garage door 

Updated July 17

 

If You Work For Trump...Quit Now

commentary from Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post - July 17

Everyone who works for President Trump: Quit now. Save your souls. Save your honor, such as it is. Save your reputation, such as it remains. Russia attacked our democracy. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, and did so again with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that he doesn't care and won't defend his country. If you work for this man and you call yourself a patriot, it is time for you to go. This may sound excessive, even irresponsible. Indeed, for months I have agonized over the question of public service in the age of Trump. Of course, as a general matter, it is better to have more grown-ups around Trump, mitigating his worst impulses, providing wisdom born of experience to counter his ignorance and petulance. But that assessment assumes facts not in evidence: that Trump is educable or containable. Actually, it contravenes the available evidence. There is none that Trump has done anything but what Trump wants to do. Monday's news conference made that clear. Extreme times call for extreme measures, and these are the extreme-est of times.

 

Trump voters

Trump Has Created Treason

The Washington Post - July 17

There were no shortage of critics of President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which came just days after Trump's own government indicted 12 Russians for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election, no less. The meeting was just about everything those critics feared it would be. Standing alongside Putin, Trump not only downplayed if not doubted Russia's 2016 actions, but he also regularly volunteered defenses for Putin and repeatedly blamed both sides for the strained relationship. Trump has danced around the idea that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 election, regularly hinting at it without saying it outright. Friday erased all pretenses.

Trump began the news conference Monday by asserting that Russo-American relations have been worse than ever before, "but that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that." Asked whether he blamed Russia for that strained relationship, Trump immediately reverted to the kind of both-sides rhetoric he employed after a white supremacist allegedly killed a counterprotester in Charlottesville last year, and also previously when asked about Putin killing political opponents ("You think our country's so innocent?" Trump said last year). "Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible," Trump said. "I think the United States has been foolish. … I think we're all to blame."

When a reporter asked Putin about Russian election interference in 2016, Trump actually volunteered to answer the first part of the reporter's question, practically offering his own defenses of Putin. He used the time to assert that Democrats were coming up with excuses for their electoral loss. "It came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election which, frankly, they should have been able to win, because the Electoral College is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is to Republicans," Trump said.

When Trump was again asked about Russian interference and whether he had told Putin to never do it again, he ignored the question and riffed for a couple minutes on a conspiracy theory about why the Democratic National Committee didn't turn over its server to federal authorities. The hack of the DNC was at the center of the 12 indictments handed down Friday by Robert S. Mueller III, and Trump expressed significantly more concern about this piece of evidence than the actual alleged wrongdoing. Indeed, Trump's first impulse when asked about Russian interference was instantly and repeatedly to shift blame and to insert reasons to doubt the findings and objectivity of his own government. He cited Peter Strzok again. He suggested for the umpteenth time that he can't do anything to force Putin's hand: "All I can do is ask the question." He stood by as Putin denied interfering in any U.S. affairs, a position Trump's entire government regards as a lie. He called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt" right before ending the news conference.

Putin even seemed to troll Trump. With Trump standing next to him, Putin attacked his regular American antagonist, Bill Browder, for his ties to Democrats. Those ties to Democrats, you might recall, were part of the package of information offered to Trump's campaign at the Trump Tower meeting with a Putin-aligned lawyer. Even as Putin was denying interference, he brought up something that recalls perhaps the most ignominious collusion-related event of the 2016 campaign.

Republicans have largely shrugged off Trump's flirtation with Russia before. It's easy to dismiss it as Trump liking strongmen and/or being sore about the idea that he didn't win the 2016 election on his own merits. He's a prideful man. But Monday was the clearest indication to date that Trump has basically no appetite for holding Putin responsible. Even insofar as the Mueller investigation is holding Russia responsible for what happened in the 2016 election, and not Trump's own campaign, Trump dismisses the entire thing as a witch hunt.

 

Treason

Get Organized with the Eisenhower Box

Mother Nature Network - July 17

In a typical day, how many things are scribbled on your to-do list? You might have a key deadline for a work project or family commitments to handle. You know those tasks are hanging over your head, but instead you clean your keyboard, eat a snack or answer a few emails. Why is that? Those tasks aren't more important, but they are easier. Because you can get them done more quickly and with a lot less hassle, you get the satisfaction of accomplishing something right away. With that kind of accomplishment euphoria, it's easy to keep procrastinating about the big stuff on your list and to only tackle the simple jobs. One way to deal with the stress of trying to organize your day is to think inside the box, specifically inside the Eisenhower box.

President Dwight Eisenhower was known for his time management skills. He had a reputation for being highly productive from his days as a five-star general to his time in the Oval Office. Reportedly, when giving a 1954 speech on the campus of Northwestern University, he quoted a former college president who said, "I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent."

Over the years, the quote has been attributed in various forms to the efficient 34th president. The tenets behind the words were used to create a time-management technique also credited to the former president. Whether or not he actually created this strategy, his name was given to something called the Eisenhower box or the Eisenhower matrix. Imagine a box with four quadrants. Everything on your to-do list goes in one of the four squares. Author and master-your-habits expert James Clear explains that you separate your actions like this:

- Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately)

- Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later)

- Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else)

- Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate)

It's sometimes difficult to understand the difference between "urgent" and "important." Clear clarifies that, "Urgent tasks are things that you feel like you need to react to: emails, phone calls, texts, news stories." And on the flip side, blogger Brett McKay writes, "Important tasks are things that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals."

How you use the Eisenhower matrix depends on how you use a to-do list. If you jot things down old-school on a piece of paper, you can just divide your loose leaf into four sections and sort accordingly. You may not need to physically use the Eisenhower box at all. It could just be a new mindset to help you approach your workload at the start of each day, writes Cody McLain of Medium. "It's not the act of placing tasks into separate boxes that is necessary, but the skill of recognizing when you're in a situation that requires you to prioritize the

 

Eisenhower box

Alzheimer's Association's 10 Warning Signs

yahoo.com - July 17

Right now, there are an estimated 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease. As America's population ages, that number is predicted to be 14 million by the year 2050. The Alzheimer's Association states on its website, "Today, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 65 seconds. By mid-century, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds." Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior and is the most common type of dementia. As for dementia, that is the term used for a decline of cognitive skills severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's falls under that umbrella.

While research is still being done to understand exactly how to treat these diseases, the first step is understanding what is happening biologically that causes them in the first place. Billions of cells in the brain regulate everything we do, from language to movement. Nerve cells, or neurons, send signals as electrical charges that cause a release of chemicals, called neurotransmitters, which work by jumping the gap between neurons and carrying the signals within them.

With Alzheimer's, a buildup of proteins in and around the brain's neurons disrupts the movement of signals and neurotransmitter activity, leading to nerve cell death and brain tissue loss. As a result, the brain shrinks dramatically, which affects all its functions.

"There's lots of research going on across this country to develop more effective treatments for Alzheimer's," says Anafidelia Tavares, MD, director of programs at the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. "We also have increased advocacy at the federal level for research dollars. Researchers need people to participate in their studies as clinical subjects. And that's why at the association, we've created TrialMatch, which links healthy volunteers and people with the disease to researchers who are working on a cure and more effective treatments." 

While the majority of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's are 65 and older, there are approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer's. Occasional memory problems are a normal part of aging, but the symptoms of Alzheimer's are anything but normal. Telling the difference can be difficult. The Alzheimer's Association's 10 warning signs are a good place to start.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficultly completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

10. Changes in mood and personality

There's currently no cure for Alzheimer's, but there are medications that may offer temporary relief from symptoms like memory loss and confusion. However, these medications can't reverse or stop the progression of the disease.

 

alzheimers

John McCain Said it Best

iHeartRadio - July 17

Senator John McCain's statement on Trump's summit with Putin is about as fierce and accurate as anyone could get. "...one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump's naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate." "Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant" "No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are, a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad."

Damn.

Trump/Putin

The Electric One Person Car

Hammacher Schlemmer - July 16

This electric, highway-legal, three-wheeled, single passenger vehicle combines the functionality of an electric car with the maneuverability and scale of a motorcycle. With a range of 30 miles per charge, it operates with zero emissions and uses less than half the energy of todays most efficient hybrid vehicles. It has double A-arm front suspension with rack and pinion steering, and single-sided swing-arm rear suspension, resulting in an extremely stable and agile travel platform with a low center of gravity. The vehicle is powered by a 156-volt DC electric motor that generates 33-horsepower, providing a top speed of 70 mph, and allowing it to accelerate from 0-30 mph in 3 1/2 seconds and 0-60 mph in 12 1/2 seconds. It recharges by plugging into a standard 110-volt, 20-amp outlet; a full charge takes 6 hours, and the 13 12-volt rechargeable batteries lifespan is 2-4 years (220-volt service results in a 1 hour charge time).

The lightweight chassis is constructed of a three-layered, advanced fiberglass/rigid foam composite shell augmented by steel support members sandwiched between the layers, providing a strong frame. A single headlight engages when the transporter is turned on; a high-mounted taillight is flanked by turn signals. A 6' cu. storage area behind the drivers seat can accommodate a full grocery cart. With adjustable seat, AM/FM CD-player, retractable three-point safety belt, power windows, windshield wiper, air vent, heater, and hydraulic shocks. Available in Red, Teal, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Magenta, White, Coral, Dark Aqua, Green, Lime Green, Lilac and Aqua. 57" H x 52" W x 112" L x 61" Wheel base. (1,600 lbs.) Price $36,000.

 

car

Injecting Heroin Finally Did Lou Reed In

dailymail.co.uk - July 16

Rock icon Lou Reed was treated extensively with the anti-Aids drug Interferon before his death, a top American pathologist has revealed. However, contrary to music industry gossip, the rock star was not HIV-positive, according to Dr Michael Hunter. Instead, he was taking the drug to try to combat the liver disease Hepatitis C, which he contracted from dirty needles while injecting heroin early in his career. Dr Hunter is set to present his findings in a new episode of television documentary series Autopsy: The Last Hours of… which broadcasts this coming week in America, before being shown in the UK later this year, the Sunday Express reported.

Reed first found fame with 1960s American rock band the Velvet Underground and went on to become a solo star. He died from liver cancer aged 71 in October 2013 after his body rejected a transplant. According to Dr Hunter, Reed had also hid a dark secret from his teenage years, he suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he underwent controversial electroshock therapy. Reed was given electroshock therapy aged just 17 because of mental illness and his bisexuality, at New York psychiatric hospital described as 'Hell in Queens'.

 

Lou Reed

Actor Robert Wolders, Dead at 81

deadline.com - July 16

Robert Wolders, who is known for his role in the Western television series Laredo and as the longtime companion of Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn, died on July 12. He was 81. The official Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund Twitter account announced the news saying, "With the heaviest heart we salute our Board Member, mentor and friend Robert Wolders. May your beautiful soul rest in peace. Your shining example lives on." Wolders was born in the Netherlands on Sept. 28, 1936. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. No details have been released about the cause of death. He appeared on many TV shows during the '60s and '70s. His first role was in 1965 on NBC's Flipper. He went on to appear in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The John Forsythe Show and many others. He joined the second and final season of the action comedy Laredo in 1966 as Texas Ranger Erik Hunter.

 

Wolders

Ben Carson Declares a War on the Poor

politicususa.com - July 16

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson says he's raising rents to put poor Americans to work, but according to a new study reported in The Washington Post, the majority of people who receive HUD rent subsidies are either elderly, disabled or already at work. Carson announced in April a new plan that would lead to large increases in rents paid by most low-income Americans. According to The Post, this would cause the rents of the poorest Americans to at least triple. If Congress approves Carson's plan, then the monthly minimum rent charged by public-housing facilities would increase from $50 to $150. It would also increase rents paid by subsidized housing tenants from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of gross income, a much larger number. Carson has previously defended his plan to raise rents saying that increasing minimum rents from $50 to $150 will give people "more skin in the game." He has also denied that (as critics have charged) his proposal will lead to "a war on the poor." Instead, he has said that his agency is really declaring "a war on poor management." In speaking about his plan, Carson has been quoted as saying that his goal is to "incentivize public housing recipients to reach their God-given potential."

 

Ben Carson

To Nobody's Surprise, Drake Spends Another Week at #1

Billboard - July 15

Drake's Scorpion holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week, logging the biggest sophomore week for any album in more than two years. The set earned 335,000 equivalent album units in the week ending July 12 according to Nielsen Music (down 54 percent from its big start of 732,000 units a week earlier). Of its second week sum, 29,000 were in traditional album sales. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Scorpion is only the fourth album to log multiple weeks at No. 1 in 2018. It follows Post Malone's beerbongs & bentleys (three straight weeks at No. 1), Black Panther: The Album (three nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1) and The Greatest Showman soundtrack (two weeks in a row at No. 1). At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Post Malone's former No. 1 beerbongs & bentleys moves up one slot (down 2 percent).

Future's streaming-only album Beastmode 2 debuts at No. 3 with 57,000 units (73.5 million streams), granting the rapper his ninth top 10 and the highest-charting streaming-exclusive album. It surpasses Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, which debuted and peaked at No. 8 on the June 4, 2016-dated list. It bowed with 38,000 units (57.3 million streams). XXXTentacion's ? moves 5-4 on the new Billboard 200 (down 16 percent), Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy climbs 6-5 (down 6 percent) and Juice WRLD's Goodbye & Good Riddance is up one spot to No. 6 (up 4 percent). The Greatest Showman soundtrack rises 11-7 (down 6 percent) and The Carters' Everything Is Love is steady at No. 8 (down 21 percent).

Meek Mill scores his fifth top 10 effort, as his four-song Legends of the Summer set arrives at No. 9 with 26,000 units (6,000 in album sales). The effort is his first new album since his release from prison in April. The rapper previously visited the top 10 with Wins and Losses (No. 3, 2017), DC4 (No. 3, 2016), Dreams Worth More Than Money (No. 1 for two weeks, 2015) and Dreams and Nightmares (No. 2, 2012). Closing out the new top 10 is Lil Baby's Harder Than Ever, rising 12-10 (down 6 percent).

 

"Scorpion""beerbongs & bentleys"

Kid Fare Hits Big, The Rock Stumbles

Box Office Guru - July 15

Sequels continued to dominate the box office as the third film in the Hotel Transylvania series easily defeated last weekend's champ as well as new original fare from The Rock. Adam Sandler and company delivered another strong opening with Hotel Transylvania 3 which took in an estimated $45.4M from 4,267 theaters for a per screen average of $10,335. The opening was on par the two previous films in the series as part 1 opened in September of 2012 to $42.5 and part 2 opened three years later to $48.4. This is the first film in the series to open in the summer so it's likely competition will be stiffer in the coming weeks leading to a lower overall finale, but it's still a solid opening. Reviews were on the positive side of mixed while audiences gave the film an A- CinemaScore.

Ant-Man and the Wasp tumbled in its second weekend to an estimated $28.8M, down 62% from its opening, bringing its total up to $132.8M. By comparison the original fell 56.5% in its second weekend. Still, it's running 25% ahead of the original and could see a final gross in the $210-220M area. Internationally it added an additional $35M bringing its worldwide cume up to $283M.

Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson's latest misfired a bit as his Skyscraper, the only original film in the top five, managed a underwhelming $25.5M, according to estimates, from 3,782 theaters for a per screen average of 6,738. Critics again were mixed, but this time on the negative side, while audiences gave the film a decent B+ CinemaScore. Internationally the film opened to an estimated $40.4M with China opening next weekend, which could make or break the film.

What is definitely the most original film in the top 10, Sorry To Bother You added 789 screens and took in an estimated $4.3M bringing its cume up to $5.3M. And one debut of note, the critically acclaimed Eighth Grade opened to an estimated $252,284 from only 4 screens for a whopping $63,071 average.

 

"Transylvania 3"

"Welcome Back to Downton"

CNN - July 15

It was announced Friday that a "Downton Abbey" movie is set for production. "Welcome back to Downton! We're thrilled to announce that #DowntonAbbey is coming to the big screen," the show's official Twitter account said. "Film production begins this summer." According to The Guardian, the show's creator, Julian Fellowes, will pen the script with "The Book Thief's" Brian Percival directing and Universal Studios set to distribute.

The historical drama about a wealthy family and their servants in England during the early 20th century ran for six seasons on ITV in the UK and PBS in the US and attracted devoted fans on both sides of the pond. There were plenty of vapors when the series ended airing in the United States in 2016. "When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production," producer Gareth Neame said in a statement. "Julian's script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival's hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen."

The movie's plot has not been revealed, but the show's cast has reportedly signed on for the film. During the series' run, "Downton Abbey" garnered three Golden Globes, 15 Emmys and 69 Emmy nominations, and a special BAFTA award.

 

Downton Abbey

...And Then There Were Three.. Soon, Just One

The New York Times - July 15

The Blockbuster video store in Bend, Ore., stands steely and determined, defending itself against the expanding forces of digital streaming services like Netflix and HBO, whose charm is that customers need not get up from the couch. Soon the store, about 150 miles southeast of Portland, will be the final survivor of the once-popular chain after two Blockbuster stores in Alaska close. In Alaska, difficulty getting Wi-Fi or broadcast reception had helped keep the brick-and-mortar shops there afloat. But the managers of the stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks announced in a Facebook post on Thursday that they would close and planned to sell their inventories. Blockbuster closed its last few hundred corporate-owned stores in 2013 but privately owned stores that license the Blockbuster brand, like the one in Oregon, have remained.

 

Blockbuster

Now in Living Color

Mother Nature Network - July 15

After more than a century of black and white, the X-ray is finally on the verge of going full color. Father and son scientists Phil and Anthony Butler, from the universities of Canterbury and Otago in New Zealand, have successfully developed the world's first 3D color medical scanner. Called the MARS spectral X-ray scanner, the technology captures internal images in stunning detail of not only bone, but also the surrounding tissues. It's being hailed as a momentous breakthrough that will revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer and heart disease.

"X-ray spectral information allows health professionals to measure the different components of body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers," professor Anthony Butler said in a release. "Traditional black-and-white X-rays only allow measurement of the density and shape of an object." The technology used to make all of this happen comes from an unexpected source: CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, which in 2012 discovered the elusive Higgs Boson particle. A chip developed for particle imaging and detection in the collider, called the Medipix3, was adapted by the medical scientists for use in the MARS scanner. "This technology sets the machine apart diagnostically because its small pixels and accurate energy resolution mean that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve," Phil Butler said in a release for CERN.

 

x-ray

J&J's Baby Powder is Cancer Powder

CNN - July 15

After 8 hours of deliberations Thursday, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who sued pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson alleging their ovarian cancer was caused by using its powder as a part of their daily feminine hygiene routine. The jury award includes $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages. It's the largest verdict against the company that has sold Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand talcum powder for decades. The jurors sat through weeks of testimony listening to experts who explained the complicated science, workers at Johnson & Johnson who said their product was safe. They also heard from the cancer survivors themselves and the loved ones of six plaintiffs who have died from their cancer.

This is not the first case brought against the company, nor will it be the last. There are thousands of cases currently making their way through court systems all around the country. In five of the cases, women who sued have had a favorable verdict. All of those cases are in various stages of appeal. A jury ruled in Johnson & Johnson's favor in one lawsuit in California last November. In October, a judge reversed two verdicts in favor of the company. A Missouri appeals court tossed out a $55 million verdict in June citing jurisdictional issues. The science is still up for debate. Concerns about a link between talc and ovarian cancer started surfacing around 1971, when scientists wrote about finding talc particles embedded in ovarian and cervical tumor tissue. Since then some studies have shown that there is an elevated risk in women who use talc in their genital area for a long period of time. Other studies have not shown a connection.

 

Johnson & Johnson

Apple's $7,000 MacBook, Still Has Keyboard Problems

C-Net - July 14

Hoping Apple's refreshed MacBook Pro -- just announced Thursday -- would include a keyboard that can't be damaged by a little dust? (Seriously: There've been multiple lawsuits now.) Sadly, while the new 2018 MacBook Pro does have an updated third-generation keyboard, Apple tells CNET it doesn't include any new engineering or tweaks to address the sticky key issue.  Instead, the third-generation keyboard's tweaks are about making it quieter. In a brief typing test, CNET's long-time MacBook reviewer Dan Ackerman says it isn't "whisper-quiet" but does "lack the sharp click of the previous design."

Technically, Apple has acknowledged only that "a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models" have demonstrated the sticky key issue. If you buy one, you may likely never have that problem.  But it's worth noting that when the company launched its free keyboard repair program in June, it made literally every single model of MacBook Pro with the "butterfly switch" keyboard eligible. Oh by the way, Apple has apparently discontinued the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro, which was the last MacBook Pro with the older style of keyboard. 

 

keyboard

"Willy Wonka" Star in Critical Condition

TMZ - July 14

The actress who played Violet in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" recently suffered a stroke that's left her in critical condition ... and her family in dire straits. A Facebook group has been started to help support Denise Nickerson, who's recovering from a stroke she suffered in late June. The FB group has been offering updates on her health status for about a week now, and is also offering autographed items for cash so they can stay by her side. Sources close to the family say Denise is in the ICU, but are adamant, she is a fighter. Sources say she's had a pacemaker put in and is being fed through feeding tubes. In addition to her 'Wonka' fame, she also appeared in an episode of "The Brady Bunch," and was a regular in the series "Dark Shadows" and "The Electric Company."

 

VioletViolet

Modern Family Showing Its Age

deadline.com - July 14

Every hot streak is bound to come to an end. For the first time since its 2009 launch, ABC's Modern Family failed to land a comedy series or acting nomination for its its most recent ninth season. Modern Family garnered eight consecutive best comedy series noms for its first eight seasons, winning five years in a row to tie an Emmy record, and also has won a slew of acting, writing and directing Emmys over the years. Last year marked the first time the comedy did not take home a single Emmy statuette. Steve Levitan, who co-created and executive produces/runs Modern Family with Christopher Lloyd, is taking the end of the show's streak in stride while plotting an Emmy comeback. (The series was not shut out completely this year, landing a nom for sound editing.) "It was a hell of a run, especially in this day and age when there are so many great shows on so many platforms," he told Deadline. "I'm thrilled for all the brilliant new people who get to experience the good fortune we've enjoyed. Plus it gives us a goal for next year: Earn our way back." Modern Family is heading into its 10th, and possibly final, season this fall.

 

"Modern Fsmily'

"Bless the Winds Down in Africa"

Chron - July 14

Houston's hurricanes may have finally met their match in the form of African dust. This dust, which forms as clouds from the Sahara desert that travel across the Atlantic Ocean, into the Caribbean, and up through the Gulf into Texas, essentially acts as a form of "kryptonite" against hurricanes, Eric Berger, editor of the Space City Weather blog, told Chron.com Thursday morning. African dust entered the region in June and is expected to last through the end of the month. A massive dust formation was captured on satellite June 27; it resembled a hazy, beige-colored cloud.

"There is no question that dust disrupts the development of hurricanes, because dry air inhibits the development of thunderstorms that fuel a storm," Berger added. "Any time there is an outbreak of Saharan dust across the tropical Atlantic, we can expect little to no hurricane activity in the vicinity. This dust, along with higher wind shear, are among the checks on what otherwise would be rampant activity during the hot months of August and September." Hurricane season is expected to last through Nov. 30, according to livescience.com.

 

hurricane

4-CD Box Set from Tom Petty, Coming in September

Rolling Stone - July 12

Tom Petty's family and former collaborators compiled a four-CD box set of previously unreleased material by Petty and the Heartbreakers, for release on September 28th, SiriusXM announced. The release, called An American Treasure, marks the first posthumous album of Petty material since his death in October. The SiriusXM broadcast debuted a clip from one of the unreleased songs from 1982, a bouncy, organ-heavy cut "Keep a Little Soul."

An American Treasure will contain previously unreleased studio recordings, live recordings, deep cuts and alternate versions of popular Petty songs, according to SiriusXM. The collection will encompass 60 tracks in total. Petty's daughter Adria and his wife Dana helped select the material along with former Heartbreakers Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell and "longtime studio collaborator" Ryan Ulyate. A less expensive two-CD set will also be available for purchase.

Petty was found unconscious at his home in Malibu on October 2, 2017. He was taken to the hospital and put temporarily on life support. He died hours later. In January, a medical examiner ruled that the singer died of an accidental overdose. Petty had been prescribed drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip, according to a statement from his family. "On the day he died, he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break," Dana and Adria wrote. "It is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication."

 

Tom Petty

How to Handle Really Hot Weather

Mother Nature Network - July 12

When the sun is bright in the sky, it's like a magnet drawing us outdoors. But those inviting rays can come with some dangerous temperatures. Sure, it's supposed to be hot in summer, but extreme heat and heat waves aren't just uncomfortable; they can be life-threatening. Before you head outside when the temperatures start to soar, here's a look at summer weather and how to stay safe when the mercury skyrockets.

Defining heat

You may hear meteorologists talking about "extreme heat." Although the term is used loosely to refer to high temperatures, in most of the United States, extreme heat is at least two to three days of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees, according to Ready.gov. The University of Washington defines extreme heat slightly differently, as a period when temperatures hover 10 degrees or more above the average high for the region and stay that way for several weeks.

There's also no agreed-upon definition of a heat wave. The World Meteorological Organization suggests a heat wave is when the daily maximum temperature for more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 9 degrees F (5 degrees C). The American Meteorological Society defines a heat wave as a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and humid weather. The period should last at least one day, but could last several days, or several weeks. When discussing weather, people often refer to the "heat index." That's what the temperature feels like to the human body when you combine the outside air temperature with relative humidity. The National Weather Service issues a heat advisory when the heat index is expected to reach 105 to 109 F (40 to 42 C) (east of the Blue Ridge) or 100 to 104 degrees (37 to 40 C) (west of the Blue Ridge) in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Dangerous weather

Each year, more than 600 people in the U.S. are killed by extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High temperatures kill more people in the U.S. than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods combined. If you're exposed to extreme heat for too long, your body slowly starts to shut down. You can lose your natural cooling system as you lose your ability to sweat. In the early stages of heat exhaustion, you may experience nausea, lightheadedness and you may be tired and weak, reports WebMD. Left untreated, this can turn into heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms include confusion, agitation, warm, dry skin and uncontrolled body temperature. Know the symptoms of heat-related illness and take these steps:

Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you're not thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol or lots of sugar.

Dress. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Consider wearing cotton, which absorbs extra moisture and helps your body cool down.

Rest. Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when it's cooler. Rest often in shady areas. Don't overexert yourself. Your body will tell you when it's time to take a break, so listen.

Slather. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a loose-fitting hat. Sunburn can impact your body's ability to cool off and can contribute to dehydration.

Eat light. Eat small, light meals and eat more often. Heavy meals add more heat as your body works harder to digest them.

Friendship. Use the buddy system when working or exercising in the heat. Don't leave pets outside or in cars. Check on people you know who are sick or elderly; they are most likely to have problems from the heat.

Get wet. If you know you're going to be outside for a while, soak your shirt, hat or a towel in cold water and use it to keep cool outside. This works whether you're gardening or hiking. Just use the hose or a nearby creek to keep wet.

And when the temperatures are really high, try to stay indoors and enjoy some air-conditioning, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the temperatures are hottest. Electric fans can provide some relief, but when temperatures hit the high 90s, they won't prevent heat-related issues, according to the CDC. Take cool showers or baths to cool off instead.

 

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The Issue with Wearing Ties

commentary from Lloyd Alter of treehugger.com - July 11

They are not just useless, but can kill you or make you blind. When my wife's grandmother was giving up her apartment, she asked if I wanted a few ties she had in a suitcase. In fact, there were hundreds; her husband went to the racetrack every week after buying a new tie for good luck, and if he lost he never wore it again; I still wear them. Back then, everybody wore ties, all the time; even, as John Kennedy did, to the ball game. But it turns out that Grandpa Hugh might have had better luck and picked better horses if he had left the tie at home; a new study has concluded that neckties cut blood circulation to the brain.

Thirty volunteers were divided in two groups. One underwent MRI with necktie, the other without. The examination resulted in a statistically significant [7.5 percent!] decrease of CBF [cerebral blood flow] after tightening the necktie, while the venous flow did not show any significant changes. Ned Dymoke of the Big Think suggests that "enough to make a potentially fatal difference if you already have high blood pressure." He also points to an older study that found that tight ties may be bad for eyes. According to Robert Ritch, the eye specialist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary who led the work, a tight tie compresses the jugular vein, causing a backup of blood along the system to the eye, thus raising the pressure. "This external cause of raised intraocular pressure could possibly contribute to further damage from glaucoma," he says.

From a design point of view, I have never understood the point of ties; they serve no useful function now that collars have buttons. And now the world has changed from where people dressed up for airplanes, horseraces and theaters. Google, Apple and Amazon have actually banned them; so have British hospitals, which consider them an infection risk. I would only wear them when going to banks and funerals; now that I know that they can kill you or make you blind, I may never wear one again.

 

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Two More Hits from Nabisco

Food Beast - July 11

Oreo has more flavors than Drake has club bangers, and this summer, Oreo is cranking out some hits. Ice cream lovers should be excited for these new Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake and Rocky Road Trips flavors. The Strawberry Shortcake made its debut in early July and is available in stores, while the Rocky Road will follow July 23. The Strawberry Shortcake consists of whipped strawberry shortcake creme, and there are even strawberry flavored bits within the golden OREO wafer. Lovers of Good Humor's Strawberry Shortcake will not be disappointed, as every bite has a similar mouthfeel of biting into the crunchy ice cream bar. The Rocky Road flavor has a traditional chocolate wafer, and chocolate creme filled with marshmallow and soy nut pieces. Pro tip: Freeze these bad boys for a mind f*ck that feels like you're actually eating an ice cream bar. We figured these were ice cream flavors, so let's see how they taste frozen.

 

oreosoreos

George Clooney Returns to ER

BBC - July 11

Hollywood star George Clooney was taken to hospital after suffering minor injuries in a collision involving his motorbike and a car. The accident happened in Sardinia where the US actor is filming his latest TV series, Catch-22. A representative for the actor, 57, said he was treated and released from a hospital in the Sardinian city of Olbia. "He is recovering at his home and will be fine," the spokesperson continued. "At 8.15am George Clooney was riding his scooter on the State Road 125 towards Olbia from Puntaldia," said a spokesman for the Italian Carabinieri in a statement. "A car (a Mercedes E SW) did not respect the right of way and hit him. George Clooney fell and slammed the windshield of the Mercedes. "The car driver called the 112, the emergency number of Carabinieri, and they sent the Municipal Police, an ambulance and the Fire Dept. "[The] MRI was negative, and he is not seriously injured. George Clooney has already been discharged and he stays well." A town hall official in Sassari, Sardinia's second-largest city, also confirmed to the BBC earlier that Clooney had been involved in a "minor accident" but had no serious injuries.

 

Clooney

Drake Smashes The Beatles Record on the Hot 100

The National Post - July 11

It looks like Drake's Scorpion has officially stung, with all 25 tracks from his latest album making the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and seven sitting comfortably in the Top 10. As his album, which was released just a week ago, hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, his summer song "Nice for What" beelined from No. 6 to No. 1. The rest in the 10 include "Nonstop," "God's Plan," "In My Feelings," "I'm Upset," "Emotionless" and "Don't Matter to Me," featuring Michael Jackson. If that sounds like an impressive feat, it's because it very much is, with the Toronto rapper breaking The Beatles' 1964 record, when five of their songs were in the Top 10 in the same week. In fact, Drake has had 31 Top 10 hits throughout his career so far, tying him with former flame Rihanna, only behind The Beatles (34) and Madonna (38).

 

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Americans Are Sick and Tired of Passwords

New York Post - July 11

Millions of Americans are fed up with overly complicated web and phone security measures, a new study has found. Researchers who polled 2,000 US adults found 81 percent don't see the need for what they consider unnecessary security procedures. Almost half (47 percent) are sick of having to answer endless security questions whenever they call customer service departments. Over six in 10 (64 percent) are riled by the need for elaborate passwords featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and capital letters. Forty-eight percent are fed up with the use of two-step verification and seven in 10 (71 percent) are frustrated by captcha codes, as they tend to feature illegible words.

TJ Horan, a vice president for fraud solutions at FICO, said: "There's a real discrepancy here, consumers are glad their bank is protecting them, but frustrated that the protection is making it harder for them to open accounts and make purchases." "When it comes to digital transformation, a smooth customer experience is going to be vital. The winners will be the firms that can balance this against the need to stop fraud." Having to remember email addresses to recover passwords is an irritation for 58 percent, and similarly, six in 10 (65 percent) find it annoying when email systems log them out randomly as a security measure. Interestingly, 46 percent even consider airport security to be an inconvenience and 38 percent regard mobile phone PINs as somewhat of a hassle. Seventy-eight percent said they struggle to keep track of all their passwords. And perhaps it's no wonder, as those polled have 34 different online accounts on average, including email accounts, shopping accounts, social media accounts, bank accounts and more.

 

passwords

If It Ain't Broke..Don't Fix It!

engadget.com - July 10

With 42 million US subscribers, almost six billion dollars in profit over the past three years, and 29 Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017 alone, it goes without saying HBO is doing something right. But according to AT&T executive and newly enthroned WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey, the network must broaden its focus if it wants to maintain proper competitive footing in the fluctuating media landscape. When AT&T successfully acquired HBO's parent company Time Warner (Fox made a similar attempt in 2014) last month, part of the deal included the ability to track and target audiences. It's this that could be an essential ingredient in Stankey's vision for transforming HBO. Maximizing user engagement, it seems, is especially important for creating better monetization opportunities. Stankey revealed that keeping users glued to the screen for longer would allow HBO to peddle new subscriptions and alternative advertising models. At the same time, he's cognizant of the dangers involved in making HBO bigger and better from here onward. "It's going to be a tough year...It's going to be a lot of work to alter and change direction a little bit."

While Stankey didn't mention Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming rivals outright, he did hint that HBO's business model needs to adapt in order to become what chairman Richard Plepler describes as 'sustainable': "We need hours a day...It's not hours a week, and it's not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people's hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes." Stankey told The New York Times. HBO might be facing pressure to add "other types of content" to its HBO Now service to really flourish, however, the quality of its programs should never lose their brilliant sheen if the network intends to retain customer loyalty.

 

HBO

This Side Up

Mother Nature Network - July 9

Movie night at home. Time to break out the microwave popcorn and settle in for the show. It's so automatic, and convenient, you probably don't give these microwaveable munchies much thought. But have you ever wondered why the bag says "This Side Up," and what would happen if you did it the other way instead? What's actually inside the bag before it's popped? And is microwave popcorn even healthy? The answers aren't simple, and some may surprise you.

Does it matter which side is up? The short answer is yes, and here's why. Inside the microwave bag, you'll see a silvery gray rectangle called a susceptor on the "down" side of the bag that's supposed to lay on the glass microwave tray. This metalized polymer film, used in a lot of microwaveable packaging and crisping sleeves, absorbs the microwaves and heats things high enough to cook the popcorn kernels via conduction.

The reason the susceptor isn't on the "up" side is because the kernels are supposed to lay positioned over the silvery film, not beneath it. What would happen if you microwaved popcorn with the susceptor side up? Rest assured, your bag wouldn't explode or burst into flames. And your popcorn would still pop, just not as many kernels and the popped ones might be unevenly shaped.

Are susceptors safe? The FDA says that when hot oil comes in contact with a susceptor, it can release volatile chemicals that may be absorbed in the oil and food in small amounts. There's not a lot of research on susceptor safety. But one study published in 1993 tested several microwave food products packaged with susceptors and discovered they emitted many potentially dangerous volatile chemicals in small amounts, mainly from the adhesive and paper that often overlays the susceptor. This included the carcinogen benzene found in three products. On a positive note, the study found no product contained all the chemicals and indicated that many susceptors have since been reformulated to remove the trace amounts of benzene. Even so, eating microwave products with susceptors on a frequent basis may not be your healthiest option.

 

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The Anatomy of a Hot Dog

treehugger.com - July 8

Are there pig snouts and ears in your hot dog? Not unless they're listed, but some of the ingredients commonly used may still be surprising. In 2016, shoppers spent more than $2.6 billion on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets. In fact, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that during peak hot dog season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs ... to the tune of 818 hot dogs eaten every second during that timespan. That is a lot of dogs. The country's most beloved tube of meat comes from the Sara Lee-owned Ball Park brand, which eclipsed sales of Oscar Mayer in 2010. Other media outlets have pulled back the curtain on various hot dog ingredients in the past, and since we're smack dab in peak hot dog season, it seems as good a time as any to take a specific look at the who's who of hot dog ingredients. So without further ado, here's the skinny on America's winning wiener, the Original Ball Park frank:

Mechanically separated chicken: The USDA defines mechanically separated poultry (MSP) as "a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue." Hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.

Pork: According to 1994 USDA rules, any meat labeled as the meat it is can be taken off the bone by advanced meat recovery (AMR) machinery that "separates meat from bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without breaking or grinding the bone."

Water: The USDA states that hot dogs must contain less than 10 percent water.

Corn syrup: Corn syrup is made from the starch of corn and is used as a thickener and sweetener, it can also add volume and soften texture. It is not the same as its vilified cousin, high-fructose corn syrup, but it is still primarily just glucose and has little (if any) nutritive value.

Potassium lactate: This hydroscopic, white, odorless solid is prepared commercially by the neutralization of lactic acid with potassium hydroxide. The FDA allows its use as as a flavor enhancer, flavoring agent, humectant, pH control agent, and for inhibiting the growth of certain pathogens.

Salt: Hot dogs are salty, that's part of their job. And in fact, each one has about 480 milligrams, the rough equivalent of 20 percent of your recommended daily allowance.

Sodium phosphates: Any of three sodium salt of phosphoric acids that can be used as a food preservative or to add texture, because texture is important when you're eating a tube of meat paste.

Natural Flavor: It has flavor! Under current FDA guidelines, most flavoring agents allowed to be listed as "flavor" rather specified individually, so, this remains a bit of a mystery.

Beef stock: You know the drill: Boiled water with pieces of muscle, bones, joints, connective tissue and other scraps of the carcass.

Sodium diacetate: This is a molecular compound of acetic acid, sodium acetate, and water of hydration. The FDA allows its use as an antimicrobial agent, a flavoring agent and adjuvant, a pH control agent, and as an inhibitor of the growth of certain pathogens.

Sodium erythorbate: A sodium salt of erythorbic acid, it is often used as a preservative and helps meat-based products keep their rosy hue. Side effects have been reported, such as dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and on occasion, kidney stones.

Maltodextrin: Basically, a filler and/or thickening agent used in processed foods, it's a compound made from cooked starch, corn, or wheat.

Sodium nitrite: This common preservative helps preserve cured meat, studies have shown that consuming sodium nitrite may increase cancer risk and trigger migraines. Animal studies have linked sodium nitrates to an increased risk of cancer.

Paprika extract: An oil-based extract from the paprika plant used for color and longer shelf life.

If you seek simpler hot dogs with a minimal ingredient list, look for those made by brands specializing in natural and organic products. Applegate Farms' organic uncured beef hot dogs, for example, are non-GMO certified and contain: Organic grass-fed Beef, water, and less than 2 percent of sea salt, paprika, dehydrated onion, spices, nutmeg oil, and celery powder. Alternatively, plant-based hot dogs have come a long way since the tofu tubes of yesteryear. Beyond Meat and Field Roast are just two delicious examples of modern plant-based frankfurters that are a great option for your health and the planet.

 

hot dog

You Can't Fix Stupid

Raw Story - July 8

White House aides were shocked to discover that President Donald Trump gave his personal cell phone number to foreign leaders without their knowledge, reported the Washington Post. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officials released documents detailing an April 2017 conversation with President Trump that his aides were unaware of. "We had no idea what happened," a senior White House official told The Post. According to The Post the two world leaders talked about "the dairy trade" and "discussed lumber coming into the United States." White House officials also had to rely on President Trump's "memory" for details surrounding the call. "It was a very amicable call," the public statement said. President Trump's lack of security efforts has come under scrutiny. Recently, he fell victim to a prank call from comedian John Melendez, and even called him back on his Air Force One line.

 

Trump baby

 

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