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April 19, 2010
Summertime is around the corner and you are probably starting to think about what you will spend your time doing. If you are not going to get a summer job, then we have some ideas that might be right up your alley!
You can always volunteer at the local animal or homeless shelter, or gather up a few friends and go out for a picnic! You can always host a movie marathon or a game tournament. The point is to get creative and make your summer one that is full of fun and activities.
Have you ever seen all of the “tourist” attractions in your own city?? If not then you could go around the town pretending to be a tourist and see what new things you can learn about your town!
You can star-gaze on a trampoline, from your roof or on a dock! Create a treasure hunt for someone! This would be a fun way to kill some time and keep you from becoming a summer couch potato!
Go to a thrift store with someone and set a spending limit (5 - 10 dollars is plenty) and pick out complete outfits for each other. Go somewhere after in the outfits, like bowling or ice skating.
Eastex has discounted tickets to Schlitterbahn and Splashtown so maybe that’s something that you could do for a day or two! Make this a summer that will leave you with a lifetime of good memories!
December 28, 2009
Are you too nice to tell Aunt Matilda the sweater with little snowmen on it is just not your style? What about telling cousin Jason that why you really liked the DVD boxset of Family Guy, you already own it?
We've almost all been there. So what do you do?
Here are a few ways to get the most out of those non-returnable gifts:
The online auction website is arguably the most popular site for people to sell their unwanted things to others around the world. If you take this route, just be warned...you won't be the only one trying to make a few bucks this time of season. It might be a good idea to hold off for a month or two and get a better selling price. (Ebay.com)
Yet another popular site for people around the world to post classified ads. The bonus is the ability to sell locally, while the downside is the increasing amount of scams and a the "hands off" approach of doing business from the host website. (craigslist.org)
According to the website, the Freecycle network is made up of 4,658 groups with 6,270,000 members across the globe. Their main goal is to keep stuff from hitting the landfills. The best part, IT'S FREE! Everything posted here must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. (freecycle.org)
One of the more obvious options, you can normally re-gift any unopened item. For the sake of the next recipient, please stay away from re-gifting anything personalized, specifically sized or giving it to someone within the same family/circle of friends.
5) Gift Party
This was a great idea by WFMY News 2 reporter Julia Bagg. She suggested having a party with your friends and exchanging gifts from family members that you don't want. One man's unwanted snow globe could be another's coffee table center piece!
How life changing will it be if you give up the snowman sweater without receiving something in return? If you couldn't donate to charity prior to Christmas for financial reasons, use the unwanted gift as your opportunity to help someone else.
December 09, 2009
A system that turns brain waves into FM radio signals and decodes them as sound is the first totally wireless brain-computer interface. For now, 26-year-old Erik Ramsey, left almost entirely paralyzed by a horrific car accident 10 years ago, can only express vowel sounds with the system. That’s less than can be accomplished with wired brain-computer interfaces. But it’s still a promising step.
“All the groups working on BCIs are working toward wireless solutions. They are very superior,” said Frank Guenther a Boston University cognitive scientist who helped developed Ramsey’s system.
In the last decade, brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs, have made the jump from speculation to preliminary medical reality. Since Wired reported on quadriplegic BCI pioneer Matthew Nagle four years ago (”He’s playing Pong with his thoughts alone“), the interfaces have been used to steer wheelchairs, send text messages and even to Tweet. They’re so advanced that some researchers now worry about BCI ethics — what happens when healthy people get them? And they’re concerned about the threat posed by hackers.
The implant system tested by Ramsey, as described in a paper published Wednesday in Public Library of Science ONE, was originally developed by Philip Kennedy, founder of Neural Signals, a company that specializes in BCIs. Several electrodes are implanted in Ramsey’s cerebral cortex. Beneath the skin of his skull is an amplifier that gathers the electrodes’ signals, and an FM transmitter that sends them to a nearby computer.
Using a neurological model constructed by Guenther, Ramsey’s brain activity is mapped to corresponding mouth and jaw movements. Another program decodes the signals, and synthesizes them in the sound of a tinny, but human-like voice.
“The system produces the sound output in about 50 milliseconds. That’s the time it takes for sound output to come from a motor cortex command in a normal individual,” said Guenther.
For now, the computer that translates Ramsey’s mental broadcasts is still in a laboratory. “But our goal is to have him transmit directly to a laptop,” said Guenther.
December 03, 2009
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Christmas! And that means time to shop till you drop to find the perfect gift for all of your loved ones. This is the chance you get to show them how much they mean to you.
So what do you get? If you are tight on money this year try thinking outside the box. The best gifts are always homemade. Even making your own holiday greeting card can save a ton of money. And it shows that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into their present. Parents and Grandparents love homemade gifts.
For those of you who aren’t so creative, try shopping at places like Marshalls and Ross that carry big name items for low costs. You might have to do a little bit of digging around to find your perfect present but it will be well worth it once you’re at the cash register!
Christmas is a time of giving and spending time with your loved ones. Even if you can’t get them the greatest gift in the world, tell them how much they mean to you. That alone is a present in itself!
December 01, 2009
So the holiday season is upon us and it is a time for caring, sharing, and the occasional eggnog! If you are filled with a massive amount of Joy this holiday season, I challenge you to spread some of that holiday cheer to others! How do you do this you might ask? Well start with some random acts of kindness!
So where do you begin?
Put them into practice and also create your own:
Send someone a hand written note of thanks
Remember, good deeds are contagious and have a happy Holiday!
November 27, 2009
Thanksgiving has come and gone and if you are feeling like me you are still stuffed! Turkey is probably the most important dish in a Thanksgiving feast. That is why it is super important that it is cooked well. So what is the best way to cook a turkey? Decide for yourself. Here are ten deliciously scrumptious ways to make your Thanksgiving turkey a meal to die for next year!
1. Roasted Turkey – This is the most traditional way to cook a turkey. You pretty much cover the turkey in foil, plop it in the oven for 4-5 hours and then check it with a food thermometer to see when it is done. After cooked, most like to brush with spices or vegetable oil.
2. Fried Turkey – This method is used with smaller turkeys, usually 8 to 10 pounds. The turkey is stuffed with garlic, peppers, and other seasonings and then the entire bird is lowered into hot oil until fried to a crispy brown.
3. Grilled Turkey – Grilling a turkey takes a lot of time and preparation. You must place the turkey on a rack above a drip pan surrounded by coals in a covered kettle-style grill. Dampened wood chips are sometimes added to give the turkey a smoky flavor.
4. Marinated Turkey – People marinate turkeys to give them more flavor. You put the turkey in a big stockpot or kettle and cover it with the marinating liquid. The liquid is usually composed of spices, herbs, peppers, garlic, lemon juice, or other seasonings. After marinating you may cook the turkey in any way you like.
5. Brine Method – Brining is almost like marinating a turkey. You put the turkey in a stockpot and fill it with cold water, salt and sugar. Let it chill for 6-8 hours in the refrigerator. After the time has passed, wash the turkey off and it is ready to roast!
6. Braised Method – Braising a turkey is where you just put a turkey with a small amount of water in a covered roasting pan and cook until the turkey is ready. The cavity of the turkey can be filled with different vegetables of stuffings.
7. Oven Cooking Bag – Oven cooking bags are a very safe way to cook a turkey. The bags can be bought at most grocery stores. The turkey is put in the bag and placed in a stockpot to be cooked in an oven. Instructions are on the back of the oven cooking bag boxes.
8. Foil Wrapped Method – Wrapping a turkey in foil required increased oven temperatures, but gets cooked faster. You brush the turkey with butter or vegetable oil and then wrap the bird in heavy duty aluminum foil and place it in a shallow roasting pan. To brown the turkey, open the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
9. Slow Cooking Overnight – This method is very dangerous because it requires the turkey to be cooked over night for 12-13 hours at 200 degrees F. Cooking things at temperatures lower than 325 puts your guests at a high risk of getting food poisoning. We recommend that you do not use this method as your choice of turkey cooking.
10. Microwave Oven – Microwaving a turkey is also not recommended. You must be cooking a small turkey and make sure that it is completely thawed out. A whole turkey takes 7-9 minutes to cook one pound. Consider an oven cooking bag to ensure even cooking. Microwaves may not be safe for cooking a turkey, but they are great for heating up left overs!
Now that you know several simple ways to cook a turkey your Thanksgiving feast should be magnificent! People will be raving over your amazing cooking for years. But be careful, if you cook the turkey too well, you will be the one voted to cook the turkey every year!
November 23, 2009
Two words: Project Natal.
Since the dawn of time — or at least since Pong — one barrier that has stood between gamers and total Tron-like immersion in their video games has been the controller: the joystick, trackball, mouse, light gun or whatever. This year Microsoft demonstrated a technology, code-named Project Natal, that enables players to control games using only body movements and voice commands, no controller required — the gamer's body becomes the controller. Project Natal uses several cameras, plus a highly specialized microphone and a lot of fancy software, to track the gamer's body and interpret his or her voice. You move your hand, and the Master Chief (or whoever) moves his hand. It's that simple. And that cool.
Check out the video below and see what Microsoft has in store for us…