DIANE'S CORNER ... Celebrate
Look for an Evergreen Day
Every year one thing remains the same around the holidays, people everywhere have to decide at what point before the big day they’re going to go out and hunt down a Christmas tree· Look for an Evergreen Day is about the last opportunity you have if you haven’t already gotten yours to ensure you have a tree for the Holidays· Even if you’ve already got your tree for this year, this is a great opportunity to go out and familiarize yourself with the other types of Evergreens in your neighborhood, and discover that these regal giants are around you all year round.
Look for an Evergreen Day was originally established by the National Arborist Association to create a day to appreciate the beauty of these trees outside of the confines of merely being bedecked with glittering lights and ornaments· Even in the depths of winter these noble trees keep their foliage, providing that wonderful green and white contrast that is so representative of deep winter.
Evergreens have played an important role in many societies throughout the ages, selected for religious observances due to their seemingly eternal nature even in a season of death· But that’s not the only place they’re represented, the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest were entirely reliant on the red cedar for multiple aspects of their culture· Whether they were making clothing, fishing line, ropes, or building their homes or canoes, the red cedar was vital a vital part of their lives.
Going back even further, most people have heard about how Socrates was made to drink a glass of hemlock tea, which he did with his normal unflinching nature· Hemlocks are a shade tolerant evergreen with short striped needles· As you can tell, knowing the difference between your evergreens could one day save your life!
Obviously, if you haven’t gotten your tree yet, then Look for an Evergreen Day is when it should happen· By understanding the difference between Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, and the dozens of other varieties of Christmas Tree available, you’ll know which ones will have the most even spread, which ones will be the most dense, and will best compliment your home and decorating scheme.
Word of the Day
Definition: (verb) Attribute or credit to.
Usage: Keller, why does your article impute things to my father without the slightest foundation?
Idiom of the Day— Respectively, those who favor or support aggressive military action, especially regarding foreign policy, versus those who are inclined to more peaceful, diplomatic solutions.
A Christmas Carol Is Published (1843)
English novelist Charles Dickens wrote many books and stories about Christmas. His first, the beloved A Christmas Carol, was written in just weeks, reputedly to meet the expenses of his wife's fifth pregnancy. An instant success, it has since been adapted countless times for theater and film. The last name of the story's protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, has even entered the English lexicon as a word meaning a mean-spirited, miserly person.
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1906)
Brezhnev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1931 and steadily rose through the ranks, eventually becoming general secretary of the CPSU (1964-1982) and president of the USSR (1977-1982). A protégé of Nikita Khrushchev, he took power after helping engineer Khrushchev's ouster. Brezhnev's regime was later criticized for its corruption and failed economic policies, but the global influence of the USSR increased dramatically during his tenure.
The ancient Roman fertility goddess Ops was known by several different names—among them Rhea, Cybele, Bona Dea, and Magna Mater. She married Saturn and was the mother of Jupiter, and was usually portrayed as a matron, with a loaf of bread in her left hand and her right hand open as if offering assistance. Not much is known about what actually took place during the Opalia. It appears that women played an important role in the festival. Because Ops was a fertility goddess, she was often invoked by touching the earth.
Ancient Greek 'Backwater' Actually a Bustling Metropolis, Research Shows
In Thessaly, the unassuming ruins at Vlochós can be found settled among sprawling plains. Perhaps drawing from the rustic beauty of the Greek countryside, academics long assumed that this region was dotted by simple rural dwellings in the days of antiquity.
1732 - Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."
1843 - Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published in England.
1871 - Corrugated paper was patented by Albert L. Jones.
1903 - The Williamsburg Bridge opened in New York City. It opened as the largest suspension bridge on Earth and remained the largest until 1924. It was also the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cable.
1917 - The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league: Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers.
1918 - Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column in "The New York Globe".
1959 - Walter Williams died in Houston, TX, at the age of 117. He was said to be the last surviving veteran of the U.S. Civil War.
1960 - Neil Sedaka’s "Calendar Girl" was released.
1984 - Ted Hughes was appointed England's poet laureate.
1997 - "Titanic" opened in American movie theaters.
If You Were Born Today, December 19
You are an attractive and magnetic person with a flair for the dramatic and exceptional creative powers. While you come across as gentle and patient, you can also be very determined and willful. Once you find the path that feels right, you put your heart and soul into whatever you do. Perceptive and intuitive, you are a people watcher--forever curious about the world around you, and sometimes self-centered in your restlessness for new experiences. Your imagination is highly developed, and sometimes overly so! Famous people born today: Robert Urich, Edith Piaf, Jake Gyllenhaal, Alyssa Milano.
2016 Ursid Meteor Shower
In 2016, the Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of December 21 and early morning hours of December 22. A waning Moon will make it easy for Northern Hemisphere residents to view the shower.
Ursids is a December meteor shower.
The best time to view the Ursids in 2016 is after midnight on December 22.
Named After Ursa Minor
The Ursids meteor shower is active annually between December 17 and December 23. The shower usually peaks around December 21 or 22. At its peak, observers may be able to view as many as 10 meteors in an hour.
The shower is named the Ursids because the meteors seem to radiate from the direction of the constellation Ursa Minor in the sky.
The Ursids are associated with the comet, 8P/Tuttle, also sometimes known as Mechain-Tuttle's Comet.
Where to View the Ursids
The Ursids can only be seen from Earth's Northern Hemisphere in late December.
When to View the Ursids
The best time to view the Ursids between midnight (0:00) and before dawn.
Location in the Sky
The Ursids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Dec 23, 2016.
How to View the Ursids
There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Ursids:
- Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
- If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
- Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
- Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
Pictures of the day
Madonna with the Blue Diadem is an oil painting on wood by Raphael and his pupil Gianfrancesco Penni that is held at the Louvre. Most likely completed in Rome in the 1510s, the painting features Mary symbolically lifting a veil over the sleeping Christ Child; Raphael had used the same theme in his Madonna of Loreto.
it Commissioned Its Self!
Artwork by Erwin Wurm
knit - christmas
knit - christmas
crochet - christmasthanks, bertha
crochet - christmas
RECIPE - blue and vegan for chanukah
SWEETS - christmas
Have a Christmas Movie Night and make it AWESOME
with some Moose Munch!
Recipe at Something Swanky
ADULT PAINTING - chanukah
CRAFTS - christmas
CHILDREN'S CORNER ...
- Cover a cardboard tube with patterned paper.
- Cut a triangle head and two large and two small oval ears out of paper.
- Glue the smaller ears inside the larger ones and fold in half. Glue to top of triangle.
- Cut felt circles for eyes. Glue googly eyes to felt. Add pom-pom nose.
- Glue the triangle to the top center of the tube.
- Use straws and pipe cleaners to make antlers.
PUZZLE - chanukah
CLEVER - christmas
Gather up all your green books to make this Christmas tree.
Biggest Tech Failures and Successes of 2016
By Brian X. Chen, NYTimes
If you love technology, it may be time for a group hug: This year has been rough for consumer technology.
From exploding smartphones and hoverboards to the proliferation of fake news on social media, many of our tech hardware, software and web products suffered embarrassing failures. Behemoths like Google, Facebook and Samsung Electronics were on the firing line as a result.
Yet the year was not entirely bleak. There were major strides in several areas of consumer tech, including Wi-Fi, virtual reality and encryption.
What follows is a year in review on the tech that needed the most fixing, and the tech that was actually fixed in 2016.
Tech That Needed Fixing
Lithium ion has been the go-to technology for batteries powering consumer electronics for decades. But faulty lithium-ion battery cells were blamed for two high-profile product safety hazards this year: exploding hoverboards and Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones. The defects led schools to ban the use of hoverboards on campus and Samsung to recall more than 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones.
Lithium ion has stuck around for so long because it is cheap and easy to reproduce. Yet this year’s explosive episodes — combined with the persistent complaint that smartphone batteries don’t last very long — raise questions about whether the industry should shift toward advanced battery technologies that have been in development for years.
Samsung’s safety record
Samsung’s safety record took a black eye from more than just those combustible cellphones. The company also recalled 2.8 million defective washing machines in the United States that were prone to abnormal vibrations that could cause injury. In addition, Samsung’s Galaxy Note recall was so poorly handled that the company had to issue a second recall, then kill the product, after it failed to diagnose and fix the problem both times.
The two major product defects made one thing clear: The tech giant needs to fix its quality assurance protocols to ensure that consumer safety is a priority — and not just crank out big, bright screens on phones or fast spin cycles on washers.
Fake news and abuse on social media
During the presidential campaign, Facebook, Twitter and Google faced mounting criticism for letting fake news propagate on their platforms, potentially influencing Americans to cast their votes based on misinformation. Twitter was also separately criticized for its taciturn approach to dealing with abusive tweets, including racist attacks and threats of violence.
All the internet companies took steps toward combating fake news and hateful speech. But the polarized election underscored the costs of internet freedom: When the web resembles the Wild, Wild West, the consequences can be dire.
Google put artificial intelligence in the spotlight this year when it introduced Home, a smart speaker that is its response to Amazon’s Echo; Allo, a messaging service that leverages A.I.; and Pixel, a smartphone that heavily relies on a virtual assistant.
Despite all the hype, all virtual assistants, including Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, continued to be subpar this year. In rigorous testing, they all failed at obvious tasks — for example, Alexa initially couldn’t say who was playing in the Super Bowl (even though she was featured in a Super Bowl commercial), Google Assistant couldn’t book a dinner table or order delivery food, and Siri was unreliable at giving map directions.
Virtual assistants are poised to get smarter as we use them more. But consumers shouldn’t let virtual assistants be a major factor in what they buy just yet, because the assistants are all pretty dumb.
Tech That Was Fixed
On the bright side, a ubiquitous technology that has been the source of much consumer anguish saw great improvement over the last year: Wi-Fi.
Newer, well-reviewed routers, like products from TP-Link, Asus and Netgear, feature smarter and faster wireless technologies that do a better job of assembling signals and beam energy more accurately at mobile devices. In addition, Google and the start-up Eero made Wi-Fi networks easier to set up for those with little technical know-how. With Eero’s Wi-Fi system and Google Wifi, the companies introduced well-designed apps that help people set up multiple Wi-Fi stations in the home. The multiple access points create a so-called mesh network that enables mobile devices to seamlessly switch to the strongest Wi-Fi signal as consumers move around their homes with smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Virtual reality still has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. The devices released this year by HTC, Facebook’s Oculus, Sony PlayStation and Google largely revolve around gaming, limiting their audience. In addition, most of the devices are expensive.
But the technology has made significant strides. It works smoothly, and the experiences are immersive and stunning. Apps released this year — like Tilt Brush, a 3-D painting tool for HTC’s Vive, or SuperHyberCube, which is like Tetris with a virtual-reality twist for PlayStation VR — demonstrated virtual reality’s tremendous potential.
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive.
Tensions between tech companies and the government reached a fever pitch during Apple’s face-off with the F.B.I. early this year over privacy and security. The F.B.I. had demanded that Apple weaken its iPhone encryption so that it could gain access to the contents of a phone belonging to a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting. Apple refused, arguing that weakening its software system for a single investigation would create vulnerabilities that might put all customers at risk. The F.B.I. eventually withdrew its demand after figuring out how to break into the iPhone without Apple’s help.
Amid Apple’s feud with the F.B.I., many big tech companies expanded encryption in their products. Facebook, WhatsApp and Google put the encryption protocol from Signal, a widely lauded secure messaging service, in their messaging services. Though none of the encrypted messaging services are perfect, this year marked significant progress toward offering tools that strengthened consumer privacy.
Streaming live video
Mobile video broadcasting was once a novelty because live streams had a tendency to be spotty, unreliable and impractical to produce. But in the last year, Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live have made mobile live video streams simple to shoot and extremely popular.
Periscope reported that as of March, 110 years’ worth of live video was consumed daily on its mobile apps, up from 40 years’ worth a day last year. Facebook said videos are viewed eight billion times a day on the social network, up from one billion a year ago, and live videos get 10 times as many comments as other videos.
The popularity of live video streaming is making online video a prominent medium. Just scroll down your Facebook News Feed and witness how often people are posting videos instead of photos and text. Video has become unavoidable.