Today in history marks the start of our favorite TV geek show: Mythbusters! The show premiered in 2003 and since has struck our funny bones and tickled our inner geek. Hypothesize people!!
Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) turns 198 today!! Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of evolution due to natural selection that prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory. Happy Birthday old chap!
Today is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday! Time to dust off The Hobbit, put in the Lord of the Ring’s Trilogy, work on the next level of LOTR online game, or for those real diehards get your Silmarillion.
The man behind the beloved series was born 3 January 1892 (died Sept. 2, 1973) in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free state province) South Africa. Tolkien never expected his stories to become popular, but by sheer accident a book called The Hobbit, which he had written some years before for his own children, came in 1936 to the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm George Allen & Unwin, who persuaded Tolkien to submit it for publication.The request for a sequel prompted Tolkien to begin what would become his most famous work: the epic novel The Lord of the Rings (originally published in three volumes 1954–1955). Tolkien spent more than ten years writing the primary narrative and appendices for The Lord of the Rings.
Some Little know facts:
1. As children, Tolkien and three friends, Rob Gilson, Geoffrey Smith, and Christopher Wiseman, formed a semi-secret society which they called “the T.C.B.S.”, the initials standing for “Tea Club and Barrovian Society”, alluding to their fondness for drinking tea in Barrow’s Stores near the school and, secretly, in the school library.
2. As a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, an event which some think would have later echoes in his stories
3.On the evening of his twenty-first birthday, Tolkien wrote to Edith a declaration of his love and asked her to marry him. Edith replied saying that she had already agreed to marry another man, but that she had done so because she had believed Tolkien had forgotten her. The two met up and beneath a railway viaduct renewed their love; Edith returned her engagement ring and announced that she was marrying Tolkien instead.
4. In the run-up to World War II, Tolkien was earmarked as a codebreaker.
Happy Birthday to one EPIC man!
Today is Issac Asimov’s birthday! (January 2, 1920)
Russian born Issac Asimov is best known for his science fiction work. Recognized as one of the most prolific writers of all time, Asimov penned or edited more than 500 books and over 9,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System! His most famous work is the Foundation Series, along with his other major series the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. Some details of Asimov’s imaginary future technology as he described in the 1940s and 1950s have not aged well. For example, he described powerful robots and computers from the distant future using punched cards or punched tape and engineers using slide rulers. In one dramatic scene in Foundation and Empire, a character gets the news by buying a paper at a vending machine. Of course, this charge could be leveled at virtually any writer of science fiction and has little critical impact. And who could have predicted Japan’s love of vending machines. –>
Some little know facts:
1. Asimov was a claustrophile: he enjoyed small, enclosed spaces.
2. Asimov considered himself a feminist even before Women’s Liberation became a widespread movement.
3. Asimov once explained that his reluctance to write about aliens came from an incident early in his career when Astounding’s editor John Campbell rejected one of his science fiction stories because the alien characters were portrayed as superior to the humans. He decided that, rather than write weak alien characters, he would not write about aliens at all.
So cheers to the legend of SciFi himself on his (what would be) 92nd birthday!
Second to illegal drugs, counterfeit money is one headache that the global community is trying to resolve with stiffer penalties. However, unscrupulous individuals who have found counterfeiting a very lucrative venture, always find ways to pass off counterfeit money, a.k.a. “funny money,” as genuine. It is not all wit or smarts that got these criminals far into their unlawful activity. In fact, it is in part the lack of information against counterfeit money that has allowed these criminals to get away with their crimes. There’s a price to pay for ignorance, and when it comes to counterfeits, it is always more than what you bargained for. So how does one check if a bill is the real thing?
The Use of Currency Counter
A Currency counter not only makes counting stacks of bills a breeze, it is also a gadget you can use to detect counterfeit money. Now, don’t get too excited. Not all currency counters are created equal, so make sure that you buy one that has a built-in ultra violet magnetic scanner. Most banks and other financial institutions have the Semacon brand, as this is the industry-leader.
Additional Reading: Buying a Currency Counter? Nine Things You Should Look For
The ultra violet magnetic scanner works double time: it detects counterfeits and sorts old bills from new ones. It not only saves you a great deal of time, but also delivers accurate results compared to checking each bill manually.
Other Ways to Detect Funny Money
Technology has made counterfeiting a low-cost venture; anyone who has a personal computer, an inkjet printer, a scanner, an eye for detail, and lots of guts can create counterfeit money. However, when you know where to look, finding out if a bill is counterfeit is easier than you may have thought.
- 1. Paper. Counterfeit bills carry give-away clues that you can’t miss when you feel the paper.
Take a look:
- a. Real money uses a special paper, known as “rag paper” that is created exclusively for the governments that back them up, like the US Treasury. This paper is thinner compared to ordinary paper, and has distinguishing marks on its surface that you can readily see. For other distinguishing marks not visible to the naked eye, magnetic scanners of currency counters or the use of counterfeit pens won’t miss them. This is precisely one good reason to buy a currency counter.
- b. Threadlike red and blue lines scattered all throughout the paper. These tiny streaks of fibers come from cotton and linen, which are the chief materials used in real money. Scanning bills with these intricate lines may not pose a problem, but when printed, they do not register the same.
- c. Unlike ordinary paper that cannot withstand wear and tear, rag paper is wet-resistant, and since it is made of fibers, instead of cellulose from trees, it does not easily disintegrate.
- 2. Ink. Real money uses a special magnetic ink that noticeably shifts color when you hold the paper in backward and forward motion. Currency counters and vending machines readily detect counterfeit money because of their magnetic scanners.
Also, this special ink gives rag paper a certain feel as it does not fully integrate with the paper, unlike ordinary ink that gets absorb readily upon contact with a paper.
- 3. Watermark. Real money when held against a light source shows a watermark that is embedded on the paper.
- 4. Security Strip. This refers to the thin vertical strip that you see on the surface of real money.
Governments all over the world are aggressive in their fight against counterfeit money; however, without vigilance by their citizens, counterfeiters can easily find a way around anti-counterfeiting measures that are already in place.
You can curb this illegal activity by doing your share. Report any person who you suspect to be engaged in counterfeiting, and if you deal with stacks of bills or coins, it is wise to buy a coin or currency counter to sort counterfeit items for you.
You can also instruct other people on how to spot fake money. Counterfeiting may a Goliath sized problem, but every little effort made against it may just prove to be a David like success.
Sleek Scandinavian apartment designs have long been an obsession of mine. The lines, colors, and concept pieces many Scandinavian interior designers use for their designs are not just elegant, they give off this hip and youthful vibe which makes any room, house, or pad seem like a kingdom, to its residents.
After work, we’d all like to come home to a refreshing and comfortable place. Well, I do and that is why I have been making minor additions, a piece of furniture or two here and there, to my humble abode to make it more comfortable.
While browsing through skeppsholmen.se for interior ideas, I chanced upon this apartment design which definitely falls under my definition of “comfy”.
This apartment design is called “Gable apartment with fireplace”
The clean walls, brightly colored furniture and the statement decor are definitely something I’d like to add into my pad, unfortunately, concept pieces like these are often expensive and difficult to find.
Fortunately, there are tons of alternative pieces out there which give off the same appeal for less.
The Living Room
Here is the first picture of the living room. From this angle, you can easily tell that the defining features of the apartment are the little colorful pieces that are in it. Take note that the walls are off-white and the couches are somewhat grayish in color. These two alone make a bland combination but the addition of the colorful toss pillows, vases and candles brings life to this 98 meter square pad.
From here, you can see the colorful desk lamp at the far end of the room which looks like an upside-down vase. Lamps are not really my thing but had this been my pad, I would probably replace that fixture with a multi-color vase.
Another piece that pops out from this picture is the table. Aside from being in the foreground of the picture, the tall, white vase and the three candles beside it somewhat compliment each other. To get the same look, set a tall, single-colored vase on a table but don’t forget to add scented candles.
To liven up the monotonous white walls, the interior designer of this apartment generously garnished it with colorful paintings. There are many sources for affordable, mass-produced paintings on the web that don’t look tacky and could give off the same youthful feel to your apartment.
Finally, notice that a small angel statue is set isolated on the fireplace. By adding an “old” piece to an apartment fit for young adults, it adds a little maturity to the apartment.
While we’re in the topic of smartphones, here’s something from Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor from the other side of the world.
Samsung has expressed plans to release their latest installment to the Nexus series. While the Samsung Wave did get a great deal of consumer support, they were unable to take the top spot from Apple’s iPhone 4. Now that iPhone 4S is out, Samsung hopes to give the smartphone war another shot by releasing their latest Android phone, the Samsung Nexus Prime.
Samsung originally intended to release the Nexus Prime right after the debut of the iPhone 4S; however, Steve Jobs’ passing prompted the largest electronics maker in the world to postpone the event and reschedule it for October 11 during the CTIA Trade Event.
Samsung Nexus Prime Features
Samsung has been very mum about the features of the Nexus Prime, but according to analysts, the Nexus Prime will run on the new Android OS 4 processor, nicknamed “Ice Cream Sandwich.” It is believed that the new OS will change the functionality of smartphones rendering Apple iOS obsolete in the smartphone market.
Its video features include a 720p HD Screen, 1080p video recording capability and HiDef video playback–clearly, these features are Samsung’s answers to the iPhone 4S’s 8MP camera and 1080p recording feature.
For hardware, Nexus Prime will run on a 1.5GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, and will accommodate an OMAP 4460 chip, an ultra low-power 28nm processor.
Google, unlike Apple, is not keen on emphasizing the aesthetic features of their devices and the same applies for Nexus Prime. That being said, get ready to hear praises about Android OS4 in the next few weeks, instead of reviews about the device itself.
According to Google, the Nexus Prime is exclusively distributed under Verizon. No word has been released regarding an unlocked version.
No Love for iPhone 4S
Meanwhile, Samsung has filed a case against Apple due to some patent issues over the 3G technology which Samsung invented and Apple allegedly stole and has called for the ban of iPhone 4S distribution in France and Italy. Ouch!
Is the Nexus Prime going to be “the new iPhone killer” as popular tech blog Technorati suggests? Or is the release of the Android OS 4 the only good feature to look forward to with this device’s debut? We’ll see on October 11.
When Apple released iPhone 4S to the public, the web was abuzz with insane amounts of negative feedback.
Apparently, the iPhone 4S isn’t what Apple supporters quite had in mind. Still, even though the general mood is mildly negative, both Sprint and AT&T have reported that pre-orders for the new model exceeded their expectations.
The brand new, Artificial Intelligence-esque features of iPhone 4S might have given it the edge it needed to stand out from its predecessor, the iPhone 4, but these features might not be enough to act as diversion from the disappointing no-show of the iPhone 5.
Features of the iPhone 4S
1. Who… or what is Siri?
Siri is Apple’s answer to the old yet “buggy” voice command feature of Window’s PC. No one knows how well the Siri feature is going to work; however, the Apple website claims that Siri is capable of understanding your commands and from time to time, it may reply as well. Think of it as your very own assistant, tucked away within your cellphone.
This is Apple’s attempts to explore the seas of hands-free cellphone usage but there is no definite way to tell, as of yet, if the Siri works as well as Apple suggests.
2. A5 Processor
A lot of Apple users were actually hoping to see the A5 Processor on the iPhone 5, but since it was released sooner than expected, this could only mean one thing: both iPad 3 and iPhone 5 will be running on A6.
3. 8 MP Camera with capability to record a 1080p HD Video
The new 8MP camera and 1080p HD video rendering features of the iPhone 4S might be its winning feature. Everyone knows that when it comes to aesthetics, Apple never ceases to impress. The 1080p HD makes a good alternative to hand held video cameras and a good tool for social networking or video blogging (vlogging).
4. iCloud connectivity
When Apple announced their new iCloud service months ago, many analysts were concerned about security. Anything you save on a remote server is not assuredly ‘safe’ and the iCloud feature might be an unnecessary addition to the device.
You’ve been warned! Although the iCloud feature seems tempting (since it is wireless and all), if you’re concerned about security, don’t put all your trust in iCloud.
According to the Business Insider, people like the iPhone because of its design; unfortunately, design-wise, iPhone 4S didn’t quite meet this expectation. The iPhone 4S is like the iPhone 4, save for the additional features. If you’re looking for a new design, you’ll just have to stick to changing the skins of your iPhone 4.
A rose by any other name…?
Do you think the feedback would have been more positive and supportive if Apple released the iPhone 4S under the name “iPhone 5?” Or would you consider this new release a smart marketing technique for Apple as they gear up for the number 5?
Do you play dress-up? Admit it, we all like to be kids sometimes. My friend Arlane and I took a day off from our official status as babysitter/laundrywoman/cook a.k.a. “Mom” to raid my three trunks of old clothes and you bet, play dress-up! My full-length mirror in the basement was our silent witness to the “transformations,” never mind that we couldn’t zip up most of those clothes. Admittedly, we’ve grown a little fatter – mostly, in the wrong places, too!
Still, the activity was a lot of fun and not just the actual dress-up, but reliving the memories that came along with every dress I lifted out of the trunk.
As soon as I opened the first trunk containing my Sunday dresses when I was about Trina’s (my 5th grader) age, I wondered why I have not yet thought of buying a desktop sewing machine. I practically grew up with the sound of it since my mother was the family’s seamstress and she insisted that her daughters should only go to mass, in a dress – period.
She made my school uniforms, my summer dresses, my pants, my prom dress, my engagement dress and my wedding gown, too. Her loyal companion for more than 18 years, a dual-speed sewing machine, practically, stitched together my Mom’s love for all of her kids. I cringed at the thought that when my time is up, there’s nothing Trina would remember me by, except for the inlaid puzzle I gave her on her 7th birthday, which she can no longer piece together because of the missing parts!
I resolved to learn all I can about sewing, and of course, the sewing machine.
Three Types of Sewing Machines
1. Mechanical sewing machines found their way to most homes during the 19th century. Those were the sewing machines with dials and knobs, and a rotary wheel; the type of sewing machines that required more physical effort to operate. In a word, cool but not as practical for today’s seamstress.
2. Innovation has ushered in a new type of sewing machine that we still find today. Electronic sewing machines are loaded with features that minimized physical effort while sewing. This type of machine runs on electricity and has no more knobs and dials; instead, it has buttons that control the stitches.
3. Computerized sewing machines are modern-day appliance that each home should have, considering the cost of buying clothes with signature labels or those RTWs that too often have a bad fit. Computerized sewing machines are user-friendly, run on electricity (of course!), and have microchips that provide you with a plethora of stitch-options.
I prefer to put in my savings towards a computerized sewing machine; after all, it’s an investment I can pass on to my little girl. Perhaps, the kind of sentiment that inspired Barthelemy Thimonnier when he spent laborious hours designing the first sewing machine – not just for the money or fame, but for the sheer love of putting clothes of the backs of his family, and in doing so leaving a legacy to his family and the world.