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Ken's Dumpling Soup

Ken's Dumpling Soup

Great dumplings are difficult to make, so let's leave that to the experts. Swing by your favorite Chinese Restaurant and pick up a load of dumplings. Make sure they are boiled not fried.

Finely chop corrots, onions, celery and garlic then add a sprinkle of Paprica. In a pot saute everything in olive oil until soft.

Add a few cups of chicken broth, a cup of water, a splash of white wine and two drops of Tabasco. Grind in some fresh pepper and a pinch of salt.

Add the dumplings and simmer for a few minutes.

Serve.

Tech Note:
You can easily add meat to the soup. For example: cut some chicken into small cubes and add at the simmering stage.
If you're not a dumplings fan you can substitute Tortellini or Ravioli or any stuffed pasta that's totally closed.

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Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Ken's Chicken Drum Sticks

Ken's Chicken Drum Sticks

Friends challenged me to do this.

Finely chop some onions, carrots and cellery and saute in olive oil.

Marinate some chicken drum sticks in olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and fresh ground pepper. Add a pinch of salt.

Let this marinate for several hours. Overnight in the refrigerator is good.

If you feel like it rub in Panko bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Bake until brown and tender. Then add chicken stock and white wine.

Eat.

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Mental Health - My Story

Mental Health - My Story

I've fought depression all my life.

I'm telling my story in the hope it will help others. Of course, these are just my personal recollections, they are not intended as medical advice. So with that caveat, here's the scoop on depression from my perspective.

I was born near Stockport in the UK. I was the eldest of 3 kids. I have 2 younger sisters.

I suffered from bouts of depression from an early age. I still vividly remember the first time when I was just 10 years old.

But I had lots of friends "on the block" and we got up to many adventures. We created our own bows and arrows and catapults. Every Nov 5th we would build a huge fire for Bonfire Night.

There was a critical exam at age 11, it was called the "11 Plus". If you passed you went to "Grammar School" and on an academic track to university. But if you failed you went to "Secondary School" - with no chance at university and you were prepared for the Trades.

I failed.

So I went to "Secondary School" and learned woodworking, metalworking and gardening.

I complained, so my folks got me a private tutor. That year there was a new program.. you were allowed to retake the 11 Plus a year later if approved. I was one of just 3 students in the entire school that was approved.

So I took the 12 Plus, passed, and was transferred to Grammar School. I studied like crazy and at 18 I won a place at Sussex University where I got my BSc in Physics.

From there I went to Cambridge University where I did my PhD in Physics. But depression followed me all the way. At Cambridge University I sometimes could not get out of bed until midday or later. I missed quite a few Physics lectures.

But after 1 year in Cambridge I was transferred to the experimental Lab which was near Oxford. It was there that I lived in Coseners House. Amazing. I was ultra busy so my depression subsided but never really left me.

I got my PhD in 1975.

So I had a PhD. I applied for jobs. But no jobs in Physics. But as soon as I applied for a job in computing I was snatched up by a London based computing consulting firm.

I went on a few adventures, including working in Holland on computer control for a North Sea Gas Pipeline. Then I was sent to Chase Manhattan Bank in NYC to work on money transfer systems.

I resigned from the London consulting company and got married. Then I went into business with my brother-in-law to build a new Personal Computer App. IBM released their PC in 1981, but it could not do what we needed.

So I went out and became a print salesperson in order to sustain our business. I met an interesting woman on the train. She worked for Hertz Corporation and gave me a ton of printing business. That helped us through a rough financial period.

Then in Jan 1984 Apple released the Mac. It was exactly what we needed. We shipped our App in Jan 1985. It was a success.

It's strange, but during all this time I did not seek professional help for my depression. But finally in the 1990s I did seek help. First I tried talk therapy. Over the years I've seen several therapists and I still do.

The other professional I saw was a psychiatrist who prescribed Venlafaxine which is an SNRI (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhaibitor). That helped but of course did not "cure" the depression. I still got bouts of depression but they were not as severe. I take Venlafaxine daily. It helps.

Over the years I've learned that my depression is less when I'm actively involved in a project and mentally challenged. Of course such projects are not always easy to find.

I sometimes get angry with myself for "allowing" depression to affect my entire life. But that's a negative thought and almost always triggers a bout of depression. I try my best to stop analyzing the past with constant "what if" questions.

So what's the bottom line? I'm 73 now and I've had derpreesion since I was 10. Did I find a cure? No. But talk therapy has helped me manage my mental attitude towards depression. And medication has helped manage the mechanism of the disease. I have a wonderful wife, 2 great daughters and 4 amazing grandkids. I totally believe in science. There will come a day when sophisticated treatments eradicate depression and a lot of other things. I will not be around to see that. But my grandkids will.

Tech Note:
Serotonin and Norepinephrine are chemicals in the brain that are known to be involved in mood. It's generally agreed that increased concentrations of these chemicals can help reduce depression. And that's exactly what Venlafaxine does - it simply increases the concentration of Serotonin and Norepinephrine. It's a "sledge hammerreduce" approach, but that's where science is right now.

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Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush is a dish made from Eggplant. Think Hummus, but eggplant instead of chickpeas. Here's how you make it.

Take a few eggplants and half them lengthwise. Brush with olive oil, add some ground pepper and salt and pakrika. Then bake at 450F with sliced side down until the eggplant collapses.

Take out of oven, let sit for a few minutes, then scoop all the flesh out of the eggplant leaving the skin behind.

Place the flesh in a bowl. Add some garlic powder and lemon juice and stir vigorously with a fork until eggplant breaks down. Add some tahini to the bowl and stir until it’s incorporated. While stirring, slowly drizzle in some olive oil. Continue stirring until the mixture is pale and creamy.

Stir in some finely chopped fresh parsley, salt and cumin. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Lastly, sprinkle it with parsley and smoked paprika.

Serve with accompaniments of your choice. It’s also great on sandwiches!

Tech Note:
If you want it extra smooth and creamy then after you've scooped out all the flesh from the eggplant force it through a sieve. This will leave the lumpy parts behind.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Ken's Paella - Chicken and Chorizo

Ken's Paella - Chicken and Chorizo

Paella started out as a Spanish picnic dish. They would fully load the pan and carefully cook it over an open wood fire. I've never tried this.. but I can imagine the wood adds a very subtle aromatic flavor!

Marinate the chicken
Take a few chicken thighs and remove the skin. Prick all over with a sharp knife. Place in a bowl and add olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and finely chopped fresh Oregano. Just use the oregano leaves not the stems. Mix well and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours, or overnight.

Prepare the veggies
Chop a spanish onion. Remove the seeds from some red, green and yellow peppers and then chop the peppers. Crush a few cloves of fresh garlic. Place everything in a paella pan, add a splash of olive oil and mix.

Cooking - Stage 1
Add the chicken to the veggies in the paella pan, then add some slices of Chorizo. Bake in oven at 350F until everything is tender.

Cooking - Stage 2
Add a cup of Arborio rice and sprinkle it with Turmeric, or if you can afford it use Saffron. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and a splash of white wine. Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook in oven at 350F until the rice is done. Remove aluminum foil and serve.

Tech Note:
Using Arborio rice gives the Paella a Risotto type consistency. If you don't want this just use regular long grain rice.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Tide Mills - Unlimited Green Energy

Tide Mills - Unlimited Green Energy

A tide mill uses a pond at sea level. The tide comes in and fills the pond. The pond gates are then closed. The tide goes out. Now we have a large amount of water above sea level.

It's let out slowly, in ancient times to run a flour mill, but in modern times it could run small electric turbines. This energy is totally free and totally green.

Many countries have massive coastlines, meaning thousands of tide mills could be installed and the electricity fed to the national grid, or used to power local villages.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Ken's Potatoes au Gratin (Dauphinoise)

Ken's Potatoes au Gratin (Dauphinoise)

The French call this dish Potatoes Dauphinoise. It's absolutely delicious, creamy and garlicy, and is a great side dish to almost any meal.

Take several cloves of fresh garlic, peel, crush and chop fine. Put in a bowl and add a small amount of olive oil. Let rest for an hour stirring occasionally.

Take some boiling potatoes, peel and slice medium thin into a bowl of cold water. This stops them from browning while you prepare the other ingredients. It also removes some of the starch.

Take a casserole dish and rub butter all over the bottom.

Sprinkle in some of the garlic, then dry some potatoes well and add a layer, then sprinkle on more garlic, grind on some fresh pepper, then add a few small chunks of butter, then sprinkle with freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese.

Repeat twice.

Add whole milk until potatoes are half covered. Add a splash of cream.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake at 350F until the potatoes are tender. Then remove the foil and broil for a few minutes to brown the potatoes.

Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve.

Tech Notes:
As with all cooking, the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference. Use first cold pressed olive oil. Buy the garlic from a farmer's market. Use real imported Italian cheese. Use organic whole milk.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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How to ace any job interview

How to ace any job interview

It's actually very simple, but so many people get it wrong.

First do research on the company and the position being offered, then..

-Be ontime. Get there a few minutes early.

-Shake hands and smile.

-Dress right. Dress conservatively. Don't dress casual, even if their culture says casual.

-Never bullshit. If you don't know an answer to a question just say you don't know.

-Be positive, upbeat and enthusiastic. Ask questions.

At the end of the interview shake hands and smile.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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How to test a totally self driving car

How to test a totally self driving car

Get in your regular car and drive around for a day completely obeying every single speed limit.

When you get home in the evening, and after you've finished screaming, you will never want to hear the words totally self driving car again.

LOL!!!!

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Ken's Shepherd's Pie

Ken's Shepherd's Pie

Sheep Herders pie, or Shepherd's pie, is traditionally made with ground lamb. (Think about that for a moment.)

It's a meat and vegetable sauce topped with mashed potatoes.

Meat and vegetable sauce
Saute some chopped onions in olive oil. Add your favorite ground meat, grind on some fresh pepper, add a pinch of salt, then stir and saute until brown.

Add some peas, chopped garlic and chopped carrots. Add some tomato paste.

Add a splash of flour and a splash of Worcester Sauce. Add plenty of beef stock, then simmer until the sauce is thick, stirring often. Don't let it burn.

Put the sauce in a casserole dish.

Mashed potato topping
Peel some boiling potatoes and boil in lightly salted water until soft. Drain, mash, then add salt, pepper, butter, a splash of milk and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Mix well and then spread on top of the sauce in the casserole dish. Mashed potatoes should be about 2" deep.

Bake in oven at 350F until potatoes just begin to brown.

Serve.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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KIVA - Micro loans go mainstream

KIVA - Micro loans go mainstream

Welcome to the world of micro financing!

Make a tiny loan, get a big impact. Loans start at $25.

Remember, this is a loan not a donation.

KIVA

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Study at Cambridge University in the UK - Without leaving home

Study at Cambridge University in the UK - Without leaving home

The University of Cambridge is one of the top Universities in the world.

They offer a wide selection of courses online. Take a course without leaving home.

Cambridge University Online

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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King Charles - Off to a rough start

King Charles - Off to a rough start

He had 73 years to practice.

But apparently that did not help.

First we have the tantrums with the pens. Then worse, we have layoffs at Clarence House.

Oh boy. Methinks his mother would be annoyed.

The Attack of the Pens

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Does Light have Mass?

Does Light have Mass?

Yes. Photons have energy and thus mass. Lots of it.

But they have zero rest mass, which is kinda cute because you will never find a photon at rest.

So, saying a photon has zero rest mass is the same as saying photons travel at a constant speed relative to any reference frame. Years before Special Relativity Maxwell’s equations showed this very clearly.

Einstein must have been acutely aware of this, and in fact his first paper on what we now call Special Relativity had the title “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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The Coronation - My Story

The Coronation - My Story



I remember the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It was 1953 and I was 4 years old.

My folks bought a TV, the first on our block, specifically to watch the Coronation. It had a tiny black and white screen, rabbit ears and a flickering picture that oozed a grey glow.

All our neighbors came over and our living room was packed.

I squeezed between their legs to get a view. My first view of history.



Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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How to take your own Passport Photo

How to take your own Passport Photo

Many jurisdictions now allow passport applications online, which includes uploading your own photo taken with your cellphone. But to avoid annoying rejections you need to follow these rules..

Use a plain white background with no objects in the background.

Take off your glasses and open your eyes.

Close your mouth and do not smile.

No shadows.

Look directly at the camera.

Take head and shoulders only.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Tide Mills - Free Unlimited Green Energy

Tide Mills - Free Unlimited Green Energy

A tide mill uses a pond at sea level. The tide comes in and fills the pond. The pond gates are then closed. The tide goes out. Now we have a large amount of water above sea level.

It's let out slowly, in ancient times to run a flour mill, but in modern times it could run small electric turbines. This energy is totally free and totally green.

Many countries have massive coastlines, meaning thousands of tide mills could be installed and the electricity fed to the national grid, or used to power local villages.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Merging General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics - The Answer

Merging General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics - The Answer

What if the answer was hiding in plain sight. And that answer was stunningly simple: It can never be done, not because it's difficult but because the very concept of merging is not defined.

Using temperature as an analogy we can actually illustrate this in detail..

For a while temperature (T) was regarded as fundamental. But then as we probed nature at shorter and shorter distances we discovered atoms and eventually built a robust atomic theory.

One of the first insights concerned T. We clearly saw it was not fundamental and in fact could only be defined for huge ensembles of atoms.

So we didn't attempt any merging.. we did not attempt to speak about the temperature of an individual atom, or the temperature of an individual electron. The very concept of individual temperature was not defined. T was an ensemble property.

So then we probed nature at shorter distances and found neutrons and protons. Now the LHC is probing at even shorter distances.. the internal structure of the proton.

Imagine going further.. probing at even shorter distances.. and imagine we discover some amazing new object, let's call it X. Then we discover that if we have a huge ensemble of Xs their statistical behaviour generates our current spacetime. It generates x,y,z,t.

So spacetime is a macro ensemble property and as such is well described by GR.

Do we attempt to ascribe this property to individual Xs. No. The concept is not even defined for individual Xs.

Where does this leave GR? It's still incredibly useful, but it's a macro ensemble theory, and we would never dream of trying to apply it to describe individual Xs. i.e. we would never dream of trying to reconcile it with QM. The idea makes no sense. It's not even defined.

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Einstein's fundamental assumption of Special Relativity

Einstein's fundamental assumption of Special Relativity

You're on a train and I'm standing on the side of the track. As your train passes I measure your speed.. it's 60 mph.

So I tell everyone you are travelling at 60 mph.

But one person totally disagrees with me.

They say they started driving their car next to the train until they reached 60 mph and then measured your speed. The answer they got was 0 mph. So for them you are not moving.

Now, replace the train with a beam of light, which travels fast but still at a finite speed (186,000 mps).

I measure the speed while standing next to the track and I get 186,000 mps. No problem, I get in a rocket ship and start travelling next to the beam until I reach 186,000 mps. Then I measure the speed of the beam again.

And I get 0 mps. Nn I don't.. I get.. drum roll please.. 186,000 mps.

That's the fundamental cornerstone of Relativity, or at least Special Relativity. That the speed of light is a fundamental constant independent of any reference frame.

Einstein's genius was not in seeing this (it was already known), his genius was in making it the fundamental assumption of a new theory and then deriving the consequences.

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Mixing Einstein and Maxwell

Mixing Einstein and Maxwell

Take Einstein’s E=m*c^2 and Maxwell’s c^2=1/(pe*pm) where pe is the electrical permittivity of the vacuum and pm is the magnetic permeability of the vacuum.

Now substitute Maxwell into Einstein and you get the fascinating equation m=E*pe*pm

The mass of an object depends on its energy plus the electrical and magnetic properties of the vacuum. Wow.

Of course, at the quantum level the vacuum is far from empty, and far from understood, but it can produce all sorts of effects. And this is one.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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The Coming Revolution in Healthcare

The Coming Revolution in Healthcare

It's telehealth.

Amazon just bought One Medical (a telehealth company) for $3.9 billion.

And then there's the device side that will probably be dominated by Apple.

Hardware monitors for..

-Temperature
-Weight
-Stethoscope
-Pulse rate
-Blood oxygenation
-Blood pressure
-Dermatological camera
-EKG

All of which will plug into your iPhone. And these devices will transmit over the internet in realtime to your doc.

And then there's the massive emerging sector of mental health, which lends itself perfectly to telehealth. Many psychotherapists have already given up their offices and are seeing their patients remotely. This trend was dramatically accelerated by Covid.

And I bet there's more.

Buy a monthly subscription then get ready to see a specialist anywhere worldwide.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Life in the Universe - The Probability

Life in the Universe - The Probability

Suppose you were given 10,000 billion billion chances to win the lottery.

Do you think you would win?

Astronomers estimate there are 100 billion Galaxies in the Universe and the average Galaxy contains about 100 billion stars. So that's a total of 10,000 billion billion stars.

Or 10,000 billion billion chances for life.

Of course, if there's truly intelligent life out there the last thing it will do is contact us. LOL!

So we'll continue with our usual self centered mantra, "it seems we're the only intelligent life in the universe."

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Selling your car with Carvana

Selling your car with Carvana

I can't guarantee this will happen to you.

But it happened to me.

I went online, answered a few question and uploaded a pic of my dash panel. They gave me a quote. It was $8K higher than my local dealer. They came to my house, gave me a check for the exact amount of the quote and took my car. 10 minutes!

Beyond amazing! Here.. Carvana

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Uluru - Rock of Life

Uluru - Rock of Life







Uluru is a giant sandstone rock in Australia, it's almost 6 miles in circumpherence and over 1,000 feet high.

And it's in the center of Australia, the so called Red Center. It's semi desert - red sand and small bushes for about 1,000 miles in every direction. It's not the place to go walking without special equipment and support.

But the rock supported a whole culture. Archaeological findings suggest that humans settled in the area more than 10,000 years ago.

Small cooking caves around the rock show that cooking was done communaly for the entire population. And the same is true of education - with several teaching caves.

Rain was rare, but the top of the rock was a massive concave rain collector. So there was always a gentle stream of water falling into small lush basins. And ideal for bathing.

So what happened to the rock people after 10,000 years? They were moved to a "reservation" not far from Uluru and their decendants are still there. It's a well managed trailor park. This is very similar to what America did with the original Indian population.

I think it's sad. They were moved to a trailor park while their ancestral home became an international tourist attraction.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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CERN LHC Fans - Watch the LHC in Action

CERN LHC Fans - Watch the LHC in Action

Check beam energy, ramps, squeezes, beam status, machine tests, detector status and more. Plus, see messages from machine operators.

Watch LHC operations

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Renting v. Buying

Renting v. Buying

I think buying is for younger people and renting is for the older.

But renting has a lot going for it. No mortgage, no property taxes, no maintanance.

Certainly, almost all new developments being built near me are rental.

And many young folks are on board.

We owned a house for many years. Then we sold and put the proceeds into an investment account with a great financial advisor. He showed us how the cash generated from the account could pay our rent. Just the cash, without touching the value of the account.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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How to bake a potato

How to bake a potato

It's trivial, right? No, not if you want to do it right.

There are lots of different potatoes, so first make sure you buy a baking potato.

Pour some fine olive oil on your hands and massage the potato. Then sprinkle on garlic powder, some fresh ground pepper, salt and a bit of Hungarian Paprika.

Set oven to 350F and bake. It's done when a knife goes in smoothly with absolutely no resistance.

Take out of oven, cut open and add the fixings you like. I like none, but you may consider butter or sour cream or chopped chives or chopped shallots or parsley or whatever. Go for it.

Eat.

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Crime by City - How does you city rank?

Crime by City - How does you city rank?

Are you a safe city? Check your crime ranking here.. Check here.

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A note to the US - The price of living in the past

A note to the US - The price of living in the past

The 2nd amendment is over 230 years old when it took two minutes to load one round into a gun. Talk about living in the past. The US has decided to live in the past.

And the price of living in the past is to slowly become irrelevant.

Hello US, the rest of the world moved on many years ago. You are growing slowly less relevant. And it's your own choice.

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Stop School Shootings - This is not rocket science

Stop School Shootings - This is not rocket science

Let's analyze this.

Imagine you're a deranged student who has decided to shoot up a school. What do you need? You need 3 things: a gun, ammo and easy access to the school.

So let's make all 3 very difficult. Especially access. Sure, you have fancy metal detectors at the front door. But what about that open, unsupervised back door.

Schools need a security guard at every single entrance 100% of the time school is in session. And please don't say, "sorry this is not in the budget". Because the lives of children should be beyond the budget.

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Quantum Computing - A long and winding road?

Quantum Computing - A long and winding road?

It's a bit like self driving cars. An idea that won't really happen on a commercial scale for another 30 years. Maybe longer.

Sure, many great companies are working on quantum computers. And good for them. But there is still a very long way to go.

Rumor has it that some of these early players, like IBM, are looking to sell their quantum computing divisions.

Is the first phase of the party over?

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Complete dinner in one package

Complete dinner in one package

This is fast, easy and healthy. Anybody can cook it. Everybody will love it.

Rip off a huge piece of aluminum foil and lightly coat it with fine olive oil.

Place a chunk of wild salmon on the foil with skin down. Grind on some fresh pepper.

Add some slices of onion, carrots and sweet potato. Add lots of chopped fresh garlic and some chopped fresh sage or parsley or your favorite fresh herb.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over everything. Add a small sprinkle of salt and grind on some fresh pepper.

Now fold the aluminum foil into a leak-proof package, but add a spash of chardonney and chicken stock and a tablespoon of butter just before you seal the package.

Then bake on a tray in the oven at 350F.

To serve just place on a plate, open the package and eat. Smell the aromatic flavors as the package opens!

This lends itself to countless variations. You could use different fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, chicken, lamb or beef. And the vegetables and herbs can be almost anything - the last time I did this I used Coriander as the herb with Bok Choy and Orange Peppers as the vegetables. Experiment and enjoy!

This is an individual product, so if you're a young guy trying to impress your girlfriend with your "cooking skills" make one for each of you. Trust me it will do the job!

Tech note: If you use chicken it's best to remove the skin. Otherwise you'll get a greasy broth. Beef is fine, but because of the slow cooking method there's no need to buy an expensive cut. You could also try this with lamb chops, pork chops or veal chops. For lamb I would of course use Rosemary as the herb.

Versatility note: Just to show the versatility. Suppose you like lamb curry. Make this dish with lamb cubes, then add some fresh sliced ginger, some curry powder and a splash of yogurt. Bingo.. you have an amazing lamb curry.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Heat Pumps - Heating and Cooling All-In-One

Heat Pumps - Heating and Cooling All-In-One

Heat pumps are interesting. They are a/c systems that can run in reverse. Meaning they can cool in summer and heat in winter. And they don't need ductwork, so you can put them anywhere you like.

An outdoor compressor drives several indoor units connected through small pipes - which eliminates the huge cost of installing ductwork. They cool great, and in heating mode they can reduce or even eliminate the use of oil and gas furnaces.

And they come with a remote control. So just point and click to get what you want.. heat or cool anytime.

They are perfect for retrofit situations in older buildings. Most people initially install them for a/c in summer but then are thrilled that the same unit can also provide heat in winter.

How do you get one? Contact your local HVAC contractor. Chances are heat pumps are a massive part of their business. If not find a different contractor.

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Manhole Covers

Manhole Covers

You walk on them. You drive over them. You never think about them.

But Manhole Covers have a life and history of their own.

I walked Manhattan and photographed a few. Some are rare. And almost all are made in India.

Here's a list of NYC Manhole Cover Abbreviations. Who knew?

Here's one I photographed in Manhattan's West Village and it's not even listed. I assume that makes it rare.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Mother's Day

Mother's Day

My mother is dead. She died years ago.

Her life was not easy, she survived WW2 to become a homemaker and a part time glove machinist.

After the war she had me and my two sisters. And she worked hard to give us the best she could.

But this is true for all mothers.

So Mother's Day gives us a time to remember and reflect. To remember the sacrifice they made for us.

Enjoy Mother's day. And say thank you. That's all mothers really want on this day. Or on any day.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Circumcision

Circumcision

Most Jewish people are very serious about circumcision. I think it's true to say that all Jewish males are circumcised.

It's a religious tradition, but often justified as essential for health reasons. Why not just say it's an important religious tradition?

When it comes to Christians the situation is even more interesting.

I have an old friend, we're both Christian, we're the same age and as children we lived in the same town and went to the same school. He's circumcised and I'm not. So what drove the decision in this case? It's clearly not religion. And if it's back to health reasons then that's bogus. I'm 72 and never had any health issues down in that area.

Guess it's time to check other religions.

Hinduism discourages non-medical circumcision.

Islam say circumcision is not symbolic of being part of the Muslim community, but most Muslims circumcise their sons.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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How Russia Rescued the Ruble

How Russia Rescued the Ruble

Just after the invasion of Ukraine the Russian Ruble tumbled about 50% when measured against a reference currency such as the US Dollar.

Such a plunge in currency value is a nightmare for any country, because it basically points to the destruction of its economy.

And it's impossible to reverse, right? Wrong. Russia not only reversed it but did it fast, so now the Ruble is as strong as ever.

How did Russia do this?

Europe buys oil and gas from Russia, a lot of it. They pay Russia in US dollars to the tune of over $700 million per day.

Russia simply demanded payment in Rubles, causing Europe to go into the FX market to buy Rubles.

That drove up the value of the Ruble, so now it's strong and back at pre-invasion levels.

And Europe is still paying Russia.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Omelette a la Ken

Omelette a la Ken

Get an organic pasture raised egg and let it sit to come to room temperature. Then beat in a bowl and add a splash of 1% fat milk, add a grind of fresh pepper and a small pinch of salt.

Get a good French soft cheese such as Camambert or Brie. Leave it out to come to room temperature. Then cut a few small slices.

Spray your frying pan with oil, pour in the egg, add the cheese and cook over medium heat. It should "bubble".

Once the bottom is sealed turn the top over with a spatula. Turn the heat off. Serve with toast.

Sounds complex, but it's not. Do it once and it will become fast and automatic.

As with all cooking, much of the secret is in the quality of the ingredients.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Poached Wild Salmon

Poached Wild Salmon

This is healthy and tasty.

Grab a chunk of wild salmon. Butter a casserole dish and place the salmon in the dish skin down.

Put a few knobs of butter on top of the salmon. Chop some fresh garlic and onions, mix with a small amout of fine olive oil then add to the pan. Grind on some fresh pepper. Add a small pinch of salt. Then broil briefly until just brown. Don't let anything burn.

Chop and add your favorite fresh herb. I use dill.

Add some vegetable stock and a splash of good white wine.

Optional: Add some cooked saffron rice, or better, rice from a paella if you have any left over.

Then cover the casserole dish and cook in the oven at 350F.

Serve alone or with saute spinach or whatever you want.

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Fried Onions - With a Twist

Fried Onions - With a Twist

Grab your favorite onion, peel it and slice into chunks.

Dry well with a paper towel.

Now sprikle it with fresh pepper, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and then add a few cloves.

Saute over medium to high heat in a great olive oil.

Toss frequently with a spatula. Wait until some pieces are seared and then stop.

Serve with whatever. This side dish goes with almost anything.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Omelette with Prosciutto, Camembert and Tarragon

Omelette with Prosciutto, Camembert and Tarragon

Get some organic pasture raised eggs, some Italian Prosciutto di Parma, some French Camembert and some fresh Tarragon. Remove the stalks and finely chop the Tarragon leaves.

Take 2 slices of the Prosciutto, trim off most of the fat and chop into pieces.

Take the Camembert and cut several thin slices.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl and beat. Add some fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt.

Dip a kitchen towel in olive oil and then wipe the bottom and sides of a frying pan to lightly coat it. Briefly saute the Prosciutto in the pan then add the eggs Camembert and Tarragon.

Wait until the bottom has cooked then use a spatula to turn the top into the middle, then turn that into the bottom. Flip the whole thing over and cook for a few more seconds. Slide onto a plate and serve.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Is Europe Funding Russia's War in Ukraine?

Is Europe Funding Russia's War in Ukraine?

The EU gets 40% of its natural gas from Russia.

For this they pay Russia about $722 million PER DAY.

And of course Europe can't stop buying it.

So Russia can use this money to fund its war in Ukraine.

What a colossal blunder by the EU.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Alcohol Calculator

Alcohol Calculator

First I define a basic unit - the "Standard Drink". It's any drink that needs one hour for its alcohol content to be metabolized. In other words it takes one hour to get out of your system. Examples are 50ml of 80 proof liquor, a 12 fluid ounce bottle of beer, or a 5 fluid ounce glass of wine.

Using this basic unit we can then measure drinks..

Liquor (80 Proof - 40% Alcohol by volume)
"Handle" 1,750ml = 35 Standard Drinks
“Liter” 1,000ml = 20 Standard Drinks
“Bottle” 750ml = 15 Standard Drinks
"Half Pint" 200ml = 4 Standard Drinks
“Miniature” 50ml = 1 Standard Drink

BTW: A Martini is about 200ml of 80 proof liquor which is 4 Standard Drinks and 432 calories.

Wine (15% Alcohol by volume)
“Bottle” 750ml = 5 Standard Drinks
“Big Glass” (10 fluid ounces) = 2 Standard Drinks
“Glass” (5 fluid ounces) = 1 Standard Drink

Beer (5% Alcohol by volume)
“Bottle” (12 fluid ounces) = 1 Standard Drink

I think the surprise here is the Martini. Knock back just 2 Martinis and you've had 8 drinks plus 864 calories. It's going to take 8 hours to get the alcohol out of your system, and a whole lot longer to get the 864 calories off your waist!

And here's my personal take on drinking..

Social drinker = 2 Standard Drinks/day.
Serious drinking problem = 10 Standard Drinks/day.
Alcoholic = 15+ Standard Drinks/day. But I hate the word alcoholic. I prefer alcohol dependence.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Alcohol - If you drink too much try this

Alcohol - If you drink too much try this

Let's not talk about abstinence.

Instead let's get real and try to reduce the impact of what you drink. Let's be pragmatic and reduce the impact of alcohol on your body. Try this..

-Wait. Meaning, try to wait until after a full breakfast. The body works in cycles, and early in the morning the liver is incredibly susceptible to damage. So try to wait before you start drinking. Having a drink as soon as you wake up is terrible for the liver.

-Avoid Acetaminophen. Yes, you probably need a Tylenol as soon as you wake. But avoid it. Acetaminophen can be bad for the liver.

-Try yogurt. Especially the small probiotic drinkable units. These are healthy and also slow alcohol absorbtion. So pop one before you drink.

Stopping drinking is very important. But it's hard, so in the meantime let's be realistic and minimize the damage.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion. It is not intended as medical advice.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Circles and Spheres - A neat observation

Circles and Spheres - A neat observation

I was thinking about how the surface of an object could be related to its interior.

Let's start simple. Consider a circle of circumference c and radious r. Its "interior" is the area and its "surface" is the circumference.

So let's take the ratio of the two.. area/circumference

The area of the circle is cr/2 so dividing this by c gives us r/2 for the ratio.

For a sphere the ratio would be volume/(surface area). The volume is (4/3)(pi)r^3 and the surface area is 4(pi)r^2 and so we get r/3 for the ratio.

Interesting. A circle is a 2D object and the ratio is r/2. A sphere is a 3D object and the ratio is r/3.

So let's make the conjecture that for an n-dimensional sphere of radius r the ratio would be r/n. True or false?

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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On Dimension and Distance in Physics

On Dimension and Distance in Physics

Let's consider the plane. It's incredibly familiar. We have the horizontal x axis and the vertical y axis.

And any point in the plane needs 2 numbers to uniquely specify it, so we denote a point by (x,y) and we say the plane is 2-dimensional.

We can easily move between any 2 points. Everything is nice and smooth and of course we can define a distance using the Pythagorean theorem. All is good. We have a nice 2-dimentional space and we have a well defined distance between any 2 points.

But this is mathematics. Never confuse mathematics with physics. So what happens when we move to physics?

In mathematics it's ok to have a parameter specified by an infinite number of decimal places. But not in physics. Just a few decimal places are enough. In physics, if a theory can predict a parameter to 10 decimal places it's regarded as an incredibly successful theory.

So now let's replace our 2-dimensional plane with a set of discrete points.

We can think of a grid. But the grid is only used to generate the points, it does not imply any connectivity between the points.

Now our plane is very different. It looks 2D, but it's not. Because we can find a one-to-one mapping between the points and the positive integers. In fact, there many such mappings.

This means that any point is uniquely identified by 1 number. So our plane is 1-dimensional.

And what about distance? There is no clear definition of distance. So distance is not a fundamental concept.

This is immediately evident in physics. Take "spooky action at a distance" for example. There's nothing spooky about it. The problem is with our concept of distance, which nature does not respect. And if nature does not respect a concept then the concept is not worth much.

We need new thinking. We need new thinkers.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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Ken's Unclaimed Funds Finder

Ken's Unclaimed Funds Finder

The United States is currently holding about $58 billion in unclaimed funds. Check if any is yours and claim it.

I've claimed several times and got money. So have my family and friends and many others.

I built this and I maintain it. Please email me below with feedback.

Select a State below to go to the website of the State Comptroller. Then do a search for unclaimed funds.



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Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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The Kiwi Box - The ultimate gift for your Grandkids

The Kiwi Box - The ultimate gift for your Grandkids

Get your grandkids on the road to becoming innovators.

They get a new Kiwi Box every month - each containing a fun construction project. And designed specifically for their age.

They open the box, it contains all the parts necessary plus the instructions. Then they have fun while they learn to build and create.

All my grandkids are signed up. They totally love it. In my opinion it's the ultimate gift.

The Kiwi Box

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Einstein, Gravity - And a Problem

Einstein, Gravity - And a Problem

Special Relativity (SR) is a special case of General Relativity (GR).

But let’s do a bit of pondering..

Einstein’s decision to generalize SR to include accelerated motion was probably one of the greatest ideas in physics, because gravity suddenly “appeared”. I often wonder if Einstein was surprised by this or did he see it coming?

The idea that at any given point in space “gravity and acceleration are the same thing” has to be one of the most profound insights ever.

Of course, space is an emergent property of some much deeper quantum mechanical system, but Einstein was a classical physicist, so he did not have to worry about that.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Twin Prime Centers - Are they unusual numbers?

Twin Prime Centers - Are they unusual numbers?

If p and p+2 are both prime numbers then they are called twin primes or a prime pair. And let's call the number p+1 the center of the twin prime pair.

Let D(n) denote the number of factors (divisors) of the integer n. We don't count 1 and n as divisors, so for any prime p we have D(p)=0. And let DP(n) denote the number of prime factors of n.

We're interested in D(p+1) which is the number of divisors of the twin prime center. Is there anything unusual about this? Let's look at the first few twin primes..

(3,5) and D(4)=1 and DP(4)=1
(5,7) and D(6)=2 and DP(6)=2
(11,13) and D(12)=4 and DP(12)=2
(17,19) and D(18)=4 and DP(18)=2
(29,31) and D(30)=6 and DP(30)=3
(41,43) and D(42)=6 and DP(42)=3
(59,61) and D(60)=10 and DP(60)=3
(71,73) and D(72)=6 and DP(72)=2
(101,103) and D(102)=6 and DP(102)=3
(107,109) and D(108)=10 and DP(108)=2
(137,139) and D(138)=6 and DP(138)=3
(149,151) and D(150)=10 and DP(150)=3
(179,181) and D(180)=16 and DP(180)=3
(191,193) and D(192)=12 and DP(192)=2

Note that D is not an increasing function, it can drop, as we see for example with D(60) and D(72). The same goes for DP.

Add the first 2 D values, 1+2=3 and this is a prime number.
Add the first 3 D values, 1+2+4=7 and this is a prime number.
Add the first 4 D values, 1+2+4+4=11 and this is a prime number.
Add the first 5 D values, 1+2+4+4+6=17 and this is a prime number.
Add the first 6 D values, 1+2+4+4+6+6=23 and this is a prime number.

Alas, this trend does not continue, although it's true often.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Life Insurance - No Longer Boring

Life Insurance - No Longer Boring

I don't know if you're like me, but sitting down with a life insurance agent drives me nuts. I mean, a root canal looks attractive by comparison.

But I just learned it's all about the agent. Most just read a list of policy features and then ask you to sign on the dotted line.

But a new breed of agents are taking a very different approach. They ask you what you want, and then build a totally custom policy just for you.

A custom policy changes the game. It give you some powerful benefits..

- Use of your policy as an investment
- Creative use of your policy to fund projects while you're alive
- Faster growth in cash value
- Bigger and better death benefits

Oh.. and a custom policy is way less boring!

Very few agents are equipped to do this. But finding one that does is well worth it.

Information for this post was provided by Les Himel, an agent who specializes in custom Life Insurance Policies, email or phone (914) 714-2452

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Wine as an Investment

Wine as an Investment

Fine wine has outperformed the S&P for the past 30 years, including during downturns.

Why does this appeal to me so much? LOL!

You could buy your own bottles and store them, but it's much easier and more profitable to use a professional wine investment platform such as Vint.

With Vint you can start investing immediately for as little as $100.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Churg Strauss Syndrome - My Story

Churg Strauss Syndrome - My Story

IMPORTANT UPDATE -- The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug to treat Churg Strauss Syndrome. The drug is called Nucala (Mepolizumab). Here is the Press Release Nucala - Churg Strauss Drug Approved by FDA

I've fought Churg Strauss Syndrome for many years.

Churg Strauss Syndrome is an autoimmune vasculitis. Autoimmune means your immune system malfunctions and attacks your body. Vasculitis means that blood vessels are involved, and Churg Strauss causes inflammation of small to medium size blood vessels.

I'm telling my story in the hope it will help others. Of course, these are just my personal recollections, they are not intended as medical advice. So with that caveat, here's the scoop on Churg Strauss from my perspective..

How it began
I had some dental implant work done and the procedure was messy because the implant head fractured and my dentist had a tough time. Anyway, a few hours after I got home I developed a rash around my ankles. My dentist thought it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. I took Benedril for a few days and it went away.

A week later I painted a room in our house and that evening as I showered I noticed the rash had returned. I stopped by my medical practice and saw the doctor on duty. He immediately mentioned vasculitis. It was the first time I had heard the word, and he explained it was an autoimmune reaction that attacks blood vessels. The next day I saw a dermatologist who pronounced the rash "probably produced by something internal, it's out of my area". He started me on Prednisone and sent me to see a Rheumatologist. It turns out that Rheumatologists are the doctors who specialize in autoimmune problems.

My Rheumatologist
I go to a large medical practice so all the specialists are in-house and it was easy to see a Rheumatologist. By now of course I had been Googling vasculitis like crazy. I discovered there are many different types, but the one that most closely matched my situation was a form called Churg Strauss.

I told my story to my Rheumatologist. I described the rash, and how it had occurred. I also mentioned that a few years earlier I had surgery for nasal polyps. There was an history of asthma in my family and although I had never had full asthma I had been suffering from bronchial asthma for several years. He ran blood tests which showed a very high eosinophil level. By now I was also having numbness in my legs, arms and feet.

He told me that taken together with my medical history my symptoms could be a form of Vasculitis called Churg Strauss (thanks Google). He said it was very rare, that he had never actually seen a case, but he referred me to a Churg Strauss specialist in New York City. He said I must continue taking Prednisone, a standard first line treatment for inflammatory problems. I did not realize it at the time but I would be on Prednisone for 12 months. I made an appointment to see the New York City specialist.

The official diagnosis
It was a few weeks before I got to see the New York City specialist and by then my symptoms were much worse. I had serious muscle weakness in my legs and arms. I had difficulty breathing and walking, with numbness and discoloration of the feet. The specialist reviewed by medical history and blood tests, gave me a physical exam, and then officially confirmed I had Churg Strauss. He said he had seen about 40 cases in his entire career. He also said I had an aggressive case of the disease and wanted to take strong action by putting me on Cytoxan (Cyclophosphamide). This is a drug first used for cancer patients but later found to be effective for autoimmune conditions. He explained there were "milder" drugs that could be used but he felt we should treat my Churg Strauss aggressively from the beginning.

Cytoxan
I took Cytoxan for about 3 months and continued to take the Prednisone which was now up to 60mg per day. After I finished the Cytoxin my blood tests showed a reduced eosinophil level, so progress was good. My feet and lower legs were still numb which made walking difficult and as a side effect of Cytoxin I lost a lot of my hair.

A few weeks after stopping the Cytoxin I began a very slow reduction of the Prednisone - a process called "tapering", and during this time my specialist put me on Imuran. I had a few attacks of breathing problems and even a return of the ankle rash but my specialist explained that this was a reaction to the Imuran and told me to stop taking it. He was right. However, my numb feet caused a totally unnecessary complication.

Unnecessary and annoying
One day, walking down some steps in my house with my numb feet, I tripped and tore my Achilles tendon. Long use of Prednisone has several side effects such as an increased appetite and mood swings and even depression, but one that is not mentioned much is tendon weakness and especially the Archilles tendon. This makes it prone to injury. I went through surgery to fix the tendon followed by about 4 months of recovery and physical therapy. During this time I continued to slowly taper the Prednisone. But the tendon injury was unecessary, annoying and an upsetting complication.

Nutrition
While I was at home in a cast recovering from the tendon rupture I had a telephone consultation with a nutritionist. I asked if there was a diet to reduce inflammation. She said that such a diet exists and gave me the basic rules. Here's what she said (and what I did, and still do!)..

Don't eat anything made with white flour - no bread, no cakes, no pastries, no pasta. But whole wheat flour is ok, so whole wheat bread is ok. And whole wheat pasta is ok. No potatoes. Cut way back on red meat, try to eliminate it if possible and eat fish and chicken instead. Eat lots of fruit, especially fruit rich in anti-oxidants such as berries. No cheese. Flaxseed is great, sprinkle it on your morning cereal (tip - it's more effective if ground). I do this every day. Spices are good, especially Tumeric. I love Indian food, so this was great news. I also discovered a special dark chocolate that's 85% cocoa content. It's advertised as rich in antioxidants. I checked this one with my Churg Strauss specialist in New York City and he told me, "go for it." I did, and still do. The Chocolate is Lindt, Extra Dark, 85% Cocoa.

Recovery
At about the same time I recovered from the tendon rupture I finally got myself off Prednisone. In the end I was tapering very slowly with a reduction rate of just 0.5mg per week. The whole process had taken over 12 months. Of course, I had frequent visits to my Rheumatologist during the whole time. He was the primary doctor who managed my case and he carefully monitored my condition with blood tests and chest Xrays to check lung conditions. He also sent me to other specialists - a cardiologist to check heart condition, a dermatologist for a skin biopsy of the rash, a neurologist to check for nerve damage, and a nephrologist to check kidney function.

Hair
Not only did my hair grow back but it grew back thicker and darker than before. My friends joked about asking their doctors for a Cytoxan prescription!

Maintenance
This consists of blood tests and urine tests. The main blood tests are sed rate, eosinophil level and p-ANCA. My Rheumatologist also prescribed Bactrim - an antibiotic taken twice a week to help avoid nasal infections. I also see my ENT frequently to check my nasal passages and sinuses for any recurrence of polyps. I use Nasonex to help keep nasal passages clear, and I irrigate twice a day with ph balanced saline solution (Sinus Rinse from NeilMed). The basic message here is that nasal polyps are not a good sign! I also take Advair daily to control my Asthma symptoms. During my entire treatment I took Ambien every night to help me sleep and I still take it occasionally as needed. I'm now back exercising as usual!

Flare-Ups
It's not uncommon for some or all of the Churg Strauss symptoms to reappear but usually in a milder form and for short periods. These are called "flare-ups". So far I've had four. They have been "mild" and nowhere near as bad as the original condition. The flare-ups have been treated with Prednisone (Medrol) and Methotrexate.

Doctors
Thanks go to my Rheumatologist Dr. Ronen Marmur. He managed my entire case and found me the Churg Strauss specialist in New York City. I still see Ronan for my flare-ups.

Many thanks go to Dr. Stephen Paget my Churg Strauss specialist in New York City. He took aggressive action which I feel made a huge difference.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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The Siege of Malta in WW2 - My Dad's Story

The Siege of Malta in WW2 - My Dad's Story

My Dad was on Malta for 2 years during WW2 while it was under siege by Italian and German forces. In 2 years they made 3,000 bombing runs over the island.

My Dad and his buddies slept in caves which made perfect bomb shelters. But my Dad had trouble. He could sleep in the caves during the day, but at night he found it claustrophobic. So he came up with a simple solution. He volunteered for the night shift on the anti aircraft guns and then slept during the day.

The overnight shift was action packed.

The gun was the Bofors 40mm anti aircraft gun. This was much bigger than the Vickers Machine gun, but still smaller than the heavy artillery. It usually had a 5 man crew and 2 sat in small seats on the gun itself and swiveled it all over the place trying to hit the target. It fired 2 lbs shells and it shot 2 shells per second. They were loaded in clips of 4, so once the gun was firing the loaders went frantic loading a clip every 2 seconds. Each shell produced a flash of light and smoke as it left the barrel. The barrel then recoiled and the recoil energy was used to eject the spent shell casing and load a new round. The casings bounced all over the place and had to be collected. Firing was started with a foot pedal.

The gun was designed to fire in automatic mode. This was when a special box calculated range and direction and automatically swiveled the gun into position. But experienced gunners would take the gun out of automatic mode and fire it in manual mode. The reason was simple, it was more fun. Much of the fun came from special shells. Every 4th shell was a tracer. These had a small chamber containing flare powder. Once the shell was in the air this power burned and showed the gunner exactly where the shells were going. It was like firing a stream of light bulbs. In manual mode the gunner could direct this stream anywhere he wanted.

My Dad did this for 2 years. Some of his buddies were killed by the constant bombing, but he survived.

The Italians bombed Malta from high altitude and were almost impossible to see. The German bombers came much lower and often their fighter escorts would go down to street level and strafe while flying just a few feet off the ground. If the plane ran out of ammunition the pilots would lean out of their cockpit and shoot at people with their hand guns. They were pretty serious about killing.

One time my Dad was gunning with his buddy in the second seat. A bomb dropped very close and blasted the gun with shrapnel. When the dust cleared my Dad looked at his buddy. He was still sitting, but had lost his head. I was a young boy when my Dad first told me the story and I remember asking if the man ever found his head.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

US Real Estate - Is the next game afoot?

US Real Estate - Is the next game afoot?

The game is already rolling.

If you buy a million private home mortgages and tranche them we all know what happens. People default on their mortgage and your tranching scheme fails big time. It crashes and burns. Been there, done that. It almost took down the entire US Economy.

But what if you don't do private homes, you do rental apartments?

Genius. Because there's nothing to default on. You buy a million rental homes and tranche them.

So I buy a million luxury apartments rentals across the US. At an average rent of $4K/month I suddenly have income of $4 billion/month.

But I'm not finished. I take my amazing $4 billion/month asset, securitize it, and sell it as stock to the general public. Tranching just refers to packaging my stuff into securities for public sale.

It's not a case of who wants to rent and who wants to buy.. all I care about is are there enough affluent renters to support my plan. At the moment the answer seems to be yes, absolutely.

And the plan is alrearly afoot.

Now let's do some numbers. If you look at recent sales you'll see that a luxury rental sells in the investment market for around $340K. So my purchase of 1 million units cost me about $34 billion. But it's generating revenue of $4 billion/month. Not too shabby.



Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Lox Explained

Lox Explained

Lox means different things to different people.

The original Lox was heavily salt cured Salmon. It was used to transport salmon before the advent of refrigeration. It was not smoked. It's now almost impossible to find, but Gravlax is close, and without the salt overload of original Lox.

Now, for many, the word Lox has migrated to mean smoked salmon. Smoking being the critical thing.

Nova is a bit of a hybrid. It's Nova Scotia salmon (thus the name "Nova") which is lightly salt cured and lightly smoked. But it's name has also migrated, so now it can be made from any salmon not just Nova Scotia salmon. In fact, some great Nova is Atlantic salmon. The key point being lightly salt cured and lightly smoked.

In a nutshell you have 3 variables: 1) the species of salmon, 2) salt cured or not, 3) smoked or not.

Depending on the mix of these variables you get: Original Lox (some call it Belly Lox), Lox, Gravlax, Nova.

But if you want to push Lox to the limit just get the finest Scottish wild salmon from the river Tay and have it smoked in a smokehouse that's been in use for generations. It will taste amazing, but will cost you about $250/pound.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Is Quantum Mechanics Crazy?

Is Quantum Mechanics Crazy?

Everyday objects are composed of such a staggering number of quantum objects that almost all quantum effects are statistically smoothed out to zero and so we don’t see them.

But you can also reverse this.

We are so used to the behavior of everyday objects that when we learn the behavior of their individual quantum components we think it’s totally weird and we start talking about Quantum Mechanics being crazy.

The thing about Quantum Mechanics is not that it’s crazy, but that from where we’re coming from we think it’s crazy.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

NASA issues firm instructions to its new JWT (James Webb Telescope)

NASA issues firm instructions to its new JWT (James Webb Telescope)

Twenty years in the making and scheduled to launch on Christmas Day 2021. But NASA was very firm with its new JWT..

"Now don't forget, this is not all fun and games.

First, you're going to be up there for a service life of 20 years. And there's no toilet on board.

Then, we're going to expect you to do some work. There are these things called Galaxies.. we estimate 100 billion of the little suckers are floating around out there.

We'll need you to scan each one for indications of intelligent life. And we're talking real intelligent life, not the stuff you're used to down here."

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Ken's Mango Curry

Ken's Mango Curry

This is simple, fast and tasty.

Saute some finely chopped onions, carrots, garlic and fresh ginger.

Add a teaspoon of Thai Red Curry paste. Add more if you like things spicy.

Add a can of coconut milk, add a bunch of fresh basil leaves, a pinch of salt, and a grind of fresh pepper. Rip the basil leaves to release the oil.

Bring to a gentle boil stirring as you go. Boil until the mixture reduces to a thick sauce. Not long, just a couple of minutes.

Take a fresh mango that's not quite ripe, peel it and slice chunks into the pan. Boil for another minute.

You're done. Serve alone or over rice, or over spaghetti, or over quinoa.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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Grilled Orange Peppers - Mellow Secret

Grilled Orange Peppers - Mellow Secret

Grab some orange peppers. Buy organic or farmers market if possible.

Wash, cut open and remove stalks and white flesh. Cut into strips.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake in 400F oven until soft and just beginning to brown.

Remove from oven, cover, and let sit for a few minutes to cool.

Peel off the skin and serve.

This recipe was supplied by Constance Canaras.
Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Chocolate as Medicine

Chocolate as Medicine



Finally I can justify my chocolate craving.

Turns out that dark chocolate has a ton of medical benefits. But it has to be dark. I'm eating Lindt 85% Cocoa.

It's not easy at first but as your palate gets used to it things change. Now it just tastes like creamy rich chocolate. Plus, because it's lower in sugar it's lower in calories.

Heck, even the Mayo Clinic has good things to say about dark chocolate.

Just what the doctor ordered!

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Math - Limits Explained Fast

Math - Limits Explained Fast

Limits are a major concept in mathematics.

Here's an example of using Google to plot a function. In this case I plot the simple function f(x)=1/x

But you can use Google to plot almost any function. It's incredibly helpful.

Anyway, notice there are 4 asymptotes (lines that the function approaches arbitrarily closely but never reaches).

The lines are when:
x-->0 from the plus side and from the negative side.
x-->infinity from the plus side and from the negative side.

The real concept here is very simple, "getting arbitrarily close but never reaching" and mathematics formalizes this idea in the concept of a Limit.

So we say for example, Limit(1/x) as x-->0 is infinity.

But note, and this is critical, in general Limit f(x) as x-->a is not necessarily f(a). So in order to get the limit you CANNOT just substitute x=a in the function. This means that Limits have an independent and important existence.



Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Memories of my Dad (who crossed the street)

Memories of my Dad (who crossed the street)



My mother was Mary and my dad was William (Bill).

Mary's family owned a Fish and Chip shop on the main street in Hyde. This was when all was done by hand, including peeling the massive amount of potatoes needed. So they hired a young boy to peel. That was my dad.

He fell in love with the daughter of the family. But his home life was tough. So he left as soon as he could and joined the Army.

He served peacekeeping missions in the Sudan, Egypt and India.

All went well for a few years and he was about to return home on leave, looking forward to seeing his sweetheart Mary. But his transport was stopped in Malta due to a slight glitch. Somebody declared WW2.

He was on Malta for the entire siege, mainly as an anti-aircraft gunner on the Bofors gun. Towards the end of the war he saw action in Germany as his Regiment was assigned to rounding up the German High Command. He was wounded and flown back home. After his recovery he was kitted out for deployment to the Pacific Theatre, but this deployment was cancelled when the United States dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan.

Finally, after surviving years of action, he was demobbed in 1945. So he went home and married Mary.

I was born in 1949. Mary became a homemaker and a part time glove machinist. Bill worked for the post office.

When he died I went for a viewing at the Funeral Home. It was on the main street in Hyde. It was a tiny room. I looked out of the window by the end of the casket and saw the Fish and Chip shop. He had crossed the street, but with a lifetime, a world war and miles in between.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

Ken's Breakfast in a Mug

Ken's Breakfast in a Mug



Here's a fresh healthy breakfast made from scratch in about a minute. It will take you longer to make your toast!

Break an egg into a mug, add a splash of milk and beat well. Add a tiny grind of salt and pepper. Just a tad.

Add whatever fixings you like. I like a slice of tomato and a bit of my favorite cheese. Sometimes I add a snippet of smoked salmon or prosciutto. I've even added fresh greens such as spinach or arugula.

Add whatever you like.. or nothing.

Microwave for 60 seconds then turn out over toast and eat.

Want an extra buttery taste? Just add a small piece of butter before you microwave.

Like your eggs runny? Just microwave for less time. Try 45 seconds.

Need to make breakfast for the whole crew? Just line up the mugs, then microwave and serve one after the other. Fast and efficient.

If you're really in a rush just grab the mug and a spoon and eat on the go.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com
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A night in India

A night in India

It was night.

We drive down to the River Ganges. It's a flood of people, of color, of music, of action, of life. Huge installations by the side of the river with lights, religious services, music and chanting. It's hypnotic.

We get into a small boat and sail past all the music and action to a quiet part of the river. It has a steep embankment. We join a group of many boats sitting silently in the river. And all looking at the massive embankment which is awash in fire.

The air is aromatic with wood smoke from funeral pyres.

Every few minutes a new body, wrapped in cloth, is brought to the river and baptised for the last time before it is placed on a pyre. A fire master takes control of the burning. The family stands close in respect. It's a production line with a body every few minutes.

Each funeral pyre uses a minimum of 700lbs of wood. That's mandated. The boats of the wood merchants bob near us. A long line. This is 24/7 and the wood never stops.

The visitor's boats also bob. The silent audience is respectful. But then a young Indian boy is running between boats selling food. We've already bought flowers from young girls before we departed.

We slowly set our boat into action and we sail away past the pyres, past the incredible music installations and back to the beach, back to our tour bus and back to the hotel.

We check our pics. Was this real? Do we really have pics of this? Yes we do.

Dedication: This piece is dedicated to Barbara Adams who asked me to describe my memories of India.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com

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