Monthly Archives: December 2012

New York Celebration Spot – In 1880

New Years Celebration spot in 1880. Longacre Square, New York City, 1880. It was not until The Times moved here after some demolition it was called “Times Square” Last year was the last hosting by Dick Clark. 1880 was the first… (ok, I made the last part up)


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Happy New Year – Be it Resolved….

The following are some New Years’ Resolution Statistics for 2012.

For myself, I promised to reduce stress, lose weight, and publish my first novel.  I reduced stress and my heart is beating correctly for the first time in twenty years, I lost 80 pounds, though I gained 5 back over the holidays, and I have three books published, as well as around 35 short stories and magazine articles.  I must say this is the FIRST time I EVER kept any resolutions.  How did the rest of you do last year?  What are you planning this year?

ny1 ny2 ny3


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New Years Resolution Statistics

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New Years Resolution Statistics

Statistic Verification
Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
Published: 12.13.2012


Rank Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2012
Lose Weight
Getting Organized
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Quit Smoking
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family
News Years Resolution Statistics Data
Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45%
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions 17%
Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions 38%
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%
Percent who have infrequent success 49%
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions
Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions) Data
Self Improvement or education related resolutions 47%
Weight related resolutions 38%
Money related resolutions 34%
Relationship related resolutions 31%
Age Success Rates Data
Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year 39%
Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year 14%
Length of Resolutions Data
Resolution maintained through first week 75%
Past two weeks 71%
Past one month 64%
Past six months 46%

statistics on new years resolutions? what are the top ten news years resolutions of 2012 ? what is the success rate for new years resolutions ?

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Travel New York to Beijing in 2 Hours!

High Speed Travel Tubes Can Take You From NY To Beijing In 2 Hours

The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system would take passengers from New York to Beijing in just two hours. Advocates of Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) claim it is silent, cheaper than planes, trains, or cars and faster than jets.

How it would work: put a superconducting maglev train in evacuated tubes, then accelerate using linear electric motors until the design velocity is attained. Passive superconductors allow the capsules to float in the tube, while eddy currents induced in conducting materials drive the capsules. Efficiency of such a system would be high, as the electric energy required to accelerate a capsule could largely be recaptured as it slows.

The train capsules will be inserted and taken out of the tubes at “airlock stations at stations along the routes.” The capsules are expected to be accelerated to a velocity of 4,000 mph; after they reach this peak, they will “coast through the remainder of the trip.” Supposedly, the tubes will be able to be networked like freeways but will need multiple tubes to keep from having scheduling delays on long distance trips.

Capsules can be made large enough for one person to travel or a large bus; however, the ideal capsule size will be the same  as a car and carry four to six passengers. The tubes will have more space than what is available on plane seats for those who worry about a claustrophobic situation. The passengers will also not be able to feel the speed at which they are traveling.

Even if this way of traveling can seem a little daunting, if ETT were to become a reality, it would be more cost efficient, definitely faster, and much greener than normal travel. It is also suppose to be an extremely safe way of traveling. ETT travel seems very appealing and could really improve the way that many things are delivered other than people such as goods and medical supplies.  It will be interesting to watch as this type of travel is developed.

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Dogs in Costumes and Outfits

For your cute Monday dog pictures, the theme today is costumes and outfits.  Enjoy!

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Brain Remover Found – No Not Jersey Shore…

A brain remover was found.  No, not Jersey Shore, or Baby Boo-Boo, this one is from ancient Egypt, and made of wood, not poorly cast fake reality shows.

Mummy Brain: Gray Matter-Removal Tool Found In Ancient Egyptian Skull

Posted: 12/15/2012 12:36 am EST

By: Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor

Published: 12/14/2012 11:04 AM EST on LiveScience

A brain-removal tool used by ancient Egyptian embalmers has been discovered lodged in the skull of a female mummy that dates back around 2,400 years.

Removal of the brain was an Egyptian mummification procedure that became popular around 3,500 years ago and remained in use in later periods.

Identifying the ancient tools embalmers used for brain removal is difficult, and researchers note this is only the second time that such a tool has been reported within a mummy’s skull.

The discovery

Located between the left parietal bone and the back of the skull, which had been filled with resin, the object was discovered in 2008 through a series of CT scans. Researchers then inserted an endoscope (a thin tube often used for noninvasive medical procedures) into the mummy to get a closer look and ultimately detach it from resin to which it had gotten stuck.  [See Photos of Mummy & Brain-Removal Tool]


The object, which measures 3 inches (8 cm) in length, was cut off from resin that it had gotten stuck to (hence the jagged edge). Made of a species Monocotyledon plant, it would have been used to remove the mummy’s brain.

“We cut it with a clamp through the endoscope and then removed it from the skull,” said lead researcher Dr. Mislav Čavka, of the University Hospital Dubrava in Zagreb Croatia, in an interview with LiveScience.

They found themselves peering at an object more than 3 inches (8 centimeters) long that would have been used for liquefying and removing the brain. “It almost definitely would have been used in excerebration [brain removal] of the mummy,” Čavka said.

The instrument would have been inserted through a hole punched into the ethmoid bone near the nose. “Some parts [of the brain] would be wrapped around this stick and pulled out, and the other parts would be liquefied,” Čavka said.

The Egyptian mummy could then be put on its abdomen and the liquid drained through the nose hole. “It is an error that [the] embalmers left this stick in the skull,” said Čavka, adding the tool may have broken apart during the procedure.

This embalming accident, unfortunate for the ancient mummy, has provided researchers with a very rare artifact. Čavka’s team point out in a paper they published recently in the journal RSNA RadioGraphics the only other brain-removal stick found inside a mummy’s skull dates back 2,200 years.

When the object was first discovered researchers were not sure what it was. So they inserted an endoscope (a thin tube used for non-invasive medical procedures) into the mummy to get a closer look.

“Probably in museums in Egypt there are many other evidences, but they were not found inside the skull,” making it tricky to identify such artifacts as brain-removal tools, said Čavka.

The mummy is currently in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb Croatia and is that of a woman who died around the age of 40. Brought to Croatia in the 19th century without a coffin, it’s not known where she was found in Egypt. Radiocarbon dating and CT scans of the mummy determined its date to be around 2,400 years. Her cause of death is unknown.

New insights

The stick is quite brittle and the team could not do as thorough of an analysis as they’d hoped. Looking at it under a microscope, botanical experts determined the tool is made from plants in the group Monocotyledon, which includes forms of palm and bamboo.

brain removal tool
CT scans of a 2,400-year-old female mummy revealed a tubular object embedded in its skull between the brain’s left parietal bone and the resin filled back of the skull. It would turn out to be a tool used for the removal of the brain.

The most curious find came when the researchers compared their discovery with an ancient account of brain removal made by the Greek writer Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. A visitor to Egypt, he had this to say about how Egyptian brain removal worked (as translated by A. D. Godley, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1920, through Perseus Digital Library):

“Having agreed on a price, the bearers go away, and the workmen, left alone in their place, embalm the body. If they do this in the most perfect way, they first draw out part of the brain through the nostrils with an iron hook, and inject certain drugs into the rest.”

The recent discovery suggests an organic stick, not an “iron hook,” was used in at least some of these procedures, possibly for economic reasons. Researchers note that the tool found in the skull of the other mummy, dating from 2,200 years ago, was also made of an organic material.

“It is known that mummification was widely practiced throughout ancient Egyptian civilization, but it was a time-consuming and costly practice. Thus, not every­one could afford to perform the same mummifi­cation procedure,” write the researchers in their journal article.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

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First Edition of Steampunk Airship Crew Hiring

Ok, you have your brand new Steam-powered dirigible.  You can fight for honor and country, you can smuggle goods, you can commit air piracy, you can explore, or you can put into place your plans for world domination.  (I plan to do a series of these, I hope you like them.)  Yes, you are the Captain, or more accurately, the Admiral.  Your first ship is ready, one of many to come.  These are the first group of 22 pictures for people applying as crew.  You cannot take them all.  Who would YOU pick?  What will be the name of your first ship?

Lord Reginald Harcourt, one of the main characters in The Travelers’ Club series (written by yours truly) named his air yacht Jenny after his young niece.

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Random Humor

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December 30, 2012 · 12:12 am

Pool Pee OK? Science says YES, I say NO!

Michael Phelps was right – relieving yourself in the pool is fine

It may not be what everybody wants to hear but the swimming star Michael Phelps was right when he said it was OK to relieve yourself in the pool, claim scientists.

Michael Phelps was right – relieving yourself in the pool is fine

Phelps argued that it was OK as the chlorine killed any germs Photo: GETTY

By Richard Alleyne and Hannah Furness

6:30AM GMT 28 Dec 2012

Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, caused ripples of concern during London 2012 when he admitted that many swimmers “pee in the pool” especially during long training sessions.

But he said that it was OK as the chlorine killed any germs.

The revelation may have been slightly distasteful but now scientists have confirmed that at least his facts are right.

Sense About Science (SAS), a charity which aims to dispel commonly held myths, especially those promulgated by celebrities, congratulated him on being scientifically correct.

Stuart Jones, biochemist, said: “In fact Michael, urine is essentially sterile so there isn’t actually anything to kill in the first place.

“Chlorine just prevents bacteria from growing in the pool.

“So you’re basically right, peeing in a swimming pool, even if all swimmers do it simultaneously, has very little impact on the composition of the pool water itself.

“An Olympic size pool contains over 2 millions litres of water and a single urination is somewhere in the region of 0.2 litres.

“To have any significant effect on the overall composition of the pool water you’d need a serious amount of peeing!”

Phelp’s statement was one of the few accurate statements picked up by SAS during 2012.

Less convincing were claims made by Simon Cowell, who admitted to breathing pure oxygen to reduce tiredness, stress and ageing.

Kay Mitchell, Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment, said far from being good for you it could be damaging.

She said that while it can be seen to help athletes under controlled conditions to make quicker recoveries more research was needed to confirm this effect.

“Doctors are also concerned about the damage caused by oxygen levels that are too high,” she said.

“This oxygen toxicity can cause cell damage leading to cell death, particularly in lungs where oxygen levels are highest, and so breathing pure oxygen can cause collapse of lung air sacs.

“This could make you susceptible to lung infections.”

Last year celebrities who extolled the virtues of detoxing and cleansing were also slammed by scientists.

Among them, Gwyneth Paltrow wrote on her blog Goop: “I have gooped about Dr Alejandro Junger’s Clean programme before because it gave me such spectacular results; it is really just the thing if you are in need of a good detox – wanting some mental clarity and to drop a few pounds … Here’s to a happy liver and an amazing 2011!”

Dr Christian Jessen, a GP and TV presenter said that, though everyone tried to start the New Year with good intentions for a healthy lifestyle, a detox plan was not the answer.

“Your body has its own fantastic detox system already in place in the shape of your liver and kidneys. Much better to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and let your body do what it does best.”

Tracey Brown, managing director at SAS, said there was no excuse for celebrities promoting fad diets and treatments.

“Celebrity comments travel far and fast, so it is important that they talk sense about issues like dangerous dieting and medical treatments,” she said.

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Antarctic Search for Life Ends

Search for life in buried Antarctic lake called off

By Becky Oskin

Published December 27, 2012


  • British-camp-deep-field.jpg

    The Union Jack flies over a field camp at Lake Ellsworth. In the background are the Ellsworth Mountains, the highest range in Antarctica. (Neil Ross/University of Edinburgh)

After fighting with the Antarctic ice for 20 hours through Christmas Eve, a British Antarctic Survey team has reluctantly called off its mission to retrieve water samples from an ancient subglacial lake.

The decision to halt drilling through the ice down toward Lake Ellsworth came after the team failed to connect the project’s main and secondary boreholes, Martin Siegert, the lead investigator for the project, said on the project’s blog.

Lake Ellsworth lies under 2 miles of ice and has been sealed off from the outside world for up to 1 million years. Scientists with the survey have been engaged in a 16-year attempt to drill down and take water samples from the lake. They say that if microbes and other forms of life are living in the frigid water, away from sunlight, those life forms may help researchers better understand the origins of life on Earth and the possible forms life could take on other planets.

The scientists were trying to connect the boreholes via a cavity located 300 meters below the ice surface. The cavity recirculates water from the main borehole and would have equalized pressure had the drill penetrated Lake Ellsworth.

Running low on supplies

‘This is, of course, hugely frustrating for us.’

– Martin Siegert, the lead investigator for the project

The camp has been on the ice since Nov. 22, and drilling started on Dec. 13, using a specially designed hot water drill. The effort to establish the connection took so much hot water and fuel that the scientists must now return to the United Kingdom and regroup for next year. [Extreme Living: Scientists at the End of the Earth]

“For reasons that are yet to be determined, the team could not establish a link between the two boreholes at 300 meters depth despite trying for over 20 hours,” wrote Siegert, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol. “During this process, hot water seeped into the porous surface layers of ice and was lost. The team attempted to replenish this water loss by digging and melting more snow, but their efforts could not compensate. The additional time taken to attempt to establish the cavity link significantly depleted the fuel stocks to such a level as to render the remaining operation unviable. Reluctantly the team had no option but to discontinue the program for this season.

“This is, of course, hugely frustrating for us, but we have learned a lot this year,” Siegert said. “By the end the equipment was working well, and much of it has now been fully field tested. A full report on the field season will be compiled when the engineers and program manager return to United Kingdom.”

Drilling in extreme conditions

The harshness of the Antarctic environment and the complete darkness of winter there mean that the team can be at the site only during the comparatively mild months of austral spring and summer, from November through January.

This was not the first snag in the project. A circuit used in the main boiler that supplies hot water to the drill burned out twice earlier this month, forcing the team to await resupply.

At the time, Siegert noted that such difficulties are not unusual when working in Antarctica. “It’s a very hostile environment; it’s very difficult to do things smoothly,” he said on the project’s blog.

The drill would have crunched through the ice to the fresh lake water, then sent 24 titanium canisters through the borehole to take water samples. When the drill first started up, the team had to shovel snow in shifts for three days and three nights to melt enough for the needed 15,850 gallons of water, according to the project’s blog.

Race to find life

The British group is one of several teams racing to recover water samples from lakes trapped beneath the Antarctic ice.

A group of Russian scientists is drilling down into the waters of Lake Vostok, the largest of Antarctica’s buried lakes. The team reached the lake’s waters during the last drilling season, on Feb. 5, but the few microbes it found in the retrieved samples were all contaminants from the drilling apparatus.

However, another group of scientists has found a thriving community of microbes in Lake Vida, another buried Antarctic lake that is thought to have been isolated from the rest of the world for about 2,800 years.

In early 2013 an American team is planning to drill to hidden lakes in West Antarctica.

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The Fiscal Cliff Explained

I don’t usually post political stuff here because it just gets people riled.  However, I thought this was amusing, true, and sad at the same time.  If it makes you feel better out there, all political parties and the whole Washington beltway atmosphere is responsible, so this is not meant to single out anyone.  Just to portray a “crappy” situation, as you will see:

Click to enlarge picture if you cannot read it well

Click to enlarge picture if you cannot read it well

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