slightly more men than women. They tend to follow a variety of current events and news-you-can-use topics. Many believe in the social and civic benefits of following news.

·                   The Distracted: Older, age 25-34, many have families and are part of the middle class. They tend to not use news for civic or social purposes. They do not actively seek news out and tend to mainly follow lifestyle and news-you-can use topics with direct relevance to their daily lives.

·                   The Activists: Older, age 25-34, actively seek out news and information. They tend to have already established families, careers, and a connection to their community. They are racially and ethnically diverse and experienced enough in the world to care about certain issues, and they have enough stability in life to spend energy on those issues. A majority of these Millennials personally pay for a digital or print news subscription.

“The study provides key insights as well as concrete recommendations for publishers wishing to reach Millennials,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. “The opportunity lies in recognizing that the Millennial generation is as nuanced as any other and that content creators need to reach different types of Millennials in different ways, and reach them where they are already consuming information.”

About the Survey
This study was conducted by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The study involved multiple modes of data collection, including a qualitative component whose results are not included in this report. However, a detailed description of the qualitative methodology can be found in the main report. The survey was conducted January 5-February 2, 2015, and reached 1,045 adults nationwide between the ages of 18 and 34. Study recruitment was completed through a national probability telephone sample, while the main portion of the questionnaire was administered online. The margin of error was +/- 3.8 percentage points. A full description of the study methodology can be found at the end of the report.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Small Clean Fusion Reactors?

Small-Scale Nuclear Fusion
May Be a New Energy Source
University of Gottenberg News: Sep 23, 2015

Fusion energy may soon be used in small-scale power stations. This means producing environmentally friendly heating and electricity at a low cost from fuel found in water. Both heating generators and generators for electricity could be developed within a few years, according to research that has primarily been conducted at the University of Gothenburg.

Nuclear fusion is a process whereby atomic nuclei melt together and release energy. Because of the low binding energy of the tiny atomic nuclei, energy can be released by combining two small nuclei with a heavier one.

A collaboration between researchers at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Iceland has been to study a new type of nuclear fusion process. This produces almost no neutrons but instead fast, heavy electrons (muons), since it is based on nuclear reactions in ultra-dense heavy hydrogen (deuterium).

“This is a considerable advantage compared to other nuclear fusion processes which are under development at other research facilities, since the neutrons produced by such processes can cause dangerous flash burns,” says Leif Holmlid, Professor Emeritus at the University of Gothenburg.

No radiation

The new fusion process can take place in relatively small laser-fired fusion reactors fuelled by heavy hydrogen (deuterium). It has already been shown to produce more energy than that needed to start it. Heavy hydrogen is found in large quantities in ordinary water and is easy to extract. The dangerous handling of radioactive heavy hydrogen (tritium) which would most likely be needed for operating large-scale fusion reactors with a magnetic enclosure in the future is therefore unnecessary.

" A considerable advantage of the fast heavy electrons produced by the new process is that these are charged and can therefore produce electrical energy instantly. The energy in the neutrons which accumulate in large quantities in other types of nuclear fusion is difficult to handle because the neutrons are not charged. These neutrons are high-energy and very damaging to living organisms, whereas the fast, heavy electrons are considerably less dangerous."

Neutrons are difficult to slow down or stop and require reactor enclosures that are several metres thick. Muons - fast, heavy electrons - decay very quickly into ordinary electrons and similar particles.

Research shows that far smaller and simpler fusion reactors can be built. The next step is to create a generator that produces instant electrical energy.

The research done in this area has been supported by GU Ventures AB, the holding company linked to the University of Gothenburg. The results have recently been published in three international scientific journals.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Find Me Guilty" from Sidney Lumet

Find Me Guilty is a 2006 American courtroom comedy-drama crime film co-written and directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the true story of the longest Mafia trial in American history. The film stars Vin Diesel as mobster Giacomo "Jackie" DiNorscio, who faces a series of charges even though he has a prior 30-year conviction, but he decides to stand trial instead of ratting out his family and associates. A wrench is thrown into the system when DiNorscio attempts to defend himself and act as his own lawyer at trial.

The film also stars Peter Dinklage, Linus Roache, Alex Rocco, and Ron Silver. Much of the courtroom testimony was taken from the original court transcripts.


It's the late 1980s and low-level mobster Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) has just been shot by his junkie cousin Tony Compagna (Raúl Esparza), but refuses to press charges against him to police. Jackie soon gets arrested and is sentenced to thirty years on an unrelated drug bust.

Tony, afraid of reprisals from the extended mob family run by Nick Calabrese (Alex Rocco), agrees to be a government witness for district attorney Sean Kierney (Linus Roache), who intends to bring down dozens of organized crime figures all at once. Kierney tries to bribe Jackie to be a government witness as well, but it's not in the gregarious Jackie's nature to be a rat.

That sets in motion a massive court case where Jackie, Nick and dozens of other mobsters are tried together for a countless number of crimes in front of presiding Judge Sidney Finestein (Ron Silver). Upset with his current lawyer, who couldn't even keep him from doing a 30-year stretch, Jackie turns down an offer to be represented by lead defense attorney Ben Klandis (Peter Dinklage) and decides to represent himself in court, despite having no legal background or any real knowledge of how to proceed.

Jackie's mischievous and vulgar manner amuses the jury on occasions but persistently irritates the judge, lawyers, witnesses, and defendants, including his friends from the mob. As weeks turn into months, the court case evolves into a marathon affair. Jackie turns the courtroom into something of a three-ring circus. Ben begins to believe that maybe Jackie could be effective, but Nick Calabrese is furious and Judge Finestein repeatedly threatens the charismatic mobster with contempt of court.

Jackie's estranged wife, Bella (Annabella Sciorra), visits him in jail, where he is becoming increasingly frustrated. Guards spy on him and prosecuting attorneys remove his favorite chair, causing considerable pain to Jackie's injured back.

He apologizes to the court and tries to mind his manners in the end. The prosecutors and the defense return to their offices expecting the jury to deliberate for at least a week. However, the jury comes to a decision after only 14 hours of deliberation. The jury reaches a verdict of not guilty for all. The entire courtroom reaches pandemonium as the family celebrates. The entire family hugs the twelve jury members as they leave. Meanwhile, Jackie is the only one bound for jail, returning there to finish his sentence. Jackie is welcomed as a hero in the correctional facility, where fellow prisoners chant "Jackie" and extend their hands in tribute to a man who refused to compromise his family for his life.

Box Office

The film had very poor box office performance; on its first weekend, it grossed only $608,804 (439 theaters, averaging $1,386 per theater). It grossed $1,173,643 in the domestic market, and $1,457,700 overseas, for a total of $2,631,343. The film's budget was $13 million, and so it was considered a box office bomb.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch

"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" (also referred to as "The Last Lecture") was a lecture given by Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Randy Pausch on September 18, 2007, that received a large amount of media coverage, and was the basis for The Last Lecture, a New York Times best-selling book co-authored with Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Zaslow. Pausch had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September of 2006. On September 19, 2006, Pausch underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy to remove the malignant tumor from his pancreas.  In August 2007, after doctors discovered that the cancer had recurred, Pausch was given a terminal diagnosis and was told to expect a remaining three to six months of good health.
                                                                     Randy Pausch

During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage. He also commented on the irony that the "Last Lecture" series had recently been renamed as "Journeys": "I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it." After Pausch finished his lecture, Steve Seabolt, on behalf of Electronic Arts, which is now collaborating with CMU in the development of Alice 3.0, pledged to honor Pausch by creating a memorial scholarship for women in computer science, in recognition of Pausch's support and mentoring of women in CS and engineering.

Professor Pausch's "Last Lecture" has received attention and recognition both from the American media and from news sources around the world.  The video of the speech became an Internet sensation, being viewed over a million times in the first month after its delivery on social networking sites such as YouTube, Google video, MySpace, and Facebook.  Randy Pausch gave an abridged version of his speech on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2007.  On April 9, 2008, the ABC network aired an hour-long Diane Sawyer feature on Pausch entitled "The Last Lecture: A Love Story For Your Life".  Four days after his death from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, ABC aired a tribute to Pausch, remembering his life and his famous lecture.

Previous Lectures

Pausch was known for some lectures in his previous jobs. In his previous career, Pausch was associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1997 and 1998, and also worked for The Walt Disney Company as an imagineer and for Electronic Arts.  At the University of Virginia, he was known for a lecture on the importance of making technology more friendly to users in which he demonstrated his point by presenting a VCR that was hard to program and then smashing it with a sledgehammer.  He was also known for his lecture on time management which he delivered in 1998 at the University of Virginia, and again in 2007 at the same venue.  "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" was the first lecture of the nine part "Journeys" lecture series conducted by Carnegie Mellon, which also included speakers such as Raj Reddy, Jay Apt, and Jared Cohon, the university president.  The series of lectures was focused on university staff members discussing their professional journeys and the decisions and challenges they faced.


The Disney-owned publisher Hyperion paid $6.7 million for the rights to publish a book about Pausch called The Last Lecture, co-authored by Pausch and Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Zaslow.  The Last Lecture explained Pausch's speech, and the events that led up to it. According to Robert Miller, a publisher for Hyperion Books, the book would "flesh out his speech" and show others "how to deal with mortality" and how to live well while death is imminent.  The book was well-received, eventually earning the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list in the "Advice" category during the week of June 22, 2008.  The book remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 80 straight weeks.

A pdf file of the text of Pausch’s famous lecture is available at:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Engineering and its Fields

Engineering is the application of mathematics, empirical evidence and scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain, research, and improve, structures, machines, tools, systems, components, materials, and processes.

The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied science, technology and types of application.

The term Engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise".


The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation or safety to life and property.


Engineering is a broad discipline which is often broken down into several sub-disciplines. These disciplines concern themselves with differing areas of engineering work. Although initially an engineer will usually be trained in a specific discipline, throughout an engineer's career the engineer may become multi-disciplined, having worked in several of the outlined areas. Engineering is often characterized as having four main branches:

  • Chemical engineering – The application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale, such as petroleum refining, microfabrication, fermentation, and biomolecule production.
  • Civil engineering – The design and construction of public and private works, such as infrastructure (airports, roads, railways, water supply and treatment etc.), bridges, dams, and buildings.
  • Electrical engineering – The design and study of various electrical and electronic systems, such as electrical circuits, generators, motors, electromagnetic and/or electromechanical devices, electronic devices, electronic circuits, optical fibers, optoelectronic devices, computer systems, telecommunications, instrumentation, controls, and electronics.
  • Mechanical engineering – The design of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and energy systems, aerospace/aircraft products, weapon systems, transportation products, engines, compressors, powertrains, kinematic chains, vacuum technology, and vibration isolation equipment.

Beyond these four, a number of other branches are recognized. Historically, naval engineering and mining engineering were major branches. Modern fields sometimes included as major branches are manufacturing engineering, acoustical engineering, corrosion engineering, instrumentation and control, aerospace, automotive, computer, electronic, petroleum, systems, audio, software, architectural, agricultural, biosystems, biomedical, geological, textile, industrial, materials, and nuclear engineering.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Positive Quiddity: Boris Nemtsov

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (Russian: Бори́с Ефи́мович Немцо́в; 9 October 1959 – 27 February 2015) was a Russian physicist, statesman and liberal politician. Nemtsov was one of the most important figures in the introduction of capitalism into the Russian post-Soviet economy.  He had a successful political career in the 1990s under President Boris Yeltsin, and since 2000 had been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was assassinated on 27 February 2015 on a bridge near the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow.  He was shot four times in the back.

                                                              Boris Nemtsov in 2014

Nemtsov's conflict with Vladimir Putin's government, based on Nemtsov's criticism of what he perceived as an increasingly authoritarian, undemocratic regime, was centered more recently on the widespread embezzlement and profiteering ahead of the Sochi Olympics, as well as on Russian political interference and military involvement in Ukraine.  Since 2008 Nemtsov had been regularly publishing in-depth reports detailing the corruption under Putin, which he connected directly with the person of the President (see "Political publications"). As part of the same political struggle, Nemtsov was an active organizer of and participant in Dissenters' Marches, Strategy-31 civil actions and rallies "For Fair Elections". In the weeks before his death, Nemtsov expressed fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have him killed.

At the time of the assassination, Nemtsov was in Moscow helping to organise a rally against Russian involvement in the war in Ukraine and the Russian financial crisis. At the same time, Nemtsov was working on a report demonstrating that Russian troops were fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin has been denying. An open involvement would damage Putin's government not just externally, but also within Russia, where such policy has been shown by opinion polls to be highly unpopular.  At the time of his death Nemtsov was holding the following political positions: elected member of the regional parliament of Yaroslavl Oblast; since 2013, co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS, which is a member of the European Liberal-Democratic Alliance; he was one of the leaders of the Solidarnost opposition movement.

Previously Nemtsov held the following political positions: Nemtsov was the first governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (1991–97). Later he worked in the Government of Russia as Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. In 1998 he founded the Young Russia movement. In 1998, he co-founded the coalition group Right Cause (1998) and in 1999, he co-formed Union of Right Forces, an electoral bloc and subsequently a political party. He was elected several times as a member of the Russian parliament.  Nemtsov was also a member of the Congress of People's Deputies (1990), Federation Council (1993–1997) and State Duma (1999–2003). He also served as Vice Speaker of the State Duma and the leader of parliamentary group Union of Right Forces. After a 2008 split in the Union of Right Forces, he co-founded Solidarnost.  In 2010 he co-formed the coalition "For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption", which was refused registration as a party. Beginning in 2012 Nemtsov was co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.

After Nemtsov's murder, Serge Schmemann of the New York Times paid tribute to him in an article headlined "The Brilliant Boris Nemtsov: A Reformer Who Never Backed Down." Schmemann wrote: "Tall, handsome, witty and irreverent, Mr. Nemtsov was one of the brilliant young men who burst onto the Russian stage at that exciting moment when Communist rule collapsed and a new era seemed imminent." Julia Ioffe of the New York Times described Nemtsov after his death as a "deeply intelligent, witty, kind and ubiquitous" man who "seemed to genuinely be everyone’s friend." She added that "he was a powerful, vigorous critic of Vladimir Putin, assailing him in every possible medium, constantly publishing reports on topics like the president’s lavish lifestyle and the corruption behind the Sochi Olympics.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

America Loses Yogi Berra

Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an American professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) (1946–63, 1965), most of them for the New York Yankees. An 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion as a player, Berra had a career batting average of .285, while compiling 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in. He is one of only four players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times. Widely regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball history, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

                                                                Yogi Berra in 1953

A native of St. Louis, Berra signed with the Yankees in 1943 before serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Making his major league debut in 1946, he was a mainstay in the Yankees' lineup during the team's championship years in the 1940s and 1950s. Despite his short stature, Berra was a power hitter and strong defensive catcher. Berra caught Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the only perfect game in MLB postseason history. After playing 18 seasons with the Yankees, Berra retired following the 1963 season. He spent one season as their manager, then joined the New York Mets in 1965 as coach (and briefly a player again). Berra remained with the Mets for the next decade, the latter four years of which were spent as their manager. Berra returned to the Yankees in 1976, coaching them for eight seasons and managing for two, before coaching the Houston Astros.  He is one of seven managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series. As a player, coach, or manager, Berra appeared in 21 World Series and won 13 of them.

The Yankees retired his uniform number 8 in 1972 and honored him with a plaque in Monument Park in 1988. Berra was named to the MLB All-Century Team in a voting by fans in 1999. For the remainder of his life, he was closely involved with the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, which he opened on the campus of Montclair State University in 1998. Berra, who quit school after the eighth grade, was also known for his confusing, pithy and paradoxical quotes, such as "It ain't over 'til it's over", while speaking to reporters. Simultaneously denying and confirming his reputation, Berra once stated, "I really didn't say everything I said."  He died at the age of 90 of natural causes.


Berra was also well known for his pithy comments and witticisms, known as Yogiisms. Yogiisms very often take the form of either an apparently obvious tautology or a paradoxical contradiction.


  • As a general comment on baseball: "90% of the game is half-mental."
  • On why he no longer went to Ruggeri's, a St. Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
  • "It ain't over till it's over." In July 1973, Berra's Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East. The Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season.
  • When giving directions to Joe Garagiola to his New Jersey home, which was accessible by two routes: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
  • At Yogi Berra Day at Sportsman Park in St. Louis: "Thank you for making this day necessary."
  • "It's déjà vu all over again". Berra explained that this quote originated when he witnessed Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs in the Yankees' seasons in the early 1960s.
  • "You can observe a lot by watching."
  • "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

50 Yogi Berra Quotes Collected by USA Today

1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

2. You can observe a lot by just watching.

3. It ain’t over till it’s over.

4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

6. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

7. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

8. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

9. We made too many wrong mistakes.

10. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

11. You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

12. You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.

13. I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.

14. Never answer an anonymous letter.

15. Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.

16. How can you think and hit at the same time?

17. The future ain’t what it used to be.

18. I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.

19. It gets late early out here.

20. If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.

21. We have deep depth.

22. Pair up in threes.

23. Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.

24. You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

25. All pitchers are liars or crybabies.

26. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.

27. Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.

28. He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

29. It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

30. I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won twenty-five games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.

31. I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.

32. I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.

33. I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.

34. In baseball, you don’t know nothing.

35. I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

36. I never said most of the things I said.

37. It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.

38. If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.

39. I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I’d never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field.

40. So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.

41. Take it with a grin of salt.

42. (On the 1973 Mets) We were overwhelming underdogs.

43. The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.

44. Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.

45. Mickey Mantle was a very good golfer, but we weren’t allowed to play golf during the season; only at spring training.

46. You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.

47. I’m lucky. Usually you’re dead to get your own museum, but I’m still alive to see mine.

48. If I didn’t make it in baseball, I won’t have made it workin’. I didn’t like to work.

49. If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.

50. A lot of guys go, ‘Hey, Yog, say a Yogi-ism.’ I tell ’em, ‘I don’t know any.’ They want me to make one up. I don’t make ’em up. I don’t even know when I say it. They’re the truth. And it is the truth. I don’t know.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tungsten Atoms' Exact Positions

UCLA Physicists Determine the
Three-Dimensional Positions of
Individual Atoms for the First Time
Finding Will Help Scientists Better Understand
the Structural Properties of Materials
by Katherine Kornei, UCLA Newsroom, September 21, 2015

Atoms are the building blocks of all matter on Earth, and the patterns in which they are arranged dictate how strong, conductive or flexible a material will be. Now, scientists at UCLA have used a powerful microscope to image the three-dimensional positions of individual atoms to a precision of 19 trillionths of a meter, which is several times smaller than a hydrogen atom.

                                                              elemental tungsten map 

Their observations make it possible, for the first time, to infer the macroscopic properties of materials based on their structural arrangements of atoms, which will guide how scientists and engineers build aircraft components, for example. The research, led by Jianwei (John) Miao, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a member of UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute, is published Sept. 21 in the online edition of the journal Nature Materials.

For more than 100 years, researchers have inferred how atoms are arranged in three-dimensional space using a technique called X-ray crystallography, which involves measuring how light waves scatter off of a crystal. However, X-ray crystallography only yields information about the average positions of many billions of atoms in the crystal, and not about individual atoms’ precise coordinates.

“It’s like taking an average of people on Earth,” Miao said. “Most people have a head, two eyes, a nose and two ears. But an image of the average person will still look different from you and me.”

Because X-ray crystallography doesn’t reveal the structure of a material on a per-atom basis, the technique can’t identify tiny imperfections in materials such as the absence of a single atom. These imperfections, known as point defects, can weaken materials, which can be dangerous when the materials are components of machines like jet engines.

“Point defects are very important to modern science and technology,” Miao said.

Miao and his team used a technique known as scanning transmission electron microscopy, in which a beam of electrons smaller than the size of a hydrogen atom is scanned over a sample and measures how many electrons interact with the atoms at each scan position. The method reveals the atomic structure of materials because different arrangements of atoms cause electrons to interact in different ways.

However, scanning transmission electron microscopes only produce two-dimensional images. So creating a 3-D picture requires scientists to scan the sample once, tilt it by a few degrees and re-scan it — repeating the process until the desired spatial resolution is achieved — before combining the data from each scan using a computer algorithm. The downside of this technique is that the repeated electron beam radiation can progressively damage the sample.

Using a scanning transmission electron microscope at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry, Miao and his colleagues analyzed a small piece of tungsten, an element used in incandescent light bulbs. As the sample was tilted 62 times, the researchers were able to slowly assemble a 3-D model of 3,769 atoms in the tip of the tungsten sample.

The experiment was time consuming because the researchers had to wait several minutes after each tilt for the setup to stabilize.

“Our measurements are so precise, and any vibrations — like a person walking by — can affect what we measure,” said Peter Ercius, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an author of the paper.

The researchers compared the images from the first and last scans to verify that the tungsten had not been damaged by the radiation, thanks to the electron beam energy being kept below the radiation damage threshold of tungsten.

Miao and his team showed that the atoms in the tip of the tungsten sample were arranged in nine layers, the sixth of which contained a point defect. The researchers believe the defect was either a hole in an otherwise filled layer of atoms or one or more interloping atoms of a lighter element such as carbon.

Regardless of the nature of the point defect, the researchers’ ability to detect its presence is significant, demonstrating for the first time that the coordinates of individual atoms and point defects can be recorded in three dimensions.

“We made a big breakthrough,” Miao said.

Miao and his team plan to build on their results by studying how atoms are arranged in materials that possess magnetism or energy storage functions, which will help inform our understanding of the properties of these important materials at the most fundamental scale.

“I think this work will create a paradigm shift in how materials are characterized in the 21st century,” he said. “Point defects strongly influence a material’s properties and are discussed in many physics and materials science textbooks. Our results are the first experimental determination of a point defect inside a material in three dimensions.”

The study’s co-authors include Rui Xu, Chien-Chun Chen, Li Wu, Mary Scott, Matthias Bartels, Yongsoo Yang and Michael Sawaya, all of UCLA; as well as Colin Ophus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Wolfgang Theis of the University of Birmingham; Hadi Ramezani-Dakhel and Hendrik Heinz of the University of Akron; and Laurence Marks of Northwestern University.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pianos Can't Be Tuned

You can tune a guitar, violin, viola, cello or brass instrument perfectly.

But you can’t tune a piano perfectly.  And it’s not a minor, unnoticed, immeasurable difference.  What you hear is slightly out of tune and your mind takes care of that; you’re hearing what you imagine to be an in-tune piano.

By the way, because of its range of notes and the speed of its action, most modern music (say, in the last two hundred years or so) has been composed at the piano.  The piano is a slightly-out-of-tune musical giant.

Why can’t the piano be tuned perfectly?  “It has too many strings!” See this link:

And here’s a prediction from me: We’re going to soon wind up with a world of digital pianos only.  The analog piano that requires tuning is just too labor-intensive.  It requires too much maintenance.  The better an analog piano sounds –the deeper and throatier the base, as well as the brilliance or “brightness” of the treble – the harder it is to mike for recordings.  Samples of concert grands are getting closer and closer to sounding like the “real thing,” and these digital imitations are easy to mike and don’t require tuning.  They are going to take over.

Don’t go into piano tuning as a profession.  Don’t buy or set up a piano showroom.  The whole profession is being automated.  Analog piano sales are way down in recent years.  Oh.  Digital pianos can also teach students to play the piano faster than the beginners can learn on an analog piano.  And a digital piano with MIDI can be used with a computer and music composition program to create a synthetic orchestra!  Some music colleges require students to submit complete orchestral works as the equivalent of term papers. 

Is the computer driven synthetic orchestra going to dethrone rock-and-roll in a way punk and rap have failed to accomplish?!  Something along these lines has already happened with computerized soundtracks dominating the genre of modern instrumental music.  You can make this comparison by listening to John Barry’s 1964 soundtrack for Goldfinger and comparing it to the about-to-be-released soundtrack for Spectre by Thomas Newman.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ongoing Thai Scandals

Andrew MacGregor Marshall (born March 25, 1971) is a Scottish journalist, writer focusing on conflict, politics, and crime mainly in Asia and the Middle East. In June 2011 he resigned from Reuters in controversial circumstances after the news agency refused to publish exclusive stories he was writing on the Thai monarchy. His 2014 book A Kingdom in Crisis was banned in Thailand and a prominent Thai royalist made a formal complaint to police accusing Marshall of several crimes.


Marshall was a correspondent for Reuters for 17 years, covering political upheaval in Thailand and the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2000, he was named Reuters' Deputy Bureau Chief in Bangkok. He was Reuters' Baghdad bureau chief from 2003 to 2005 as a violent insurgency gripped Iraq, and was Reuters' managing editor for the Middle East from 2006 to 2008. From 2008 he was based in Singapore as a political risk analyst and emerging markets editor. He resigned from Reuters in June 2011 when the agency refused to publish a set of articles about Thailand's monarchy he authored based on his analysis of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

“#thaihistory” Controversy

In June 2011 Marshall announced he had resigned from Reuters to publish a set of stories about Thailand that the news agency had refused to run. Later the same month he published the material himself. Entitled "Thailand's Moment of Truth", his study analyzed the role of the monarchy in Thai politics and included references to hundreds of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables. The cables were also later released by WikiLeaks. Thailand has harsh lese majeste laws that criminalize criticism of the royal family, and journalists covering the country have tended to follow a policy of self-censorship, refraining from any comment on the monarchy that could be deemed critical. Marshall's study, usually referred to by its Twitter hashtag #thaistory, used evidence from the cables to argue the monarchy played a central political role in Thailand which had never been properly reported.

In an article for Britain's Independent newspaper, Marshall wrote that as well as having to resign from Reuters, his publication of #thaistory meant he would face jail if he ever returned to Thailand. He said he understood why Reuters had refused to publish the material, given the potential risks to its staff and business in Thailand if it offended the monarchy.  Reuters gave a different explanation, telling The Times and The Independent that:

"Reuters didn't publish this story as we didn't think it worked in the format in which it was delivered. We had questions regarding length, sourcing, objectivity, and legal issues. Also, we were concerned the writer wasn't participating in the normal editing process that would apply to any story Reuters publishes."

Marshall's #thaistory generated significant comment and debate. Nicholas Farrelly, a fellow at the Australian National University, wrote that the initial installments published "have quickly become online sensations", adding "his insights will reverberate in Thai analytical circles for many years to come".  Joshua Kurlantzick, Southeast Asia fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, said Marshall's work was "perhaps the biggest bombshell of reportage on Thailand in decades".  Graeme Dobell of the Lowy Institute for International Policy described #thaistory as "journalism of the highest order" and Pavin Chachavalpongpun of the Institute of South East Asian Studies wrote: "Marshall has undoubtedly helped push the boundaries much further as one looks at the present state of the Thai monarchy."  Richard Lloyd Parry, Asia editor for The Times newspaper, said #thaistory was "a profound study, beyond mere journalism".

The Thai authorities have a policy of not officially acknowledging the existence of controversial Wikileaks cables, and so did not comment on #thaistory. The most vocal Thai critic was Thanong Khanthong, managing editor of the generally pro-establishment Nation newspaper, who questioned the timing of #thaistory's publication so close to an election and claimed it was part of an international plot to destabilize Thailand.  The Political Prisoners in Thailand blog gave #thaistory a critical review, saying it was overly focused on the role and machinations of the elites, leading to "an implicit discounting of the agency and power of subaltern actors, experiences and perspectives".

Death of King Ananda Mahidol

Marshall has done extensive research into the mysterious shooting of Ananda Mahidol, King Rama VIII of Thailand, on June 9, 1946. He argues that the evidence overwhelmingly suggests Bhumibol Adulyadej killed his brother, probably accidentally, and this was covered up to enable Bhumibol to become king.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bored of the Rings

Bored of the Rings is a parody of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This short novel was written by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney, who later founded National Lampoon. It was published in 1969 by Signet for the Harvard Lampoon.  In 2013, an audio version was produced by Orion Audiobooks, narrated by Rupert Degas.


The parody generally follows the outline of The Lord of the Rings, including the preface, the prologue, poetry, and songs, while making light of what Tolkien made serious (e.g., "He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It's a pity I've run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel..."). Names and words in the various languages are parodied with brand names that mimic their sounds (for example, Moxie and Pepsi replace Merry and Pippin). There are many topical references, including once-popular brand names. It has the distinction for a parody of having been continuously in print since it was first published.

Aside from the text itself, the book includes five elements that parody common features of mass-market books:

  • A laudatory back cover review, written at Harvard, possibly by the authors themselves.
  • Inside cover reviews which are entirely contrived, concluding with a quote by someone affiliated with the publication Our Loosely Enforced Libel Laws.
  • A list of other books in the "series", none of which exist.
  • A double page map which has almost nothing to do with the events in the text.
  • The first text a browsing reader is liable to see purports to be a salacious sample from the book, but the episode never happens in the main text, nor does anything else of that tone: the book has no explicit sexual content.

The Signet first edition cover, a parody of the 1965 Ballantine paperback cover by Barbara Remington, was drawn by Muppets designer Michael K. Frith.  Current publications have different artwork by Douglas Carrel, since the paperback cover art for Lord of the Rings prevalent in the 60s, then famous, is now obscure.  William S. Donnell drew the "parody map" of Lower Middle Earth.

Afterword by the Blog Author

I saw this parody on the bookshelves when it came out in 1969. I laughed so hard, especially at the map of Lower Middle Earth, that I have been unable to take Tolkien seriously ever since.  I can’t read his books, suspend my disbelief, or otherwise pretend to respect the pretentious folderol of his imaginary dystopia.  And, yes, Folderol itself is one of the shires on the included map of Lower Middle Earth, along with Tudor, Fordor and the Armpit of the Nation.  It’s a laughing stock; Bored of the Rings is therefore a triumph of 1960s literature.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Basics of the Rivet

A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener.  Before being installed, a rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the tail. On installation the rivet is placed in a punched or drilled hole, and the tail is upset, or bucked (i.e., deformed), so that it expands to about 1.5 times the original shaft diameter, holding the rivet in place. In other words, pounding creates a new "head" on the other end by smashing the "tail" material flatter, resulting in a rivet that is roughly a dumbbell shape. To distinguish between the two ends of the rivet, the original head is called the factory head and the deformed end is called the shop head or buck-tail.

Because there is effectively a head on each end of an installed rivet, it can support tension loads (loads parallel to the axis of the shaft); however, it is much more capable of supporting shear loads (loads perpendicular to the axis of the shaft). Bolts and screws are better suited for tension applications.

Fastenings used in traditional wooden boat building, such as copper nails and clinch bolts, work on the same principle as the rivet but were in use long before the term rivet was introduced and, where they are remembered, are usually classified among nails and bolts respectively.

Solid/Round-head Rivets

Solid rivets are used in applications where reliability and safety count. A typical application for solid rivets can be found within the structural parts of aircraft. Hundreds of thousands of solid rivets are used to assemble the frame of a modern aircraft. Such rivets come with rounded (universal) or 100° countersunk heads. Typical materials for aircraft rivets are aluminium alloys (2017, 2024, 2117, 7050, 5056, 55000, V-65), titanium, and nickel-based alloys (e.g., Monel). Some aluminum alloy rivets are too hard to buck and must be softened by solution treating (precipitation hardening) prior to being bucked. "Ice box" aluminum alloy rivets harden with age, and must likewise be annealed and then kept at sub-freezing temperatures (hence the name "ice box") to slow the age-hardening process. Steel rivets can be found in static structures such as bridges, cranes, and building frames.

The setting of these fasteners requires access to both sides of a structure. Solid rivets are driven using a hydraulically, pneumatically, or electromagnetically driven squeezing tool or even a handheld hammer. Applications where only one side is accessible require "blind" rivets.

High-Strength Structural Steel Rivets

Until relatively recently, structural steel connections were either welded or riveted. High-strength bolts have largely replaced structural steel rivets. Indeed, the latest steel construction specifications published by AISC (the 14th Edition) no longer covers their installation. The reason for the change is primarily due to the expense of skilled workers required to install high strength structural steel rivets. Whereas two relatively unskilled workers can install and tighten high strength bolts, it takes a minimum of four highly skilled riveters to install rivets in one joint at a time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chicken Nugget Inventor

Robert C. Baker (December 29, 1921 – March 13, 2006) was an inventor and Cornell University professor who invented the chicken nugget as well as many other poultry related inventions. Due to his contributions to the poultry sciences, he is a member of the American Poultry Hall of Fame.

Career and Innovations

Robert Baker traveled the world innovating how people eat and view chicken. He spent his entire academic life at Cornell University (1957-1989), and published some 290 research papers. In 1970 he founded the university's Institute of Food Science and Marketing. Baker was elected a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists in 1997.

Accredited to him are more than 40 poultry, turkey and cold cut innovations, making him the "George Washington Carver of poultry". In addition to creating the chicken nugget, he is also responsible for a revolutionary way to bind breading to chicken, co-invented the machine responsible for deboning chicken and created the chicken and turkey hot dogs and turkey ham.

McDonald's is often falsely credited with the invention of the chicken nugget. In fact Baker published his chicken nugget recipe in the 1950s as unpatented academic work, while McDonald's patented its recipe for Chicken McNuggets in 1979 and started selling the product in 1980.

Baker's famous recipe for Cornell Chicken was actually innovated while Baker was at Penn State but never gained appreciation until he joined the faculty of Cornell.

The Dreaded Cooties

Cooties is a fictional childhood disease, used in the United States of America and Canada as a rejection term and an infection tag game (such as Humans vs. Zombies). It is similar to the British dreaded lurgi, and to terms used in the Nordic countries, in Italy, and in New Zealand.  A child is said to "catch" cooties through close contact of an "infected" person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the "infected" person is someone who is perceived as different, such as being of the opposite sex, disabled, or shy, or who has peculiar mannerisms.  Usually the phrase is used by boys, as in "now you've got girl cooties". The phrase is most commonly used by children aged 4–10; however, it may be used by children older than 10 in a cruel, sassy, or playful way.


The word is thought to originate from the Austronesian languages, in which the Tagalog, Māori and Malay word kutu refers to a parasitic biting insect.  The earliest recorded uses of the term in English are by British soldiers during the First World War to refer to lice.  A hand-held game, the Cootie Game, was made by the Irvin-Smith Company of Chicago in 1915; it involved tilting capsules (the cooties) into a trap over a background illustration depicting a battlefield.  Other cootie games followed, all involving some form of bug or cootie until The Game of Cootie was launched in 1948 by Schaper Toys.  The game was very successful, becoming an icon; in 2003, the Toy Industry Association included it on its "Century of Toys List" of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.

In addition to the cooties games, the cooties term was popularised in America in the 1950s by military personnel coming back from service alongside the British in the South Pacific.  As with the British dreaded lurgi, the cooties game developed during the early 1950s polio epidemic, and became associated with dirt and contagion.

Cooties game

A child is said to "catch" cooties through any form of bodily contact, proximity, or touching of an "infected" person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the "infected" person is someone who is perceived as "different", such as being of the opposite sex, disabled, shy, or who has peculiar mannerisms.  Usually the phrase is used on girls by boys, as in "now you've got girl cooties". The phrase is most commonly used by children aged 4–10; however, it may be used by children older than 10 in a sarcastic or playful way.

In the United States, children sometimes "immunize" one another from cooties by administering a "cootie injection".  Typically, one child administers the "shot", using an index finger to trace circles and dots on another child's forearm while reciting the rhyme, "Circle, circle, Dot, dot, – Now you've got the cootie shot!" In some variations, a child then says, "Circle, circle, Square, square, – Now you have it everywhere!" In this case, the child receives an immunization throughout his or her body. These variations may continue to a final shot where the child says, "Circle, circle, Knife, knife, – Now you've got it all your life!"  A number of other variations exist.