November 20, 2014

Practical tips to fix a cough, counteract the effects of sitting, learning which supplements work

Instant Cough Fix

Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief. Black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow…salt and lemon are natural germ fighters. This works best for coughs due to colds, not dry coughs from smoking or irritants.

The 3 Best Ways to Tie a Winter Scarf from Business Insider,

Stunning graphic that shows which supplements work

In an effort to distinguish the snake oil products from the ones that actually have scientific support, data journalist and designer David McCandless, author of the recent book "Knowledge is Beautiful," created this infographic to help show which supplements have shown promising results when researched and which aren't worth the plastic bottle they're sold in.

Counteracting the consequences  of sitting all day

1. Remember to stand once an hour.  2. Get about 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.

We usually tell people moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk. This would include yard work or cleaning your house — anything that gets you moving counts. You don't have to do what people think of as exercise.  You can even break it up during the day into ten minute segments.
 How Sitting Wrecks Your Body

Make it even easier: 
Set an Hourly Standing Alarm to Remind You to Stand.  Turn those Crappy Commercials into an Excuse to Get Up

Fix Your Posture at Your Desk with Two Simple Body Adjustments

Get into proper posture by extending your arms to the sides and then rotating your palms upward. This rolls your shoulders back and then you can bend your elbows to type at the keyboard or hold your phone up in front of your face.

When you're sitting, pull in your abs to about 20 percent of full strength. Sitting should be an active activity, apparently.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:45 AM | Permalink

November 6, 2014

Feeling sad or lonely? Listening to sad songs can lift your spirits

Who hasn't listened to sad music when feeling lonely or distressed?  Turns out that's a good thing.

Melancholy tunes lift our moods

Music and brain researchers at the Free University of Berlin surveyed 700 people around the globe and discovered that listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects.

‘Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but [it] also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.’

The study says that sad music stirs up a mixture of complex and ‘partially positive’ emotions, including nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder.

Results show four different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no “real-life” implications,’ the study says.  Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music.

Nostalgia was the most common emotion experienced by listeners in Europe and the US, while people in Asia mostly reported feeling a peace.

‘The average number of emotions that participants reported to have experienced in response to sad music was above three,’ the researchers wrote in the study.

They believe that listening to sad music improves people’s well-being and helps people vent negative emotions when they are feeling distressed.

The experts also say that sad music has pleasurable effects and can stimulate people to express their emotions. Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo.

Some of the most popular titles chosen included Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing’s Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:05 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2014

Tasty and practical tips

From Authority Nutrition, An Evidence-Based Approach

12 Proven Benefits of Avocado

5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic

3. Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold by boosting the function of the immune system

One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.  The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.  Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%

From Cool Tools, a way to save on your Rx

GoodRx.com

Companies like GoodRx.com are creating tools that can help you find the best prices online, making true price comparison fast and efficient.

GoodRx works by pulling in price feeds from most of the top pharmacy chains in the US, allowing you to search and sort by drug, delivery form, dosage, count, and pharmacy type. It’s trivial to compare prices for brand name vs. generic, and the website automatically sorts the results by price.
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Once you find the best option, you can print out a “discount card” that contains GoodRx’s Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) information, so the pharmacist can find the GoodRx quoted price. (They’ll also mail you a card for your wallet if you request one.) Every time you fill a prescription using GoodRx’s group information, they make money via referral fees, so the service itself is free to use.

Out of curiosity, I had the pharmacy quote prices using the GoodRx rate vs. my major health insurance company’s negotiated group rate. GoodRx won by $150.

A quick search on GoodRx.com saved me over $500 in less than a minute. If you live in the US and need to fill a prescription, search here first.

From Distractify 40 Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever

22. To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” and the visible area will save for future access.

27. Wait to buy airline tickets until 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

37. Get free WiFi at airports.  Add “?.jpg” to the end of any URL to get around the ludicrously expensive WiFi. Alternatively, you can sit right outside an airport club lounge: Wi-Fi signals often glide through the walls.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:08 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2014

Natural Remedies for skin wounds, insect bites, sunburn, hangover, sore eyes and travel sickness

Honey for Minor Wounds

For centuries honey has been used to treat skin wounds and burns and is now used in hospitals around the globe to deal with skin infections.

Honey helps kill the bacteria that may cause infection. When honey comes into contact with damaged skin, it triggers the production of antibacterial hydrogen peroxide.Furthermore, the sugars in honey mean there is little space for water molecules (bacteria need water to survive, so reducing the amount available makes it hard for them to thrive). Dabbing on honey or a sprinkling of sugar can deprive the bacteria of water, which ultimately destroys them.

Teabags for Insect Bites

Steep a few teabags in boiling water for ten minutes, allow to cool and then apply the liquid to the sting site using a cloth. This helps to relieve inflammation as tannins in the tea are astringent, so reduce the swelling.

Cucumber for Sunburn

Cucumber, a well-known soothing remedy for tired and sore eyes, can also help bring relief to sore, sunburned skin. This is because it contains vitamin C and caffeic acid (an antioxidant also found in coffee) which both have anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce the irritation of sunburn.

Bananas for Hangover

Drinking won’t just dehydrate you (because alcohol is a diuretic), many people also feel light-headed and woozy the morning after.  This is because normally the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream. But when the liver is busy processing alcohol, this doesn’t happen, which can lead to low blood sugar levels.
While drinking plenty of water can rehydrate you, a banana helps raise depleted sugar levels — the reason being that it has a low glycaemic index. This means the sugar it contains is released slowly.


Camomile Tea for Sore Eyes

Camomile contains anti-irritant compounds such as terpenoids, and flavonoids, a form of antioxidant that soothes inflammation. Brew a cup of camomile tea. Remove the teabag and allow it to cool then place against closed eyes.

Ginger for Travel Sickness

It’s believed that compounds called gingerols and shogaols — which give ginger its spiciness — are what provide the benefits, possibly by blocking chemical messages in the brain, so helping to relax muscles in the stomach and gut.How you take it is up to you, but popular ways include ginger tea, ginger biscuits and dried ginger
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:38 PM | Permalink

April 14, 2014

Heartbleed and heartbreak that NSA didn't warn us about but exploited for itself

The biggest flaw in Internet history affecting as many as two-thirds of the world's websites.

The Heartbleed bug lets hackers eavesdrop on supposedly secure communications.

German developer Dr Robin Seggelmann admitted he wrote the code. It was then reviewed by other members and added to OpenSSL software. This addition led to the Heartbleed flaw in the open-source program
Code was added in December, 2011, and no-one picked up the error.

As if the fact that we all have to change our passwords yet again were not bad enought, Bloomberg reports NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years

Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers.
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“It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first, said Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer. “They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.”
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“We’ve never seen any quite like this,” said Michael Sutton, vice president of security research at Zscaler, a San Jose, California-based security firm. “Not only is a huge portion of the Internet impacted, but the damage that can be done, and with relative ease, is immense.”

The potential stems from a flawed implementation of protocol used to encrypt communications between users and websites protected by OpenSSL, making those supposedly secure sites an open book. The damage could be done with relatively simple scans, so that millions of machines could be hit by a single attacker.

Ace comments  What the hell. What the unholy hell.

This is scary. I'm not even so much bothered by the NSA itself preserving a backdoor into my private stuff. I always figured they could do that anyway, if they wanted.

But they've also exposed everyone to criminal hacking and even compromise by foreign intelligence services.

What the hell. What the unholy hell.

Biz Insider Here's How To Protect Yourself From The Massive Security Flaw That's Taken Over The Internet

Security firms are urging users to only change passwords on sites that have confirmed they are safe

'Changing your password on a vulnerable site makes little difference because the site is still open to attack….'This means your old password would have been at risk, but you're also giving hackers access to your new password - a double whammy.

Heartbleed-Sites-Affected

Affected sites include a number of Google services, including Gmail and YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Yahoo and Dropbox.  All of these sites have been patched and security experts are advising people to change their passwords on these accounts, even if the sites themselves aren't issuing the advice.

Business Insider  Find Out Instantly If A Site Has Been Infected By 'Heartbleed'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2014

Why Zebras Have Stripes

 Zebra

Stripes could protect us from biting flies, scientists claim as they explain zebra markings

Biologists believe they have unravelled the evolutionary mystery of how the zebra got its stripes claiming the markings protect them from biting flies.

A team from the University of California, Davis, believe zebras’ unusual monochrome markings evolved in order to repel biting insects, such as horseflies and tsetse flies, which tend to avoid striped surfaces.
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The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, mapped the geographic spread of seven different species of zebras, horses and asses and their subspecies and recorded the thickness, location and intensity of their stripes on several parts of the body.

It compared the animals’ geographic reach with other variables such as woodland habitats, the range of predators, temperatures and the numbers of ectoparasites such as tsetse flies.

After examining where the striped animals and variables overlapped the scientists ruled out all but one of the existing explanations, that of avoiding blood sucking flies.

"I was amazed by our results," said Prof Caro.
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Unlike other African hooved mammals living in the same areas as zebras, zebra hair is shorter than the mouthpart length of biting flies making them particularly susceptible to these insects, the team found.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 PM | Permalink

February 28, 2014

Maple Syrup and unknown callers

Maple syrup aficionados buy Grade B syrup for its more intense maple flavor.  I buy it at Trader Joe's.

But now Vermont is pushing for a uniform grading system where every syrup will be Grade A.  The WSJ has the Sweet Dilemma story that has some producers resisting the new system.

"I'm not changing," said Edward Merrow, the owner of Blow Hill Maple Products in Danby, Vt., who has resigned from one local maple association that supported the new standard and has aligned himself with the Rutland County Maple Producers, some of whose members spoke against it at public hearings. "What are they going to do, put me in jail?"

FYI  Under the new system: "Syrup will be differentiated by a "descriptor" based on color, clarity and taste: Golden/Delicate Taste; Amber/Rich Taste; Dark/Robust Taste; and Very Dark/Strong Taste" which likely describes my beloved Grade B syrup

My favorite tip of the week:

 Blood Everywhere

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 AM | Permalink

February 20, 2014

For long-range weather forecasts, depend on the Farmers Almanac

If you want to know what the long-term weather report is, you're far better off reading the Farmers Almanac then listening to the government.
Farmers do and I do too.

Report: Farmers’ Almanac more accurate than government climate scientists

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) predicted temperatures would be “above normal from November through January across much of the lower 48 states.”  This, however, was dead wrong.
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The Farmers Almanac . the nearly 200-year old publication, hit newsstands last summer and predicted that “a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey,” and also predicted “a colder-than-normal winter for two-thirds of the country and heavy snowfall in the Midwest, Great Lakes and New England.”

“We’re using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It’s going to be very cold.
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The Farmers’ Almanac makes predictions based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles — a prediction system that has remained largely unchanged since its first publication in 1818. While modern scientists don’t put much stock in the almanac’s way of doing things, the book says it’s accurate about 80 percent of the time.

From The Farmers Almanac blog

Unlike local meteorologists, who are able to change their predictions minute-by-minute, we are willing to go out on a limb and provide long-range forecasts that are set in stone from the day we publish.

People use our forecasts in ways that aren’t possible with a daily, or even 10-day, forecast. We get calls from municipalities trying to decide how much salt to buy for the roads, and from brides-to-be hoping to pick a sunny date for their big day.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:55 PM | Permalink

February 11, 2014

Some practical tips

How to fold a fitted sheet

Google has changed its terms of service and will start using your face and name and profile details in its ads in what Google call 'shared endorsements'.    If you find this outrageous, you can opt out at this link

How strangers could soon be invading your inbox Gmail about to get even less private with update that allows people to send you emails without having your address.  How to Disable Gmail's New Feature that Let Google+ Users Email You

Students who take notes in longhand rather than on a laptop do significantly better in later tests on both factual learning and conceptual learning,  Longhand notes not only lead to higher quality learning in the first place; they are also a superior strategy for storing new learning for later study.

The unlikely new medicine… pickled cabbage: New research reveals it may help with allergies, coughs, colds and more

FYI: An inch of rain on an acre of land weighs 113.31 tons.

10 Amazing Life Hacks

Use a kettle to make boiling water for teas and coffees.
Cover hard and slippery wooden floors with a rug or carpet.
Use a newspaper to keep abreast of current affairs and opinion.
Prolong the shelf life of food by storing perishable items in a fridge or freezer.
Find your books easily by storing them with the spine facing outwards.
Consume and digest food to keep yourself alive for longer.
Repurpose old ice into an amazing, refreshing water drink.

Pay Kids for Chores with Screen Time Tokens

How to Find Your Way Without a Smartphone or GPS

Boy scouts always asked us why they had to learn to use a map — we told them because maps work with bullet holes in them

 Want Wifi Password?

Boy scouts always asked us why they had to learn to use a map — we told them because maps work with bullet holes in them

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:33 PM | Permalink

December 20, 2013

Kitchen skills

 Kitchen Skills Chopping-Onions

Everyone can benefit from Lifehacker's The Essential Kitchen Skills No One Taught (but Everyone Should Know)

How to Peel Peaches, Nectarines, or Tomatoes
How to Properly Dispose of Frying or Cooking Oil
How to Properly Clean (and Care for) a Garbage Disposal
How to Clean Your Washer, Dryer, and Dishwasher
How to Break a Chicken or Turkey Down into Parts
How to Properly Clean Your Knives
How to Care for a Cutting Board
When to Use Salted or Unsalted Butter
How to Store and Rescue Hardened Brown Sugar
How to Frost a Cake

and more.  Among them:  How to cut onions without crying and The right way to sauce pasta

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:30 AM | Permalink

December 17, 2013

Tips to make life easier

The Easiest Way to Thread a Needle. You'll never do it the old way again.

Aspirin is the best remedy for a sore throat, scientists say  Tablets dissolved and gargled reduce sore throat pain.

To remember more, pay attention to what you're experiencing and don't take so many pictures

The data showed that participants were less accurate in recognizing the objects they had photographed compared to those they had only observed. Furthermore, they weren't able to answer as many questions about the objects' visual details for those objects they had photographed.  Henkel calls this the "photo-taking impairment effect":

"When people rely on technology to remember for them — counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves — it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences," she explains.

Culled from various posts on Best of stories

 Frozen Sponge

Prevent-Pizza-Toppings-From-Shifting-While-Driving-Life-Hack

Use-Paper-Clips-To-Find-The-End-Of-A-Tape-Roll

Life-Hacks-How-To-Make-Your-Life-Easier-7

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 AM | Permalink

October 22, 2013

Don't worry about tip of the tongue lapses, but do all you can to get a good night's sleep

Tip of the tongue' lapses AREN'T signs of dementia risk despite being more common in older people

If those ‘tip of the tongue’ moments are becoming more frequent, fear not.  They may be frustrating, but they do not indicate an increased risk of dementia, research has found.

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that this type of memory lapse happens more often as we age – but its relationship to cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s had never been established.

They may be frustrating, but they do not indicate an increased risk of dementia, research has found.
Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that this type of memory lapse happens more often as we age – but its relationship to cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s had never been established.

So American researchers asked more than 700 participants, aged 18 to 99, to give the names of famous places, common nouns or famous people, based on brief descriptions or pictures.  The volunteers indicated which answers they knew, which they did not and which gave them a tip-of-the-tongue experience.

Overall, older participants experienced more of these frustrating moments.  But there was no association between the frequency of tip of the tongue occurrences and their performance on the types of memory tests often used in the detection of dementia.

How a poor night's sleep could be linked to Alzheimer's disease in older people

Poor sleep may be linked to Alzheimer's disease in older adults, according to a new brain imaging study.

The findings follow earlier research indicating that one of the functions of sleep is to purge the brain of toxic proteins.  One such harmful protein is beta-amyloid (Abeta), which accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

The new study appears to reinforce the importance of sleep in staving off dementia.  U.S. scientists who looked at data on 70 adults with an average age of 76 found that those who slept less, and who experienced low quality sleep, had higher levels of beta-amyloid.
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This is part of a larger message that healthy sleep is an important contributor to health in general and especially to successfully aging,” said study author Adam Spira, an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, in an Oct. 18 telephone interview.

“It may be an important component in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, but that remains to be seen.”
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and the number is expected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Today’s findings are the first to use brain images to identify the potential link.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:53 AM | Permalink

October 9, 2013

Best cure for a hangover

The best cure for a hangover? SPRITE: Study finds lemon and lime drink is the best at helping the body process alcohol

Chinese scientists examined 57 drinks - from herbal teas to fizzy drinks.  Found that some helped to speed up the process where the body breaks down alcohol, helping relieve a hangover quicker. But some slowed the process down, meaning symptoms remained

Sprite is made by Coca Cola

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:30 AM | Permalink

October 7, 2013

Some practical tips to nap better, persuade more, build trust and improve your social skills

How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits    Lifehacker distills the science of napping as explained by the Wall St Journal into this graph.

 How Long To Nap

Want to succeed in the art of persuasion? AVOID eye contact: Locking glances can lower your chance of winning a person over

The finding is only true if someone is skeptical of the speaker to begin with.  The longer they hold eye contact, the more skeptical they will become
Locking eyes can boost receptiveness if person already agrees with speaker.

Superfluous or unnecessary apologies build trust

Newly published research suggests that superfluous or unnecessary apologies perform the important function of building trust. In our minds, anyone who takes note of our misfortune, and expresses dismay over it, is impressively empathetic and thus worthy of our confidence. 

“Even in the absence of culpability, individuals can increase trust and liking by saying ‘I’m sorry’—even when they are merely ‘sorry’ about the rain,” writes a research team led by Alison Wood Brooks of Harvard Business School. research team led by Alison Wood Brooks of Harvard Business School. The team's study - I’m Sorry About the Rain! -  is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Study: To Improve Your Social Skills, Read Complex Fiction

David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, social scientists at the New School for Social Research in New York City, evaluated how well people performed on tests of empathy and emotional and social intelligence. Subjects did better on these tests after reading literary fiction, rather than serious nonfiction or popular fiction.

Kidd and Castano conclude that the complexity of literary fiction compels readers to search for subtleties of meaning and nuance--skills that are essential for gauging the emotional responses and depth of real people. Kidd explains:

In literary fiction, like Dostoyevsky, “there is no single, overarching authorial voice,” he said. “Each character presents a different version of reality, and they aren’t necessarily reliable. You have to participate as a reader in this dialectic, which is really something you have to do in real life.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:01 PM | Permalink

August 19, 2013

Workers spill the dark secrets of their industries UPDATED

From Business Insider, Workers Spill The Dark Secrets Of Their Industries That Companies Don't Want You To Know About

Bookstores

Big chain bookstores throw massive amounts of books away…..
I almost cried the first time I had to rip up a load of kid's books (in a city with high child poverty rates and underfunded schools).

Horticulture/farming

"I work on a farm. When they say you should wash your produce thoroughly at home, they're not joking."

Delivery

"I work for a UPS store. Here is a few things I have learned since working here…Writing fragile on your package means nothing…..Your package WILL get thrown around, dropped, and beaten up.

Fine dining

"Fine dining cook here. 30% of your meal is butter. That's why it's so good."

UPDATE from Quora, What's something that is common knowledge at your work place, but will be mind blowing to the rest of us?

Movie theaters

Movie theaters are not in movie business they are in Candy Business.  More than 85% and in some cases 100% of the revenue from ticket sales goes to the movie producers. The real profit for the movie theater comes from the largely overpriced popcorn and coke that is sold.

Car Insurance

Most people are shocked when I tell them that your credit score is BY FAR the most predictive of car insurance claims

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:42 PM | Permalink

August 12, 2013

Helpful hints: Mosquitos and WD40

A light fan blowing on your deck will keep mosquitos away.  via Book of Joe's Low-tech mosquito deterrent

The American Mosquito Control Association…  "Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers,so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution." The group says mosquitoes fly slowly — from roughly 1 to 1.5 miles per hour, depending on the species.

Scientists have identified another factor. The breeze from a fan disperses the human emanations that allow female mosquitoes to zero in on us. (Females need the stolen blood for egg making.)

And another A homemade mosquito trap that really works!

       Homemade-Mosquito-Trap      Items needed:

  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 gram of yeast
  • 1 2-liter bottle

If anyone in your family is awaiting an organ transplant, make sure it's been tested for rabies. 

The rabies-infected man whose organs went to four people, including a kidney recipient who died, is now revealed to have been bitten by raccoons at least twice in the months before he died.  Tests have now also confirmed his rabies-infected kidney caused the recipient's disease and subsequent death and that the rabies originated from raccoons.

WD 40 can do most anything. Here are just a few Amazing uses for WD40.. 

  • Separate stuck glassware
  • Get off that stuck ring
  • Exterminate roaches and repel insects
  • Remove chewing gum from hair
  • Remove tough scuff marks, marker and crayon marks
  • Clean toilet bowls
  • Winterproof boots and shoes
  • Protect a bird feeder
  • Keep wasps from building nests
  • Remove doggie-doo
  • Remove strong glue and loosen zippers
  • Keep wooden tool handles splinter free
  • Break in a new baseball glove or leather furniture
  • Remove decals and stickers from glass
  • Remove burrs from horse
  • Rejuvenate the barbecue grill
  • Renew faded plastic furniture
  • Keep snow from sticking to snow shovel

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:05 PM | Permalink

August 10, 2013

Techno-brain clutter

How Clutter Affects Your Brain and What You Can Do About It

Clutter Isn’t Just Physical

Files on your computer, notifications from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and anything that goes “ping” in the night competes for your attention. This creates a digital form of clutter that erodes your ability to focus and perform creative tasks. Mark Hurst, author of Bit Literacy, a New York Times best seller on controlling the flow of information in the digital age, put it best when he said:

When you have to-do items constantly floating around in your head or you hear a ping or vibrate every few minutes from your phone, your brain doesn’t get a chance to fully enter creative flow or process experiences. When your brain has too much on its plate, it splits its power up. The result? You become awful at: filtering information, switching quickly between tasks and keeping a strong working memory.


The overconsumption of digital stuff has the same effect on your brain as physical clutter.

 Brain Clutter

Cluttered brain, too much on your mind

David Somers, an associate psychology professor who researches in the BU Center for Neuroscience, pointed to brain clutter as a larger public health concern. 

“Brain clutter is responsible for many of the things we forget – either because we didn’t fully pay attention or because we got distracted when we were supposed to remember,” he said. “Brain clutter is responsible for car accidents and many other sorts of mistakes that we make. These problems are much more severe in clinical populations – ADHD, schizophrenia, OCD, Alzheimer’s – all have major attentional components.”

Somers also identified habits such as compulsively checking one’s Facebook or reading text messages as a self-generated, technological form of brain clutter.  Even in the absence of a cue that we’ve got new mail or texts, we obsessively check,” he said. “This really cuts into our productivity. This techno-brain clutter is a learned phenomena, it is rather like an addiction, and frequently interrupts us with little conscious awareness that we’ve stopped our tasks.

There are drugs like Adderall to deal with this, but, by far, the most effective treatment for distraction is developing the habit of spending time daily in meditation or prayer.  I've found both clears the mind, settles it down and brings peace.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:22 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2013

Fungi in your dishwasher

We've learned that handbags may have more bacteria than a toilet seat and that your cellphone may harbor ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat (One poor guy in Uganda stole a cellphone and contracted the Ebola virus). 

Lots of things have more bacteria than a toilet seat like ice in restaurants and restaurant menus,  your BBQ grill, motel and hotel bedspreads , ATM keypads,  your computer keyboardkitchen faucets, gym equipment and steering wheels.  Yet somehow we survive.

All of which is to set the context for this story :

 Inside Dishwasher

More than 60% of dishwashers contain potentially harmful fungi that can cause lung problems and skin infections

Dishwashers are a breeding ground for potentially harmful fungi. Researchers found that the warm, damp environment in dishwashers is ideal for the growth of fungi including Exophiala, Rhodotorula, and Candida parapsilosis – yeast-like species that can be harmful to people.

The study, published in the journal Medical Mycology, saw dishwashers across the world tested for fungi and revealed that 62 per cent contain the species. If inhaled, these fungi can colonize the lungs and cause infections that can be difficult to treat.  The researchers found that the rubber seals in dishwasher doors are a perfect breeding ground for fungi and that some types, such as Exophiala.

There are, however, things that you can do to reduce the amount of fungi in your dishwasher. The website reports that baking soda, vinegar, and bleach can all help to eliminate the fungi.

However, this is not a new story.  In 2011  Dishwashers – A man-made ecological niche accommodating human opportunistic fungal pathogens

So, spray off the icky rubber seal now and then. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:51 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2013

Save yourself from choking

With more and more people living alone, it's important to learn how to save yourself from choking when you are alone.  It just might save your life.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:41 PM | Permalink

June 26, 2013

‘How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick’

Saying Less and Doing More    ‘How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick’ Can Be Harder Than It Sounds

Letty Pogrebin, a writer who, among other things, contributed to the founding of Ms., the feminist magazine, has produced a guide for people who have friends facing a wide range of troubles, including their own illness (or imminent death), the loss of a loved one, or the mental illness or drug addiction of a child.
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A lot of her advice is common sense, but some of it is surprising.

As Ms. Pogrebin notes, greeting someone with the seemingly innocent question “How are you?” can prompt all kinds of unwelcome thoughts. Better, she advises, is a simple “It is good to see you.” For sure, you should not ask “How are you really?” If you are close enough to merit that information, it will come to you.

Like Ms. Pogrebin, I found it irritating when people told me they were inspired by my “battle” with cancer. Military analogies are not appropriate. Most of the time, being ill is not a battle. It is just an unpleasant experience.
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But perhaps the best advice Ms. Pogrebin offers is the simplest: Listen. Take your cues from the sick person.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:15 AM | Permalink

June 21, 2013

Spurge to fight off skin cancer

Pretty amazing. Garden weed that could help fight off skin cancer: Picato is fast-acting treatment for condition that causes one form of disease

A new treatment for skin damage that can lead to cancer has been created from the sap of a common garden weed.  Picato gel is a fast-acting treatment for actinic keratosis (AK), which appears as red, rough patches of skin often on the face, balding scalp, backs of hands and trunk of the body. 

Most people haven’t heard of the condition triggered by long-term sun exposure, or using sunbeds, although it affects two million people aged 40 and over.  However, the characteristic sandpaper patches, if left untreated, are responsible for two-thirds of cases of squamous cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma form of skin cancer.

Existing creams prescribed by doctors take between three weeks and three months to work, so many patients give up using them.
Picato is applied once daily over two or three days and in clinical trials almost all patients completed their treatment.

The active ingredient in the gel comes from the sap of the petty spurge plant, commonly known as milkweed, which has the botanic name Euphorbia peplus.  The plant sap has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine for sun damaged skin, but recent research shows the ancient sages were right about its benefits.

My grandfather's neighbors were Finnish and taught my grandfather and my father how petty spurge can cure warts.  Its sap is toxic and should never be taken internally but only applied carefully onto a sun spot or wart.

Goggling around for pictures of spurge, I came across Abraham's blog post discussing Purslane and spurge He's a forager who says both are wild plants that grow near each other.  I've summarized some of his points in this graphic.

 Purslane-Spirge

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:46 PM | Permalink

June 5, 2013

Some Tips

Eliminate Static Electricity with a Safety Pin

Asking for a raise?  The WSJ says Avoid Round Numbers   using more precise numbers in an initial request—or anchor, as it is known in negotiating parlance—generally results in a higher final settlement.

Return a Lost Driver's License By Dropping It In Any Mailbox

Kill Ants Safely with Cornmeal

Ditch the hand dryer: Paper towels are MORE hygienic because they remove more germs

 Paintbucket  Place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on, and keep paint off the side of the can

The First Number You Should Look for When Choosing a Mutual Fund - the expense ratio.  Generally, the lower the fees, the greater the performance.

 Cheese Aluminumfoil Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mould

Improve Your Willpower by Reminding Yourself of Your Goals and Values Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct, breaks willpower into three different powers:

I Won't Power: what we normally think of as willpower (resisting temptation)
I Will Power: the ability to remember you want the consequences of doing that difficult thing (e.g., drinking more water instead of a big box of wine for a healthier future self)
I Want Power: the ability to keep a clear memory of what you care about most

When composing a professional e-mail, do not put in the person's e-mail address until you have typed the entire e-mail to avoid sending an incomplete email.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:23 AM | Permalink

May 23, 2013

The Art and Charm of Conversation

The Art of Conversation: Timeless, Timely Do’s and Don’ts from 1866

“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
--
in a culture where we regularly do online what we’d never do in person and behave offline in ways our grandparents wouldn’t have dared dream of even in their most defiant fantasies, there’s something to be said for the lost art of, if not “manners,” politeness and simple respect in communication.

Though originally published in 1866, Martine’s Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness (public library; public domain; free Kindle download) by Arthur Martine contains a treasure trove of timeless — and increasingly timely — pointers on the necessary art of living up to our social-animal destiny.
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The great charm of conversation consists less in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence, than in the power to draw forth the resources of others; he who leaves you after a long conversation, pleased with himself and the part he has taken in the discourse, will be your warmest admirer. Men do not care to admire you, they wish you to be pleased with them; they do not seek for instruction or even amusement from your discourse, but they do wish you to be made acquainted with their talents and powers of conversation; and the true man of genius will delicately make all who come in contact with him feel the exquisite satisfaction of knowing that they have appeared to advantage.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 AM | Permalink

May 10, 2013

Consider a take away Mother's Day gift

Take away some of their stuff that they want to unload writes David Ekerdt at the New Old Age blog.  Stuff from their basements, attics, garages and sheds
or  old photo albums when they can still tell you while they can still tell you who all those people are.

 Old Photoalbum Best

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink

April 25, 2013

Health Roundup: Drug overdoses, office kitchens, dowager's hump, depression drugs and clenching fists

The drugs that kill Americans: How half of the 80,000 overdoses a year are caused by MEDICINES

 U.S.Drug Overdoses

Balloon that could end dowager's hump pain: Thousands of women could be saved from pain by revolutionary new treatment
Procedure uses balloon-like device to create space between fractured bones and so strengthens bone and reduces curvature of spine, leaving patients pain-free.  The procedure called balloon kyphoplasty has been given the go-ahead by the NHS in the U.K.

Most office KITCHENS are dirtier than the toilets, with kettles and microwaves the germiest places
Half of kitchen surfaces are contaminated with dangerous levels of coliforms - the bacteria in feces that can cause gastrointestinal diseases.  Also contaminated 25 per cent of draining boards, 30 per cent of microwaves, 40 per cent of kettles.

In the pipeline, Drugs to Lift Depression in Hours Rather Than Weeks

The new fast-acting drugs act on the brain in an entirely different way than the current popular antidepressants. Ketamine and the new compounds from AstraZeneca and Naurex all act on the brain's N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, which are involved in learning and memory. These receptors interact with the neurotransmitter glutamate, the levels of which seem to be out of balance in depression.  Scientists believe glutamate is a much more direct target for depression than serotonin, a neurotransmitter affected by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs like Prozac and Paxil.

Good news: Americans are breathing cleaner air .

Best tip: Clenching fists 'can improve memory'.

Clenching the right hand for 90 seconds helps in memory formation, while the same movement in the left improves memory recall, say US psychologists.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:48 AM | Permalink

April 12, 2013

Odd tips: rosemary, bras and pirates' eyepatchs

 Rosemary  Rosemary for remembrance.

Why a whiff of rosemary DOES help you remember: Sniffing the herb can increase memory by 75%
A team of psychologists at Northumbria University, Newcastle, tested the effects of essential oils from rosemary.  They found that
rosemary aroma not only improved long-term memory and mental arithmetic, it enables people to remember to do things by 60-75% when compared to people who didn't sniff rosemary beforehand.

NOODLE SOUP is the best cure for the morning after the night before

Scientists have now hailed a beef and noodle broth as the perfect hangover remedy, saying its healing properties after a heavy night are based on scientific fact.
--
Although recipes vary, an Old Sober (as the dish is known) is typically made with a salty beef and soy sauce based broth, noodles, either beef, chicken or shrimp; onions and a sliced hard-boiled egg.
---
Hangovers arise when more alcohol than the body can cope with is consumed.  High blood levels of ethanol - the intoxicating ingredient in alcohol - teamed with dehydration and the toxic effect of the body's breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde and of substances called congeners cause what Professor Alyson Mitchell referred to as a ‘metabolic storm’.  Symptoms includes a headache, nausea, fatigue, body aches and weakness.

Each individual ingredient in the soup beat the hangover. She explained that eggs contain an amino acid called cysteine that removes acetyldehyde from the body.
The salts replace sodium and potassium lost in the urine due to the diuretic effect of alcohol.  Vitamin B1 or Thiamine found in meat and fish may also help prevent the build up of glutarate, the substance linked to the classic hangover headache .

Strategic Shopping: A Month-by-Month Analysis  I think this is a handy list about what to buy and when

Women are better off without bras.  Bras make women's breasts sag more say French scientists who studied the effect for 15 years.

“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity," he said. “On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra”.

Especially when hiking. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland warns hikers that metal in under-wired bras can cause compasses to be reversed because of the magnetic effect.  Car keys, magnets in mobile phone cases and GPS devices may cause the same effect of reverse polarity. .

A safety officer, who has experienced reverse polarity on three occasions in the past three months, said: 'It's a fact, the catalyst for a substantial number of mountain rescue call outs in the UK is either directly or partially a result of a navigation error.

Reading in dim  light will not hurt your eyes  and why pirates wear an eyepatch

"Ever wonder why a pirate wears patches? It's not because he was wounded in a sword fight," says Dr. Sheedy. Seamen must constantly move between the pitch black of below decks and the bright sunshine above.

Smart pirates "wore a patch over one eye to keep it dark-adapted outside." Should a battle break out and the pirate had to shimmy below, he would simply switch the patch to the outdoor eye and he could see in the dark right away—saving him 25 minutes of flailing his cutlass about in near blindness.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:38 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2013

Why I'm never going to fly on a Boeing 787

When it comes to flying, I've just decided never to fly on a Boeing 787 and this is why.

Do not fly on a Boeing 787

This past summer, my father in law had a family reunion in Wisconsin. At the reunion was an engineer, he works at Boeing. I asked him what he did at Boeing and he was actually a Structural Manager on the Boeing 787. So I asked him straight up, what the hell happened. He said the biggest issue was the design being done partly in India, partly in Italy, japan, etc. just like it says below.

He said, many regions just did not care and just did the minimum to get paid and go home, none had a sense of pride or a sense that this was "their" design. He said that things did not come together, analysis were done wrong, mistakes were rampant, they had to redesign and redesign. It was a joke. Then they put this Frankenstein thing together and started to run structural testing. Get this, one of the tests, and this is a biggie, is to put a simple upward load on the wing. I am talking the static test, not the dynamic test. They wanted to go to 160% of maximum load but did not make it past 90% and the joint of the wing to the body fractured!!

The major structural joint, the main one fractured!!!!! I was stunned, how can they get such a basic thing like the load at this joint and the needed structure wrong? He said, you think you were stunned, you should have seen all the managers and directors and the crowd of a couple hundred people just gasp. They had to act fast to come up with a "band aid" so the dang wings did not fall off.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 AM | Permalink

February 17, 2013

On ice, walk like a penguin

Black ice abounds now in New England, so this is timely advice

 How To Walk On Ice

Via Tai-wiki-widbee

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:00 PM | Permalink

February 15, 2013

When all antibiotics fail, pour sugar

-Sugar-Pouring

Pouring granulated sugar on wounds 'can heal them faster than antibiotics'

A study found granulated sugar poured directly into bed sores, leg ulcers and even amputations promotes healing when antibiotics and other treatments have failed.

The study is headed by Moses Murandu, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Wolverhampton University, who grew up in Zimbabwe where his father used sugar to heal wounds and reduce pain when he was a child.
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So far 35 patients receiving treatment have seen their condition improve, with no adverse effects reported, compared with 16 patients who did not have the treatment.  The treatment works because bacteria need water to grow, so applying sugar to a wound draws the water away and starves the bacteria of water. This prevents the bacteria from multiplying and they die.

Honey works too.  Honey heals wounds and it's not bad on toast.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:53 AM | Permalink

February 4, 2013

Go ahead and chew

Chewing gum is GOOD for the brain and can boost alertness by 10% says a report in the Journal of Brain and Cognition

The newly published research suggests as many as eight different areas of the brain are affected by the simple act of chewing.
One theory to explain the increased performance is that it increases arousal and leads to temporary improvements in blood flow to the brain.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:20 AM | Permalink

February 1, 2013

Debunking myths and finding a shoulder to cry on

7 Common Weight-Related Myths Debunked in the New England Journal of Medicine

Sex burns between 100 to 300 calories.    Nope, only about 21

Small changes in diet or exercise lead to large, long-term weight changes.  Nope, the body adapts to changes.

School gym classes have a big impact on kids’ weight. Nope, they are not long enough or intense enough to make much difference.

Losing a lot of weight quickly is worse than losing a little slowly over the long term.  Nope, dieters who lose a lot of weight to start with lose more weight.

Snacking leads to weight gain.  Nope, no high-quality studies support that.

Regularly eating breakfast helps prevent obesity.   Nope, two studies found no effect 

Setting overly ambitious goals leads to frustration and less weight loss.  Nope, people do better with high goals.

Leafy green vegetables are the top source of food poisoning and can be deadly. Study

While more people may have gotten sick from plants, more died from contaminated poultry, the study also found. The results were released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
….Many of the vegetable-related illnesses come from norovirus, which is often spread by cooks and food handlers. So contamination sometimes has more to do with the kitchen or restaurant it came from then the food itself, Griffin noted.

CDC estimated 277 poultry-related deaths in 1998-2008, compared to 236 vegetable-related deaths.

Delinquency rates on student loans reach 'unsustainable' 15%   Another credit bubble about to pop.

The double squeeze on seniors.  Low interest rates mean Incomes from investments is way down and costs are up.

Since the financial crisis hit, we have borrowed and spent $5.7 trillion, or 41% of 2008 GDP (7.8% of total GDP over the period). That is an enormous sum. ….–and yet it has left us with unemployment in the range of 8%, and per-capita GDP that is still below the pre-crisis trend

Cry on Nigella's shoulders.
-Nigella Lawson  Women in their 50s have have the most empathy, study claims

For no one else, male or female, has as much empathy as women of this generation, according to a study of more than 75,000 adults. They will listen more other people's problems and also react better to their needs, showing sympathy, concern and emotion, the research claims.

Even a baby can sympathize. Research shows one-year-olds can guess thoughts through empathy

Infants as young as 18 months old can guess what other people are thinking, a new study claims.  A study of children from rural China, Ecuador and Fiji found that their ability to see the world from others' perspectives emerges much earlier than previously thought.

It was previously thought that this ability to empathize only emerges in children between the ages of four and seven, but children from different countries develop it at different ages.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:31 AM | Permalink

How to find your stolen car

Kottke passes on this advice from a former cab driver

If your car is ever stolen, your first calls should be to every cab company in the city. You offer a $50 reward to the driver who finds it AND a $50 reward to the dispatcher on duty when the car is found. The latter is to encourage dispatchers on shift to continually remind drivers of your stolen car. Of course you should call the police too but first things first. There are a lot more cabs than cops so cabbies will find it first -- and they're more frequently going in places cops typically don't go, like apartment and motel complex parking lots, back alleys etc. Lastly, once the car is found, a swarm of cabs will descend and surround it because cabbies, like anyone else, love excitement and want to catch bad guys.

 Taxi-Cab

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:35 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2013

Five "Good Habits" that you can do without

Food for thought Five Good Habits You Need to Unlearn

Stop Thinking So Positively

Stop Trying to Fill Every Hour of Your Day

Stop Caring What the Internet Thinks About You

Stop Equating Rejection with Failure

Stop Spending More Time on Your Work
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:56 PM | Permalink

January 13, 2013

Getting the ketchup to flow

It won't be long before it's longer a problem.

Five MIT Students Have Solved A Universally Annoying Problem

Last spring, they invented LiquiGlide, an edible, plant-based coating that can be placed on any surface, from glass to ceramics. Liquid-based products that encounter the surfaces will slip right off, whether it's ketchup in a bottle or rain on a jacket.

It made the Time magazine's Best Inventions of 2012 along with two other notable ones I liked: The Civilization Starter Kit and a Drifting Fish Farm equipped with GPS  for the high seas - growing fish with zero environmental impact.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:36 PM | Permalink

November 28, 2012

What to do when your orangutan won't settle down

My male orangutan is addicted to Jane Austen and reads up to 50 pages of Pride and Prejudice a day, claims zookeeper

Albert, the literature-loving 200-pound primate at Gdansk Zoo in Poland, is reported to enjoy up to 50 pages a day of Jane Austen's masterpiece Pride And Prejudice, according to the Daily Star.

 Orangutan+Jane Austin

Keeper Michael Krause resorted to reading the book aloud out of desperation when Albert and partner Raya would not settle down for the night, despite staff trying to wear them out with play or fruit snacks.

I didn't know what to do until I pulled out a book I was reading during a break and within a couple of minutes they were trying to read over my shoulder,' he said.

'Now they go to bed quietly and peacefully as long as they get their stories.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:20 PM | Permalink

Tips you can use

New Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits

"Running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one's progress toward the finish line of life,"

The secrets of how not to get a ticket if you're stopped by the police according to a veteran officer

[P]ut yourself in the officer's shoes. That means remembering that as soon as you pull over the officer is just as worried as you are about how this stop is going to go….'If it’s nighttime, turn on the interior lights in your car. If it’s night or day, lower all the windows on your car. … And put your hands up on the steering wheel — high, where the cop can see them."

Be apologetic if the officer asks you if you know what you did wrong, but remember you don't have to admit to anything.

You can play dumb. You can say, ‘What did I do?’ And if he tells you what you did, you could say, ‘I must have…you know, I just didn’t realize it,' Kane said. And crying only works if you're a woman. Especially an attractive woman. 

How a blue light in your car is as good as coffee at keeping you alert

Sleepiness is responsible for one third of fatalities on motorways as it reduces a driver's alertness, reflexes and visual perception.
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Researchers from the Université Bordeaux Segalen, France, and their Swedish colleagues demonstrated that constant exposure to blue light is as effective as coffee at improving night drivers' alertness.

If you're looking for an assisted living community for an aging relative, check out Silver Living for professional research and reviews of senior living communities around the country.

Things you should never throw in the trash because they are so toxic

1. CFL light bulbs. CFL bulbs contain mercury
2. Lithium-ion batteries. The rechargeable ones.  T
3. Electronics equipment. TVs, stereos, speakers, and mobile phones.  Mobile phones can often be taken back by your cell phone dealer.
4. Car-related fluids. Antifreeze, wiper fluid, engine oil, or anything that comes from your car
5. Paints. Varnishes, stains, and paints.

I wondered now Nicholas Brody on Homeland was able to remember all the lies he told.  Well, now A new study finds that Practice makes a perfect fibber: Just 20 minutes of rehearsing can make you an infallible liar

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:16 PM | Permalink

October 9, 2012

Why you should use the deadbolt lock in hotel rooms

Hacker cracks 4 million hotel locks with 'James Bond Dry Erase Marker'

 James Bond Dryerase Marker

This new hacker invention may look like a harmless dry erase marker, but in truth it's the ultimate electronic lock pick.  In a post titled 'James Bond's Dry Erase Marker,' hotel hacker Matthew Jakubowski demonstrates how anyone can build this pocket-sized device which will open the lock on an estimated 4 million hotel rooms.

'I guess we wanted to show that this sort of attack can happen with a very small concealable device,' says Matthew Jakubowski, a security researcher with Trustwave, told Forbes. 'Someone using this could be searched and even then it wouldn't be obvious that this isn't just a pen.'
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The lock has a small port on its bottom designed for hotels to set master keys.  Hacker Cody Brocious discovered you could read the lock's memory through this port, including a decryption key.
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The device exploits a vulnerability in Onity locks, a cheap lock used on millions of hotel room doors.  Onity's site boasts their locks are used in 22,000 hotel worldwide.
__
Security experts believe the expense has likely left a huge percentage of hotel rooms with the easily cracked model.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:38 PM | Permalink

September 28, 2012

A few things good to know

Why putting things off wastes 69 minutes a day and three years of your adult life

And one in five of us waste more than two hours a day putting off what we should be doing.  Research shows we waste on average 69 minutes a day procrastinating on tasks like trimming the hedge

Women are more likely to do so than men, with 59 per cent admitting to putting off important tasks compared with 50 per cent of men. But we begin to kick the habit as we grow older.  While 65 per cent of 18-24 year olds admit to procrastinating at least once a day, the figure drops to 51 per cent of those aged over

Two things that can increase the hours in your day from Business Insider
1) Use time to help others.  A good way to feel less busy is to give away some of your time. Spending time on others makes us feel less time-constrained
2) The experience of awe.  Those who were primed to feel awe... saw time as much more expansive, less constricted. They felt free of time’s pressure.

Also with practical tips

  • Best time to get a human being on the phone when calling a company's customer service line: As early as possible (lowest call volume)
  • Best day of the week to eat dinner out: Tuesday (freshest food, no crowds)
  • Best day to fly: Saturday (fewer flights means fewer delays, shorter lines, less stress)
  • Best time to fly: Noon (varies but pilots say airport rush hours coincide with workday rush hours)
  • Best time to have surgery: Morning (4x less likely to have complications in the morning than between 3-4PM)
  • Best time to exercise: 6-8PM (body temp highest, peak time for strength and flexibility)
  • Best time to have sex: 10PM-1AM (skin sensitivity is highest in late evening)

Chi running marries method and mindfulness    I love Tai Chi, but don't much like running.  Maybe I'll try this.

Chi Running evolved when a tai chi-practicing ultra-marathoner decided to apply principles from the Chinese system of slow, smooth movement to his running……Correct alignment is a tenet of chi running. Posture is the first thing Dreyer works on with clients.

"If posture isn't good, the support system isn't good," he said. "Any weakness or misalignment will really affect you because you're always on one leg," he said, noting that running injuries happen from the knees down.  In his method a forward tilt from the ankles moves the runner's center of mass ahead and allows gravity to take on more of the body's weight."The body gets to fall," Dreyer said. "All you have to do is lift your legs."

5 Simple Mind Hacks That Changed My Life

1) Making yourself impervious to criticism.
2) How to make a final decision.
3) The key to getting over mistakes.
4) How to stop overreacting to minor issues.
5) How to have a more active life.

Galaxy Jello

when the Kiddo woke up the next morning and asked if he could have a galaxy for breakfast, I was thrilled. He’d been out the night before, when I made them, and didn’t know what they were actually supposed to be, so when he looked at them and saw all of time and space in a jar, I couldn’t have been happier.

Using a plastic bottle to separate eggs.  Mesmerizing via Kottke

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:29 PM | Permalink

September 21, 2012

Another study proves what you already know

Paper Towels Best Method to Dry Hands Finds Mayo Clinic Study

According to a new study released by the Mayo Clinic, drying hands with a paper towel is more effective when compared with cloth towels and electric air dryers (i.e. hot air dryers and jet air dryers). The research, conducted last year and published June 1, reviewed 12 studies on the hygienic efficacy of different hand drying methods. This included drying efficiency, the removal of bacteria and the prevention of cross-contamination.

The study concluded that paper towels:
  • Work better than electric air dryers for hygiene purposes;
  • Remove bacteria more effectively;
  • Cause less contamination in the restroom area;
  • Should be the recommended hand-drying method in healthcare settings.

Rasmussen released survey findings showing that the internet is inching ahead of television as the best way to get news and information in the world.

The internet lead the pack among the various news outlets, with 40% identifying it as the best source of news. Television was a close second with 37%. Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that a mere 7% identify print newspapers as the best way to get news. This is right on target with the a recent report that newspaper ad revenue has dropped to 1950's levels.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:52 PM | Permalink

September 10, 2012

Some notes and links on procrastination and a simple way to get work done

Hands down, procrastination is our favorite form of self-sabotage.  How often do we say to ourselves i'll do it tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week.  Or we say, I'll do it someday, but someday is not a day of the week.  One of these days is none of these days.  Or as some wag put it, "Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday."

For those of you who procrastinate, you may find the links below interesting, inspiring or all too familiar.

There's An Eerie Similarity Between Procrastination And Taking Drugs

So procrastination is a mood-management technique, albeit (like eating or taking drugs) a shortsighted one. But we’re most prone to it when we think it will actually help.

Leaving things undone makes you feel stupid  The unfinished task continues to weigh upon the mind impairing your ability to accomplish other tasks requiring logic.    William James put it more poetically, "Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."

Why do we procrastinate so much?

I am certain that Hamlet has long remained the most celebrated play in the English language because so many of us - students, or not - have experienced the horror of crippling indecision and compulsive delaying tactics.

Prof Piers Steel of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, author of The Procrastination Equation, has conducted extensive research into the topic. He found that 95% of us procrastinate at some point.

Prof Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University Chicago, the author of Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, has found that 20% of the population of the world are chronic procrastinators, complicating their lives, and probably shortening them, with their incessant delaying and task avoidance.

I am, as you will have guessed, a fully paid-up member of the hardcore procrastinators' gang. I never open bank statements, I flee from urgent emails, I haven't filed a tax return for four years and I cannot write anything (although journalism is my living) until the deadline's savaging my ankles.

Some tales of epic procrastinating

When we first got married, my wife brought home a whiteboard on which we could list the jobs that needed to be done. About a year later it disappeared. Just before our silver wedding anniversary, I found the whiteboard in our garage. There were about 20 jobs on it. None of them had been done - and most of them still needed to be done. Steve Swift.
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In 1970 I moved house, dismantling my well-organised workbench. I then spent the next 30 years putting off reassembling it. I was forever hunting for a tool, screw, fuse… looking in a variety of boxes and shelves. I would spend 10 to 20 minutes on each search. Finally, 30 years later, I got to grips and put everything back in its place. I was astonished it only took me 45 minutes. At two 10 minutes searches a month that makes an incredible 120 hours solid work, or three 40-hour weeks. I cannot believe this except that figures don't lie. Leon Laporte
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II started up the Stirling University Procrastination Society in 1980. It was a resounding success. Not one person bothered to return their registration form on time and we never got round to holding any meetings. Well done us. Yay! JohnB

Sometimes though, procrastination works as Penelope Trunk discovered in an unexpected lesson about procrastination

Sometimes procrastination is the best tool we have for taking care of ourselves.

From the Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian, the 17th century Spanish philosopher and writer  comes my favorite procrastination quotes


The wise does at once what the fool does at last.

He who puts off nothing till tomorrow has done a great deal.

Update:  I was going through my Evernote account when I came across notes from a post at Zenhabits about a Simple Way to Get Work Done

The system breaks down to just three rules:

  1. At the end of each week, make a new to-do list entitled, “Weekly Goals”. Write everything you want to accomplish in the next seven days.
  2. Every night, make a new to-do list entitled, “Daily Goals”. Pull from your weekly list and routine every task you want to finish tomorrow.
  3. During your workday, focus only on completing the daily list.Pretend your other work doesn’t exist. When you’ve finished the daily list, you’re done for the day and you’re not allowed to add more work.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:02 AM | Permalink

August 27, 2012

News you can use

How to eat a Tic Tac Like a Boss

Eleven awesome food hacks.  Not to be missed.  Making crispy tortilla bowls,  Optimizing your sandwich layout.  How to preserve berries. Use a wooden spoon to prevent boiling over.  Coring lettuce in 3 seconds.

Sharpen dull tweezers with a nail file

Be Awesome at a Moment’s Notice: A Guide to Powering Up Your Brain. Use These Tricks Sparingly, or They'll Stop Working

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:27 PM | Permalink

August 10, 2012

Friday roundup: Churchill, microwaving socks, homeschooling , Locked In, 2 Moms, Lincoln and more

Survey shocker: Liberal profs admit they'd discriminate against conservatives in hiring, advancement.  No surprise to me.

Honesty is the best policy as telling fewer lies 'improves your physical and mental health'  People reported feeling better after they stopped exaggerating or making excuses.

Don't microwave clothes, use a hair dryer if you must.  Brit sets fire to home by microwaving socks.

Useful for any cook is this article, Common Cooking Mistakes: Cooking Tips and Questions Answered.

If you are going to NYC in the next month, don't miss Churchill: The Power of Words’ is at the Morgan Library, but first, read this review, Winston Churchill: American's enduring love for Winnie and his words.

Imagine being a child who never ever saw the outside world or even the sun. Islamist sect found living underground near Russian city for 10 years.

Ever fancy yourself becoming an archeologist?  Now's your chance to participate in The Ancient Lives Project from home.  Thomas McDonald has the details

A collaborative effort by Oxford, the Egypt Exploration Society, the Imaging Papyri Project, and other groups and institutions, Ancient Lives is trying to speed up the transcription process by crowd sourcing and computerization. This means that you can help decipher the Oxyrhynchus papyri… it could speed up the transcription and identification of fragments, allowing them to be published. It’s also about the coolest way to be an archaeologist without ever leaving your home.

As part of Operation Nightingale, recovering wounded soldiers performing a routine excavation found a warrior just like themselves, only buried 1400 years ago.

Home Schools vs. Public Schools.  A fascinating info graphic on how much better kids do if they are home-schooled.  Anthony Esolen has some examples in Aged Before Their Time

What united them all was an abiding happiness, which I can only describe as youth, not in chronological age but in soul…..
They had never known the subtle and corroding nihilism of a government school, for they had never gone to one; they had been taught at home. That meant, at the least, that they spent their days among people who loved them, and whom they loved in turn. And they seemed well on their way to becoming young men and women possessing that most attractive of character traits, the one that Chesterton embodied so well: that of being at once wise beyond their years


The Tragedy Europe Forgot
  Some 12 million Germans, mostly women and children, were expelled from Eastern Europe in 1945, an Allies-endorsed ethnic cleansing.

A question I've never been able to answer.  Why Aren't Murderous Communists Condemned Like Nazis Are?

A rare survivor of 'Locked-in syndrome recounts his ordeal

The medics believed he was in a persistent vegetative state, devoid of mental consciousness or physical feeling.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Marsh was aware, alert and fully able to feel every touch to his body.
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But he still weeps when he remembers watching his wife tell the doctors that they couldn't turn off his life support machine.

"The doctors had just finished telling Lili that I had a 2% chance of survival and if I should survive I would be a vegetable," he said. "I could hear the conversation and in my mind I was screaming 'No!'"

Funniest video of the week. Olympic Sailing. Commenting by Someone Who Has No Clue What's Going On.  It's hilarious. Watch it to the end.

19 Things the Millionaire Next Door Won't Tell You

Growing Up with Two Moms: The Untold Children's View by Robert Oscar Lopez

Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors….. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house. To most outside observers, I was a well-raised, high-achieving child, finishing high school with straight A’s.

Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.

 Lincoln Daniel Day Lewis

Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in first official picture from Spielberg's biopic.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:41 AM | Permalink

August 3, 2012

Watch out for artificial butter

Personally, I wouldn't touch the stuff.  I like the real stuff. 

Artificial Butter Flavoring Ingredient Linked to Key Alzheimer's Disease Process

A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, dactyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer's disease.

The study appears in ACS' journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:38 AM | Permalink

July 30, 2012

Best parenting tip ever

 Wifi Parenting-Tip
via Gizmondo

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:33 PM | Permalink

Honey heals wounds and it's not bad on toast

I don't bee-lieve it! Man, 62, cures painful eye infection with 99p jar of honey

A man who spent eight years searching for a cure for a chronic eye condition was amazed when he finally found the remedy in a 99p jar of Tesco Value honey.  Frank Dougan, 62, lost his left eye when he was shot with a bow and arrow in a childhood accident and he later developed a painful infection called blepharitis.  He visited doctors and eye specialists and spent a fortune on different drops over the years but nothing worked.

But he was finally cured when he cut his hand while on holiday in Jerusalem and he was advised to put honey on it.  Surprised by the results, when he returned home to Glasgow he bought a jar of Tesco Value Honey and tried it on his eyelid - and within weeks the infection had cleared.

He said yesterday: 'It’s unbelievable. It’s incredibly effective. I have spent a fortune on prescription eye drops over the years, I have a fridge full of them.

'It’s funny that at the end of it all the cure would come in the form of a 99p jar of honey from the supermarket. And it’s not bad on toast either.'

Everyone should have a jar or more of honey stored away for emergencies. 

The FDA quietly acknowledged the benefits of honey when it approved a line of honey-based wound dressings.

Using honey to treat wounds is nothing new; even ancient civilizations used it in this manner. However, this is the sort of thing that usually gets relegated to "folk healing". It seems scientifically obvious: honey is very acidic (antibacterial), and it produces its own hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluid which drains from a wound! The extremely high sugar content of honey means it contains very little water. So, it draws the pus and fluid from the wound, thereby speeding the healing process. Furthermore, the honey contains powerful germ-fighting phytochemicals from the plants that produced the pollen harvested by the honeybees.

All you want to know about the Benefits of Honey

 Logo-Benefits-Of-Honey-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:45 AM | Permalink

July 5, 2012

Some Handy Household Tips

My favorite tips from  Guest Poster  Katie Berry's  Top 10 Housekeeping Tips .  Katie's blog is Housewife How-Tos

1. Make your bed every morning: it gives you forward momentum the rest of the day. The clothes on the floor will look out-of-place, the shoes by the door will beg to be put away, and you’ll find yourself happy to take care of them.

2. Tidy your bathroom when you use it. Swish water in the sink to clean away toothpaste, then grab a dry washcloth and buff away spots on the mirror. Put your makeup and things away, wet the cloth and wipe off the vanity. Suddenly, your bathroom looks presentable.

3. Keep the kitchen sink empty. A clean sink reminds family members to pick up after themselves, while a sink full of dirty dishes gives them permission to add to the mess. Clean dishes as you cook, too, and your kids won’t feel overwhelmed when asked to help with the dinner dishes.

5. Clean and prep produce the day you buy it. What’s the point of buying produce if it’s just going to rot in the fridge? Cut carrots and celery into sticks right away, slice melons into wedges, tear lettuce and wrap it in paper towels; the half-hour it takes will help you eat that produce while it’s still fresh, and may even cut down on unhealthy snacking!

10. If it only takes a minute, spend that minute NOW. Straighten the sofa pillows. Dust the coffee table. Wipe the fingerprints off the microwave. There are so many housekeeping tasks that take a minute or less, but tackling them one at a time can make a huge difference. Think you’re too busy? Set a timer to go off every 60 minutes, then tackle five tasks. By the end of the day you’ll be stunned how much better your house looks!
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:40 PM | Permalink

May 21, 2012

Stupid Sugar

Does sugar make you stupid? Study suggests it sabotages learning and memory

Study co-author Professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla said the rats fed just a sugary diet were slower and their brains had declined.

He said: 'Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.

However, the good news is that eating nuts and fish such as salmon can counteract this disruption.

'Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,' said Prof Gomez-Pinilla. 'Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.'

While earlier research has revealed how fructose harms the body through its role in diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, this study is the first to uncover how the sweetener influences the brain.

The researchers were studying the impact of high-fructose corn syrup on rats, who have similar brain chemistry to humans.

I wonder if the candy bars with nuts I usually choose cancel each other out.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 AM | Permalink

May 11, 2012

Don't bother recycling eyeglasses

Virginia Postrel says Recycling Eyeglasses Is a Feel-Good Waste of Money

In a paper published in March in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, four researchers compare the full costs of delivering used glasses to the costs of instead delivering ready-made glasses in standard powers (like my drugstore readers, but for myopia as well). The authors find that recycled glasses cost nearly twice as much per usable pair.
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Recycling old glasses makes people feel generous and thrifty. They believe they’re helping people and saving money. They think the glasses they donate are “free,” because they don’t consider all the hidden costs of sorting and shipping them. And they don’t realize just how cheap manufacturing new glasses has become. If they really wanted to help people see, they’d send money. Unlike leftovers, it’s guaranteed to fit.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:53 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2012

Garlic and food poisoning

It may be the last thing you want to do when you have food poisoning, but eating raw garlic may be the best thing you can do to get over it.

Garlic is 100 times more potent than antibiotics when it comes to food poisoning

A key ingredient in garlic is 100 times more powerful than two popular antibiotics at fighting a leading cause of food poisoning, scientists have found.

Tests discovered that the  compound, dilly sulphide, can easily breach a slimy protective biofilm employed by the bug to make it harder to destroy.

Not only is it a lot more powerful than antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, it also takes a fraction of the time to work.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, could open the door to new treatments for raw and processed meats, and food preparation surfaces, that would reduce the toll of Campylobacter food poisoning.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:23 PM | Permalink

April 4, 2012

Boy scout tips saved his life

Stranded man, 76, survives 10 days in the wilderness after eating snow and remembering Boy Scout tips... but friend dies going to find help

An elderly man has survived ten days in the remote Nevada desert by eating snow and using tips he learned as a Boy Scout.

James Klemovich, 76, was found in good health by military personnel but his travel partner was discovered dead around a mile from the stranded car after he went to find help. 

Mr Klemovich, from Littleton, Colorado, had been exploring a mine he co-owned with 75-year-old Laszlo Szabo of Lovelock, Nevada. Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado said Mr Klemovich and his friend got lost on March 18. They were reported missing by family members who hadn't heard from them in several days.  The 76-year-old, who is diabetic, was treated at a hospital in Fallon, Nevada and has since been released.  He also wears a pacemaker and has had triple bypass heart surgery.
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According to Mr Klemovich's wife, Joanne, the pair had become stuck on an isolated road with no cell phone reception.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 AM | Permalink

"Just 24 hours after getting the Wonderbag, I can't imagine life without it."

It won't be long before you get this non-electric slow cooker.

It looks like a beanbag. So how does it cook soups, stews and porridge to perfection?

Squashy, shapeless and stuffed with recycled polystyrene beads, it's an unlikely contender for the year's must-have accessory. But, before long, I'll bet you'll find one nestling in the kitchens of Orlando Bloom, Leonardo diCaprio and every other celebrity with eco-credentials.


 Wonderbag


The Wonderbag, you see, is no mere style accessory. It might look like a Seventies beanbag, but it's actually a non-electric slow cooker. Tuck a pan of hot ingredients into its cosy folds, and it will keep them stewing slowly for hours.

Its inventor, Sarah Collins, 42, admits: 'It's the oldest technology in the world. I don't understand how someone else hasn't made it already.' Our ancestors buried hot stew pots in the ground to keep them cooking without fuel.
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Although the Wonderbag was designed to help the poor, it's just as useful for those who are more short of time than money. 'I'm amazed by the uptake in the UK,' says Collins. 'It's not just people who are worried about green issues, we're getting busy executives and working mums. Taxi drivers love it because they can keep food hot all day in the cab.'

The bag can also keep food chilled, too, so it's great for summer picnics. So, just 24 hours after getting the Wonderbag, I can't imagine life without it.

Wonderbag is  "eco-cooking that's changing lives" and Unilever has just ordered 5 million.

"Not only are our brands perfect for adding flavour to a Wonderbag dish, but the bag adds real value to households by saving them time and money while cooking tasty, nutritious food. Incorporating the Wonderbag adds a new dimension to our promotion and the bags are a real crowd puller."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:55 AM | Permalink

February 28, 2012

Advil for a broken heart

Who would that Advil would help a broken heart or any type of emotional pain.

The pill that could mend a broken heart: Scientists claim simple painkillers could dull the pain of rejection

Pain killers could be used to dull the emotional pain of rejection in the future, scientists have claimed.

Researchers have discovered that emotional and physical pain cause similar reactions in the brain and are so similar that some studies have shown that taking painkillers can actually dull emotional pain, the authors claim.

Social rejection or being dumped can produce such a strong reaction that it is processed in the part of the brain that normally deals with physical pain.
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One study that was examined even found that people who took a pain killer for three weeks reported less hurt feelings than people who took a placebo.

The scientists saw a correlation in the brain activity of people who had experienced social rejection and physical pain

Expressing her surprise at the findings Professor Eisenberger said: 'It follows in a logical way from the argument that the physical and social pain systems overlap, but it’s still kind of hard to imagine.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:31 PM | Permalink

February 24, 2012

Install this privacy plug-in right now

Are you at all concerned about your privacy?  If so then recent stories about how Google and others track your every move is very worrisome.  Even if you thought you had enabled privacy options on your browser, turns out that Google tricked Apple's Safari in order to track users.

The cover story in last week's New York Times Magazine shows you just How Companies Learn Your Secrets.

Beginning March 1, Google will implement its new privacy policy that will allow them to build a permanent profile on you including age, gender and locality.    The Daily Mail shows you three simple steps to delete your Google browsing history before it's too late.

Last week, I read Vodkapundit's post on Somebody's Watching Me.

I took his advice and installed Do Not Track, a free browser extension from a young Massachusetts company, Albine

He reported on his experience in  Somebody's (Not) Watching

Just a quick update to Monday’s item about Do Not Track Plus.  In 48 hours, this thing has killed off more than 5,200 attempts to track my browsing. I look at websites as a big part of my job, so a big number didn’t come as a surprise. But that big? I had no idea.  But that’s nothing compared to how much easier life is for my CPU. I keep Apple’s Activity Monitor up and running all the time, just because I’m a bit of a geek like that. Under a typical browser workload — which for me is a lot of open windows and tabs — my browser web content could be eating up anywhere from an eighth to a quarter of my CPU cycles. That’s been cut down by about 80%.  In other words, web trackers might be quadrupling the processor load of your web browser, slowing down your whole system.  As I said the other day, just go and download it right now.

My experience was very like his.  In eight days, the Do Not Track software I installed blocked 17,652 attempts to track me online.
My computer had been very slow much too often and often seized up so I had to restart. Now it  speeds along the way it should.  I've never been so happy with a plug-in since Adblock.

 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:46 PM | Permalink

February 20, 2012

Stand up straight to strengthen your willpower

An easy way to increase self-control

From Willpower: Resdiscovering the Greatest Human Strength:

Unexpectedly, the best results came from the group working on posture. That tiresome old advice—“Sit up straight!”—was more useful than anyone had imagined. By overriding their habit of slouching, the students strengthened their willpower and did better at tasks that had nothing to do with posture. The improvement was most pronounced among the students who had followed the advice most diligently (as measured by the daily logs the students kept of how often they’d forced themselves to sit up or stand up straight).

And it's not the posture aspect that does it -- it's consistently working to change a habit that improves self control:

 Before After Posture

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:05 AM | Permalink

February 2, 2012

Honey's Golden Touch

This is why every home should have honey in its first aid kit.

Honey’s golden touch: Study finds liquid kills 85 per cent of bacteria found in hard-to-treat wounds

Honey could have the golden touch when it comes to keeping bugs at bay.

In tests, manuka honey eased and prevented hard-to-treat wound infections.

Just two hours of honey treatment killed 85 per cent of bacteria, the journal Microbiology reports.

 Honey

The Cardiff University research showed that the honey makes it more difficult for bacteria to take over wounds, by preventing them from forming impenetrable ‘living film’.

While honey’s healing powers have been feted before the science behind its success has not been fully understood.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:33 PM | Permalink

January 25, 2012

Insider tips to surviving a hospital stay

The happy hospitalist gives you some Insider tops to surviving your hospital stay

10. Bring your own pillow. Trust me.

9. Bring a laptop computer or request one from the hospital. Hospitals all have free wireless these days and many will actually provide you with a laptop if you just ask.

8.  Bring an accurate and updated medication list with you. Nothing leaves you more vulnerable to hospital errors than to have your doctor give you medication you haven’t taken in months or for you to miss medications that haven’t been updated by your five outpatient doctors since they bought their worthless EMR three years ago.

7. Write down all your questions early. Your doctor will only come to your room once a day (because they only get paid by Medicare to come once in a day) and any unanswered questions will have to wait until the following day.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:28 PM | Permalink

January 13, 2012

Gutter gardens, tension rods and baby powder

From 25 clever ideas to make life easier

Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!

 Tensionrod Undersink

Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.

 Guttergarden

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.

 Cut Apple Rubber Band
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:33 AM | Permalink

December 21, 2011

Dessert Stomach

 Dessert Stomach

Why You Always Have Room for Dessert.

No matter how stuffed you are after the main course you always have room for a little dessert. Here’s a scientific explanation for the phenomenon some people call the “dessert stomach”.
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The sugar in sweet foods stimulates a reflex that expands your stomach, writes senior researcher Arnold Berstad and assistant doctor Jørgen Valeur from Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in the latest issue  of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.

Via Instapundit,

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 PM | Permalink

November 9, 2011

Don't get stuck on stupid

Are you smart enough to know you are stupid?

David Dunning, for whom the “Dunning-Kruger effect” is known, claims that we are simply not very good at knowing that we don’t know things.
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What makes people “stupid” is often a matter of what we don’t know and of what we assume to actually know. 

There is willful stupidity, crowd stupidity and media-induced stupidity.

Laurence Gonzales, a journalist and student of clinical psychology, notes the difference between those who survive and those who die in a time of crisis: "Survivors are often those who think deliberately under pressure, while deliberation is what helps people avoid stupid mistakes."

We often follow a mental script when facing harrowing or unfamiliar situations. How have others acted in the past? What do our instincts tell us? People say to follow your gut, so instincts should be the way to go, right? Probably not.
Realistically considering and addressing the situation is the real life-saver here; although routines and scripts are useful for everyday tasks like getting dressed and negotiating public transportation, more complicated situations call for more serious thinking. Deliberation, paying attention, and using common sense can make all the difference between a stupid person and a smart one—and between a dead person and a live one.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:24 PM | Permalink

October 20, 2011

Beware of online discount drugs

The Cheap Generic Medication You Bought Online Is Probably Fake

the World Health Organization estimates that half of all online discount drug websites sell counterfeit or fake drugs.  These medications are not checked for quality, and they may contain a lower dosage than required by the actual prescription. 
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Coincidentally this past week The National Post published an article titled Drug Scams: A Billion Dollar Industry for Russian Gangs.
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The Russian Drug scam has reached 79 countries and has sold over 2.5 million doses of counterfeit drugs
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 PM | Permalink

October 10, 2011

What can tear apart your DNA?

When you fly, you are better off if you go through the humiliating pat-down by the TSA rather than go through their body scanners writes The Advice Goddess even though the TSA says the scanners are safe for all travelers.   

But the fact is that no one actually knows how this relatively new technology affects human flesh. Preliminary findings indicate that terahertz waves, which are similar to millimeter ones, may "unravel" DNA, "creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That's a jaw dropping conclusion." Which is jaw-dropping passion given that this article, "How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA," appeared in MIT's Technology Review.

Note that the FDA has sidestepped safety concerns over TSA body scanners.

You would think there would have been more testing before millions of passengers were scanned by these machines.  John Sedat, professor emeritus in biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF wrote

“There’s no real data on these machines, and in fact, the best guess of the dose is much, much higher than certainly what the public thinks,”

He's one of many scientists who doubt the veracity of the TSA body scanner tests.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:10 PM | Permalink

October 5, 2011

Just cooling my brain

 Yawning

The Claim:  Yawning  Cools the Brain

The brain operates best within a narrow range of temperatures, and like a car engine, it sometimes needs a way to cool down. To lower the brain’s thermostat, researchers say, the body takes in cooler air from its surroundings — prompting deep inhalation.

Yawning is contagious too.  Tip: If you absolutely can not been seen yawning and someone nearby is doing exactly that,  Breath deeply through your nose which will cool off your brain just as well as a yawn.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:21 AM | Permalink

August 24, 2011

Never on a Friday

The worst day of the week to get your car serviced is Friday after lunch.  Why?


 Oil Change
...the service department is trying to push out as many vehicles as possible. Maybe a car has been there since Monday waiting on parts. Maybe there are a few cars like that. Then people pour in around lunchtime wanting oil changes. And there are the cars there already with appointments, and everyone's in a rush to get it all done. Make an appointment for a Monday morning as early as possible. It's a lot more orderly, and they'll do a better job.

Confessions of a Car Dealership Service Manager  in  Popular Mechanics

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:07 PM | Permalink

July 21, 2011

The secret to keeping a clean house

Dear Home Ec 101,
How do you keep a clean house?
Signed,
N00b in Newford

Heather says:

The short answer? You put crap away.

If every person in every home simply put things where they belonged, keeping a clean house would only be a matter of dealing with dirt. Unfortunately the universe tends toward entropy, a state of maximum disorder and minimum energy. Putting things away takes effort many of us feel could be better spent in other ways, like getting just one more level in Farmville.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:20 PM | Permalink

June 22, 2011

Go play outside

Could the sun ameliorate the rapid increase in nearsightedness?

The Sun Is the Best Optometrist

In this case, the rapid increase in nearsightedness appears to be due to a characteristic of modern life: more and more time spent indoors under artificial lights.
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Similarly, a 2007 study by scholars at Ohio State University found that, among American children with two myopic parents, those who spent at least two hours per day outdoors were four times less likely to be nearsighted than those who spent less than one hour per day outside.

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Luckily, there is a simple way to lower the risk of nearsightedness, and today, the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — is the perfect time to begin embracing it: get children to spend more time outside.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:24 PM | Permalink

June 15, 2011

Some money-saving tips

There's never been a better time to learn to live more frugally.

Here are 62 Money-Saving Tips to Help Survive Another Recession

Bank “found” money in a separate account. With any income above your normal earnings, bank the amount in a separate checking or savings account and use the money to pay down debt, build up savings, or offset increased expenses. Overtime, tax refunds (and stimulus checks), gifts and similar windfalls belong here.

When in the store, look high and low for deals, literally. Marketers know that eye-level is the place most people tend to shop, so they put the items with the highest margins right in front of you. Better deals are usually found on lower shelves.

Divide credit card minimum payments in half and pay that amount twice a month.
Interest is calculated based on the average daily balance of your account for the entire month. By making a payment every couple weeks you are reducing that average balance and therefore reducing the finance charges assessed, as opposed to waiting until the end of the month to make a single payment.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:14 PM | Permalink

June 13, 2011

Altering public sounds

If you have a house or a business with too many young people hanging around, the best thing to do is play music, a certain kind of music, gospel or classical.

Tunes beat drugs. That's the gospel truth

Stanczak lives on East Russell Street, in Tioga, where two-bit dealers peddle dope right outside his living-room windows. They lounge on his steps. Once, a particularly brazen salesman held court on a chair that had been left at the curb as trash.
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Whenever Stanczak calls the cops, the dealers scatter. But the next day, they're back.
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So I told him about Marie DeLany, who shared with me this week an astounding tale of how she snuffed out drug dealing on her Frankford corner - by blaring Christian music out her third-floor windows.

Old-time standards like "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" and "The Lord's Prayer." You name the sacred song, it wafted three doors down to the intersection of Penn and Arrott streets, where dealers sold to addicts who stumbled up from the Arrott bus terminal.

"It wasn't loud enough to be obnoxious," says DeLany, 57, who staggered her broadcasts between noon and 8 p.m. "I didn't get complaints from neighbors. But it could definitely be heard."

Over the next few months, she says, the dealers drifted away. And they haven't returned, even though she hasn't barraged the block with "How Great Thou Art" in well over a year.

Say "Amen," somebody!
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In London, the British Transport Police pipe classical music into the Underground transit system, as a crime deterrent. In Canada, 7-Eleven stores and public parks have used classical music to telegraph the message that civility trumps incivility.

And last November, in Portland, Ore., the city's light-rail system - TriMet - began broadcasting Rachmaninoff and Beethoven at its 162nd St. station - ground zero for the city's worst crime.

"The results have been encouraging," says East Portland state Rep. Jefferson Smith, a champion of the pilot project. "There has been a 41 percent decrease in police service calls to the area, at a time when calls have generally increased across the region."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:42 PM | Permalink

March 19, 2011

Spraying buzzing flies with hairspray

Some gleanings from The bizarre yet brilliant domestic tips handed down by Britain's mums.

To fasten a bracelet unaided, tape one end to your wrist, leaving the other hand free to do the rest.

Pep up lifeless silk by putting a couple of lumps of sugar in the rinsing water after washing.

A drop of gin makes a good diamond cleaner.

To cut a delicate sponge cake, use dental floss.

If a buzzing fly or wasp is driving you mad, spray the area with hairspray (this locks insects’ wings).

Putting a couple of elastic bands around each shoulder of a coat hanger will stop items slipping off.

Rubber gloves remove pet hair on furniture — rub in one direction and you’ll end up with a ball of hair, that is then easily removed.

Salt is an excellent tooth-whitener (that’s why we all look so well after a summer swimming in the sea).

Use baby wipes on keyboards — they are cheaper than special wipes and just as effective at killing germs.

Matted suede can be restored with a gentle rub from an emery board.

Butter is great for cleaning dolls’ faces smeared with ink.

To cure hiccups, eat a bit of dry bread and chew slowly. Alternatively, gently inhale a little pepper — when you sneeze the hiccups should go.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:46 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2011

Flying and not getting sick

After reading this

In 2007, Charles P. Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, swabbed airplane bathrooms and tray tables on eight flights to see what bugs might be lurking onboard. Four out of six tray tables tested positive for the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and norovirus, the highly contagious group of viruses that can cause a miserable one- or two-day bout of vomiting, diarrhea and cramping, was found on one tray. Most of the bathrooms he swabbed had E. coli bacteria. Thirty percent of sinks, flush handles and faucet handles had E. coli, as did 20 percent of toilet seats, according to his research.

I'm going to take more seriously the Practical Traveler's advice How Not to Get Sick From a Flight

Wash your hands before touching your face and before eating and drinking.  Looks like I'll be carrying one of those hand sanitizers.

UPDATE

And I'm going to start using those disinfectant  wipes offered at the grocery store before using a grocery cart .

Gerba says 72% of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.

Researchers say they actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles than you would typically find in a bathroom, mainly because bathrooms are disinfected more often than shopping carts.

Since most stores do not routinely wash and disinfect their carts, it's up to you to do it.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:27 AM | Permalink

February 8, 2011

The Power of Napping

As a long time proponent of napping, I relished this post from the Art of Manliness. For all my jobs, I always kept a straw basket that held a mat, a blanket and a small down pillow so that I could nap under the desk when I had to.

Unleash the Power of the Nap

But in reality, the nap stigma is incredibly misplaced. Naps can be one of the most powerful tools for self-improvement; they can increase not only our health and well-being but our intelligence and productivity as well. This is something great men have known all along. Famous thinkers and leaders like Edison, JFK, Churchill, and Napoleon were all ardent nappers. We’ll cover the specific napping habits of famous men in a future post.

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While the pace of modern life may keep us from being the biphasic sleepers we were meant to be, the urge for a daytime snooze is still hardwired into our biology. Studies have shown that when people are put into an environment that lacks any indication of time, they will fall into the long sleep at night/shorter nap during the day pattern. Thus most of us are daily fighting tooth and nail against our body’s natural circadian rhythm, and this is wreaking havoc on our well-being, turning us into a horde of zombies that crave espresso instead of brains.

The authors list the benefits of napping

  • Increases alertness
  • Improves learning and working memory
  • Prevents burnout and reverses information overload
  • Heightens your senses and creativity
  • Improves health
  • Improves mood
And then show you how to tailor your nap to your needs.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:13 PM | Permalink

January 18, 2011

Best hangover cure

Still champ. Coffee and an aspirin the best hangover cure of all.

Scientists have confirmed what millions have suspected for years if you want to soothe a tired head - simply take some caffeine and a painkiller.

They found the caffeine in coffee and the anti-inflammatory ingredients of aspirin and other painkillers reacted against the chemical compounds of ethanol, or pure alcohol.

Ethanol brings on headaches thanks to a chemical acetate it can produce and even low doses can affect some people more than others, said the study.

Professor Michael Oshinsky, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, induced headaches in rats using small amounts of ethanol. He then gave them doses of caffeine and anti-inflammatories to find it blocked the acetate and relieved the headaches.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:59 AM | Permalink

December 30, 2010

Bounce

The scientific evidence is in says Kevin Purdy at Lifehacker to support one of my favorite practical tips.   

BOUNCE dryer sheets keep away bees and mosquitoes from you and gnats from garden.   

They will also freshen your drawers and suitcases, eliminate static electricity from your television screen, and deodorize shoes and sneakers

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:56 PM | Permalink

December 20, 2010

Pass phrase not password

A good primer on How to Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes.

Protect yourself with a pass - phrase instead of a pass word.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:52 PM | Permalink

Common sense that's funny, not boring

Funny and practical, I loved this piece by Gregory Sullivan at Maine Family Robinson, The Top Ten Dumb Things Other People Want You To Do To Wreck Your House and Save Money . As a contractor and carpenter, he's seen and worked at good houses and bad ones and knows what he is talking about. As a writer he's funny as all get out. Just take a look at his bio.

1: CFLs: You don't have to pass laws to force people to do things if they make any sense. Exhibit A: We'll soon be squinting at things using only the wan, greenish-yellow, light-like waves dribbling out of the expensive, delicate, miniature Superfund sites screwed into our lamps where a proper lightbulb used to go. Yes, Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb use is already the law of the land, phased in over a period of years. We're supposed to pay quintiple for one-fifth the light, all to save us from the dreaded "waste heat." I live in western Maine. "Waste heat" is as mythical a beast as I've heard of. Rarer than honest State Senators and more elusive than pretty girls that pay for their own drinks. I'm thinking of going back to Coleman lanterns instead.

2. Venting Clothes Dryers Indoors

3. Boarding up Your Fireplace

4. Blanketing Your Water Heater

5. Spray In Insulation

6. Space Age Windows and Doors

7. Open Floor Plans

8. Low Flow Shower Heads

9. Ceiling Fans

10 Elaborate Tax-Subsidized Boilers

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:43 PM | Permalink

November 19, 2010

Some practical tips

Just a few little practical tips that I came across this week that I didn't know before.

From Lifehacker Use Spent Coffee Grounds for Easier Fireplace Cleanup.

Also, Adopt the 30/30 minute work cycle to to increase focus and energy

And then, Store product model numbers on your smartphone so you always get the right cartridge for your printer and the right size air filter.

From Unclutterer, Silver wrapping paper suits every occasion, it's always appropriate, elegant and inexpensive. and the time to stock up is now when stock of silver paper is abundant.

To deliver your presents cross country learn How to use airline miles to fly business class (without even stepping foot on an airplane

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 AM | Permalink

November 18, 2010

Choose paper, not reusable shopping bags

Why you should not use reusable shopping bags In three words: E.coli, salmonella, and lead

Researchers from the University of Arizona stopped 84 shoppers using reusable shopping bags to examine their bags

Over half were contaminated with bacteria including E. coli and many were contaminated with salmonella.

The researchers warned the levels of bacteria they found were high enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even death. Children may be in the greatest danger, they added, as they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of organisms such as E.coli.

If you don't wash your reusable bags every time you use them, it's highly likely that they are contaminated.

Most of the reusable bags are made in China and contain potentially unsafe levels of lead reports The New York Times.

You're better off choosing paper not plastic bags.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:09 PM | Permalink

October 5, 2010

Procrastination

I've been meaning to post about What we can learn from procrastination by James Surowiecki in The New Yorker, but I just didn't get around to it.

The subhead is What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?

I guess I'm just like everyone else who procrastinates because it's mysterious to me except as evidence of our divided selves.

Philosophers are interested in procrastination for another reason. It’s a powerful example of what the Greeks called akrasia—doing something against one’s own better judgment. Piers Steel defines procrastination as willingly deferring something even though you expect the delay to make you worse off.
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Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.

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The first step to dealing with procrastination isn’t admitting that you have a problem. It’s admitting that your “you”s have a problem.

You can use external tools to get you going (Hasslebot is  a good one.

Beyond self-binding, there are other ways to avoid dragging your feet, most of which depend on what psychologists might call reframing the task in front of you.

You know, dividing up the open-ended task or goal into smaller steps.

Another way of making procrastination less likely is to reduce the amount of choice we have: often when people are afraid of making the wrong choice they end up doing nothing. So companies might be better off offering their employees fewer investment choices in their 401(k) plans, and making signing up for the plan the default option.

Then again, maybe what you are putting off doing, isn't worth doing anyway.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:39 PM | Permalink

September 22, 2010

Save a Life

A new form of CPR - Continuous Chest Compression - can double a person's chances of survival who collapses from sudden cardiac arrest.

It's easier to learn, easier to perform and more effective than traditional CPR that recommended rescue breathing.

Continuous Chest Compression does not require certification or mouth-to-mouth and because of Good Samaritan laws in, I think, every state, you are not at legal risk.

Who knows?  Someday you may be in a position to save someone's life.  Watch and learn how to do it in this six-minute video.

HT:  Ace

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:51 PM | Permalink

September 7, 2010

Thinking of study as packing a neural suitcase

Some good and surprising advice for young and old on how to study.

Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits.

Cognitive scientists do not deny that honest-to-goodness cramming can lead to a better grade on a given exam. But hurriedly jam-packing a brain is akin to speed-packing a cheap suitcase, as most students quickly learn — it holds its new load for a while, then most everything falls out.

“With many students, it’s not like they can’t remember the material” when they move to a more advanced class, said Henry L. Roediger III, a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “It’s like they’ve never seen it before.”

When the neural suitcase is packed carefully and gradually, it holds its contents for far, far longer. An hour of study tonight, an hour on the weekend, another session a week from now: such so-called spacing improves later recall, without requiring students to put in more overall study effort or pay more attention, dozens of studies have found.

No one knows for sure why. It may be that the brain, when it revisits material at a later time, has to relearn some of what it has absorbed before adding new stuff — and that that process is itself self-reinforcing.
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That’s one reason cognitive scientists see
testing itself — or practice tests and quizzes — as a powerful tool of learning, rather than merely assessment. The process of retrieving an idea is not like pulling a book from a shelf; it seems to fundamentally alter the way the information is subsequently stored, making it far more accessible in the future.
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“Testing has such bad connotation; people think of standardized testing or teaching to the test,” Dr. Roediger said. “Maybe we need to call it something else, but this is one of the most powerful learning tools we have.”
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The more mental sweat it takes to dig it out, the more securely it will be subsequently anchored.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:31 AM | Permalink

August 31, 2010

DIY remedies that actually work.


_man-fingers-in-his_ear.jpg

Press on your gums to stop a nosebleed.

Cough during an injection to beat pain.

Wiggle your head to end pins and needles.

Blow on your thumb to stop palpitations.

Fingers in your ears for a sore throat.

Suck on an ice cube to soothe toothache.

Swallow sugar to stop hiccups.

Put pressure on a burn.

Wear bed socks to beat insomnia.

Use duct tape to remove a wart.

Grunt to stop a stitch.

Sprinkle black pepper on a cut.

Eat coconut to relieve diarrhea.

Medical specialists explain why they might work and how.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:07 AM | Permalink

August 28, 2010

Tai Chi


_woman_doing_tai_chi_on_beach.jpg

Tai Chi Reported to Ease Fibromyalgia

The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi may be effective as a therapy for fibromyalgia, according to a study published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

A clinical trial at Tufts Medical Center found that after 12 weeks of tai chi, patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, did significantly better in measurements of pain, fatigue, physical functioning, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education. Tai chi patients were also more likely to sustain improvement three months later.

“It’s an impressive finding,” said Dr. Daniel Solomon, chief of clinical research in rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who was not involved in the research. “This was a well-done study. It was kind of amazing that the effects seem to carry over.”

Best of all, you can do Tai Chi no matter what your age. I know in my town, they offer free classes to seniors.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:46 AM | Permalink

What bacon and duct tape can't do, baking soda can

51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda

7. Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin.
 For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.


10. Clean Brushes and Combs. 
For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

19. Clean the Oven. 
Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.

26. Clean and Freshen Sports Gear.
Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons Baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts Baking sodato 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.


47. Freshen Stuffed Animals. Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink

August 17, 2010

Geotags

Another in a long list of things I didn't know before.   Most digital photos whether taken on a camera or with a GPS-equipped smartphones have embedded within them geotags that provide the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken.

Is this important? Only if you want to keep what remains of your privacy - like where you live, where your children live or what you have and whether you're on vacation - when you post photos online.

Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live

“I’d say very few people know about geotag capabilities,” said Peter Eckersley, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, “and consent is sort of a slippery slope when the only way you can turn off the function on your smartphone is through an invisible menu that no one really knows about.” -----

The Web site ICanStalkU.com provides step-by-step instructions for disabling the photo geotagging function on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices.

A person’s location is also revealed while using services like Foursquare and Gowalla as well as when posting to Twitter from a GPS-enabled mobile device, but the geographical data is not hidden as it is when posting photos.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink

August 12, 2010

Tilt the glass

Now scientific proof for what anyone over 25 who drinks champagne already knows.

French scientists work out how to pour the perfect glass of champagne: tilt the glass

Through exhaustive testing the team discovered that pouring champagne at an angle and down the side of the glass is best for preserving its taste and fizz.

Although the 'discovery' confirms what experienced bar tenders and drinkers have known for centuries, the researchers say it is the first time anyone has scientifically proven the correct method for dishing out the bubbly.

Their study also confirms the importance of chilling champagne before serving to enhance its taste.

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-Champagne, Tilted Glass

Gérard Liger-Belair and colleagues noted that tiny bubbles are the essence of fine champagnes and sparkling wines.

Past studies indicate that
the bubbles — formed during the release of large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide gas — help transfer the taste, aroma, and all-important 'mouth-feel' of champagne

So far, no one is trying to tax the carbon output by the glass, but give them time.

The discoverer of champagne, Dom Perignon was a Benedictine monk responsible for the production of wine at his abbey.  He experimented with different ways to avoid the common problem of refermentation of white grapes.
Tasting the results of one of his experiments, he shouted to his fellow monks,  "Come quickly, I am drinking stars"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

July 19, 2010

"The heart of the farming technique was the compost pit"

I found  My Grandfather's Earthworm Farm absolutely fascinating and compelling in practicality of the picture of order and harmony with nature it draws when I read it for the first time several years ago.  Reading it again, I feel the same awe.

And now enters the earthworm. For more than sixty years these 160 acres had been farmed without a single crop failure. My grandfather was known far and wide for the unequalled excellence of his corn and other grain, and a large part of his surplus was disposed of at top prices for seed purposes. The farm combined general farming and stock raising; my grandfather's hobby, for pleasure and profit, was the breeding and training of fine saddle horses and matched Hambletonian teams. He maintained a herd of about fifty horses, including stud, brood mares, and colts in all stages of development. In addition to horses, he had cattle, sheep, hogs, and a variety of fowl, including a flock of about five hundred chickens which had the run of the barnyard,with a flock of ducks. Usually about three hundred head of stock were wintered. The hired help consisted of three or four men, according to the season, with additional help at rush seasons. This establishment was maintained in prosperity and plenty, and my grandfather attributed his unvarying success as a farmer to his utilization of earthworms in maintaining and rebuilding the fertility of the soil in an unbroken cycle. The heart of the farming technique was the compost pit.


Thanks to Maggie's Farm for the repost

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:00 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2010

"Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect"

Marrio Vittone, a marine safety specialist who was a helicopter rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard says, Drowning Doesn't Look LIke Drowning.

 Drowning

Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect....Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
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And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. 
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It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.  In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening

The instinctive drowning response

1. drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help, they are too busy trying to breathe as their mouths alternately sink below and appear above the surface of the water

2. drowning people cannot wave for help nor  voluntarily control their arm movements, say by moving toward a rescuer or reaching out for a lifesaver.

Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.  They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One  way to be sure?  Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are.  If they return  a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.  And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:26 PM | Permalink

July 2, 2010

Tip Roundup

From US New and World Report comes this handy tip for those cutting back. 21 Things You Should Never Buy New.

You might want to reconsider paper or plastic when you learn that half of reusable shopping bags contain traces of E. coli and many are contaminated with salmonella.

The tests were undertaken by the University of Arizona, whose researchers stopped a total of 84 shoppers to check the state of their bags.   

The researchers warned the levels of bacteria they found were high enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even death. Children may be in the greatest danger, they added, as they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of organisms such as E.coli.

Shrek will get your kids excited about eating onions.

On a recent visit to a Thriftway supermarket near this onion-growing center, Aiden Harvill spotted a jolly green giant at a bin stuffed with Vidalia onions. "Mama, there's Shrek," the three-year-old shouted. He then threw a tantrum until his mother plopped a bag with Shrek's image into her shopping cart.

"He never, ever eats vegetables, but when we got home, he wanted me to cook them," Elizabeth Harvill says. She diced the onions into a casserole, which Aiden gulped down. "I was astonished," Mrs. Harvill says. "It was like a toy in a cereal box."

No worries on the caffeine front: 5 cups of coffee a day fight Alzheimer's Disease.  

Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center researcher (and coffee lover) Gary Arendash and colleagues discovered that 500 mg of caffeine can ward off Alzheimer’s:

They’ve found that adding caffeinated water to rodents’ diet results in big improvements. The mice perform better on short-term memory and thinking tests. But only if they get enough caffeine.

"The human equivalent of two to three cups of coffee does not have benefits in our Alzheimer’s mice," says Arendash.

Arendash’s team also documented that these super-caffeinated mice end up with about a 50-percent reduction in abnormal amyloid proteins, which are thought to play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

I'm sure tea, especially iced tea in the summer  would work just as well to get you to the 500 mg level.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 4, 2010

Stay fit by cleaning your own house

One way of staying fit and getting enough exercise is to clean your own house.

If your house is as clean as a whistle, you'll be fit as a fiddle

Scientists think it may be that people who take pride in their homes also take pride in their health.

We've all heard the saying 'tidy desk, tidy mind'. But now it seems that having a well-kept house might lead to a well-kept body.

Those who take pride in their homes are fitter than those who live surrounded by clutter, research suggests.

The study of almost 1,000 people also revealed that the state of a person's home is more closely linked to their fitness than it is to the area in which they live.

The finding surprised the U.S. researchers, who say that when trying to increase exercise levels, governments should focus on what happens indoors as well as out.

In other words, people might be more likely to pick up a duster than a tennis racquet.
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Researcher NiCole Keith told the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting: 'If you spend your day dusting, cleaning, doing laundry, you're active.'

She added that
some people 'won't take 30 minutes to go for a walk but they'll take 30 minutes to clean'.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 5, 2010

Smart Move

 Smart-Move Tape  Best tape ever for a move, via Book of Joe, here is Smart Move Tape, only $2.95 for a 30 foot long tape at U-Haul.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2010

Talk Deep, not Small

Deep conversations made people happier than small talk, one study found.  Not stop-the-presses news, but a good reminder.

Talk Deeply, Be Happy?

Would you be happier if you spent more time discussing the state of the world and the meaning of life — and less time talking about the weather?

It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier, said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.
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But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Check under the mattress for bedbugs and bodies

Missing mother found under hotel mattress in Memphis.  After two months! 

Even though the room had been cleaned 'numerous times' after being rented five times to unsuspecting guests of the Budget Inn.

Joseph Scott, Memphis police's deputy chief of investigative services, said. "It's stranger than fiction."

If that doesn't make your skin crawl, just wait until you read 6 Pieces of Advice for Hotel Guests from an Ex Housekeeper.

Tip: check under the mattress for bodies and bedbugs and never use the coffee maker in the room.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:03 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2010

Readability

I don't like to print things out that I want to read.  But on too many websites, there is so much clutter and ads, it's hard to keep one's eyes focused on the main article I want to read.

For years I depended on the print option which allowed me to read the article without the annoying clutter all around.  Often I had to increase the size of the type so I could read it on the screen.

Arc90 has the solution, a simple tool, that's become indispensable for me called Readability.  Readability removes all the clutter and offers a presentation of the article in just the way you prefer.

 Readability 1

 Readability 2

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:47 AM | Permalink

February 22, 2010

Naps can make you smarter

I knew there would be found a scientific reason behind why I love naps.

Take that power nap - you could end up smarter

Medical researchers have shown that the power naps favoured by Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Margaret Thatcher not only refresh the mind, they also make people smarter.

They found snoozing for just one hour in the day is enough to increase the brain's ability to learn new facts in the hours that follow.

Other famous nappers:

Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Margaret Thatcher
Bill Clinton
John F. Kennedy
Ronald Reagan
Florence Nightingale

Some earlier nap posts:

We are biologically programmed to get sleepy twice a day.  When is your sleep gate?

 Nap Little Girl

Naps Are Good for Your Heart

Naps are one of the Life Lessons from the Army

Nap more and you'll cure the doldrums that follow lunch.

And from The Boston Globe, How to Nap

A slew of new studies have shown that naps boost alertness, creativity, mood and productivity in the later hours of the day.  A nap of 60 minutes improves alertness for up to 10 hours.  Research on pilots shows that a 26 minute "NASA" nap in flight (while the plane is manned by a copilot) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%.  One Harvard study published this year showed that a 45-miunute nap improves learning and memory.

The body benefits too.  Napping reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes and excessive weight gain.  Naps make you smarter, healthier, safer.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2010

Useful kitchen tips

Some useful tips that I'm going to use with leftover wine and pasta water.

From 50 Amazingly Helpful Time-Tested Tips for the Kitchen

18. If you manage to have some leftover wine at the end of the evening, freeze it in ice cube trays for easy addition to soups and sauces in the future.

19. To clean crevices and corners in vases and pitchers, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. The bubbles will do the scrubbing.

20. After boiling pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your house plants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:43 PM | Permalink

December 21, 2009

Best camera hack

‘How can I prevent Camera Loss?’ I hear you ask, wishing I’d get to the point. Well, you can’t prevent cameras from getting lost, but you can do something so your camera can be found very soon after it has vanished.

Andrew McDonald from down under tells us how.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 PM | Permalink

December 17, 2009

Is your safety deposit box safe?

You will understand why it's a good idea to check on your safety deposit box once a year after you see this.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:33 PM | Permalink

November 18, 2009

30 second cure for hiccups

Alone at home last night, I came down with hiccups that wouldn't stop.  I googled and found this 30 second cure for hiccups that I pass on because it worked right away.  The key is in the swallowing.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:08 AM | Permalink

October 6, 2009

'Time management is a myth'

What every Super Achiever Knows About Time Management  from the Field Guide for Real Estate Investors

Yet, the super achievers seem to have all the time they need. They must know the secrets of time management the rest of us don't. In December of 2007 and January of 2008 I interviewed a sampling of the really high achievers here at the Field Guide and I learned an amazing time management revelation.

They do know a secret but it is not the one you might expect. The super achievers know that time management is a myth. They focus not on managing their time but on managing their achievements
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They know a to do list is often used as an excuse to avoid the difficult, yet critical, task.
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Super achievers don't manage their time, they create, manage and maximize their opportunities. At any given time they know the one critical, must complete, task and they work on that task

HT Instapundit

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:07 PM | Permalink

September 24, 2009

Get More Sleep

Sleeping  Polar Bear

Sleep boosts the immune system and Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold

Sleep and immunity, it seems, are tightly linked. Studies have found that mammals that require the most sleep also produce greater levels of disease-fighting white blood cells — but not red blood cells, even though both are produced in bone marrow and stem from the same precursor. And researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have shown that species that sleep more have greater resistance against pathogens.

“Species that have evolved longer sleep durations,” the Planck scientists wrote, “appear to be able to increase investment in their immune systems and be better protected.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2009

How and What We Store

From the New York Times magazine, The Self-Storage Self

The Self Storage Association notes that, with more than seven square feet for every man, woman and child, it’s now “physically possible that every American could stand — all at the same time — under the total canopy of self-storage roofing.”
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The first modern self-storage facilities opened in the 1960s, and for two decades storage remained a low-profile industry, helping people muddle through what it terms “life events.” For the most part, storage units were meant to temporarily absorb the possessions of those in transition: moving, marrying or divorcing, or dealing with a death in the family. And the late 20th century turned out to be a golden age of life events in America, with peaking divorce rates and a rush of second- and third-home buying. At the same time, the first baby boomers were left to face down the caches of heirlooms and clutter in their parents’ basements.
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It raises a simple question: where was all that stuff before?
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“A lot of it just comes down to the great American propensity toward accumulating stuff,”
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Fifty percent of renters were now simply storing what wouldn’t fit in their homes — even though the size of the average American house had almost doubled in the previous 50 years, to 2,300 square feet.

Not only do we have too much stuff, some of us are hoarders, afraid to throw anything away.

Hoarding-Syndrome-Clutter-01-Af

Probably, the most famous hoarders of all were the Collyer brothers, Columbia College graduate both, who were found dead in their Harlem brownstone, surrounded by more than 100 tons of stuff and rubbish they had collected over decades.  The fear of throwing anything away is sometimes called 'Collyer brothers syndrome'.  I wonder how many such people now use self-storage as a way of being able to save everything they have ever owned and not be buried by it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:00 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2009

Don't help digital criminals

It's obvious to some of us, but not others that Digital criminals can use Twitter and Facebook to find targets.

Identity Opener

Don't post your vacation plans and dates until after you return home.

Don't post personal information on any website unless you wouldn't mind seeing it on the front page of your local newspaper

Don't friend people you don't know.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:29 AM | Permalink

July 24, 2009

How to Spot a Liar

I don't know how scientific this is, but here are some tells to look for if you think someone is lying.

How to Spot a Liar

The average person tells four lies a day, or 1,460 lies a year. Lying is easy … spotting a liar is a harder. But you may not need the high-tech gadgets used on CSI to detect deception. Sometimes, the truth is written all over your face.

Pinocchio may not be just a fairytale. Studies show when someone lies, the cells inside their nose swell and release histamines, making it itchy, which is why
when someone's lying, they're more likely to scratch their nose.

"The face conveys so much information," David Matsumoto, Ph.D., a psychologist at San Francisco State University in Calif., told Ivanhoe.

Other ways to spot a liar include looking at how much someone blinks.
People blink less frequently than normal when they're lying and eight-times faster afterwards. Also, look for the "liar's lean." Liars tend to lean forward and rest their elbows or knees on a table. They also tend to use words like "would not" or "could not" instead of "wouldn't" or "couldn't."

Research shows men and women lie about the same amount. They just lie about different things. Women usually lie to make others feel better while men often lie to make themselves feel better.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:31 PM | Permalink

July 15, 2009

What to do if a dirty nuke detonates in your city

Stay inside.  .

A panel was convened  by the National Academy of Sciences to assess the nation's level of preparedness for such an attack.

The panel explored the consequences of a nuclear explosion packing a punch equivalent to 10,000 tonnes of TNT. That's tiny compared with the thermonuclear weapons deployed by the US and Russia - and smaller even than the 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 - but plausible for an improvised device.

The blast wave would destroy buildings and kill almost everyone within 1 kilometre (see map), so the panel focused its attention on people outside this zone, for whom the main danger would come from radioactive fallout. "That's a place where you could get big gains if you plan right,"
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For many people, the safest option would be to seek shelter in buildings or underground. Just staying inside could slash the immediate death toll from radiation by up to a factor of 100, or even 1000,

More here

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:10 PM | Permalink

June 16, 2009

Why I'll never get tattoos on my face

She fell asleep while getting three tiny stars tattooed near her left eye.  It's unclear whether the Romanian tattooist didn't understand or gave her exactly what she wanted - 56 stars.

 Tattoo-Stars Face

'It is terrible for me,' said Kimberley. 'I cannot go out on to the street, I am so embarrassed. I just look horrible.'

Now she's suing

Tip: if you to get tattoos on your face, stay awake.

UPDATE: "I lied about tattoo blunder because my father was furious."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:01 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2009

Beer after exercise better than water

Backpacker shouts Halleluia and calls this "news on par with peace in the Middle East.  Beer hydrates better than water. 

Beer

Researchers at Granada University in Spain found this Nobel Prize-worthy discovery after months of testing 25 student subjects, who were asked to run on a treadmill in grueling temps (104 degrees F) until they were as close to exhaustion as possible. Half were given water to drink, and the other half drank two pints of Spanish lager. Then the godly researchers measured their hydration levels, motor skills, and concentration ability. 

They determined that the beer drinkers had "slightly better" rehydration effects, which researchers attribute to sugars, salts, and bubbles in beer enhancing the body's ability to absorb water. The carbohydrates in beer also help refill calorie deficits.

Based on the results of the study, researchers recommend moderate consumption of beer as a part of athletes' diets. "Moderate consumption" for men is 500ml per day, and for women is 250ml per day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:32 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2009

Medical alert tattoo

Now this makes sense for lifelong and life-threatening conditions: Tattoos being used for medical alerts

 Medical Tattoo

Increasing numbers of people who have serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, are turning to tattooing to identify themselves on the chance a health emergency leaves them unable to communicate.

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At Fatty's Custom Tattooz in Washington, D.C., owner Matthew "Fatty" Jessup says he has carved numerous health-related tattoos. "I've done a biohazard symbol for a few people with HIV," he says.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:19 AM | Permalink

May 16, 2009

Tripit

Tripit looks like a great way to organize your travel. 

This free service will create a master itinerary from  the host of travel confirmations one gets from hotels, airlines and rental cars and put it in a form you can share and send to your mobile phone.

There's even an app for the iPhone.

Great press and fabulous testimonials

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:54 PM | Permalink

May 14, 2009

The Predictive Power of Marshmallows

IN The New Yorker this week, an insightful article by Johan Lehrer on the secret of self-control, DON'T.

What, then, determined self-control? Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.”
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According to Mischel, this view of will power also helps explain why the marshmallow task is such a powerfully predictive test. “If you can deal with hot emotions, then you can study for the S.A.T. instead of watching television,” Mischel says. “And you can save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.”
--

 Children Marshmallows

But Mischel has found a shortcut. When he and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user manual,” Mischel says. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.”

Another researcher, Angela Duckworth found that the ability to delay gratification, was a far better predictor of academic performance than I.Q.
She said that her study shows that “intelligence is really important, but it’s still not as important as self-control.”
---
According to Mischel, even the most mundane routines of childhood—such as not snacking before dinner, or saving up your allowance, or holding out until Christmas morning—are really sly exercises in cognitive training: we’re teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:44 AM | Permalink

March 26, 2009

Organizing your home office

Just what sort of organization works for you is idiosyncratic and highly particular.  Just look what Sara Rimer went through as she sought to organize her home office.

An Orderly Office?  That's Personal

All organizers seem to agree on two things:

1. Get rid of clutter
2. Use a label maker

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:23 PM | Permalink

March 12, 2009

Bad News for Botox Users

From Science News If your face is too tight to show disgust, you won't be able to get rid of the emotion.

 Disgust

One of the most recognizable facial expressions is disgust: the expression displayed by an individual who is exposed to a nauseating image or horrifying story. But what happens when this emotion is not expressed? When the person keeps a straight face – either intentionally or unintentionally – and pretends that nothing is wrong?

As Judith Grob discovered, such people experience more negative emotions. ‘They look at the world with negative eyes because they cannot get rid of their feelings of disgust by expressing them. A botox treatment also has an effect on emotional experience, therefore, and not on wrinkles alone’.
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Subjects who were asked to suppress their disgust when shown images of, for example, a dirty toilet or a film depicting an amputation were able to do so. ‘But the emotion then found its way into the open through other channels’, says Grob. ‘At the cognitive level, they began to think about disgusting things much more often and also felt much more negatively about other issues. The same phenomenon occurs in a situation where you are not allowed to think of something, say a white bear. Precisely because you are trying to suppress that thought, it becomes hyperaccessible’.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:12 PM | Permalink

February 27, 2009

Vise-Grips, the Toolbox Hero

I used to think that pretty much every household problem could be fixed on the fly with Duct tape or WD-40.  Looks like I have to add Vise-Grips to my list.

Via Instapundit, How Vise Grips Saved My Life and other tales about this Toolbox Hero

Well, Clint was right on the money, as Vise-Grip manufacturer Irwin proved in a recent contest called "Tell Us Your Vise-Grip Story." Over the course of four months last year, Irwin received 845 entries from regular folks using Vise-Grips for everything from ad hoc auto fixes to emergency bovine surgery to–perhaps most surprising–marriages whose very existence hinged on a special pair of pliers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:02 AM | Permalink

February 23, 2009

Tech Folk Remedies

I liked these low-tech fixes for high tech problems.

Pick up broken glass from the kitchen floor with a slice of bread.

Keep your cellphone cool,  in a purse or on a belt, to preserve its battery.

If your printer’s ink cartridge runs dry near the end of an important print job, remove the cartridge and run a hair dryer on it for two to three minutes. Then place the cartridge back into the printer and try again while it is still warm.

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Cellphone in the toilet. Take the battery out immediately, to prevent electrical short circuits from frying your phone’s fragile internals. Then, wipe the phone gently with a towel, and shove it into a jar full of uncooked rice.

It works for the same reason you may keep few grains of rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt dry. Rice has a high chemical affinity for water — that means the molecules in the rice have a nearly magnetic attraction for water molecules, which will be soaked up into the rice rather than beading up inside the phone.
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You need to clean a skipping DVD or CD, but as a bachelor you don’t have any sissy cleaning fluids? Soak a washcloth with vodka or mouthwash.

Alcohol is a powerful solvent, perfectly capable of dissolving fingerprints and grime on the surface of a disc. A $5 bottle of Listerine in your medicine cabinet may do the job as effectively as a $75 bottle of DVD cleaning fluid. A
--

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 AM | Permalink

January 30, 2009

PMS alerts

Hey guys,  never be blindsided again.  Sign up for PMSbuddy alerts for "those times when things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all.

It all started with a 28-year-old bloke in Australia. 

Soon to be an app for the iPhone.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:40 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2009

Checklists cut surgery deaths by one third in Boston

Harvard researchers report in the Boston Globe

Deaths and complications dropped by an astounding one-third when operating room doctors and nurses completed a simple safety checklist before, during, and after surgery, according to a study led by Harvard researchers.

The eight hospitals that participated in the international study collectively reduced complications during hospital stays from 11 percent of patients before they began using the checklist to 7 percent of patients when using the checklist. Deaths dropped from 1.5 percent of patients to 0.8 percent.

"It was beyond anything we expected," said Dr. Atul Gawande, senior author of the Harvard School of Public Health paper and a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The impact of all the items on the checklist "put together seems to have produced these really remarkable results," he said.
--
Completing the checklist out loud as a team is crucial to uncovering lapses that lead to problems, said Dr. Alex Haynes of the Harvard School of Public Health, the lead author and a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Saying it verbally codifies things more than simply having one person check a box," Haynes said. It requires more attention, he said, and a greater sense of collective responsibility.

I posted The Art of Managing Extreme Complexity in the ICU over a year ago which excerpted chunks of Atul Gawande's article in the New Yorker.

One doctor looked at what happens when procedures are too complex to carry out reliably from memory alone by taking a page from pilot checklists.

Checklists help people with memory recall and make explicit the minimum, expected steps in complex processes.

What checklists do you use?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:09 AM | Permalink

December 5, 2008

Looking for Tips?

Merle Mann on how Real Advice Hurts

At their best, “tips” are a fine way to incrementally improve a process that you’re already dedicated to practicing on a regular basis. And, in that context, tips work.

For example, a tip on your golf swing may be very useful if you’re already playing three times a week and hitting a bucket of balls after work every day. But a subscription to a magazine about taekwondo will only be as useful as your decision to drag your fat ass into a dojo and start actually kicking people. Over and over. Otherwise, you’re just buying shiny paper every month.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:15 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2008

What not to do before you die.

Richard Wilson writes the anti-travel guide: 101 things not to do before you die and points out that most 'once in a lifetime' experiences will either end in disappointment or something much worse.

instead of marvelling at world sites, Wilson suggests avoiding places like the Taj Mahal and the Egyptian pyramids.

Wilson writes: "Advice to anyone about to travel to Thailand is simple. Before you go, sort out a decent photo of yourself, preferably taken at a party smiling and celebrating the joy of being alive, because the newspapers and TV news bulletins will want something to accompany the article about your tragic death."

Just as I was about to post this after a tip by Miss Kelly, I came across this:  Axe-welding villagers hold British holidaymakers in Peru.


The tourists were visiting a remote part of the South American country when their bus was surrounded by about 50 local people brandishing pickaxes, metal bars and poles.

The villagers yelled threats and pelted the vehicle with rocks and branches, smashing windows and doors, before forcing the terrified holidaymakers from the bus.

They were led away and forced to sit on the ground, while the Peruvian driver and two other Peruvians, one of whom was the group’s guide, were hit with sticks.

The holidaymakers, who were on a two-week tour costing about £2,000, were then berated by the villagers, who accused them of being thieves who had come to steal their natural resources.

The incident ended only when the villagers realised they had attacked the wrong people.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:20 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2008

Another myth exploded

Anyone who's ever read a fashion magazine has read a thousand times  that horizontal strips make you look fat while vertical stripes slim you down.

Wrong!  It's vertical stripes that make you look fat.

Scientist explodes myth about Big Bum theory and the wrong kind of stripes

 Vertical Horizontal Stripes

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:39 PM | Permalink

August 20, 2008

How to Spot a Liar

They hold off blinking while telling you the lie, then blink in a flurry afterwards.

It's all to do with the 'blinking' obvious

Liars blink in different ways during and after a falsehood, researchers claim.

They blink less than normal during the lie, and then have a flurry up to eight times faster than usual afterwards.

'It is striking what different patterns in eye blinks emerged for liars and truth tellers,' said Dr Sharon Leal, co-author of the study at Portsmouth University.

'Such striking differences in behaviour between liars and truth tellers are rarely seen in deception research.'

The psychologists say that the discovery, reported in the Journal of Non-verbal Behaviour, means that blink rates could be used by professionals to catch liar

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Sleep on It.

From Scientific American, How Snoozing Makes Your Smarter 

Whether deciding to go to a particular college, accept a challenging job offer or propose to a future spouse, “sleeping on it” seems to provide the clarity we need to piece together life’s puzzles. But how does slumber present us with answers?
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As exciting findings such as these come in more and more rapidly, we are becoming sure of one thing: while we sleep, our brain is anything but inactive. It is now clear that sleep can consolidate memories by enhancing and stabilizing them and by finding patterns within studied material even when we do not know that patterns might be there. It is also obvious that skimping on sleep stymies these crucial cognitive processes: some aspects of memory consolidation only happen with more than six hours of sleep. Miss a night, and the day’s memories might be compromised—an unsettling thought in our fast-paced, sleep-deprived society.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:02 PM | Permalink

July 29, 2008

Finding your inner Frenchwoman

Finding your inner Frenchwoman

Stephanie Plentl heads to France for a holiday that teaches the tricks of Gallic chic – and discovers that it all begins with matching underwear.

1. Matching lingerie sets the foundation.
2. No sneakers or running shoes - Horreur
3. Only one glass of wine a day with dinner because an evening meal without wine is triste.
4. No dieting.  Only very small amounts of delicious food.
5. 'Physical sloppiness is an intellectual indicator."  So lip gloss to yoga class.
6. Lots of time on skin care
7. Scarves

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:33 PM | Permalink

July 28, 2008

Finding Inner Motivation

External motivations be they threats or rewards turn out to be ineffective, even counterproductive, in getting people to perform at their best because it undermines internal drives.

When Play Becomes Work

External rewards and punishments are counterproductive when it comes to activities that are meaningful -- tasks that telegraph something about a person's intellectual abilities, generosity, courage or values. People will voluntarily perform intellectually arduous work, for example, because it gives them pleasure to solve a puzzle or win a game of wits.
--
Deci's research into the counterproductive effects of threats and rewards has been replicated among high school students learning verbal skills, preschoolers trying to draw, and adults targeted by weight-loss, anti-smoking and traffic safety programs. In each case, external threats and rewards made it less likely that people would feel internally fired up about the goal.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:59 AM | Permalink

June 28, 2008

The Best and the Brightest?

I went to an elite college and much as I am grateful for the fine, indeed excellent, educational experience I had, it's taken me decades to strip away the disadvantages William Deresiewicz writes about in  The Disadvantages of an Elite Education  in The American Scholar.  A brilliant essay.

The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you.
--
because these schools tend to cultivate liberal attitudes, they leave their students in the paradoxical position of wanting to advocate on behalf of the working class while being unable to hold a simple conversation with anyone in it.
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But it isn’t just a matter of class. My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were “the best and the brightest,” as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright.

.. elite universities ... select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools,... But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The “best” are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this.

The second disadvantage, implicit in what I’ve been saying, is that an elite education inculcates a false sense of self-worth
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If one of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security.
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if you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to take risks, which begins to explain the final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual. This will seem counterintuitive....The system forgot ... that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers.
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So when students get to college, they hear a couple of speeches telling them to ask the big questions, and when they graduate, they hear a couple more speeches telling them to ask the big questions. And in between, they spend four years taking courses that train them to ask the little questions—specialized courses, taught by specialized professors, aimed at specialized students.
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The disadvantage of an elite education is that it’s given us the elite we have, and the elite we’re going to have.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:49 AM | Permalink

June 16, 2008

When is Your Sleep Gate?

Having always been a proponent of naps even as other people scoffed, I welcome the solid, scientific evidence that midday naps benefit your mental acuity and your overall health.

 Nap Little Girl

We are biologically programmed to get sleepy twice a day with "an afternoon quiescent phase in our physiology which diminishes our reaction time, memory, coordination, mood and alertness."

 Nap Two Guys

But when is the best time to nap?  Depends on whether you're a lark or an owl.

Larks who get up early have a sleep gate at about 1 pm.  Owls who stay up late find their sleep gate at 2:30 or 3.

 Power Nap

Or if you're like me, it's whenever I feel like it. 

If you've forgotten how, and it's alarming how many people have, the Boston Globe has printed a pull-out guide How to Nap

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:02 PM | Permalink

May 14, 2008

Five new things you can do with your cell phone

I quite liked these Five things you never knew you could do with your cell phone

Who knew the emergency number world wide for mobiles is 112, a number you can dial even if the keypad is locked.

Who knew that you could unlock your car over a cell phone?

And the number I immediately stored in my phone, 800 373 3411 for free 411 information calls.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:23 AM | Permalink

May 2, 2008

Lessons in Manliness

There's a fine, new-to-me blog on  The Art of Manliness where lessons in manliness are next to practical tips like Nine ways to start a fire without matches.   

When all else fails, a coke can and bar of  chocolate will do

Some like John McCain need no lessons but can teach some.  Of course, he'll never do it and so it rests on others to tell. 

Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:50 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2008

Left ear for love

The way to a man's heart?  Through his left ear

New research suggests that declarations of love, jokes, or words of anger are best remembered when they are heard through the left ear, while instructions, directions and non-emotional messages have more impact on the right side.

It is all to do with how our brains process information. Although the left and right hemispheres, or sides, of the brain are similar structures, they have specialised functions. The left side, it is suggested, is more logic-based and dominant, while the right is the more imaginative side, more visual, intuitive, emotional and spatially aware. Because the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, the left ear has been shown in some research to be the route to the emotional side of the brain, and the right ear to the non-emotional, logical side.

The news that left and right ears process sound differently is not so new.  A 2004 article in Science found that the left ear of a baby was more attuned to music and the right better at picking up speech-like sounds.

Speak to my right ear, sing to my left

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:56 PM | Permalink

April 25, 2008

"If you eat bananas, you'll have a boy"

The old wives tale has some truth behind it.

Mom's diet  may play role in whether baby is boy or girl

Having a hearty appetite, eating potassium-rich foods including bananas, and not skipping breakfast all seemed to raise the odds of having a boy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:45 PM | Permalink

Stockpiling Food

When the Wall St. Journal says it's time to Load Up the Pantry for a good return on your cash, pay attention.

           Pantry

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.
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Do the math. If you keep your standby cash in a money-market fund you'll be lucky to get a 2.5% interest rate.
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Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year.

And some prices are rising even more quickly. The latest data show cereal prices rising by more than 8% a year. Both flour and rice are up more than 13%. Milk, cheese, bananas and even peanut butter: They're all up by more than 10%. Eggs have rocketed up 30% in a year. Ground beef prices are up 4.8% and chicken by 5.4%.
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You can't easily stock up on perishables like eggs or milk. But other products will keep. Among them: Dried pasta, rice, cereals, and cans of everything from tuna fish to fruit and vegetables. The kicker: You should also save money by buying them in bulk.
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The good news is that it's easier to store Cap'n Crunch or cans of Starkist in your home than it is to store lots of gasoline. Safer, too.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2008

When everything is not fine

Don't offer theories as to why they got sick, don't ask for their prognosis, don't give unsolicited advice, and don't insist that "everything is going to be just fine." 

How to Support a Loved One Reeling from a Cancer Diagnosis

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:52 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2008

Be Nice

In the long run, it pays to be nice says a new Harvard study.

Common game theory has held that punishment makes two equals cooperate. But when people compete in repeated games, punishment fails to deliver, said study author Martin Nowak. He is director of the evolutionary dynamics lab at Harvard where the study was conducted.

"On the individual level, we find that those who use punishments are the losers," Nowak said his experiments found.

Those who escalate the conflict very often wound up doomed.

"It's a very positive message," said study co-author David Rand, a Harvard biology graduate student researcher. "In general, the thing that is most, sort of, rational and best for your own self-interest is to be nice."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:06 PM | Permalink

Stainless Steel Wallets

Stainless steel wallets are in your future.  Either that or aluminum foil.

Radio-frequency IDs or RFIDs are tags that include both an integrated circuit for storing and processing information and an antenna for receiving and transmitting a signal.  They are tiny little objects you can apply to any product, animal or person.  They are most often used in inventory tracking and management.

You probably are already familiar with the transponders many have on their windshields allowing them to speed through toll booths without stopping even as the information is captured and the charge for the toll will appear on your credit card statement.

Since 2006 RFID tags have been included in all new passports issued by the United States government.  After a demonstration that showed that passports could be read with special equipment from 33 feet away, various  barriers and encryption methods have been incorporated.  The Wikipedia entry explains more than I ever could.

Boing Boing video shows how anyone can swipe your credit card information and other personal data that is on any card employing RFID  by using a reader that cost on $8 on Ebay, just by getting "close to your ass."

The biggest threat to having your identity stolen remains the theft of many thousands of credit card numbers from websites.  Hacker Pablos Holman told TechRadar

“I don’t expect this to be a major threat for a while. People are stealing credit card numbers from websites and that’s still pretty easy,” he says, before adding, somewhat more ominously “with a bigger antenna hooked up to this I can go into Starbucks and get the name of everyone in there.

That's why I say stainless steel wallets are in your future.  Keep an eye out for them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:48 PM | Permalink

March 11, 2008

How to do pretty much anything

After you've worked at Google and YouTube, what do you do next?  Howcast is what.

After checking out their categories and featured videos,  it looks like a great resource, one to bookmark for those times when you wonder how to do something for the first time.

How to do pretty much anything.

Howcast is the brainchild of a trio of Google refugees who wanted to go YouTube one better by putting together professional video content that viewers can actually use. "There really isn't a lot of high-quality instructional video out there and we wanted to do it across a broad spectrum of topics," says Jason Liebman, the company's CEO. The majority of the videos are produced in-house, though some are uploaded by users. But regardless of the source, the videos are uniformly well-done.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Keepers of the World

We all have too much stuff.  80% of what we own we never use.  We spend an hour a day just looking for things.    We hold on to stuff because some day 'we might need it.'  Hoarders are greatly stressed by the thought of throwing anything away.

With compulsive hoarders, all that stuff is harming their lives. Some people even die, suffocated by all their stuff, a Death by Clutter. 

How many of us are compulsive hoarders? Estimates range from 1.5 to 6 million people in the U.S.

Compulsive hoarding may be a distinctive diagnostic category now that we have brain wave images that show distinct abnormalities. 

Hoarders were found to have lower activity in a specific part of the brain that’s involved in decision-making, focused attention and the regulation of emotion.

Submerged in stuff, hoarders keep collecting

“Hoarders have a fundamental inability to keep things organized,” says Frost. “Not just their possessions, but other things, like finishing tasks. We see a lot of attention deficit problems in hoarding.”

For actress Delta Burke, it was antique furniture and porcelain dolls — enough to fill 27 climate-controlled storage units.

For Roger Gorman’s father-in-law, it was books, newspapers, plastic grocery bags and leisure magazines.

“There must have been over 2,000 magazines in his apartment,” says the 53-year-old graphic designer from Manhattan. “There were stacks and stacks of them, columns of them. It looked like the landscape of a city.”

The good news is that hoarding can be easily treated.  Pigpen started squalorsurvivors after she learned that "Being keeper for the world is too big a burden for one person to bear."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

February 18, 2008

50-30-20

From Lifehack's 50 tricks to get things done faster,  better, and more easily.

50-30-20: Spend 50% of your working day on tasks that advance your long-term, life goals, spend 30% on tasks that advance your middle-term (2-years or so) goals, and the remaining 20% on things that affect only the next 90 days or so.

Timer: Tell yourself you will work on a project or task, and only that project or task, for a set amount of time. Set a timer (use a kitchen timer, or use a countdown timer on your computer), and plug away at your work.  When the timer goes off, you’re done — move on to the next project or task.

Do Your Worst: Give yourself permission to suck.  Relieve the pressure of needing to achieve perfection in every task on the first run.  Promise yourself you’ll go back and fix any problems later, but for now, just run wild.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:55 PM | Permalink

February 11, 2008

Break into your car, save your life

If you are hiking in the woods and come back to your car only to find that your keys are locked inside, pick up a stone and break the window so you can drive away alive.

Sandra Order didn't. She locked her keys in her SUV and died next to it in the cold and the rain of hypothermia.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:11 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2008

Lazy option is best

The custom used to be that when you got tired of waiting for a bus or train, you'd take out a cigarette and light it.    Just how this caused the bus or train to suddenly appear is one of those mysteries that have never been adequately explained.

Now so many people have given up smoking, other ways  to make the bus appeared have been tried and found wanting.  Many lose patience  and decide to walk to the next stop.  That option doesn't work as science has discovered.

Lazy option is best when waiting for the bus

Scott Kominers, a mathematician at Harvard University, and his colleagues derived a formula for the optimal time that you should wait for a tardy bus at each stop en route before giving up and walking on. "Many mathematicians probably ponder this on their way to work, but never get round to working it out," he says.

The team found that the solution was surprisingly simple. When both options seem reasonably attractive, the formula advises you to choose the "lazy" option: wait at the first stop, no matter how frustrating

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:35 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2008

Make Room for New Life

Some 1.5 million Americans are chronic hoarders who can not bear to throw away anything even if their excessive  clutter is harming their lives.

Compulsive hoarding may well be a mental disease whereby even the thought of throwing something away causes great stress.

Compulsive hoarders live in an ever shrinking area as the piles of useless stuff grow taller.  You can die suffocated under the piles as some do

Lynne Johnson, a professional organizer from Quincy, Mass., who is president of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization...
explains that some people look at a shelf stacked with coffee mugs and see only mugs. But people with serious disorganization problems might see each one as a unique item — a souvenir from Yellowstone or a treasured gift from Grandma.

Many clients have already accumulated numerous storage bins and other such items in a futile attempt to get organized. Usually the home space is adequate, she says, but the challenge is in teaching them how to group, sort, set priorities and discard
.

What is decluttering but editing - choosing the best, discarding the rest.
Editing is a skill we all have to learn is we are not to be drowned by our own stuff. 

If you don't use it or love it, lose it.
Keep the best, toss the rest.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:48 AM | Permalink

December 12, 2007

The Art of Managing Extreme Complexity in the ICU

Another brilliant article by Atul Gawande called The  Checklist in the New Yorker's Annals of Medicine.

Intensive-care medicine has become the art of managing extreme complexity—and a test of whether such complexity can, in fact, be humanly mastered.

--
On any given day in the United States, some ninety thousand people are in intensive care. Over a year, an estimated five million Americans will be, and over a normal lifetime nearly all of us will come to know the glassed bay of an I.C.U. from the inside.


Wide swaths of medicine now depend on the lifesupport systems that I.C.U.s provide: care for premature infants; victims of trauma, strokes, and heart attacks; patients who have had surgery on their brain, heart, lungs, or major blood vessels.


Critical care has become an increasingly large portion of what hospitals do. Fifty years ago, I.C.U.s barely existed. ...The average stay of an I.C.U. patient is four days, and the survival rate is eighty-six per cent. Going into an I.C.U., being put on a mechanical ventilator, having tubes and wires run into and out of you, is not a sentence of death. But the days will be the most precarious of your life.

They are precarious because the average patient requires 178  individual actions per day and every one involves risks.  One of the biggest risks is that of a line infection, infections that are so common they are considered a routine complication.  80,000 people get line infections each year and of those between 5 and 28% die.

The I.C.U., with its spectacular successes and frequent failures, therefore poses a distinctive challenge: what do you do when expertise is not enough?

Intensive care is now too complex for clinicians to carry out reliably fro memory alone.  Taking a page from the pilot checklists, designed to help pilots fly planes too complicated to fly from memory alone, Peter Pronovost, a critical care specialist at John Hopkins, designed a checklist to take care of the problem of line infections.

Pronovost and his colleagues monitored what happened for a year afterward. The results were so dramatic that they weren’t sure whether to believe them: the ten-day line-infection rate went from eleven per cent to zero. So they followed patients for fifteen more months. Only two line infections occurred during the entire period. They calculated that, in this one hospital, the checklist had prevented forty-three infections and eight deaths, and saved two million dollars in costs.

Checklists help people with memory recall and make explicit the minimum, expected steps in complex processes.

As the tagline on the New Yorker article says, If something so simple can transform intensive care, what else can it do?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:24 PM | Permalink

November 29, 2007

Walker Headlights

Why didn't someone think of this before? Lights on walkers may cut falls

Forget driving in the dark — sometimes it's dangerous just walking in the dark.

As the population ages, medical teams are responding to more calls from people who have fallen in the night. Many are from older adults who toppled over their walkers while reaching for a light switch on the way to the kitchen or
bathroom.

Credit Ron Olshwanger, director of the Creve Coeur Fire Protection District, whose own experience with his own mother ultimately led to his inspiration.

The lights (which are a lot like bicycle lights) cost $34 at Medical West, a medical supply firm that can install them on new or existing walkers.

Olshwanger emphasizes that he and the fire department won't make any profit off the headlights. His inspiration is his mother, Bernice Bormaster, who died five years ago. After breaking her hip, she called her son three times in the middle of the night for help getting back to bed.

"It's a perfect example of what can happen. A lot of these people, their minds are fine, their bodies are just a little weak." Olshwanger said. "These people want to live a normal life, and I think this will help."

HT bookofjoe

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:41 PM | Permalink

November 20, 2007

Greatest moments in food history

Dr. Helen gives some good advice for those for whom going home for the holidays is a bit of hell what with heated political discussions and what all.

May I add that you might argue over the Greatest moments in food history instead for a lot less heat and a lot more fun.

Hat tip  Althouse.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 16, 2007

Nosebleeds, car keys and Vicks

If you are troubled in dry weather with a sudden nosebleed, a bunch of cold car keys down the back of your neck seems to cure them instantly.

Slipping a bar of soap between the sheets often works on leg cramps.  Ivory soap is best.

Dark chocolate may lower blood pressure better than green tea, research shows.  And tastes far better.

Do you or your children sometimes get a  nagging cough in the middle of the night?  Rub Vicks Vaporub on the soles of your feet and cover them up with socks.    The relief comes within 5 minutes and lasts for hours.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:30 PM | Permalink

September 12, 2007

Must Have Man Skills

Via Instapundit comes the list of 25 Skills Every Man Should Know.

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who as capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

I can do about half of them which is why I guess I need a man.  I'd be interested in what else a man should know how to do.

The list is put out by Popular Mechanics, clearly geared to guys.  I wonder what magazine would put out a similar list for gals that women would seriously pay attention to.  Oprah's my first guess.  I

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:29 PM | Permalink

September 7, 2007

Unsnarling Medical Bills

Services Help Unsnarl Medical Bills,  Wall St Journal (link for subscribers only)

If you have a lot of medical bills and can't make sense of the explanation of benefit statements,  there are now web-based services and tools that can help unsnarl those medical bills, get you organized and give you a single summary of all your bills.

Many analysts recommend consumers create their own personal health records, essentially a record of an individual's important medical information. That's because the person who will truly be responsible for one's health care in the end is that person. If people change jobs frequently, their health-insurance companies and doctors will also change. Analysts also add that it's a good way to keep track of children's immunization records or early doctor's appointments for a newborn.
---

"For better or for worse, people are more and more on their own in health care," says Ron Klain, executive vice president of Revolution Health, based in Washington, D.C

Here's the chart the WSJ put together of useful sites.  Click the image for full size and readability.

 Wsj Chart Med Expense Web Sites-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:09 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2007

Have You Ever Checked Your Medical Records?

You already know that you should check your credit score at least once a year so that you can correct mistakes. 

What you probably didn't know is that your medical records could contain errors that should be corrected.    Incorrect medical information can lead to ineffective or harmful treatment and affect your insurability

The Wall Street Journal,  Patient Records Need Reviews (subscribers only)

Errors in medical records aren't uncommon. "They happen all the time," says Joy Pritts, research associate professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.

Mistakes can arise from a mistyped diagnosis code or transcription error to an inaccurate diagnosis or a diagnosis that is out-of-date, say because a patient has gotten his or her cholesterol under control. And, if you have a common name, other peoples' records can end up in your file, says Ms. Pritts. Part of the problem is that the U.S. health-care system relies mainly on paper records, which make it harder to coordinate care and spot errors.

Many hospitals use electronic health records, but until the U.S. develops a comprehensive, consolidated system, the burden falls to individuals to keep tabs on their health histories.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:47 PM | Permalink

August 16, 2007

Time Lost on the Web

I sometime spend so much time on the web that I get nothing done during the day.

If you're like me, this might help  The 20 Biggest Online Time Wasters and 6 Strategies for Beating Them

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:21 AM | Permalink

August 10, 2007

How to be organized after a car accident

Here's a good tip from the Unclutterer on how to be organized after an auto accident.

All you have to do is download a worksheet to keep in the glove compartment of your car along with your insurance card and registration.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:00 AM | Permalink

July 31, 2007

"Don't Break the Chain"

Jerry Seinfield's advice

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis.
--

It works because it isn't the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard "inch by inch anything's a cinch." Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day.

Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don't break the chain, you'll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn't. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides "compounding interest."

Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:51 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2007

Inherited stuff

One of my new favorite blogs is the Unclutterer which is beginning a new series on handling inherited clutter.

How do you unclutter a person’s things after they die? My grandfather died this weekend, and we dread the idea of going through all his things—not just emotionally and psychologically, but from a logistical standpoint. How much stuff do we keep? Nobody has room in their houses for all the sentimental treasures of their departed loved ones, but it feels callous to throw away their old anniversary cards and favorite mediocre artwork. How do we deal with it all?

If you need it or love it, keep it.  If something is very important to you because of its great sentimental value, keep it.  If something is important because of its historical value, keep it or give it to an archive where it will stay safe. 

That's what Mary Custis Lee did with two old steamer trunks

The trunks were stuffed with Lee family papers -- a priceless cache of 4,000 letters, photographs and documents. DeButts carted them to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, which houses the world's largest collection of Lee papers. He spent a week there, sitting at a desk in the research library, reaching into Mary Custis Lee's trunks and picking out treasures and trash.

Thanks to her foresight, we now have A Portrait in Letters of Robert E. Lee.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:36 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Iced Coffee and Beignets

After reading Iced Coffee? No Sweat in the New York Times, I decided to give it a try.

I used a glass tea-pot with a removable infuser into which I put four scoops of coffee.  Then I left it on the back porch for the day.

Result?  Absolutely better.  Delicious with no trace of bitterness.

Speaking of iced coffee, why don't people in the South drink it?  Now I have nothing against iced tea which I drink year round,  but iced coffee in the summer is delicious too and just the thing when you need an extra boost.  Or with beignets.

No Cafe De Monde

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get iced coffee in New Orleans?

You would think they would know, but no, I have to explain to waiters who say they have none to bring me a tall glass of ice and a cup of coffee. 

I expect only the mermaid will convince them.

  Starbucks Logo-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:15 PM | Permalink

June 3, 2007

Sleeping on It

The best way to make complex, tough decisions is to sleep on it.  Well, you already knew that, but now scientists are confirming that.

Sleep on it, decision-makers told

Reserve your conscious mind for simple choices.  For complex decisions, get all the information you need, then call in your unconscious by sleeping on it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 AM | Permalink

Sleeping on It

The best way to make complex, tough decisions is to sleep on it.  Well, you already knew that, but now scientists are confirming that.

Sleep on it, decision-makers told

Reserve your conscious mind for simple choices.  For complex decisions, get all the information you need, then call in your unconscious by sleeping on it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 AM | Permalink

May 16, 2007

Food Allergy Cards

Here's a good tip from the Wall St Journal about allergy cards.
If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, carry allergy cards that list the foods you can't eat so you can give them to a waiter or restaurant manager when you dine out.

Allergycards.com has free templates.  Selectwisely can translate them into any language if you are going abroad.  They also have a number of testimonials from customers who say how invaluable the cards are.

Once you have your cards done, you can adapt them to business card size and have them printed free, except for a shipping charge at Vistaprint.

If you have a serious allergy, allergy cards could just save your life.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:04 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

May 7, 2007

Honey for Diabetics

More good news about honey.

Honey could save diabetics from amputation

Spreading honey on a diabetic ulcer could prevent the need to amputate an infected foot, researchers say.

Honey therapy involves squeezing a thick layer of honey onto a wound after all the dead skin and bacteria have been removed.

The honey kills bacteria because it is acidic and avoids the complication of bacterial resistance found with standard antibiotics, Jennifer Eddy, a professor at the University's School of Medicine and Public Health, told AFP.

"This is a tremendously important issue for world health," Eddy said.

She tried honey therapy as a last resort six years ago with a 79-year-old diabetic patient who had developed foot wounds resistant to standard treatments.

"I tried it only after everything else had failed and... we had essentially sent him home to die," she said. "All antibiotics were stopped when we started honey, and his wounds rapidly healed."

Last summer, I noted how honey heals wounds faster than antibiotics and recommended you tuck away  jar of honey in your emergency supplies kit.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

Why You Should Spy on Yourself

Since just about anyone can find out all sorts of detailed information about you, consider that the best defense is a good offense.

Why You Should Spy on Yourself in the Wall Street Journal tells you how find out beforehand what a prospective employer, college admissions officer or others might reveal about you.

In a 2004 study by U.S. Public Interest Group found that 79% of consumer-credit reports contained at least one mistake.

1. Get your free annual credit report
The first step in running a background check on yourself: Order your credit report. These are from major credit-reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian and can be obtained from www.annualcreditreport.com or 1-877-322-8228.

Check for unauthorized credit-card accounts and loans, bad addresses and unfamiliar names that could be evidence of identity theft. Notify the agencies and creditors if anything seems amiss.
The good news: Background reports prepared by agencies like these are regulated by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. As a result, you're supposed to be notified of the reason if a negative report results in a missed opportunity, giving you a chance to correct mistakes.

2.  Do a pre-employment self check
While Choicetrust will give you a free annual report, expect to pay about $25 for  a national criminal file check or $50 for a search that included employment or education verification that will include information from public records and some courts.

At Choicetrust you can also review credentials of health care professionals,  verify nursing home credentials and check for lawsuits, liens and judgments against those you are thinking to employ.

Lexis-Nexus will also give you a free copy of information contained in a background screening report if you call 877-913-6245.

3. Do a Stolen ID search
StolenIDSearch.com, a new free service from TrustedID, lets you find out whether your Social Security or credit-card numbers are among some 2.3 million compromised pieces of identification in its database, which it obtains from organizations that compile lists of numbers recovered in fraud investigations.
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4. Clean up unflattering online postings
Among the toughest problems to fix can be unflattering online postings. Even just a few years ago, no one would have worried about it. But the fact is, they can linger in cyberspace forever. ReputationDefender.com is designed to scour the Web for unflattering material about you, then will try to either have it removed or make it show up less prominently in search results.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:08 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Getting Rid of Stuff

Martha Stewart gives us 100 Reasons To Get Rid of It.

We have too much stuff

  • People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things
  • 80% of what we own we never use

Because it's fun
Because Someone else needs it
It can be turned into something else
It will make your life better

  • Getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40%
  • Around 23% of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find

You can get something back.
Because it's old/expired
Or Just Because

  • It has no value, sentimental or monetary.
  • It hasn't been used in over a year.
  • There is no logical place to keep it.
  • It doesn't work.
  • An ex gave it to you.
  • And what's the worst that can happen if you throw it out?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:06 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 21, 2007

The Formula for Procrastination

Professor Piers Steel who calls himself a reformed procrastinator began studying procrastination 10 years ago, before it began a sharp rise.  Now he has come up with a unified theory and a mathematical formula to explain it.

Steel's formula, called the Temporal Motivation Theory, calculates procrastination like Albert Einstein's equation for energy, E=MC2. It factors the person's expectancy for succeeding at a given task (E) or self-confidence; the value of completing the task (V); its immediacy or availability (Gamma); and the person's sensitivity to delay (D) to come up with the desirability of the task (Utility).

Utility = E x V / (Gamma) x D

"Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task," Steel said. "Perfectionism is not the culprit. In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more."

... in general, human behavior is marked by people's judgment of value and their expectancy--whether or not they expect to get something.
--
Most people who procrastinate are impulsive; they value what they can have today more than what they can have tomorrow--and long-term goals don't have motivational force.

There are 3 types of procrastinators

1. Those who have a hard time getting started.  These are classic procrastinators.
2. Those who get bogged down in details.  These are the classic perfectionists
3. Those who are too distractible.  They always find something else to do that's more interesting or gratifying to do be it email, television, the phone or a party.  all those tech gadgets that offer immediate gratification.

Technology creates "motivationally toxic environments" by giving people a constant source of putting things off, Steele says.

Boy is that the truth. 

If you want to make progress on a long-term project, some part of everyday walling yourself off from such tech temptations else it's like, in the words of Professor Steel
trying to diet with a floating spoon of ice cream following you around.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 9, 2007

When You Fly

The Consumerist tells us Don't Fly Without a Copy of Rule 240 and gives us links to the rules of the major airlines.

These rules  the conditions of carriage which specify the circumstances in which you are entitled to airline compensation.

Don't depend on the agents to know their own rules.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:50 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

March 24, 2007

Vicks Vaporub and Tiger Balm

Hey, I don't know if it works, but it might,

Application of Vicks Vaporub to the soles of the feet effectively counters nighttime cough.

Vaporub works to ease nasal congestion when rubbed on a chest and on sore muscles.  You can use it to remove ticks, and on your forehead to ease a headache, even on sore, cracked heels.

The active ingredients of camphor,  menthol and eucalyptus are similar, but not identical to Tiger Balm which I prefer and have used for years on headaches, insect bites and sore muscles.  Tiger Balm uses the oils of clove, cinnamon and cajuput and absolutely no tiger parts,

  2 Tiger Balm

It's very refreshing when rubbed on the temples say when you're trapped in a hot, crowded subway or anytime when the heat can make you lightheaded. 

You can find Tiger Balm in teeny, tiny tins usually in a Chinese store, that are so small you can always keep one in your purse.

Just be careful you don't get any in your eyes or on any private parts or you'll be sorry.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:53 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

Good and Bad Procrastination

Good advice from Paul Graham

The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn't always bad?...No matter what you work on, you're not working on everything else. So the question is not how to avoid procrastination, but how to procrastinate well.

There are three variants of procrastination, depending on what you do instead of working on something: you could work on (a) nothing, (b) something less important, or (c) something more important. That last type, I'd argue, is good procrastination.
--

I think the way to "solve" the problem of procrastination is to let delight pull you instead of making a to-do list push you. Work on an ambitious project you really enjoy, and sail as close to the wind as you can, and you'll leave the right things undone.

Good and Bad Procrastination

Update.  I forgot to give a hat tip to Armed Liberal for the link.  And to add this a propos quote from Carolyn Myss.

You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone, which can become a watered-down, occasional hope that you'll get to tomorrow. Intention without action is useless.

It looks as if the "good" procrastinators found a way to make their most important stuff, urgent.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:46 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

March 6, 2007

Tips on buying your next cell phone + service

If you're in the market for a new cell phone by all means know what you're up against by reading 8 confessions of a former Verizon sales rep via Instapundit.

If you're of the Cingular persuasion, then go to 7 confessions of a Cingular sales rep.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:59 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

February 19, 2007

Mind-mapping to Maximize the Power of Your Brain

If you've never heard of mind-mapping, this YouTube video will show you how to maximize the power of your brain.

Tony Buzan, a top lecturer in the brain and learning explains Mind-Mapping in 5 minutes.

A mind map is a thinking tool that reflects externally what goes on inside your  head. 

Mind-mapping is a Swiss army knife for the brain.

The brain is radiant, thinks centrally and explodes out in all directions.

The brain thinks by imagination and association.

Traditional note-taking in lists and lines is counter-productive  is because it doesn't have associations

If you don't have associations, you don't have connections. If you don't have connection, you don't have memory and you don't have thinking.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:33 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 24, 2007

Poke the shark in the eye

When you're swimming and a shark comes by and grabs you by the head, poke him in the eye. 

That forces the shark's jaws to release and you can struggle free.

Eric Nerhus did just that and saved his own life.

He escaped with deep puncture wounds to the chest and shoulder and a broken nose. His weight vest prevented more serious injuries.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Secrets that Hotels Don't Want You to Know

Good tips from Bottom Line Secrets.

1. You get the best rate by calling the hotel's local number, not the 800 number.  The manager on duty, the general manager and the director of sales have authority to negotiate rates.

2. Rooms are more expensive in the morning. Best time to call is right after 6 pm when all no-shows unsecured by credit card are wiped out. In NYC and San Francisco, the deadline is 4 pm.

3. Everything is negotiable. Even parking.

4. Rooms are available even when a hotel has no vacancies.  Tell the manager you are willing to take an 'out of order' room.

5. A thief takes only one credit card, not your entire wallet.  Check if you've left it unattended and take only the cards you need when you travel.

6. It pays to tip the housekeeper every day.  $2 or $3 matters a lot to the most under-appreciated people in the hotel.

7. Your bags aren't safe with the bellhop.  Make sure that they are kept in a secure room if you plan to leave your bags for several hours.

8. Hotel rooms are infested with germs.  Worst spots - TV remote control, telephone and clock radio.  Do travel with anti-bacterial wipes so you can clean them off.

9. The lost and found is a great resource for cell phone users.  Forgot your recharging cord?  Most hotels are willing to lend you one from their lost and found.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:57 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 13, 2007

Rolling in Bank Fees

The nation's largest banks take in between $30 billion and $50 billion a year, about 44% of all their revenues. 

A quest for 'more info' on bank fees.

That's an awful lot of $3 unexplained monthly fees.

Which might explain why banks approve new cards on torn-up credit card applications.  Cockeyed has photos and more.

  Torn Up Credit Card Application

Since I don't have a shredder,  I tear them up and wait until I can mix them up with garbage - coffee grounds and old Chinese take out works well -  before I throw them out,

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:02 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

December 4, 2006

Hanging On

Supposing you were stranded in the woods, having never read Surviving in the Wilderness.

Would you have a fierce will to live or would you rather die than spend one more night in the forest?

From Lost in the Amazon

George in the comments said,

When confronted with a life-threatening situation, 90% of people freeze or panic, says Gonzales in this exploration of what makes the remaining 10% stay cool, focused and alive.
---
Pinpointing why and how those 10% survive is another story. "They are the ones who can perceive their situation clearly; they can plan and take correct action,
--
Gonzales does share some rules for adventure gleaned from the survivors themselves: stay calm, be decisive and don't give up.

The book he refers to is "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Laurence Gonzalez.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 30, 2006

Booze for your blooms

A little bit of gin or whiskey added to the water for your paperwhite narcissus or daffodil bulbs will keep them from tipping over.

The booze acts to stunt the growth of stems and leaves, but not the blooms or their fragrance.

A 5% solution is best say the horticulture experts at the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:52 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Surviving in the Wilderness

Okay, maybe you're not hiking through the Northern woods in the winter, but would you know what to do if you were in a small plane crash or your car went off the road in Death Valley or on your way to Quebec?

From Popular Mechanics, Outdoors Survival Strategies along with case studies from some of the 50,000 wilderness search and rescue 

missions each year in the United States.  Now, I'm not a regular reader of the magazine, so a tip of the hat to Instapundit who shares my interest in disaster preparedness, but not my interest in Heloise.

Here are 8 practical tips to stay alive for three days so rescuers can find you.

1. Leave a detailed plan with someone on the home front.  When you don't arrive, rescuers will know where to start looking.
2. Bring the right clothes.
3. Stay found by carrying and using a map so you can always where you are.
4. Remain in one place if you are in trouble.  Think of your car is your survival ark, giving you shelter from the wind and the rain
5. Stay warm.  It's the rule of 3s.  You can live for 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without heat, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.
6. Signal for help in the most obnoxious way possible.  Blow your car horn.  Make a giant  X so that you are visible from the air.  Hang clothing from branches or lay out anything colorful so that it's visible from the air.  What catches the eyes of rescuers are contrast and movement.
7. Build a fire.  Keeps you warm and signals where you are.
8. Find water if necessary.  Don't ration the water you have.  Better to stay hydrated.  Drink found water even if you think it's impure if you have to.  Who cares about an intestinal bug if the water can save your life?

Finally, determine you will survive and live.  Most of survival is psychological.  Don't ask why this happened to you, a fruitless, useless question just about anytime.  Ask instead, What is the best things I can do in this situation.

Gear
If you're smart, you already have a first aid kit,  a flashlight, a few bottles of water and some fruit and nut bars in your car just in case.  Any of these inexpensive additions may save your life if you're lost in the wilderness.

Trash bags, large ones.  Good for staying warm.  Crawl right in.
Duct tape.  Did you know it prevents blisters and can splint broken bones. 
Whistle
Dental Floss  It's so strong, you can repair a backpack or tie together branches.
Waterproof match cases.  Two of them.  One with matches, the other with  Vaseline-soaked cotton balls.  Who knew they were such excellent fire starters?
Condoms.  Excellent for carrying a gallon of water.
CD.  If you don't have a signal mirror, you can use a CD to signal aircraft.  Just line up the aircraft in the hole and flash, ideally in a series of 3.

If survival is mainly psychological, so is preparedness.  Preparedness is the determination to be your best strong and courageous self whatever happens.  So read the tips again and may you remember them when you need them most for both know-how and will.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:53 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 22, 2006

A Cuppa for Stress

Seems like there's science behind the most typical English response to any stressful or traumatic event - a cup of tea.   

Stressed?  That cup of tea really will make it better

Scientists at University College London found that drinking tea lowers post-stress levels of cortisol, the hormone released when we experience physical or emotional trauma and which increases blood pressure and makes our hearts race.

So when you get home after battling traffic and the crowds in the supermarket for the last bits you need for dinner tomorrow, have a cuppa.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:41 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 27, 2006

Run don't walk

The Book of Joe has the definite answer, probably.

Running in the rain keeps you drier than walking which is why everyone does it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:26 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 23, 2006

Laundering Your Cell Phone

Just when I needed it most with my mother in the hospital and various siblings calling from hither and yon,  I left my cellphone in a pocket of my pants and threw both in the washer to get my laundry done.

Laundering your cellphone voids the warranty, renders it absolutely useless, and causes to vanish every phone number you have entered into your phone directory.    A replacement phone at full retail price can cost $250 and I was forced to buy one off eBay and waiting for a full week before it was delivered.

How I wish I had read How to Save a Wet Cell Phone. from Wikihow.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:19 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 19, 2006

Online resumes new spot for identity theft

When posting an online resume, be sure to clear it of all personal information.    Never ever post your social security number.  Be sure you are dealing with legitimate companies and recruiters before giving up any of your personal info.

Just assume that Identity Thieves are Reading Your Online Resumes.

When you post a resume, clear it of personal information. Cyberthieves have been able to gain access to resume databases and troll for Social Security numbers and other personal information, such as where you live and your contact information, says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a public interest research group in San Diego.
---
Think twice before revealing personal information by email or phone. Con artists "phishing" for information through fake interviews may ask for, say, information such as your Social Security number or a scan of your driver's license or passport, says Ms. Dixon, and claim it will expedite the application process.
---
You can start by searching on the company's name on the Better Business Bureau's Web site. Another helpful Web site is Lookstoogoodtobetrue.com, maintained by a joint federal law-enforcement and industry task force.
--

If the company that contacts you appears to be a well-known employer, don't think you're in the clear. Criminals are copying company Web sites and tweaking the contact information or links, says Ms. Dixon of the World Privacy Forum. Although a Web site may look credible, do an Internet search of the company to make sure the URL of the official Web site matches the address the employer refers you to. If there's a mismatch, find the phone number of the company's corporate headquarters on the official Web site to verify that the hiring manager who contacted you is an employee.


Since we're speaking of the importance of safeguarding your personal information, here's an ultimate guide to identity theft .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:28 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Breakfast for Lunch

Hey, it's okay if you don't eat breakfast say some scientists and nutritionists.  No breakfast, no problem.

I say listen to your body.  Do what works for you.

When I'm working at home, I eat breakfast for lunch.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Puberty in Pre-Schoolers

Be very careful about any products you use that contain hormones because you might be the cause of pre-school puberty in your children.

Like the father who used a testosterone skin cream that was determined to be the cause of the onset of puberty to his two pre-school children who developed pubic hair and enlarged genitals.

Don't let your boys use shampoos containing lavender or tea tree oils because their breasts might enlarge.

Preschool Puberty and a Search for the Causes.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:28 AM | Permalink

October 13, 2006

Free International Calls

You can make international phone calls for free if you connect to one of Futurephone's gateway access numbers, like 712-858-8883.

Once the gateway answers, enter 011 then the country code and number you want to reach.

Futurephone promises
• No signup
• Complete privacy
* Unlimited calls
* Call anytime

HT David Pogue at the New York Times.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:02 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

"No Duh" ways to improve your life

Some super-obvious ways to immediately improve your life from Merlin 
at 43 folders.

1. Reduce noise
2. Write things down
3. Focus on action
4. Get out of your inbox

Inboxes are delivery systems, not workspaces. The real work is happening in your brain and practically every other place that’s not an inbox.

5. Get pickier.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:50 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

Blue Light

   Blue Light

Interesting news about blue light.

A recent pilot study found that Alzheimer's patients show that they sleep better and wander less if exposed to blue LED lighting a few hours before bedtime.

If you have trouble waking up in the morning,  you can use blue light to turn off the production of melatonin which is only produced during darkness. 

Seems contradictory doesn't it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:47 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Mondays

Why you hate Mondays via Tinkerty Tonk   

A new study has found that lazy Saturday and Sunday lie-ins can disturb your body clock, leaving you fatigued at the start of the week.

The cure is to stop sleeping in on the weekends.

Get up early, do all your weekend errands when nobody's around, then go home and take a nap instead.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:12 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 7, 2006

One Number for Life

From LifeHacker,  One phone number to rule them all.

GrandCentral is a brilliant new web app that lets you consolidate all of your phone numbers into one number, meaning someone can call you on your GrandCentral phone number and all of your phones (cell phone, work phone, home phone) will ring. And then it gets interesting.

I'm not ready quite yet.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:57 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 4, 2006

Sore thumb

You know those annoying cuts you get on the tip of your index finger or your thumb?  Bandages never seem to work because they fall off too soon and you hit your thumb again right where the cut is.

My solution.
1. Treat the cut with neosporin.
2. You can try a bandage if you want.
3.  Cut off the tip of any finger on any rubber glove, the thinner the glove the better.  Place just the tip on your cut finger or thumb  and go about your business.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 25, 2006

Try Wize before you buy

How much do you believe in what companies say about their own products?

If you're like me, you take just about everything companies, experts, politicians, academics and government officials with a touch of salt and an ounce of skepticism.

Each year, the public relations giant Edelman publishes its Edelman Trust Barometer.  In the U.S., trust in a "person like me" has increased from 20% in 2003 to 68% in 2006.    Seems to parallel the growth in the blogosphere  doesn't it?

Experts may know much more about their chosen fields than you do, BUT I've found that the best advice about most things comes most often from other people speaking from their personal experience, not from experts.   

Aggregating both personal and expert product reviews  in an easily accessible format is the  core idea behind Wize,  It's a very good looking site, very easy to use.  They  us ea ranking system, giving each product a final score, called "Wize rank" by using collective wisdom for an unbiased product rating.

It's the best and easiest way to do product research for anything you're looking to buy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:09 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

When buying a new cellphone

When purchasing a cellphone and a new Bluetooth headset, DO NOT, in your haste to gather up all the trash and get it on the curb for pickup the next day, THROW OUT the box the cell phone came in.

Even if you saved the receipts, the contract, the directions,  the numerous alerts assuring you that your brain won't be fried using a cellphone and the rebate form, you will lack the ESSENTIAL element to get the $50 back on your purchase -- the bar code from the package, photocopies not accepted.

You will feel stupid.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 13, 2006

The Best Time to Buy

From Money magazine, the best time to buy everything.

Wine in the fall, champagne in December, airplane tickets on Wed, grocery shop on Sunday evening.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:52 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 14, 2006

Police laugh when woman reports a clean house

Most of the time my house is pretty neat.  Sometimes though, it's a mess which I think only reflects my disorganized state of mind.

Still and all, I don't think think I would call the police to report a clean house like this woman.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:12 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 9, 2006

Leg Scratch

When nature calls and you can't get to the bathroom fast enough, scratch the back of your leg really hard.

Leg scratch 'controls' women's loo call.

"If you scratch or rub the back of your calf for a few moments, really vigorously, you may interrupt the message from your bladder to your brain just long enough for you to make it to the toilet," Ms Webb said.

Ms Webb works for the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health which has joined forces with the Continence Foundation of Australia to raise awareness of continence problems.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:41 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 8, 2006

Sweet tip

Everyone should have a jar of honey tucked away for emergencies.

  Honey Pot

Honey heals wounds faster than antibiotics

“In hospitals today we are faced with germs which are resistant to almost all the current anti-biotics. As a result, the medical use of honey is becoming attractive again for the treatment of wounds,”

said Dr. Arne  Simon, one of the researchers at the University of Bonn hospital that conducted the study.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:13 AM | Permalink

August 4, 2006

What's Better When You're Younger

Interesting comments at Lifehacker's post on what's easier when you're younger. 

Mornings after the night before.
Moving
Getting arrested.  If you're not dealt with as a juvenile, people will call it a youthful indiscretion.
Quitting your job and driving around the country with your friends.
Getting laid.
Falling back on a safety net.
Crying your way out of problems.
Still experiencing the feeling of invulnerability.

I would add:

eating anything you want and not gaining weight.
believing that life is fair
believing that you're entitled.
biking 50 miles one day and 50 miles the next and not needing Advil.
thinking that you're always going to love your tatoos.
having summers off to do whatever you want.
believing you won't survive a break-up.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:52 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 30, 2006

Umpteenth Reason to Take Fish Oil

Overweight people lose more weight faster if they do light exercise and take fish oil, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. 

Fishy answer to weight loss

We were very surprised to see it was so effective, especially since these people were still eating whatever they wanted," said researcher Alison Hill.


"It's pretty exciting because this implies the results would be even better if you did control diet and exercised more heavily."


Scientists are still unsure exactly how Omega 3 works but they believe it may improve a person's ability to burn fat.

Splendid salmon or fish oil rich in Omega 3 fatty acids may fight breast cancer,  helps prevent airway constriction in asthma and wards off dementia and helps with dry eye syndrome.  Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your heart, your brain and your skin and make you more agreeable.  Some researchers suspect Omega 3 fatty acids can even can lower the murder rate.

One doctor gives a partial list of diseases that may be prevented or ameliorated with Omega 3 fatty acids:

  • Coronary heart disease and stroke;
  • Essential fatty acid deficiency in infancy (retinal and brain development);
  • Autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus and nephropathy);
  • Crohn disease;
  • Cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate;
  • Mild hypertension; and
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

I  think I need a whole new category on Omega 3.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:18 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

How to free yourself from an alligator

Sometimes watching television can save your life. 

Corey Workman, 16,  was throwing sticks and rocks into a lake in a remote area of Florida when a 6 to 8 ft alligator jumped out of the water, grabbed his left foot and dragged him into the lake.

Corey struggled with the gator but couldn't get free until he remembered something he saw on the Discovery channel about what to do if you're attacked by an alligator.

With his thumb, he poked the alligator in the eye until the gator released him.

"If he was ever bitten by a shark, he (learned) to put his hand in its gills and if he was ever attacked by a gator, to take his thumb and poke his thumb all the way in his eye and the gator released him," mother Elisa Badger said. "Thank God he was able to maintain his composure and not panic. He knew exactly what to do."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:25 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Post-its for your computer

Somewhere I read a tip that said Post-its were perfect for cleaning your laptop keyboard.

I tried it and it's great. It's thin and flexible and, unlike a paper clip, it won't cause any damage.  The sticky part picks up all the crumbs and hair you could see but couldn't get at.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:43 AM | Permalink

July 26, 2006

Tricks to teach your body

Here are some terrific tips you should know about.

18 tricks to teach your body

1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.

4. If you cough just as you are getting an injection, you will feel no pain.

5. Sinus pressure?  Alternately thrust your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then press between your eyebrows with one finger.

7. Toothache?  Rub ice on the v-shaped area between your thumb and index finger.

13. Ice cream headache? Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

Bounce Here and There

If you don't know all the ways Bounce can be put to good use, Bounce This Around.

I knew about tit repelled yellow jackets but didn't know it worked against ants, mice and mosquitos.

I always put a sheet of Bounce in my suitcases, but never thought to clean my television, dissolve soap scum, collect cat hair, wipe up sawdust or take the odor out of old scrapbooks.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:46 PM | Permalink

June 28, 2006

Lazy Advice to Graduates

If you are entering the so-called “real” world or if you are extending your stay in the “unreal," here is my advice:

Fall in love.

Not necessarily with another person, although that is nice, but fall in love with some area of knowledge. Don’t study a subject or take some job just because you think you can make a lot of money at it. Pursue a direction because it inspires you, because it feeds your soul, because it challenges you and causes you to grow as a person, because it advances the human condition.

Read more at Fred Gratzon's blog the Lazy Way to Success, where doing less accomplishes more.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:58 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 24, 2006

Shaming Perverts

The best defense women can use to stop subway perverts is to use their camera phones.

Say Cheese, You Sleaze!
Self-defense pros say the power to humiliate flashers and gropers by exposing their overexposure with a snapshot is an even more powerful weapon for women than a can of Mace or kick in the groin.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:34 PM | Permalink

June 23, 2006

Natural Remedy for Hangover

If anyone is celebrating this weekend, drinks too much and wakes up with a godawful hangover and is willing to do ANYTHING to stop the pain, will they please try this because I'm dying to know if this works.

From Bottom Line Health, Doctors' Favorite Home Remedies, comes this outrageous tip.

Hangover

To ease the symptoms of a hangover, cut a wedge of lemon and rub it on your armpits.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:33 PM | Permalink

June 22, 2006

What's for Dinner

One of the great questions of life is What To Make For Dinner.

Now, thanks to the endlessly inventive internet, there's Cooking with Google.

Now via Lifehacker, there's another new site Snacksby that turns what's in your pantry into a meal.

As they say, like macgyver, but for food.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:59 PM | Permalink

June 21, 2006

Cockeyed tips

Some decent tips and lessons over at Cockeyed from readers. Here are a few things I figured out.

I discovered that bok choi, choi sum, chinese cabbage, pak choi and many other asian vegies, are just the same damn vegetable!

On a similiar vein. Portobello, Button, Field, BBQ and cup mushrooms are all the same damn mushroom. Just different ages!
Don't even get me started on green onions!

Hair conditioner works as a decent substitute for shaving cream if you run out.

Deer don't necessarily cross at "deer crossing" signs.

Rubbing your hands on a stainless steel surface under running water after chopping garlic or onions completely removes the smell. No soap required. I don't know why it happens, but it does.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:07 PM | Permalink

June 16, 2006

Stuck glasses

Last week, I found two glass measuring cups that had stuck themselves together and no matter what I did I could not pull them apart.

I was ready to throw them away until I remembered ice contracts, heat expands.

I filled the inner cup with ice water and rested the outer cup inside a bowl of almost boiling water. After waiting about 5 minutes, I pulled them apart easily.

Good tip to remember

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:30 PM | Permalink

June 14, 2006

Charge lockers

Now this is a good idea for a business from Springwise. Charge lockers.

I know I would pay to charge my cell when I'm traveling because I hate packing my phone charger.

 Charge Lockers

My only question is - will it work on iPods?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

June 11, 2006

Cell phone numbers released to telemarketers?

I got yet another email from a friend saying that cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketers and that I had only 8 days to register my number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

THIS IS NOT TRUE.

As always when getting some dire warning via email from a friend who has all the best intentions, check it out first with

Snopes and UrbanLegends

Here's what Snopes has to say about the cell phone warning.

Urban Legends says this warning has been circulating since September 2004 and has more.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:35 PM | Permalink

June 7, 2006

Love more, have less

The words millions of Americans want to be able to say

"I know exactly where everything is."

Into the Closet

Organizers and closet designers offer a predictable variety of theories to account for the growing infatuation, including the increase in home-makeover television programs, a hunger for a sense of control in a world that moves at warp speed and a desire to focus on the home in an era of war and natural disasters. They also cite benefits of serious closet organization that go beyond efficiency and order for their own sake, including the reduction of stress, the inspiration to take on more ambitious efforts at home- and self-improvement, and the elimination of a potential source of embarrassment.
--
Ms. Glovinsky said that a well-organized closet offers "a pocket of order," a place that, once redone, can have an antidepressant effect. "I've seen people's moods brighten as they get organized," she said.
--

"Doing this is a form of self-respect," said one Mr. Lupo who also remarked, "Love more, have less."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2006

When you're posing for photos

Whether you're in front or behind the camera, here are some good tips on how to pose like a pro

Don't want any hint of a double chin to show up on an important photo?

Try this Hollywood trick for camouflaging the extra skin: Ask the subject to drop her shoulders and stretch the neck upward. Then ask her to jut her head forward just a bit and drop her chin down creating a large space for a shadow under the jaw line that will help to diminish any extra rolls of skin. The photographer should be standing slightly higher than the subject. The arrangement will leave the subject looking and feeling like she is doing an impression of a turkey, but the resulting two-dimensional final image will be well worth the silliness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:50 AM | Permalink

May 10, 2006

Keeping Up

There is no possible way any of us can keep up. Nobody can keep up. There's just too much stuff.

So throw out all those unread magazines you have in a pile to read some day, take a deep breath and read some tips from Kathy Sierra.

The Myth of "Keeping Up"

• Use an aggregator
• Get summaries
• Cut redundancy
• Unsubscribe to as many things as possible

If you need something, you can always Google it or ask someone who knows.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:48 PM | Permalink

May 5, 2006

Boarding Passes and Identity Theft

You know those boarding passes you would just toss after you got off a flight? Well, don't. Wait till you get home or at least tear it into little pieces.

Take a look at what one reporter from the Guardian was able to find out from one boarding pass. Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you. A. Way too much.

The traveller's name was Mark Broer. I know this because the paper - actually a flimsy piece of card - was a discarded British Airways boarding-pass stub, the small section of the pass displaying your name and seat number.
---

We logged on to the BA website, bought a ticket in Broer's name and then, using the frequent flyer number on his boarding pass stub, without typing in a password, were given full access to all his personal details - including his passport number, the date it expired, his nationality (he is Dutch, living in the UK) and his date of birth. The system even allowed us to change the information.

Using this information and surfing publicly available databases, we were able - within 15 minutes - to find out where Broer lived, who lived there with him, where he worked, which universities he had attended and even how much his house was worth when he bought it two years ago.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:49 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2006

How Experts Differ from Novices

From How Experts Differ from Novices

1. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices.

2. Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter.

3. Experts' knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: that is, the knowledge is "conditionalized" on a set of circumstances.

4. Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort.

5. Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others.

6. Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations.

Complex areas where mistakes can be devastating like investing, legal advice or medical knowledge are better dealt with by the experts of your choice. Since you're the expert on your own life and what you like, want you wang and what you are willing to risk, consider your relationship with them a collaboration of experts AND novices.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 PM | Permalink

May 2, 2006

Better in Groups

When it comes to complex problem solving, groups of three, four or five perform better working together than the same number of people working alone.

Groups Perform Better than the Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems.

"We found that groups of size three, four, and five outperformed the best individuals and attribute this performance to the ability of people to work together to generate and adopt correct responses, reject erroneous responses, and effectively process information," said lead author Patrick Laughlin, PhD., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Moreover, groups of two performed at the same level as the best of two individuals, suggesting that this group size was too small to introduce the necessary dynamics for optimal problem-solving.

This has important implications not just for scientific research and class room performance but also for the more complex issues in your own life.

You are much better off if you get your financial advisor and lawyer to work together and with you.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:11 PM | Permalink

User Manuals and Guides

Here's a great site to bookmark just in case you might need it someday. That is if you don't already have all your user manual guides in one place that you always remember and don't want to waste time looking for the manual you need to fix the problem you have.

UsersManualGuide

For all sorts of equipment such as mobile phone, cameras, monitors, software, TV, DVD.

Via bookofjoe

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 PM | Permalink

April 10, 2006

Postcards to yourself

What do you do if you've fallen in the habit of defining yourself in terms of who you are to other people and what they expect of you?

Her children grown, Alice Steinbach decided to take a year off from her job as a reporter with the Baltimore Sun, leave her friends and family and head off for Europe Without Reservations. That's the title of her book she ended up writing about her adventures in Paris, Oxford, Milan, Venice and London.

In so doing, she gives the single best travel tip I've ever seen: Write postcards to yourself to remind you not just of what you saw, but what you felt and thought. So much easier than keeping a travel journal. Plus, you have the stamps, the thoughts and the context to propel you back to another time.

I must say she's awakened a new travel lust in me.


"Without Reservations : The Travels of an Independent Woman" (Alice Steinbach)

She also has some marvelous quotes that will resonate with many women of a certain age.
From Colette, "that lightheartedness that comes to a woman when the peril of men has left her." The peril of men being those times when women needed men more than they needed their own independent identities.

I liked this one too, by Walter Berry in his advice to those about to enter the wilderness.
"Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place, there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into."

In preparation for the journey ahead of her, Alice's mother took this quote with her in her handbag to the hospital where she later died.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:11 PM | Permalink

April 5, 2006

Library Elf

Since I can't possibly afford all the books, DVDs and books on tape or CDs, my local library is essential. I hold libraries themselves in the highest regard.

I've been using ELF for about a month now to keep track of my library books and CDs. They mail me a notice when something is due or a hold is ready.

I highly recommend ELF for anyone who needs help in keeping tabs on library material, especially families with children and lots of books or someone like me who requests a lot of holds.

Elf is FREE. Sign up here for your personal library reminder service.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 PM | Permalink

March 24, 2006

"Five Second Rule" seems valid

Many believe if a piece of food falls on the ground, and you pick it up right away, in less than 5 seconds, you can still eat it.

Two young teens tested that rule for a science fair and won first prize.

Less than 5 seconds OK, after that it's best to toss it.

Five-second finding.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:20 AM | Permalink

March 23, 2006

Duct Tape

You only need two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.

Did you know that enough duct tape is sold each year to wrap around the earth 20 times?

Or that the astronauts used duct tape on Apollo 13 to help put together air scrubbers that kept them alive?

And duct tape cures warts better than freezing with liquid nitrogen?

All this and more at Duct tape: World's Greatest Tool?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:54 PM | Permalink

March 21, 2006

Disabled Hands

If you know anyone who is having trouble with their hands, point them to Disabled Hands, a blog that gives "tips, hacks and products for those with diminished hand function.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:49 PM | Permalink

The Mystique of Multitasking

You may think you're really good at it and getting a lot done but you're not. Just ask the mavens of multitasking, any mother of two or more preschool kids.

Time magazine looks at the science in The Multitasking Generation

there's substantial literature on how the brain handles multitasking. And basically, it doesn't....what's really going on is a rapid toggling among tasks rather than simultaneous processing.
-
The switching of attention from one task to another, the toggling action, occurs in a region right behind the forehead called Brodmann's Area 10 in the brain's anterior prefrontal cortex
--
When people try to perform two or more related tasks either at the same time or alternating rapidly between them, errors go way up, and it takes far longer--often double the time or more--to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially,

The real key to getting things done is attention and focus.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:09 PM | Permalink

March 14, 2006

Recover and print old tax returns

If you have to print out old tax returns because you can't find your paper copies, you will probably have problems because you no longer have the old software that created them.

Fear not. Tax Printer maintains collections of all that old software and will turn your old file into a printable PDF.

Only $25, 24 hours, email both ways

via Life Hacker's Recover your tax documents from old software

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:56 PM | Permalink

March 13, 2006

Get a better price for your home

If you plan on selling your home soon, here's 10 tips on getting the best return on home improvements.

1. Clean / de-clutter - 973% Average Return on Investment: Remove clutter by storing items in basement, attic or friend’s home. Rent a storage space or sell excess items, if needed. Keep every room very clean during open homes. Do pre-open house cleanliness inspections.

2.
Lighten and brighten - 865% Average Return on Investment: Replace any burnt-out bulbs and use higher wattage bulbs, if possible. Have defective electrical components repaired or replaced. Make sure skylights are clear and keep drapes open during the day.

3.
Yard - 426% Average Return on Investment: Store away personal effects from front yard. Hire gardener or landscaper to trim back the overgrowth and maintain yard. Make sure that your lawn has a healthy green appearance

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:30 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2006

Empty stomach

Your best learning may be done on an empty stomach.

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have found evidence that that learning and memory are stimulated by a gut hormone, ghrelin, which is highest when your stomach is empty.

Is the growing obesity problem in the country connected to the growing stupidity problem? Seems so.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:27 PM | Permalink

February 20, 2006

Organizing better than sex

Would you spend $12,000 to organize your garage if it meant you would finally have room for your car?

Garage organizing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the home improvement market, expected to rise 10% a year for the rest of the decade. Last year, some $800 million dollars was spent on garage organizing.

I still find it hard to credit a survey taken by Ikea in 2001 that 31% of respondents got more satisfaction from cleaning a closet than having sex.

Well, it does last longer.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:56 PM | Permalink

February 17, 2006

Follow your gut

You know how experts say you should weigh all the pros and cons before any major decision?

I tried once or twice, but it always seemed false and forced. I usually opt for the easier, more natural gut decisions.

Turns out, that's a smarter thing to do.

A study today published in Science says "Follow your gut.

However, as the decisions become complex (more expensive items with many characteristics, such as cars), better decisions and happier ones come from not attending to the choices but allowing one's unconscious to sift through the many permutations for the optimal combination.

The Boston Globe reports

In a series of studies with shoppers and students, researchers found that people who face a decision with many considerations, such as what house to buy, often do not choose wisely if they spend a lot of time consciously weighing the pros and cons. Instead, the scientists conclude, the best strategy is to gather all of the relevant information -- such as the price, the number of bathrooms, the age of the roof -- and then put the decision out of mind for a while.

Then, when the time comes to decide, go with what feels right. ''It is much better to follow your gut," said Ap Dijksterhuis, a professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam, who led the research.

For relatively simple decisions, he said, it is better to use the rational approach. But the conscious mind can consider only a few facts at a time. And so with complex decisions, he said, the unconscious appears to do a better job of weighing the factors and arriving at a sound conclusion.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 PM | Permalink

February 10, 2006

Bottled Water an Environmental Drain

I know a lot of people out there drink only bottled water.

I mean bottles of water are great in a car or while hiking, but it's not any better than tap water. And it costs 10,000 times more! Often costing as much as $10 a gallon, bottled water can be four times as expensive as gasoline.

If your tap water tastes funny, get a water filter. or use a Brita filter. Not only is bottled water a waste of money. 40% of bottled water comes from tap water anyway.

Today, I learned just what an environmental drain bottled water is.

"Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing, producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy," according to Emily Arnold, author of the study published by the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington-based environmental group.
---

"Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 US cars for a year," according to the study. "Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year."
---

The study, citing the Container Recycling Institute, said that 86 percent of plastic water bottles in the United States end up as garbage and those buried can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

In addition, some 40 percent of the PET bottles deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 ended up being shipped to China.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:55 PM | Permalink

February 8, 2006

Tick Twister

If you have a dog and walk in the woods, you need a tick twister which is far better than tweezers to remove those nasty ticks. Only $4 from Amazon, it works on people too.

 Tick Twister

HT to another of Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:59 PM | Permalink

January 17, 2006

Wine ice cubes and Alka Seltzer

More helpful than Heloise are these hints from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred.

Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time! (Now, where to put the body?)


Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half, and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces. (Left over wine? What's that?)

Now get out there and buy some Alka Seltzer because you can

Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China.

Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets.

Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, and then run the hot water.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:57 PM | Permalink

January 3, 2006

Back and Organized

Well, I'm just about settled in my new digs and loving them very much. The next-to-last project was putting my new office together and it looks smashing with a conference table, a computer armoire, bookcases, a supply cabinet and one lateral file cabinet.

It wouldn't work half so well if I hadn't installed large shelves in the basement for old files, boxed files, and boxes of photos, slides, and clothes. Now everything is accessible. I even have a long banquet table - one of those folding ones - so I can sort through old files down there and leave my office uncluttered.

It's a wonderful start to the new year to have everything so organized.
It means this is a year when I'm going to get a lot done.

Best wishes to everyone for a wealthy, healthy, and happy New Year

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:45 PM | Permalink

October 29, 2005

CarpetFlick

A Swifter for carpets - CarpetFlick looks like a wonderful new product from Proctor and Gamble that I'll be looking for after reading BusinessWeek's story, How P&G Conquered Carpet via the Dynamist.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:27 AM | Permalink

October 25, 2005

I might need that someday

Are you lost in your own clutter?

You're not alone. US Material Wealth Leads to Clutter.

Is it a result of our evolutionary past? Are we compelled to get more and more stuff and never throw anything out because some day we might need it?

Why do we hoard all this stuff? Turns out there are significant brain changes in some people that sends up a red alert if something is to be thrown out.

There are even groups of Clutters Anonymous in 50 cities.

But if you're ashamed to bring someone home like Karen Lowe, then it's time to hire a professional. If your friends can't recommend anyone, try this link to find an organizer near you who belongs to the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:38 AM | Permalink

October 14, 2005

Bubble To Do

This is a great idea. The Bubble To-Do List. The size of the bubbles represents how important it is.

You can see at a glance your progress on the more important things or whether you've frittered away the day on the trivial.

   Bubble

HT Matt Homan at the [non]billable hour.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:27 PM | Permalink

October 12, 2005

New Filing System

It's not often that you see a whole new filing system, but here it is.

The Noguchi Filing System.

It makes a certain sort of sense. It's simple, even elegant. Maybe I'll try it when I move.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:59 PM | Permalink

October 4, 2005

Real Men Know How to Iron

I couldn't pass this one up. One day courses to teach men how to iron are being set up across Austria with the tag line, "A real man knows how to iron."

I know some men who need that course, even if it costs $200.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:29 PM | Permalink

August 30, 2005

Airport Security for Guys

Here's a useful tip from David Allen of "Getting It Done" fame that he got "from a Canadian in our network" about navigating airport security, especially if you're a guy and don't carry a purse.

"I typically carry in my pockets a cell phone, PDA, portable MP3 player, keys, loose change, gum, itinerary, watch, wallet, photo ID, boarding pass, reading material and pens for the plane.  I need to get these through the security check quickly and easily.  There is nothing worse than doing the Airport Macarena (i.e. the painfully dopey self pat down) after clearing security to ensure that nothing has been forgotten.

My solution is simple.  I carry a clear, closable plastic folder labeled "Plane Carry File" and place all of the above in it.  I close it and put the folder in the tray provided (except for the boarding pass) before I proceed through security.  The laptop goes into a separate tray.  When I have cleared inspection, I can retrieve the folder and its contents quickly and with peace of mind.  Before I board the plane, I put everything back except the photo ID and boarding pass which I need to board the plane."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:33 PM | Permalink

August 27, 2005

Fighting Back

This is great and it has to be making perverts very nervous.

Thao Nguyen used her phone to snap a photo of the man who flashed her in a NYC subway.

Now his  photo is all over the internet and on the front page of the New York Daily News.

  Daily News Perv

She told the Daily News,

Maybe someone will recognize him. Maybe it will stop other people from doing it," she said. "Maybe other women will use their camera phones to stop crime.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:01 PM | Permalink

August 6, 2005

PBJ your way to riches

How just packing a lunch four days a week can add up. 

Frank saves $20/week, $1000/year with peanut butter and jam sandwiches and fruit.  Healthier too

Brown Bag Your Way to Half a Million via Lifehacker

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:31 PM | Permalink

The Sound of Music

The hills are alive with the sound of music again in Switzerland. 

Hikers are told to sing if they want to avoid being attacked by a bear.  Good advice anywhere.

I wrote in Rural Europe Dying that economics and declining birthrates are pushing large swaths of Europe back to their primeval state.  Looks like it's not just wolves returning, but bears too.

Bears had been extinct in Switzerland for 100 years.  The new bear that's got everyone singing probably migrated from Italy when wildlife experts say about 70 live.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:24 PM | Permalink

July 27, 2005

ICE: In Case of Emergency

Here's a good tip if you haven't gotten around to making your wallet card yet.

Store your emergency contact numbers on your cell phone beginning with ICE (in case of emergency).  So, ICE followed by the telephone number of Mom or Dad or your spouse. 

If your unconscious or unable to respond to emergency personnel, paramedics need to get in touch with the right people and  ICE numbers on your cell phone are a good way.

Barbara Mikkelson at Snopes  adds a lot more

Now, Bob Brotchie, a paramedic who works as a clinical team leader for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust has launched a campaign (sponsored by Vodafone's annual Life Savers Awards) to get people to store "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) information in items that have become ubiquitous in many parts of the world: cell phones.

According to Vodafone:
[R]esearch carried out by Vodafone that shows more than 75 per cent of people carry no details of who they would like telephoned following a serious accident.

Bob, 41, who has been a paramedic for 13 years, said: "I was reflecting on some of the calls I’ve attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile phone contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured person.

"It's difficult to know who to call. Someone might have "mum" in their phone book but that doesn't mean they'd want them contacted in an emergency.

"Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history."


If you take the time - 15 min - to do your wallet card, the vital information a paramedic needs to know about your blood type, allergies, significant medical conditions, and medications would be all there.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:56 PM | Permalink

July 26, 2005

Forehead Ticket Trick

Say you're going to a ball game or a concert and you're driving. You want to  be sure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them.  Make everyone hold their ticket to their forehead or the car doesn't move.

via 43 Folders
"Been doing it for 20 years, and you’d be amazed how often it saves the day."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:12 AM | Permalink

June 27, 2005

Advice you'll never use

Just in case, here from the San Francisco Chronicle are the ten things you should do if you encounter a UFO

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:56 PM | Permalink

June 23, 2005

Finding Time

Need to find more time? 

The Wall Street Journal has a new series called Finding Time with tips to keep up with the news,  clean, keep up with technology, and finding time for friendships, personal finances, exercise, reading and networking.

I think an online subscription to the Wall Street Journal is well worth it for its wealth of information and you'll need to access Finding Time

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:01 PM | Permalink

June 18, 2005

Clean House

One of the things "ladies" magazines used to do a lot more of was to give practical tips for keeping a house organized and clean. 

The phenomenal success of the magazine Real Simple is attributable to the dream every woman has of an organized home and the need for practical tips, all the better for being wrapped up in a beautifully designed package.  It was too long before their online website looked as good as their magazine, but too often, their solutions are fey or don't really cover the day to day gritty practicalities.

More practical and homespun advice can be found at FlyLady who says "We don't need new trash cans, a resupply of underwear or plastic containers to get rid of the CHAOS in our lives.  All we need is ROUTINES." which she gives you along with email reminders several times a day.    I joined for several weeks to see what it was like and I've never gotten more email in my life, rather like a hectoring aunt with occasional flashes of wit and brilliance.

Maria Cilley who runs FlyLady could get any woman feeling overwhelmed on the right track in a few weeks if you read the heart warming, sometimes heart-rendering letters that women send in. 

But this is the first blog I've seen on housecleaning. My clean house via of all people Bill Ives.

What ever happened to Hints from Heloise you ask.  Her daughter is carrying on at Heloise.com and answering your questions at an iVillage messageboard every week.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:45 AM | Permalink

June 8, 2005

How old are you?

Just exactly how old are you? 

You'll never really know unless you click here.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:09 PM | Permalink

June 3, 2005

Message in a Bottle

When you are abandoned and the food and water is running out, by all means try a message in a bottle.   

"Help, please, help us" on a scrap of paper, stuffed in a bottle and tied to a fishing line saved the lives of 88 last week who were adrift at sea in a sinking boat.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 PM | Permalink

May 27, 2005

Get Rich Slowly, Clean Quickly

Saving you time and money.

Foldedspace has summarized about a dozen books on personal finance, distilling all their themes into one easy to read post.

Keeping your house clean in only 19 minutes a day, from Real Simple

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:04 PM | Permalink

May 10, 2005

Rating Diets and Balance Transfers

You listen to them about toasters, search them out to buy dryers, order special reports before you buy a car, now Consumer Reports rates diets.  Weight-watchers leads the pack.

Thanks Ken Leebow for the tip.  He learned it from Consumer World which also has a handy checklist about the 12 questions to ask before you sign on to that tempting balance transfer

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:37 PM | Permalink

May 4, 2005

Write long in the SAT

If you want your kids to do well in the SATs, just tell them to write at length in the essay part and don't worry about making mistakes.

In the New York Times, SAT essay test rewards length and ignores error.

He was stunned by how complete the correlation was between length and score. "I have never found a quantifiable predictor in 25 years of grading that was anywhere near as strong as this one," he said. "If you just graded them based on length without ever reading them, you'd be right over 90 percent of the time." The shortest essays, typically 100 words, got the lowest grade of one. The longest, about 400 words, got the top grade of six. In between, there was virtually a direct match between length and grade.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:07 PM | Permalink

May 2, 2005

Who's a Tomboy?

Tomboy tools, are tools and home improvement techniques for women, by women. 

            Tomboy Tools

Their philosophy? Empower women to become confident and competent homeowners with the tools they need to repair and improve their most valuable asset, their homes.  There's a very good forum for asking home improvement questions and getting good answers.

Tomboy, by the way, is defined as "a girl who determines her own destiny."  And that includes all the single, divorced and widowed women who own homes.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:22 PM | Permalink

33 million times a week

Someone is trying to steal your identity through Phishing scams

Phishing, if you don't know the word, is the scam that deceives users into revealing personal information that can then be used to steal your identity.

33 million times a week according to Symantec.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from Computer Security News

1. Don’t click on links offered in email text, which can often be redirected to illegitimate websites. Instead, type the domain name directly into your browser.

2. Be suspicious of any website address that doesn’t end in “.com”.

3. Check that the website is secure. A secure website begins with “https” rather than “http”. Look for a “lock” symbol at the bottom corner of the web page and click on any “SSL Certificates” to make sure they are valid.

4. Keep your browser and Windows operating system updated. Microsoft and other software providers frequently release security patches that close holes in your computer system. These holes could be exploited by Phishers if left un-patched.

5. If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the links. Legitimate companies do not ask for this information via email.

6. Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them. Notify your bank immediately if you notice any unauthorized charges or suspect you are the victim of identity theft.

.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:36 PM | Permalink

Kitchen Myths

What do the following have in common?

Searing meat seals in the juices.
A box of baking soda in the fridge absorbs odors.
Use water instead of milk to make scrambled eggs.
Sushi means raw fish.
Avoid aluminum cookware because of Alzheimer's disease.
Gas stoves are better than electric.

They are all FALSE. 

Kitchen myths has done the research.

HT grow a brain

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:36 PM | Permalink

April 22, 2005

Harmful Air Cleaners

Consumer Reports that ionizing air cleaners often create significant levels of potentially harmful indoor ozone.

People with asthma or respiratory allergies are especially sensitive to indoor ozone, an irritant that can worsen asthma, deaden sense of smell, raise sensitivity to pollen and mold, and may cause permanent lung damage

These are the cleaners  that failed safety standard tests and should be returned for a refund.
Brookstone Pure-Ion V2; Sharper Image Professional Series Ionic Breeze Quadra S1737 SNX; Ionic Pro CL-369; IonizAir P4620; and Surround Air XJ-2000.

Top performers that passed the tests were:

The top-performing Friedrich C-90A, an ionizing electrostatic precipitator model, is very effective and emits little ozone. Another fine performer that emits little ozone is the Whirlpool 45030, which is a HEPA-filter model.

Why not just open your windows for a while.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:54 PM | Permalink

April 13, 2005

More on Find a Human

I must update the Find A Human post if only to correct the impression I was under  - and the impression I gave -  that this site was maintained by Intuit.  It's maintained by a HUMAN - one Paul English in fact.  Thanks, huzzahs and kudos to  Paul and all the others who've added to it.

You can access the "find a human a list" here.  Better yet, add to the sum total of human happiness by adding your own entry  if you've found a way to find a human .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:48 PM | Permalink

April 7, 2005

All in one tracking

Here's a handy bookmark -PackTrack-  to track ALL your packages -UPS, FedEx, DHL and more.

HT.  Ken Leebow at Blogging About Incredible Blogs

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:03 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2005

More dryer lint

One of those strange factoids lodged forever in my brain is that Madonna loves to clean out the lint trap in her dryer.  I remember this from an interview years ago, but apparently Madonna talked about her dryer lint again last summer in People magazine. Why on earth, cleaning out that soft stuff should be so deeply pleasurable is beyond me, but I'm with Madonna on this one.

That dryer lint is also a favorite of birds building their nests, so put some out right along side your bird feeder, so the birds can make nice cozy nests this spring.

The Wall St Journal reported Friday that  dryer lint makes great kindling, plus it's nice and light to carry if you're hiking or camping.

Too much lint not cleaned out, can indeed cause fires,  The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports almost 15,000 clothes-dryer fires, resulting in 300 injuries and $90 in property damage each year.

Joe is on the case, though.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:30 PM | Permalink

March 19, 2005

Find A Human

If you wasting too much time and experiencing too much frustration with those damned phone trees that keep you circulating in the nether reaches of hell, bookmark this site.  Find A Human

Intuit has put up a page for which they should receive some sort of consumer award.  It helps you cut through those automated phone systems that drive everyone mad.

With a big tip of the hat to Tom Kane at the legal marketing blog.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:17 PM | Permalink

February 19, 2005

Invisible dryer film

Did you know that those dryer sheets like Bounce leave an invisible film on your lint filter that you can't see and could cause the heating unit in your dryer to burn out?

Neither did I until Snopes investigated and brought us this important news.

I'll be back after I scrub my lint filter with hot, soapy water.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:54 PM | Permalink

January 21, 2005

Ta-da or Hipster

If you keep lists on your computer, you might want to check out Ta-da lists .  You can share your "to do" lists, make lists for other people, share lists with the world or subscribe to your own lists via RSS. 

Personally, I have enough to do lists and I don't want anyone to see how little I've gotten done on them.  I've just started keeping lists on blank index cards after I learned about the Hipster PDA.  I love being able to shuffle them around on my desk.  I can see a lot of what I have to do and rearrange priorities that way.  In my small notebook, I note appointments and what I have done.  Somehow I feel better looking at what I've done than what I haven't.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:08 AM | Permalink