Saturday, May 14, 2011


Well how do you like these little apples??  Where else would you find them but in the Annapolis Valley of  Nova Scotia, Canada?  I got them on a wonderful fall trip in 1997 and wanted to share this history of jade that I found.  The reason I went on this search because very recently someone told me that jade was only found in Canada which I knew was a bag of baloney!  We are famous for a lot of great and wonderful things but being the world's only supplier of jade is not one of them!!
Jade dragon
Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-9 AD

The English word jade (alternative spellings "jaid", "jadeite") is derived (via French l'ejade and Latin ilia) from the Spanish term piedra de ijada (first recorded in 1565) or "loin stone", from its reputed efficacy in curing ailments of the loins and kidneys. Nephrite is derived from lapis nephriticus, the Latin version of the Spanish piedra de ijada.

Nephrite versus jadeite

Nephrite and jadeite were used from prehistoric periods for hardstone carving. Jadeite has about the same hardness as quartz, while nephrite is somewhat softer. Both nephrite and jadeite are tough, but jadeite is tougher than nephrite.  It was not until the 19th century that a French mineralogist determined that "jade" was in fact two different materials. The trade name jadite (not to be confused with jadeite) is sometimes used for translucent or opaque green glass.
Among the earliest known jade artifacts excavated from prehistoric sites are simple ornaments with bead, button, and tubular shapes.  Additionally, jade was used for axe heads, knives, and other weapons, which can be delicately shaped. As metal-working technologies became available, the beauty of jade made it valuable for ornaments and decorative objects. Jadeite measures between 6.5 and 7.0 Mohs hardness, and Nephrite between 5.5 and 6.0, so it can be worked with quartz or garnet sand, and polished with bamboo or even ground jade.

Unusual varieties

Nephrite can be found in a creamy white form (known in China as "mutton fat" jade) as well as in a variety of green colours, whereas jadeite shows more colour variations, including blue, lavender-mauve, pink, and emerald-green colours. Of the two, jadeite is rarer, documented in fewer than 12 places worldwide. Translucent emerald-green jadeite is the most prized variety, both historically and today. As "quetzal" jade, bright green jadeite from Guatemala was treasured by Mesoamerican cultures, and as "kingfisher" jade, vivid green rocks from Burma became the preferred stone of post-1800 Chinese imperial scholars and rulers. Burma (Myanmar) and Guatemala are the principal sources of modern gem jadeite, and Canada of modern lapidary nephrite. Nephrite jade was used mostly in pre-1800 China as well as in New Zealand, the Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coasts of North America, Neolithic Europe, and south-east Asia. In addition to Mesoamerica, jadeite was used by Neolithic Japanese and European cultures.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The City Trip

The trip to the city itself was uneventful.  It was the usual drive and there was not as much standing water as I had imagined that there would be which is a good thing. 
However, it was the overpass just before entering the city which had me reliving my life story in an instant. 
I was travelling over the interchange going North into the city when something ahead caught my eye.  I looked in disbelief as I saw an emerging truck pulling a large white boxy trailer was coming head on toward me!  I had plenty of time to get into the right lane of my side of the divided hightway while I was waving like a maniac and flashing my lights.  He was soon able to use a little dirt turnoff almost immediately which I'm sure was a relief to him as well.
I haven't really been unable to figure out just how he was able to do but he must have come up the exit ramp that I would have taken to go West.
That was scary to be sure but I was in for another jolt but not life threatening........or could it have been???
I was feeling the effects of caffeine withdrawal as it was after being on the road more than an hour and after the overpass incident decidely needed a fix so pulled into my favorite burger haunt the
A & W.
I was waited on by a bored Goth-like creature with blue hair.   Good thing I was already numbed by shock and fear.  I took my tray to the only sunny window available only to find it covered in crumbs and wet coffee rings.  Putting my tray aside I went to find something to wipe it with (secretly hoping they'd kindly do it for me as often they will do) and found myself once again looking at pastyface.  Well you probably guessed it by now but she just found me a blue wipe.....uh huh it was blue, with dark stains of unknown source or age.  Resignedly I wiped my own table thinking I should get a rebate.  I swear I saw millions of germs dancing in the sunlight....just briefly.... but I know they were there.   I did survive my lunch so I can't say the experience was too life threatening after all.  After all it's only been 24 hrs.........

*Disclaimer:  That is not the overpass I was on but I think it might have looked like that to a certain driver hauling a trailer.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I am so in love with my new Windows 7 computer!~!  I did not realize just how awful my 4 year old was until I replaced it.  Good riddance!!
There are so many features that are better than what I had and oodles I have yet to discover I'm sure.  I love Picasa now where as before it competed with a very old program that I was emotionally involved with!  I decided not to install it until I really looked into Picasa and while we are not totally bosom buddies yet I can see a great future for us both.
I find Windows 7 very user friendly compared to the XP version and believe you me I need  'user friendly' everything tech.
On Tuesday my Blackberry calendar froze up, not a pretty  sight!!  Because my old computer would not work with the BB device manager installed I could not restore to default and retrieve it.  So I got that done yesterday by a very nice fellow at a local business that sells them and there was no charge.  Yesterday was definitely a good day all around.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Avast Ye Merry Men

Washington (CNN) -- The Navy did an abrupt about-face late Tuesday, suspending earlier guidance that could have allowed same-sex marriages on military bases once the Pentagon scraps its present Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
A memorandum from the Chief of Chaplains, Rear Admiral M.L. Tidd, suspended one he issued about a month ago.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Microsoft agrees to buy Skype for $8.5B

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2011 file photo, the Skype logo is reflected in the eye of a reader using a handheld smartphone, in Berlin, Germany. Microsoft AP – FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2011 file photo, the Skype logo is reflected in the eye of a reader using a handheld …
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NEW YORK – Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype SA for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker's 36-year history.
Buying Skype would give Microsoft a potentially valuable communications tool as it tries to become a bigger force on the Internet and in the increasingly important smartphone market.
Microsoft said it will marry Skype's functions to its Xbox game console, Outlook email program and Windows smartphones. The company said it will continue to support Skype on other software platforms.
The sellers include eBay Inc. and private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.
About 170 million people log in to Skype's services every month, though not all of them make calls. Skype users made 207 billion minutes of voice and video calls last year.
Most people use Skype's free calling services, which has made it difficult for the service to make money since entrepreneurs Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis started the company in 2003. An average of about 8.8 million customers per month, or just over 1 percent of the user base, pay to use Skype services.
Skype lost $7 million on revenue of $860 million last year, according to papers that the company has filed since announcing its intentions last summer to launch an initial public offering of stock. The IPO was later put on hold. Skype's long-term debt, net of cash, was $543,883 at the end of 2010.
The Skype takeover tops Microsoft's biggest previous acquisition — a $6 billion purchase of the online ad service aQuantive in 2007.
Microsoft said Skype will become a new business division headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates, who will report directly to Ballmer.
Although it makes billions from its computer software, Microsoft has been accustomed to losing money on the Internet in a mostly futile attempt to catch up to Google Inc. in the lucrative online search market. Microsoft got so desperate that it made a $47.5 billion bid to buy Yahoo Inc. three years ago, but withdrew the offer after Yahoo balked. Yahoo is now worth about half of what Microsoft offered.
Microsoft would be Skype's second large-company owner. EBay bought Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005, but its attempt to unite the phone service with its online shopping bazaar never worked out. It wound up selling a 70 percent stake in Skype to a group of investors led by private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz for $2 billion 18 months ago.
Besides eBay, Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz, Skype's other major shareholders are Joltid and Canada Pension Plan Investment

Monday, May 9, 2011


Yeah okay so it finally happened, the inevitable demise of my 4 yr old computer which I've been whining about to friends for some time now.  It finally froze up solid.  It could have been cleaned up they tell me but I have opted for a new one.  Even the cheapest one is far better than what I had and the bonus is.... it weighs about half of the other one which is very good for me.  I've often wanted to take my computer to show pictures to friends and to the nursing home but as I am restricted as to how much weight I can carry and for how long.  A new one makes perfect sense.
So you are wondering just how I got the computer out to my car and to the fix-it-shop?  Well I have a small case on wheels with an extending handle just like on suitcases.  I slid the laptop into the case and then pulled it up 5 steps and out to the car.  So far so good and with no real lifting.  When I got to the car I put my left foot out (there's an old song in there somewhere lol) and under the case and using my leg muscles 'lifted' the entire case onto the floor of the back seat with a bit of directional movement using the handle. When I got to the shop I then proceeded to put my right foot out (here we go again) and did it in reverse doing no harm to my back.
This desktop computer I'm using in my office is in the same precarious situation and it's even older.  I haven't turned it off for ages as it does funny things when I try to start it up and does not like to be awakened out of hibernation or standby!
 I will get someone take it in for me because I certainly can't song and dance my way out of carrying this one.  I hope to get a few more miles out of it anyway.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


A blood test that measures the effect of promoting DHEA production can diagnose Alzheimer's disease and may soon hit the market. A study has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Senior author Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos, said:

"Until now, there has been no definitive diagnostic tool for Alzheimer's, other than postmortem analysis of brain tissue. Our clinical study shows that a non-invasive blood test, based on a biochemical process, may be successfully used.

Published 4 May 2011
Scientists from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) have found a link between the chemical dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and a person’s cognitive and mental status.

The researchers hope it will one day lead to the creation of a blood test for Alzheimer's disease. The study of 86 people promoted the production of DHEA, using a chemical process called oxidation, in blood taken from non-Alzheimer's patients. However, oxidation of blood from Alzheimer's patients did not result in an increase of DHEA.  Alzheimer's Society comment:
'Research about the blood test for DHEA is in the very early stages and much more research is now needed to confirm these findings and to better understand whether the DHEA blood test could provide useful information about the diagnosis or progression of Alzheimer's disease.  Combining blood tests with other promising techniques including brain scans and spinal fluid tests is likely to provide the most effective results.
'Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge of our generation. Only with further investment in research can dementia be defeated.'
Professor Clive Ballard
Director of Research
Alzheimer's Society
to diagnose Alzheimer's at an early stage and differentiate it from other types of dementia."