Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting Quote

"You cannot invade the mainland United States.
There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."
- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Parents, Watch Out for "Alcohol Powder!"

Get ready for the latest twist in the fight against underage drinking: Alcohol you buy as a powder – and just mix with water. According to the website Scientific Blogging.com, the patent for “alcohol powder” has been around since 1969. Back then, food chemists found that a sugar derivative could absorb 60% of its weight in liquid. Meaning the alcohol content of a single cocktail could be stored inside one capsule of powder – about the size of a Tylenol. Until recently, the resulting alcohol powders were considered “unfit” for beverage purposes.

That all changed last year, when a Dutch company introduced a product called Booz-2-Go. It’s a powder you stir into a glass of water to create a bubbly, lime-flavored cocktail. More recently, a German company began offering 4 different flavors of a powder product called SubYou over the Internet. Later this year, a company called Pulver Spirits will introduce the first drinkable alcohol powder here in North America. Now, it’s important to note that the alcohol content in these powders is very small. In fact, it usually ranges between 3% and 5% after it’s mixed with water.

The issue that concerns most parents is who regulates these powders? Here in North America, the powder qualifies as an “alcopop.” That’s a crude term for flavored alcoholic beverages – like wine coolers and malt liquors – which combine a low alcohol content with the sweetness of soda pop. So, in this country, alcohol powders are regulated – and taxed - just like any other alcoholic beverage. A lot of other countries don’t regulate the powder at all – because their drinking laws only apply to liquids. So minors in The Netherlands, for example, are free to buy as much alcohol powder as they want! That kind of easy access could open the door for a new black market, where imported powder could be accessible in North America, or over the internet, to kids under the legal drinking age.

So be aware of what your kids are doing, especially online. Talk to them about drinking – research shows it works! Kids whose parents have “the alcohol talk” with them are less likely to start drinking.

Eat Your Way to Happiness

Want to feel happier? Open the fridge! Or the cupboard. It turns out, certain foods can help boost your mood. So here’s how you can eat your way to happiness, courtesy of Woman’s World.

Have eggs for breakfast. They’re loaded with folic acid, which studies suggest is one of the most mood-elevating nutrients. Pour a little hot sauce on your eggs. The rush you get after the hot pepper comes in contact with your tongue triggers an outpouring of endorphins – which reduce stress and lift your spirits.

Have a tuna sandwich for lunch. According to studies, taking in more of the omega-3 fats in fish cuts your risk of ever experiencing depression in half! Why? According to Harvard researcher Dr. James Hudson, the brain needs these fats to help anxiety-fighting chemicals penetrate cell membranes and do their job keeping us calm.

If you want to feel happier, go ahead and have a little chocolate after dinner. British research reveals that chocolate contains about 300 natural health-boosting compounds – including several agents that make you feel alert and happier. Now, concentrations of these chemicals are highest in DARK chocolate, but if you prefer milk chocolate, don’t worry: The pleasure you get from simply eating the treat means any type of chocolate will probably lift your mood.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Movie Food

If you’re in the mood for something salty and crunchy – the ugliest choice you can make is the large buttered popcorn. It’s 20 servings worth of saturated fat. A better choice, but still bad are the nachos with cheese. A serving size equals 7 chips – not the 25 you get when you order it. The best choice you can make when you’re craving a salty snack is a soft pretzel. It has zero saturated fat and a serving – which is one pretzel – is only 280 calories.

If you’re craving a sugary sweet snack at the movies – the ugliest choice you can make is a box of Whoppers – those malted milk balls. The box holds more than two servings and it’s loaded with calories and fat. A better, but still bad choice is Raisinettes. They’re good because raisins are good source of iron, potassium and fiber – but Raisinettes are still high in fat. The best choice for your sweet craving is Jolly Rancher chews. They’re hard to eat so you won’t just gulp them down – and they’re low in fat. Keep in mind, a serving is six pieces – not the 30 that come in the bag. So get them and share.

So now that you’ve got your snacks – what about the drink? Forgo the Blue Raspberry Icee Slushy. That’s just empty calories and tons of sugar. Skip the soda too and opt for unsweetened iced tea. Low cal – zero fat – and the tea will be filling you with disease fighting anti-oxidants while you’re watching Meryl Streep singing and dancing along the Grecian coast.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Great Quote

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant"
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming soon the spray-on condom for custom-fit sex

Scientists have developed a spray on condom that is tailor made to a man's most treasured asset in seconds.

The sheath, invented by the Condom Consultancy in Germany, is made in a chamber that pumps out liquid latex over the man's penis and then dries in 20 to 25 seconds. It is later rolled off like a normal condom. The aim is to cut the drying time to 10 seconds.

Inventor Jan Vinzenz Krause said it is better than the one-size-fits-all versions on sale in shops.

"We thought why not come up with a condom that fits the man rather than vice versa? This would represent a revolution in the condom market," said Krause.

He has filed for a patent for the latex spraying system he invented. "As far as I know our idea is unique," said Krause.

He admits he will have to overcome some legal hurdles and technical niggles before he can bring the product to market, but he already has a working prototype and says the system can cater for most sizes.

"With our technology we could spray a condom on an erect elephant," he declared, not without a hint of pride.

Men who tested the prototype were split in their reactions.

"Some said it's a great idea and would help them because they can't find conventional condoms that fit them," Mr Krause said.

"Others say they can't imagine it working in practice. There's the romance factor: applying the condom does interfere with the sex act."

The spray-on condom will be more expensive than conventional ones. The chamber will cost around £17 and the liquid latex refills, which produce between 10 and 20 condoms depending on size, will be priced at between £5 to £7.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a Difference BY NAV PUREWAL

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.

If lots of champagne drove the ladies insane, you wouldn't be kissing your sister at New Year's.

If flowers and jewels were power tools, your husband wouldn't keep forgetting your anniversary.

If drinking weren't the way on St. Patty's Day, you probably could have avoided that venereal disease.

If instead of chocolate that bunny gave out lots of money, we wouldn't be spending Easter at the shelter.

If you were handsome and charming, with a wit that's disarming, that girl from the office might have come to your birthday party.

If costumes and candy were vodka and brandy, trick-or-treating at 25 wouldn't seem as pathetic.

If a dreidel and candle were all the fun he could handle, that Jewish kid wouldn't look so sad on Christmas Eve.

Great Henry James Quotes

A man who pretends to understand women is ad manners. For him to really to understand them is bad morals.
Henry James

An Englishman's never so natural as when he's holding his tongue.
Henry James

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
Henry James

Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there.
Henry James

Deep experience is never peaceful.
Henry James

Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.
Henry James

Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.
Henry James

However British you may be, I am more British still.
Henry James

I adore adverbs; they are the only qualifications I really much respect.
Henry James

I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favor of doing it.
Henry James

I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favour of doing it.
Henry James

I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.
Henry James

I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth-I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace.
Henry James

I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them.
Henry James

Ideas are, in truth, force.
Henry James

If I were to live my life over again, I would be an American. I would steep myself in America, I would know no other land.
Henry James

In art economy is always beauty.
Henry James

In museums and palaces we are alternate radicals and conservatives.
Henry James

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance... and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.
Henry James

It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self-conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth are in a conspiracy to under value them.
Henry James

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
Henry James

It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.
Henry James

It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.
Henry James

Life is a predicament which precedes death.
Henry James

Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?
Henry James

Money's a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.
Henry James

One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.
Henry James

People talk about the conscience, but it seems to me one must just bring it up to a certain point and leave it there. You can let your conscience alone if you're nice to the second housemaid.
Henry James

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
Henry James

The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
Henry James

The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
Henry James

The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life.
Henry James

The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy... what was talent but the art of being completely whatever one happened to be?
Henry James

The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.
Henry James

The superiority of one man's opinion over another's is never so great as when the opinion is about a woman.
Henry James

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Henry James

There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.
Henry James

Though there are some disagreeable things in Venice there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors.
Henry James

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
Henry James

To criticize is to appreciate, to appropriate, to take intellectual possession, to establish in fine a relation with the criticized thing and to make it one's own.
Henry James

To kill a human being is, after all, the least injury you can do him.
Henry James

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Henry James

We work n the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
Henry James

What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?
Henry James

Young men of this class never do anything for themselves that they can get other people to do for them, and it is the infatuation, the devotion, the superstition of others that keeps them going. These others in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are women.
Henry James

A ouple Simpsons Quotes

"He was one of those he-man scientists who worked on the atom bomb by day, slept with Marilyn Monroe by night and sold secrets to the Russians by lunch." Professor Frink on his dad

"Muffins are suprisingly high in calories. The pyramids were built by Sears." Father Frink while Eating Brains
"He's right it all checks out!" Lisa

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hindu Wedding Traditions

Haha My Hindu friends (Parvati & Adhip) just tied the knot here in beautiful Bali where I will be on R&R for the next 2 weeks!! :D.

Wedding Traditions

The Indian culture celebrates marriage as a sacrament (Sanskara), a rite enabling two individuals to start their journey in life together. In a Hindu wedding, the multiplicity of creation becomes possible when spirit (Purush) unites with matter (Prakritti). The Hindu wedding lays emphasis on three essential values: happiness, harmony, and growth.

The institution of marriage can be traced back to Vedic times. The ceremony should be held on a day in the "bright half" of the northern course of the sun.
Months before the wedding an engagement ceremony known as Mangni is held. This is to bless the couple, who are then given gifts of jewelry and clothing by their new family.

Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands)
The couple exchanges garlands as a gesture of acceptance of one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners.

Madhupak (Offering of Yogurt and Honey)
The bride's father offers the groom yogurt and honey as the expression of welcome and respect.

Kanyadan (Giving Away of the Bride)
The father of the bride places her hand in the groom's hand requesting him to accept her as an equal partner. The concept behind Kanyadan is that the bride is a form of the goddess Lamxi and the groom is Lord Narayana. The parents are facilitating their union.

Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire)
The couple invokes Agni, the god of Fire, to witness their commitment to each other. Crushed sandalwood, herbs, sugar rice and oil are offered to the ceremonial fire.

Rajaham (Sacrifice to the Sacred Fire)
The bride places both her hands into the groom's and her brother then places rice into her hands. Together the bride and groom offer the rice as a sacrifice into the fire.

Gath Bandhan (Tying of the Nuptial Knot)
The scarves placed around the bride and groom are tied together symbolizing their eternal bond. This signifies their pledge before God to love each other and remain faithful.

Mangalphera (Walk Around the Fire)
The couple makes four Mangalpheras around the fire in a clockwise direction representing four goals in life: Dharma, religious and moral duties; Artha, prosperity; Kama, earthly pleasures; Moksha, spiritual salvation and liberation. The bride leads the Pheras first, signifying her determination to stand first beside her husband in all happiness and sorrow.

Saptapardi (Seven Steps Together)
The bride and groom walk seven steps togehr to signify the beginning of their journey through life together. Each step represents a marital vow:

First step: To respect and honor each other
Second step: To share each other's joy and sorrow
Third step: To trust and be loyal to each other
Fourth step: To cultivate appreciation for knowledge, values, sacrifice and service
Fifth step: To reconfirm their vow of purity, love family duties and spiritual growth
Sixth step: To follow principles of Dharma (righteousness) Seventh step: To nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love

Jalastnchana (Blessing of the Couple)
The parents of the bride and groom bless the wedded couple by dipping a rose in water and sprinking it over the couple.

Sindhoor (Red Powder)
The groom applies a small dot of vermilion, a powdered red lead, to the bride's forehead and welcomes her as his partner for life. It is applied for the first time to a woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it.

Aashirvad (Parental Blessing)
The parents of the bride and groom give their blessings to the couple. The couple touches the feet of their parents as a sign of respect.

Menhdi (Henna Ceremony)
The traditional art of adorning the hands and feet with a paste made from the finely ground leaves of the Henna plant. The term refers to the material, the design, and the ceremony. It is tradition for the names of the bride and groom to be hidden in the design, and the wedding night is not to commence until the groom has found both names. After the wedding, the bride is not expected to perform any housework until her Menhdi has faded away.

Mangalasutra (Thread of Goodwill)
A necklace worn specifically by married women as a symbol of their marriage.

Bengali Wedding Traditions

Adan Pradan
In the presence of a Purohit (priest), the bride and groom, (after approval of each other), their elders (usually parents, grandparents and elder aunts and uncles) sit down together. It is established that the couple are not close blood relatives and have the same status. This occasion is called Adan Pradan. After this takes place the date of the marriage is set according to the Indian calendar. (There are several time periods during which a wedding cannot be held.)

The Aashirwad is a confirmation of the marriage alliance. It takes place a day or two before the actual wedding in the evening. A priest is present. The ceremony takes place at either the groom's or the bride's home. The door of the entrance is decorated with a string of mango leaves which will stay for a period of one year after marriage. The bride is given a sari. The groom is presented with a ring, gold buttons and a watch.

On the day before the wedding, the priest will visit the house of the bride and the groom and offer a prayer to the ancestors. This ceremony is called Vridhi.

Dodhi Mangal
On the day of the wedding, early in the morning, before sunrise, the Dodhi Mangal ceremony is held. Eight to ten married women accompany the couple to a nearby pond. They invite the Goddess Ganga to the wedding and bring back a pitcher of water from the pond to bathe the bride and groom. The bride and groom are offered the only food they will eat that day. This meal is fried fish, curd and flattened rice.

The wedding Ceremony
At the actual wedding ceremony the groom's father and all other relatives are present. The groom's mother does not attend. A paternal or maternal uncle gives away the bride. The bride's father and other relatives attend, but her mother does not. It is believed that if the mothers are not present it will protect the bride and groom from the evil eye.

As the groom arrives he is welcomed by blowing conch shells, ringing bells and ululation. The mistress of the house touches the silver plate to the groom's forehead and then the ground, and up to the groom. This is repeated three times, the groom is offered sweets. Water is then poured on the doorstep of the house as the groom enters.

The priest comes with an idol of God and in the presence of the family and friends the ceremony begins. As a part of the ceremony there is an exchange of the floral garlands and other rituals. While the ceremony is taking place, dinner may be served. After the ceremony is over, games are played and the couple is kept awake that night by songs, poetry and jokes offered by the family and friends.

The Mandap Ceremony
The morning after the ceremony the bridegroom applies vermilion on the bride's forehead. This is a symbol of her marriage status. At the Mandap ceremony, in the presence of the priest, they then worship the Sun God. They seek the blessings of all elders and set out to the groom's house.

The Arrival at the Groom's House,
and The Bou Bhat Ceremony
On arrival at the groom's house, women pour water on the ground under the vehicle which they have traveled and the couple exit the vehicle.

In some houses, the women wash the feet of the bride with milk and flour before offering sweets and sherbet to the couple. In others, the bride steps into the milk and flour and imprints her soles on the the mixture. The bride is then led by the women in the house.

The elders present bless the couple. Ornaments and saris are presented to the bride. She and her groom sit on a wooden plank and the Bou Bhat ceremony begins.

Women blow conch shells, ring bells, and take up wailing. The bride does not eat any food in her in-laws house. That night, the bride wears a new sari. The bedroom is tastefully decorated with flowers. The flowers and clothes come from the bride's house along with the sweets.

The Return to the Bride's House
A few days after the wedding day, the newly wed couple return to the bride's home. The thread which was tied on the bride's wrist by the priest is cut.

Ritual Baths and Attire

A ritual bath of turmeric, oil and water is applied to both the bride and groom's hair by married women. Both parties wear new clothes.
The ritual of wearing conch shell bangles takes place at the bride's house. These bangles are dipped in turmeric water.

Mariam Aziz, one of our readers, tells us that a Pakistani Bride wears red on the day of her wedding because red symbolizes happiness. Another reason why red is worn is because it is bright. No one else wears red that day except the Bride.

Highly exotic, intricate patterns decorating the bride's hands and feet with henna is called mehandi. It is believed that the deeper the color the stronger is her love for her husband.

The bridal dress is a sari and the bride dons all the ornaments. Her hair is usually in a bun and covered with a crown and veil. Sandalwood is artistically applied on her face in the design of the crown.

Covering the head during a wedding is a mark of respect to the deities worshipped and the elders present. The ghunghat, which is equivalent to the veil of the Christian bride, is worn by the bride.

It may vary in length, covering not only the head but the shoulders, back and almost down to the waistline. The draping may be done is several ways. The chunri, worn with a ghaghra choli, is tucked in at the waist on one end, pleated beautifully around the body and draped delicately over one shoulder.

An odhnis is usually made of silk with a tie dye pattern. The center of the veil is used as a head covering the ends taken carefully under the arms and tucked inside the neck of the abho or chorio (the upper garment).

The groom will wear a Dhoti, which is an unstitched garment, and a shirt. On arrival at the brides house he will change into another similar outfit. He will cover himself with a sheet and wear the topor (paper mache headdress).

The groom may wear a white silk brocade suit, sword and turban as his wedding outfit.

The groom may sport a safa with its flowing tail-end. Others may wear a nattily wound pagdi, or a topi. White flowers can be tied in suspended strings over the forehead, called sehra.

In northern, central and western India, a golden kalgi studded with precious stones is tied over the right side of the groom's safa. In the center of the forehead sandalwood is applied and further decorated with gold, red and white dots. This decoration may also be done over the eyebrows.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Couple Random Factoids

The snow in snowglobes used to be gold foil.
The Chicago Cubs won the 1908 World Series.
Sweden has a population of about 9 million people.
Saskatchewan is the seventh largest province at over 600,000 kilometers.

Random Factoid

In England black cats are considered good luck.

Kenojuak Ashevak

(1927- )
Sculptor, Draughtswoman

Companion of the Order of Canada, recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation's award for lifetime achievement, member of the Royal Academy of Arts and recent inductee into Canada's Walk of Fame: Kenojuak Ashevak is probably contemporary Inuit art's most famous personality. Born in an igloo in 1927, she is an artist who has lived in two very different worlds -- the traditional Inuit culture, and, increasingly, the twentieth-century western culture.

Kenojuak grew up travelling between hunting camps on Baffin Island and in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec. To be able to survive on the land, the Inuit had no choice but to master many skills: making their own weapons and clothing, building "qarmaqs" (sod houses) and igloos, hunting, fishing, trapping and adding ornamentation to functional everyday objects. From a young age, Kenojuak was required, under the guidance of her grandmother, to learn such skills as designing and creating handicrafts, sewing waterproof seams with caribou sinews and making repairs on skins being prepared for the Hudson's Bay Company. These manual skills proved to be transferable to her later career as an artist. Kenojuak's life was put on hold in her early twenties however, when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to recover, for three years, in a Québec City hospital.

In the late 1950s, Kenojuak and her husband, Johnniebo, met James Houston, who was then serving as a federal administrator. Houston was encouraging Inuit of the Cape Dorset area to make soapstone carvings and, later, prints and drawings, to be sold in the cities of southern Canada and abroad. Since their camp was not far away, Johnniebo and Kenojuak went into Cape Dorset regularly to obtain everyday supplies. They began to develop an interest, and take part, in the projects organized by Houston and his wife, Alma.

During this period, Kenojuak experimented with a great variety of different materials and techniques. She carved stone sculptures and made kamiks (boots), sealskin wall hangings and bags with cut-out ornamental details and beadwork. She has continued to work with all of these materials throughout her career. Kenojuak received high praise for her work, and she and Johnniebo welcomed the second source of revenue as insurance against failed hunts.

The Houstons commissioned Kenojuak to create sealskin appliqué designs, which became the basis for her artistic style. The designs' simple forms and bold outlines were particularly suited for the prints being created by the newly formed West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, which included a busy printmaking shop. The Houstons also encouraged Kenojuak to try her hand at drawing with two foreign media -- pencil and paper. She commented about her introduction to paper in the National Film Board's 1962 film, Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak saying "a piece of paper from the outside world is as thin as the shell of a snowbird's egg."

In her first tentative drawings, Kenojuak usually portrayed subjects that were well known from her sealskin appliqués and essentially bound to tradition -- people, faces, qarmaqs and igloos, sled dogs and sleds, fish and birds. As with her previous works of art, Kenojuak's drawings proceeded directly from design to finished product. She simply put her pencil to paper and did not lift the pencil until she had completed the essential form of her image. Preliminary sketches were rarely made.

Kenojuak's drawings were among the first by an Inuk woman to be transferred to a template for printing. Interestingly, while Kenojuak is perhaps best known worldwide for her prints, she does not make them herself. Instead, the prints are made by stone cutters and printers on the basis of her drawings. Kenojuak has never been involved in the actual printing process.

Over the past forty years, Kenojuak has continued to pursue works of art that, above all else, satisfy her own aesthetic ideals. She says that her drawings, prints and sculptures are explorations of design and form and colour, rather than illustrations of events or stories. Over time she has developed some favourite subjects -- especially birds, fish and human faces -- and most of her work from the 1990s to the present includes these forms. Usually, the subject matter of her images is static; a solitary icon without any kind of background or context. She is also known for creating flowing webs of interconnected images and intricately constructed patterns of texture and colour. But there is no need to look for a deeper meaning in the interconnectedness of the images, because the overall effect of the whole image is all that concerns her.

Although she has travelled widely for exhibitions and is internationally renowned, Kenojuak insists that she puts no more importance on her art, than any other aspect of her life. She now lives in a solid house, rather than a qarmaq, but her memories of living a traditional Inuit life are strong and she still gets out fishing regularly. She has many grandchildren, with whom she spends a good deal of her time. When she does draw, her intense and powerful images continue to keep the rest of the world enchanted with the beauty of the Canadian North and its people.

Kenojuak Ashevak is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and the recipient of two honorary doctorates and also a 2008 winner of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


March—Aquamarine or bloodstone
June—Moonstone, pearl, or alexandrite
August—Peridot or sardonyx
October—Opal or tourmaline
November—Topaz or citrine
December—Turquoise or zircon


Electrolyte is a "medical/scientific" term for salts, specifically ions. The term electrolyte means that this ion is electrically-charged and moves to either a negative (cathode) or positive (anode) electrode:
ions that move to the cathode (cations) are positively charged
ions that move to the anode (anions) are negatively charged

For example, your body fluids -- blood, plasma, interstitial fluid (fluid between cells) -- are like seawater and have a high concentration of sodium chloride (table salt, or NaCl).

The electrolytes in sodium chloride are:

sodium ion (Na+) - cation
chloride ion (Cl-) - anion

As for your body, the major electrolytes are as follows:
sodium (Na+)
potassium (K+)
chloride (Cl-)
calcium (Ca2+)
magnesium (Mg2+)
bicarbonate (HCO3-)
phosphate (PO42-)
sulfate (SO42-)

Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Your kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant despite changes in your body. For example, when you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. So, many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better.

Another example where electrolyte drinks are important is when infants/children have chronic vomiting or diarrhea, perhaps due to intestinal flu viruses. When children vomit or have diarrhea, they lose electrolytes. Again, these electrolytes and the fluids must be replaced to prevent dehydration and seizures. Therefore, drinks such as Pedialyte have sodium and potassium in them like the sports drinks do. However, pediatricians do not recommend giving sports drinks to a sick child! Sports drinks have much higher sugar concentrations than Pedialyte and the high sugar is not a proper treatment.

Celery and Parsley

Celery (Apium graveolens) is believed to be the same plant as selinon, mentioned in Homer's Odyssey about 850 B.C. Our word "celery" comes from the French celeri, which is derived from the ancient Greek word. The old Roman names, as well as those in many modern languages, are derived from the same root word and sound remarkably similar. This indicates a rather recent wide distribution and use of celery.

Smallage, a plant now cultivated in gardens for flavoring purposes, is apparently "wild" celery, the plant that has been known as celery in the Mediterranean countries for thousands of years. Wild celery grows in wet places over Europe, the Mediterranean lands, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and southeastward toward the Himalayas. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area. Chinese writings of the 5th century after Christ mention it.

The oldest record of the word celeri is in a 9th-century poem written in France or Italy, giving the medicinal uses and merits of the plant. When its culture in gardens was begun in the 16th century in Italy and northern Europe, it was still a primitive plant, like smallage, and was used for medicinal purposes only.

In France in 1623 use of celery as food was first recorded. For about a hundred years thereafter its food use was confined to flavorings. In France and Italy, by the middle of the 17th century, the little stalks and leaves were sometimes eaten with an oil dressing.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, in Italy, France, and England, were seen the first evidences of improvement of the wild type. Gardeners also found that much of the too-strong flavor could be eliminated, making the stalks better for salad use, by growing the plants in late summer and fall, then keeping them into the winter.

By the mid-18th century in Sweden, the wealthier families were enjoying the wintertime luxury of celery that had been stored in cellars. From that time on, its use as we know it today spread rapidly. We do not know what group of European colonists brought it to America, or when, but four cultivated varieties were listed here in 1806.

All through the 19th century in America, England, and much of Europe, it was believed necessary to blanch the green edible portion of celery to rid it of unpleasantly strong flavor and green color. This was done by banking the plants with soil. Some kinds, like Pascal and Utah, that remain green when ready for eating, are now considered to be of the finest quality.

Many so-called "easy-blanching" or "self-blanching" varieties have appeared in the past 50 years. Generally, these self-blanching sorts are inferior in quality to the best green varieties, but can be grown successfully under less favorable conditions of soil and climate.

Celeriac, or turnip-rooted celery, is a kind that forms a greatly enlarged, solid, more or less globular body just below the soil surface. It is not used raw, but is especially suited for use in soups and stews.

Celeriac was developed from the same wild species as were our present improved varieties of celery, and at about the same time. About 1600, Italian and Swiss botanists gave the first descriptions of it. A hundred years later it was becoming common in Europe, but was hardly known in England. It has never become highly popular in England or the United States, but is a common vegetable all over Europe.

Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) belongs to the same family as celery, and its Latin name reveals a relationship to the very old Greek selinon mentioned above. In the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. the Greek word definitely meant "parsley." The Latin Petroselinum means "rock parsley," referring to its habit of growing in rocky places. The plant is native to the same area as celery.

In contrast to celery, parsley has a long and definite ancient history as a food plant. It was well known as a flavoring and garnish by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who even used it in festive garlands. Eating it was supposed to ward off intoxication!

Both the crowded, dense-leaved type and the broad open-growing type were described by Theophrastus in the 4th century 13 B.C. The curled and plain types were common to the Romans in the 1st century or before and in northern Europe in the 13th century.

Parsley supposedly was introduced into England from Sardinia in 1548. European colonists brought it to America in the 17th century.

Parsley, like celery, produces a "turnip-rooted" form, commonly called Hamburg parsley, which is used in the same way as celeriac.

Random Bits and Pieces of History

Celtic warriors sometimes fought their battles naked, their bodies dyed blue from head to toe. The Canadian province of New Brunswick had a bloodless war with the US state of Maine in 1839. About two hundred years before the Common Era, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate that winter was approaching. Abdul Kassam Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, carried his library with him wherever he went. Four hundred camels carried the 117,000 volumes. Before 1883, the three-cent U.S. stamp was also used for advertising. The advertisment was located on the back of the stamp for various products. China is the world's oldest known continuous civilization. Arabic numerals were not invented by Arabs, but were invented in India by the Hindus. During the 16th century, newly married couples in France had to stand naked outdoors while the groom kissed the bride's left foot and big toe as part of traditional customs. Ever since 1944 the town of Bunol, which is near Valencia, Spain has a festival called "Tomatina." The festival occurs once a year on the last Wednesday of the month of August. People have a huge food fight and throw tomatoes at each other, and this festival is considered the world's largest food fight. From 1526 to 1707, the first six Mogul emperors of India ruled in unbroken succession from father to son. In 1943, Navy officer Grace Hopper found a glitch in her computer. After investigating, she discovered the system had a bug - a real one. Turns out a moth made its way into Hopper's computer. Though the word bug has meant fault or defect since as far back as the 1870's, Hopper's story is credited with making it the synonym of choice in the computer industry.

Random Facts

Franklin Pierce was the first U.S. President to have a Christmas tree in the White House. 7 out of 10 people believe in life after death. The largest diamond that was ever found was 3106 carats. A Chinese Scientist discovered that the Earth is round during the Han Dynasty by measuring the sun and moon's path in the sky. He recorded this fact down in the imperial records but went unnoticed until it was unearthed recently but Chinese archaeologists. A cesium atom in an atomic clock that beats over nine billion times a second. African Baobab tree's circumference can reach 180 feet. If the trunk is hollow, 20 people would be able to fit inside of it. Australia has had stamps that actually look like gems. In 1995 and 1996 they used a special technology to make the stamps look like diamonds and opals. Bamboo plants can grow up to 36 inches in a day. Cubic Zirconia is 55% heavier than real diamonds. Research indicates that plants grow healthier when they are stroked. Roses generally need around 6 hours of sunlight to grow properly. The United States Mint once considered producing donut-shaped coins. Thomas Watson, who was the chairman of IBM in 1943 predicted that their would probably only be a world market for five computers.

California Vegetable Wraps

1/4 cup cream cheese
1 ripe avocado, smashed into a lumpy paste
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup spinach leaves
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas

1. Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese on each tortilla. Divide the avocado among the 4 tortillas and spread on top of the cream cheese. Add 1/4 cup grated carrots on each and end with 1/4 cup spinach leaves. Roll the tortilla up like a jelly-roll and cut in half crosswise.

Fresh Raspberries & Peanut Butter Sandwich

1/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons Raspberry jam, 100% pure fruit
1/2 teaspoon Maple syrup, 100% pure
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 cup Raspberries, fresh

Mix together peanut butter, syrup, vanilla and raspberry jam until well blended.
Spread nut butter mixture on both top and bottom pieces of bread.
Press fresh raspberries into spread.
Press sandwich gently together (this will keep berries from falling out).

Bowtie Salad with Tuna & Veggies

Pinch pepper
Pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- or 2-inch lengths
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (about 12 tomatoes)
2 cans (3.5 ounces each) tuna packed in water, drained
12 ounces stubby shaped pasta, such as rotelle, elbows, small egg bows, or penne
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

This recipe calls for green beans and cherry tomatoes, but you can add any vegetables your family likes to eat. Some other suggestions: cut-up broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, sweet red pepper.

Large saucepan
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Large bowl
Colander or strainer
Can opener
Large spoon

1. In a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until tender, about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the type and shape of pasta you use. Add the green beans for the last 4 minutes of cooking time.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk in the mayonnaise and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Drain the pasta and green beans and add to the bowl with the lemon dressing. Toss until just coated. Add the tomatoes and the tuna. Toss gently, just to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Worms

The worms go in, the worms go out
The worms play pinochle on your snout
The pus comes out like whipping cream
And me without a spoon!

Two Quotes About School Lunch

"Junk food can't be an option. If it is, kids will steer clear of healthy foods."
-Dr. Sandra hassine, A.I. Dupont Hospitol for Children, Wilmington, Delaware

"There are very few green fats or carbs. The more colourful a lunch is, the healthier it is likey to be."
-Dr. Jeffrey LaMont of The Marshfield Clinic, Weston, Wisconsin

The History of Pizza

Pizza has ancient origins, in fact it dates back to 3000 years ago.
Some historians say that this food was already present in Etruscan cooking although obviously in a very different form and with very different ingredients from today. Pizza started out however as a dish which only required very simple ingredients that were easy to locate: flour, oil, salt and yeast.
There are many references to this food which in the course of the centuries increasingly resembled its current form. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, wavering between aristocratic taste and popular consumption, at royal banquets and at the poor man's meal the word 'pizza' was already present and in the following centuries many local variations of this term can be found to indicate culinary variations on the theme, from sweet to savoury and with different methods of cooking.
Real pizza (as we know it today) was invented around 1600 by the undeniable culinary genius of the south, from the need to make the traditional oily bread more appetising and flavoursome. Initially it was made from bread dough cooked in a wood oven and flavoured with oil, garlic, lard and coarse salt or in the 'richer' version, with caciocavallo cheese and basil.
Mention is made of the more recent pizza, with a soft, tasty dough, between 1500 and 1600: the so-called pizza 'alla mastunicola', in other words pizza with basil.
It was prepared by putting lard, cheese, basil leaves and pepper on a circle of dough.
Later the 'cecinielli' version was developed, that is with the small fish which the fisherman had over. The arrival of the modern pizza came with the introduction of the tomato!!! Imported from Peru, after the discovery of America, the tomato was first used in cooking as a sauce cooked with salt and basil and only later did someone get the idea of putting it on the pizza. Thus inventing, without knowing it, THE pizza'.
That was how the era of the modern pizza began! First in Naples and later in America too.
In fact in the nineteenth century the pizza arrived in the United States thanks to the Italians who emigrated to New York.
In the same period (June 1889) in Naples the historic marriage with mozzarella took place. A Neapolitan pizza chef, Raffaele Esposito, known as Pietro o' pizzaiolo and his wife, prepared the famous pizza with tomato and mozzarella in honour of Queen Margherita, the wife of Umberto I, the King of Italy.
The pizza chef was invited to go to the Palace in Capodimonte to prepare some pizzas at the Queen's request, and so he made three pizzas: one with basil, one with seafood and a pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil to represent the Italian flag.
The Queen was most appreciative of this last and the pizza chef gallantly and out of recognition decided to dedicate it to her so that from that day this type of pizza has the name of the sovereign: 'Margherita'. From that moment the diffusion of the Pizza spread throughout the world, becoming an emblem of the Italian Culinary Tradition, and without exaggerating, the heritage of the entire human race.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just 'Go For It'

A guy calls a company and orders their 5-day, 10 lb. weight loss program.

The next day, there's a knock on the door and there stands before him a voluptuous, athletic, 19 year old babe dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck.

She introduces herself as a representative of the weight loss company. The sign reads, 'If you can catch me, you can have me.'

Without a second thought, he takes off after her. A few miles later puffing and puffing, he finally catches her and has his way with her. The same girl shows up for the next four days and the same thing happens. On the fifth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 10 lbs. as promised.

He calls the company and orders their 5-day/20 pound program. The next day there's a knock at the door and there stands the most stunning, beautiful, sexy woman he has ever seen in his life. She is wearing nothing but Reebok running shoes and a sign around her neck that reads, 'If you catch me you can have me'.

Well, he's out the door after her like a shot. This girl is in excellent
shape and it takes him a while to catch her but when he does its worth every muscle cramp and wheeze, so for the next four days the same routine happens.

Much to his delight on the fifth day when he weighs himself, he discovers that he has lost another 20 lbs. as promised. He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order the 7-day/50 pound program.

'Are you sure?' asks the representative on the phone. 'This is our most rigorous program.' 'Absolutely,' he replies, 'I haven't felt this good in years.'

The next day there's a knock at the door; and when he opens it he finds a huge, muscular 7ft black man standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads, 'I'm Francis. If I catch you, your ass is mine.'

P. T. Barnum Never Did Say "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute"

P. T. Barnum is most often associated with the circus sideshow and the display of freaks. While this is true, he is also the founding force behind one of America's most famous circuses: Barnum & Bailey Circus. Barnum is also affiliated with the famous quote "There's a sucker born every minute." History, unfortunately, has misdirected this quotation. Barnum never did say it. Actually, it was said by his competitor. Here's the incredible story.

From 1866 until 1868 Mr. George Hull, of Binghamton, New York studied archeology and paleontology. Over this period of time Hull contemplated how to pull off a hoax. It seems that many an evangelist at the time had been preaching that there were giants in the earth. In June of 1868 Hull traveled back to Fort Dodge, Iowa where there was a gypsum quarry he had recalled seeing two years earlier. Even then, he had noticed that the dark blue streaks running through the soft lime rock resembled human veins. Realizing this its appearance was tailor-made for his hoax and it was easy to carve, Hull hired a group of quarry workers to cut off a slab measuring twelve feet long, four feet wide and two feet thick.

In November, Hull had his gypsum wrapped in canvas and hoisted onto a wagon. Since the nearest railroad was forty miles away, it proved to be a long, difficult job. He then had the slab of gypsum shipped by rail to Chicago where he had hired a stone cutter named Edward Burghardt to carve a giant. Burghardt and his two assistants, were sworn to secrecy and agreed to work on the piece in a secluded barn during their off hours and Sundays. The instructions were to carve the giant as if it had died in great pain, and the final result was an eerie figure, slightly twisted in apparent agony, with his right hand clutching his stomach. All of the details were there; toenails, fingernails, nostrils, sex organs and so forth. Even a needlepoint mallet was used to add authentic-looking skin pores. When the carving was done, sulfuric acid and ink were used to make the figure look aged.

The giant finished, Hull then had the figure shipped by rail to the farm of William Newell, his cousin, located near the town of Cardiff, New York. In the dead of night, Hull, Newell and his oldest son buried the giant between the barn and house. They were instructed to say nothing about it and that Hull would let them know in about a year of what the next stage was.

Luckily, about six months later, on another farm near the Newell's, some million year-old fossil bones were dug up. Newspapers around the country reported the finding. Hull was filled with glee in reading the accounts.

True to his word, one year after burying the giant, Hull sent word to his cousin on October 15, 1869, to start the next stage of the hoax. Newell hired two laborers to dig a new well near his home. Newell directed them to the exact spot he wanted the well dug and went back into the house to wait -- anxiously. Sure enough, well into the day, the two laborers rushed up to the house to announce their discovery: a giant turned to stone! The laborers and both Newells carefully excavated the area surrounding the giant.

News of this amazing discovery spread throughout the valley and soon wagon loads of neighbors streamed into Newell's farm to see the giant. By mid-afternoon, Newell erected a tent around the "grave" and started charging 25 cent admission. Two days later, the Syracuse Journal (New York) printed an article about the discovery. Being greedy, Newell raised the price to 50 cents, and a stage coach company made four round trips a day from Syracuse to the Newell farm. Thousands came every day. Among the visitors were clergymen, college professors and distinguished scientists. Before long, the expert's opinions split into two theories; one side claimed it was a true fossilized human giant and the other side pronounced it an authentic ancient statue. No one asserted that it was a fake!

About ten days after the discovery, and about the time the Cardiff Giant, as the papers had named it, started receiving national attention, Hull sold two-thirds interest in the giant for $30,000 to a five-man syndicate in Syracuse, the head of which was a banker named David Hannum. The syndicate moved the giant to an exhibition hall in Syracuse and raised the admission price to a dollar a head. Unknown to them, P. T. Barnum sent an agent to see the giant and make an assessment. The particular Sunday the representative saw the giant, the crowds were abnormally large -- about 3,000 people. The agent wired the news back to Barnum and Barnum instructed him to make an offer of $50,000 to buy it. Hannum turned his offer down.

The Cardiff Giant was the most talked about exhibit in the nation. Barnum wanted the giant to display himself while the attraction was still a hot topic of the day. Rather than upping his offer, Barnum hired a crew of workers to carve a giant of his own. Within a short time, Barnum unveiled HIS giant and proclaimed that Hannum had sold Barnum the original giant and that Hannum was now displaying a fake! Thousands of people flocked to see Barnum's giant. Many newspapers carried the version that Barnum had given them; that is, Hannum's giant was a fake and Barnum's was authentic. It is at this point that Hannum -- NOT BARNUM -- was quoted as saying "There's a sucker born every minute." Hannum, still under the impression that HIS giant was authentic, was referring to the thousands of "fools" that paid money to see Barnum's fake and not his authentic one.

Hannum brought a lawsuit against Barnum for calling his giant a fake. When it came to trial, Hull stepped forward and confessed that the Cardiff Giant was a hoax and the entire story. The judge ruled that Barnum could not be sued for calling Hannum's giant a fake since it was a fake after all. Thereafter, Hannum's name was lost to history while Barnum was left with the misplaced stigma of being the one to say "There's a sucker born every minute."

Top 10 US States by Length of Coastline

Alaska (has the most ocean coastline of any other state)
Michigan (has the most lake coast area than any other state)
California (second only to Alaska in ocean boundary size)
Florida (combination of ocean, lakes, and marshlands put this one on the top five)
Hawaii (being completely composed of islands and 1,500 miles of atolls, reefs, and barrier islands put it on this list)

Maine, Texas, North Carolina, Oregon, and Minnesota finishes the top ten.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nice Website

Vegetarian and Vegan Information

To Put a Few Things in Perspective

How can parts of Canada be "missing" gravity?

For more than 40 years, scientists have tried to figure out what's causing large parts of Canada, particularly the Hudson Bay region, to be "missing" gravity. In other words, gravity in the Hudson Bay area and surrounding regions is lower than it is in other parts of the world, a phenomenon first identified in the 1960s when the Earth's global gravity fields were being charted.
Two theories have been proposed to account for this anomaly. But before we go over them, it's important to first consider what creates gravity. At a basic level, gravity is proportional to mass. So when the mass of an area is somehow made smaller, gravity is made smaller. Gravity can vary on different parts of the Earth. Although we usually think of it as a ball, the Earth actually bulges at the Equator and gets flatter at the poles due to its rotation. The Earth's mass is not spread out proportionally, and it can shift position over time. So scientists proposed two theories to explain how the mass of the Hudson Bay area had decreased and contributed to the area's lower gravity.

One theory centers on a process known as convection occurring in the Earth's mantle. The mantle is a layer of molten rock called magma and exists between 60 and 124 miles (100 to 200 km) below the surface of the Earth . Magma is extremely hot and constantly whirling and shifting, rising and falling, to create convection currents. Convection drags the Earth's continental plates down, which decreases the mass in that area and decreases the gravity.

A new theory to account for the Hudson Bay area's missing gravity concerns the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered much of present-day Canada and the northern United States. This ice sheet was almost 2 miles (3.2 km) thick in most sections, and in two areas of Hudson Bay, it was 2.3 miles (3.7 km) thick. It was also very heavy and weighed down the Earth. Over a period of 10,000 years, the Laurentide Ice Sheet melted, finally disappearing 10,000 years ago. It left a deep indentation in the Earth.

To get a better idea of what happened, think about what happens when you lightly press your finger into the surface of a cake or a piece of really springy bread. Some of it moves to the sides and there's an indentation. But when you remove your finger, it bounces back to normal. A similar thing happened with the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the theory proposes -- except the Earth isn't so much "bouncing" back as it is rebounding very slowly (less than half an inch per year). In the meantime, the area around Hudson Bay has less mass because some of the Earth has been pushed to the sides by the ice sheet. Less mass means less gravity.

So which theory is correct? It turns out that both of them are. Convection and the ice sheet's rebound effect are both causing some of the decrease in gravity around Hudson Bay. First, we'll consider the ice sheet theory.

To calculate the impact of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics used data gathered by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites between April 2002 and April 2006. The GRACE satellites are highly sophisticated machines, orbiting about 310 miles (500 km) above the Earth and 137 miles (220 km) apart. The satellites can measure distances down to a micron, so they can detect minor gravitational variations. When the lead satellite flies over the Hudson Bay area, the decrease in gravity causes the satellite to move slightly away from the Earth and from its sister satellite. This shift in distance is detected by the satellites and used to calculate the change in gravity. Any shifts detected can also be used to create maps of gravitational fields.

The GRACE data allowed scientists to create topographical maps approximating what Hudson Bay looked like during the last ice age, when it was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. These maps revealed some interesting features about the area, including two bulging areas on the western and eastern sides of Hudson Bay where the ice was much thicker than the rest of the sheet. Gravity is now lower there than in other parts of the gravity-depleted bay.

Another important finding came from the GRACE data: It turns out that the ice sheet theory only accounts for 25 percent to 45 percent of the gravitational variation around Hudson Bay and the surrounding area. Subtracting the "rebound effect" from the area's gravitational signal, scientists have determined that the remaining 55 percent to 75 percent of gravitational variation is likely due to convection.

The Hudson Bay area is going to have less gravity for a long time. It's estimated that the Earth has to rebound more than 650 feet to get back to its original position, which should take about 5,000 years. But the rebound effect is still visible. Although sea levels are rising around the world, the sea level along Hudson Bay's coast is dropping as the land continues to recover from the weight of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

While the mystery surrounding Canada's gravitational anomalies has been put to rest, the study has wider implications. Scientists involved in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center study were amazed that they were able to see how the Earth looked 20,000 years ago. And by isolating the influence of the ice sheet's rebound effect, researchers better understand how convection affects gravity and how continents change over time. Finally, the GRACE satellites have provided scientists with data on many ice sheets and glaciers. By examining climate change that took place thousands of years ago, scientists may gain a better understanding of how global warming and rising sea levels are affecting our planet today and what impact they will have on our future.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Great Atheist Quotes

The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. - George Bernard Shaw
Faith means not wanting to know what is true. - Friedrich Nietzsche
I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. - Frank Lloyd Wright
We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. - Gene Roddenberry
To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. - Isaac Asimov
A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. - Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca the Younger
Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. - Anonymous
Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends. - Woody Allen
If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. - Isaac Asimov
Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination. - Edward Abbey
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg
I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence. - Doug McLeod
The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. - Abu’l‐Ala al Ma’arri
Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going? - Anonymous
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. - Delos B. McKown
Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer. - Anonymous
Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. - Francis Bacon
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. - Richard Dawkins
A God who kept tinkering with the universe was absurd; a God who interfered with human freedom and creativity was tyrant. If God is seen as a self in a world of his own, an ego that relates to a thought, a cause separate from its effect. he becomes a being, not Being itself. An omnipotent, all‐knowing tyrant is not so different from earthly dictators who make everything and everybody mere cogs in the machine which they controlled. An atheism that rejects such a God is amply justified. - Karen Armstrong
It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image. - Ludwig Feuerbach
People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there’s priests of both sexes I don’t listen to. - Bill Hicks
All the biblical miracles will at last disappear with the progress of science. - Matthew Arnold
Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. - Anonymous
Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. - Richard Dawkins
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. - Christopher Hitchens
In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. - Friedrich Nietzsche
It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible. - George W. Foote
On the first day, man created God. - Anonymous
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts
You do not need the Bible to justify love, but no better tool has been invented to justify hate. - Richard A. Weatherwax
What’s “God”? Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you. - Steve Buscemi (From the movie “The Island”)
As far as I can tell from studying the scriptures, all you do in heaven is pretty much just sit around all day and praise the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I think that after the first, oh, I don’t know, 50,000,000 years of that I’d start to get a little bored. - Rick Reynolds
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. - Anonymous
Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. - Don Hirschberg
God should be executed for crimes against humanity. - Bryan Emmanuel Gutierrez
To say that atheism requires faith is as dim-witted as saying that disbelief in pixies or leprechauns takes faith. Even if Einstein himself told me there was an elf on my shoulder, I would still ask for proof and I wouldn’t be wrong to ask. - Geoff Mather
I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. - Mark Twain
Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. - Voltaire
And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. - Bertrand Russell
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? - Epicurus
I’m a polyatheist - there are many gods I don’t believe in. - Dan Fouts
If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. - Woody Allen
A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a God superior to themselves. Most Gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. - Robert A Heinlein
I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing. - Douglas Adams
It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. - Mark Twain
He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave. - William Drummond
Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family. - Steven Colbert
Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s? - Friedrich Nietzsche
Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people. - Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney
Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea. - Anonymous
When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. - Sigmund Freud
They felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief and it’s a good thing. - Steven Weinberg
Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains. - Robert G. Ingersoll
History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god. - Giulian Buzila
Atheism is a non-prophet organization. - George Carlin
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
A believer states everything must have a creator but fail to say how he was created. - Anonymous
“There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes. - James Morrow
People will then often say, ‘But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?’ This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.) - Douglas Adams
Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. - Isaac Asimov
If all the Christians who have called other Christians “not really a Christian” were to vanish, there’d be no Christians left. - Anonymous
An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support. - John Buchan
Gods dont kill people. People with Gods kill people. - David Viaene
If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted upon men, He would kill Himself. - Alexandre Dumas
Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. - Sam Harris
I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose - Clarence Darrow
No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism. - Annie Wood Besant
I refuse to believe in a god who is the primary cause of conflict in the world, preaches racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance, and then sends me to hell if I’m ‘bad’. - Mike Fuhrman
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. - Frater Ravus
Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have. - Penn Jillette
Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power but absolute power is corrupt only in the hands of the absolutely faithful. - Anonymous
Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. - Chapman Cohen
The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it. - Robert G. Ingersoll
When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. - Robert Pirsig
I wonder who got the shit job of scouring the planet for the 15000 species of butterfly or the 8800 species of ant they eventually took on board Noah’s Ark. But at least we got that magical rainbow for all their trouble. - Azura Skye
I have no need for religion, I have a conscience. - Anonymous
Man has always required an explanation for all of those things in the world he did not understand. If an explanation was not available, he created one. - Jim Crawford
I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins
What has been Christianity’s fruits? Superstition, Bigotry and Persecution. - James Madison
The characters and events depicted in the damn bible are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. - Penn and Teller
If god is the alpha and the omega. The begining and the end, knows what has passed and what is to come, like it states in the bible, why do people pray and think it will make any difference. - Mark Fairclough
The finality of death is the coldest truth one must face. Religion makes the perfect distraction. - Anonymous
Religion is the opiate of the masses. - Karl Marx
If God created the world, then who created god? and who created whoever created god? So somewhere along the line something had to just be there. So why can’t we just skip the idea of god and go straight to earth? - Ryan Hanson
If we expect God to subscribe to one religion at the exclusion of all the others, then we should expect damnation as a matter of chance. This should give Christians pause when expounding their religious beliefs, but it does not. - Sam Harris
Atheists will celebrate life, while you’re in church celebrating death. - Anonymous
Animals do not have gods, they are smarter than that. - Ronnie Snow
I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever. - Daniel Boorstin
I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake… Religion is all bunk. - Thomas Edison
Fundamentalism, of any type, due to its prerequisite lack of intelligent thought, could prove to be the worst weapon of mass destruction, of all. - David J. Constable
To really be free, You need to be free in the mind. - Alexander Loutsis
Most religions prophecy the end of the world and then consistently work together to ensure that these prophecies come true. - Anonymous
Jesus hardly made the greatest sacrifice. He knew he would be resurrected anyway. - Anonymous
Religion is like a virus that affects the behaviour of its host in such a way as to propagate itself further. - Jack Pritchard
Religions are like pills, which must be swallowed whole without chewing. - Anonymous
Today’s religion will be the future’s mythology. Both believed at one time by many; but proved wrong by the clever. - Steven Crocker
The Bible - A Fairytale book of rules brainwashing millions. Obliviously used to help create war, kill, hate, judge and discriminate. - Anonymous
Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? - Douglas Adams

Coconut Banana Macadamia Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk (non-fat is fine)
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup mashed banana (about 1/2 large banana)
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In a medium bowl, beat together milk, egg, melted butter and almond extract. Stir in coconut and banana, then pour into flour mixture. Add the macadamia nuts and stir until almost smooth.
Heat a lightly greased griddle (or frying pan), over medium-high heat until a drop of water will dance around when dropped on the surface. Drop batter by heaping spoonfulls and cook about 2-3 minutes, until browned, before flipping to brown the other side. Continue until all pancakes are made and serve hot.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Old Ipana Commercial with Bucky Beaver

The Witch's Boat

This is a traditional Slavonian Gypsy tale that tells of a gypsy girl who was extremely inquisitive about the world around her. One day she came up with an idea to eat an egg and to leave the shell on the riverbank to see what would happen.
She sat and waited until dark by the riverbank. At nightfall her curiosity was answered. A witch came and whispered a magic word, and magically the shell of the egg turned into a beautiful boat. the witch got into the boat and took the witch down river and across the ocean to a foreign land. The girl wondered at what she saw and decided she would do the same. Remembering the magic word and went away. The next time the girl ate another egg she went down to the riverbank and whispered the magic word. Just as before a magic boat appeared. In she climbed and sailed off down the river and across the ocean to strange new lands.

Time passed but soon the girl returned with many exotic flowers and strange new fruits from travels which she sold to her neighbours. Many times the girl would travel away and return with fantastic flowers and fruit. The gypsy girl did not know that one of her neighbours was extremely jealous of her success and was a very wicked woman. She had watched the girl return from her travels by hiding down by the riverbank in the bushes. Deciding that she too wanted riches the woman watched the girl climb out of the boat and go away. As quickly as she could she climbed into the gypsy girl's boat and instructed the boat to take her away to lands where there was much gold and silk. Unfortunately the woman did not know the magic word so as soon as she had told the boat what to do the boat began to sink. Panicking in case she would drown the woman exclaimed 'In God's name get on with you!'. As soon as the woman said this the boat turned back into an eggshell. The spell had been broken and the woman sank into the water. The sea began to turn and roll, and the woman drowned.

The moral of the story : that no amount of riches are worth dieing for and that negative energies are extremely dangerous

Mortal Kombat Fatalities

Vegetable Myths

Myth #1: White potatoes make you fat. Nope. The truth is – one medium baked potato is only 161 calories, but has four grams of stomach-filling fiber. Cooked, then chilled potatoes are packed with resistant starch, which can help you lose weight – because they pass right through you. Studies also show that the chemicals in potatoes improve heart health, boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and protect against cancer. Just leave off the high-fat toppings, like butter, sour cream, and bacon bits - and eat your potato – skin and all - with salsa instead.
Myth #2: Carrots are full of sugar. Not exactly. One cup of chopped raw carrots contains just 52 calories, and 12 grams of carbs - fewer than you’d get from a cup of milk, or a medium size piece of fruit. Half of the “carrot carbs” are complex carbs, which help you feel full longer. The other half come from natural sugar, which is better than the processed sugar in candy bars. Carrots are also packed with fiber and vitamins, which boost blood sugar control and colon health.
Myth #3: Iceberg lettuce has zero nutrients. Not true. Iceberg has lots of good-for-you chemicals, like vision-boosting vitamin A, and bone-healthy vitamin K. In fact, studies show that adults who eat one serving a day of any type of lettuce have the lowest rates of hip fracture.
Myth #4: Corn is nothing more than carbs. Yes, corn’s got carbs, but they’re the best kind: high-quality complex carbs. The plant also has little in common with high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener made from corn that has all the nutrition and fiber processed out of it. In fact, corn does double-duty as both a veggie and a whole grain, so it’s loaded with fiber. Corn also helps your heart, and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Symbolism of the Coat of Arms of Canada

The shield is divided into five sections:
The first division at the viewer's top left contains the three golden lions that have been a symbol of England since at least the reign of King Richard I. The second quarter bears the red lion rampant of Scotland in a double tressure border with fleurs-de-lis, used as a symbol of Scotland since at least the reign of William I. The third quarter shows the Irish harp of Tara. Legend states that this golden harp with silver strings was used in royal banquets at Tara, a capital of ancient Ireland, and was later given to Henry VIII by the pope during his attempt to succeed to the Irish throne. The gold fleurs-de-lis of royal France, the first European emblem raised in Canada by Jacques Cartier during his landing at Gaspé, fill the fourth quarter.The tinctures of the quarters are Gules (red), Or (gold), Azure (blue), Azure and Argent (silver) respectively.

The fifth charge, a sprig of red maple leaves at the bottom is a distinctly Canadian symbol that became gradually identified with the country throughout the 19th century. They were first proposed as a symbol in 1834, were established in 1868 on the arms of Quebec and Ontario and officially became the national emblem in 1965, with the proclamation of the Flag of Canada. Initially, the leaves were depicted as coloured green on the coat of arms because it was thought to represent youth, as opposed to the red colour of dying leaves in autumn (however, they are blazoned as "proper," so could be shown as either red or green, and it is the blazon, rather than any depiction, which is regarded as authoritative). The leaves were later redrawn in official depictions in 1957 with the current colour to be in line with the official colours of Canada. The shield forms the basis of the royal standard of Canada.

The ribbon is marked desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "desiring a better country." It is the motto of the Order of Canada. This component was added, by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, to the arms used to represent the Queen in 1987, after a new Canadian "law of arms" was created, which included the rule that the motto of the Order of Canada would be included around the personal coat of arms of any Canadian who received an appointment to the Order, while the arms used by government ministers and departments remained without the ribbon. Since 1994 the arms used by government ministers and institutions now reflect the personal arms of the Queen.

The arms show a royal helmet, which is a barred helm of gold looking outward, and draped in a mantle of white and red which are the official colours of Canada. The golden helmet facing the viewer symbolizes Canada's sovereignty.

Crest and crown
The crest is based on the Royal Crest of England but differenced by the addition of a maple leaf, and appears on the Governor General's blue flag denoting that the Governor General is a representative of the Sovereign.

It consists of a crowned gold lion standing on a twisted wreath of red and white silk and holding a maple leaf in its right paw. Above the crest is St Edward's Crown, the style preferred by the Queen. (See the article on the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom for a discussion of different styles of crown historically used in the Commonwealth.)

The 1921 design was a Tudor crown, and the style was modernized to its current form in 1957 by the Canadian government, although the Queen had indicated her preference in May 1952, shortly after ascending the throne in February 1952.

Supporting the shield on either side are the English lion and Scottish unicorn, which are also the supporters of the UK coat of arms. The lion stands on the viewer's left and holds a gold-pointed silver lance flying the Union Flag. The unicorn has a gold horn, a gold mane, gold hooves, and around its neck a gold, chained coronet of crosses and fleurs-de-lis; it holds a lance flying the three gold fleurs-de-lis of royal France on a blue background. Unlike the British version, the lion is not crowned, nor is it facing the viewer. Supporters holding lances displaying flags are elements adopted from the Royal coat of arms of Scotland.

The motto of Canada is in Latin a mari usque ad mare (From sea to sea), a part of Psalm 72:8. This phrase was first suggested by Samuel Leonard Tilley, a Father of Confederation. The motto appears at the base of the arms. The motto was originally used in 1906 on the head of the mace of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. It was included in the Arms of Canada in 1921.

In March 2006, the premiers of Canada's three territories called for the amendment of the motto to better reflect the vast geographic nature of Canada's territory—Canada has three coastlines on the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Two suggestions for a new motto are A mari ad mare ad mare (from sea to sea to sea) and A mari usque ad maria (from the sea to the other seas). The motto remains unchanged.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Flo-Jo Quotes

Quotes by Flo Jo:

“People don't pay much attention to you when you are second best. I wanted to see what it felt like to be number one.”

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything... I'm just not listening any more."

“I like being unconventional"

"We really couldn't afford new Barbie clothes, so my mother taught me how to sew and how to make my own dresses. That was such a joyful time for me -- doing something creative that we both loved."

"After she [my mother] separated from my father, my mother had no choice but to be independent, and I think I got that from her -- being able to stand on my own two feet. She taught us all that nothing is going to be handed to you. You have to make things happen."

"The ladder of success is never crowded at the top."

“I had always come in second, and when you’ve been second best for so long you can either accept it or try to become the best. I made the decision to try and be the best in 1988.”

“I had a good start, a relaxed middle, and kept my knees up at the end. It was more or less a perfect race. When I saw that time, I couldn't believe it, but after the first race time I knew I could get into the 10.50's. It just made me realize that if I kept concentrating, I could go faster.”
--On the day Florence officially became the fastest woman in history

“There is no substitute for hard work… I have the medals to prove it!”

"Nothing is going to be handed to you -- you have to make things happen."

"I don't play around. I want to get on the track, get the job done and get off."

"I've been in track and field for more than 20 years, and out of all my races, I've lost more than I've won. But it's all been fun."

"I trained a lot harder -- maybe three times harder -- for the '88 Olympics. There is no substitute for hard work... I have the medals to prove it."

"For a long time I thought that being relaxed meant you were running slow, but it's the contrary. When you're fighting against your body instead of letting go. Relaxation was the key."

"I like designing clothes, and I wanted to bring something of myself into what I do. The one-legger? That was an accident. I was actually creating an even more radical style by cutting several holes in the stocking, and I happened to cut off the leg. I tried it on and though, 'Hmmm, this looks cute.'"

"Parents need to be role models for children and instill in them the fact that exercise and healthy eating should be lifelong habits"

“Your dreams deserve a try… the sky’s the limit!”

“The youth of today are the citizens of tomorrow.”

Quotes about Flo Jo:

"We were dazzled by her speed, humbled by her talent, and captivated by her style."
-- Former President Bill Clinton

"She's so sincere and sweet, but she's the most determined athlete I know besides by sister, Jackie."
-- Al Joyner, Florence's husband

"It's a great feeling as a coach to see your athlete run well, hearing the oohs and aahs as she picks people off."
-- Bob Kersee, Florence's former track coach

"For a long time, we've been thought of as 'jocks.' Florence brings in the glamour. She walks out on the track like she owns it."
-- Wilma Rudolph, 1960 Olympic gold medallist

"People are still trying to catch the records she set in '88. It's an amazing legacy. Many have tried and all have failed in terms of her records."
-- Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medallist

"The gods were with her... It was an unbelievable time."
-- Carl Lewis, who witnessed FloJo's record 100-meter run

"She was a role model for girls and young women in sports. She will be remembered among America's greatest Olympians, and she will be recalled with the legends, like Wilma Rudolph and Babe Didrikson Zaharias."
-- Bill Hybl, U.S. Olympic Committee president

"The beauty of her was that she never changed. She was the same Flo Jo before (she became a star) and she was the same Flo Jo after."
-- John Smith, track coach

"Florence brought a certain style to track, something so different, with her fashionable appearance and her stunning speed."
-- Patricia Rico, president, USA Track and Field

"Florence was a ground breaker, setting new standards in athletic achievement and in fashion."
-- Craig Masbac, CEO, USA Track and Field

"She showed so many young kids that sports was a real alternative to drugs and violence."
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger