Archive for June 2009




Animals facts

  1. Alligator- Living fossil dating back to 200million yrs. It is the largest reptile in N.America.
  2. Bald eagle: It is unique to N.America. It has brown body, white head, yellow bill, legs & feet.
  3. Bat- Only flying mammals. Uses echolocation to hunt prey. Also Dolphin & Orca. They make up more than a quarter of all mammal species on Earth. Live in caves, crevices, tree cavities & bldgs. To survive winter some migrate, others hibernate or go into torpor (regulated hypothermia that can last from a few hrs to a few mths). Since 70% of them eat insects good to have them around. People are their greatest threat.
  4. Beluga whale- White, exhibit a wide range of vocalizations.
  5. Bighorn sheep- Large curved horns on males or rams.
  6. Bison- Bovine family. Largest land mammal in N.America. Commonly called bull. Unlike crocodile, it has broad head. It uses its powerful tail to propel itself through water. Tail accounts for half the alligator’s length.
  7. Black bear- Smallest & unique to N.America. Their short, non-retractable claws give excellent tree climbing ability.
  8. Black-footed ferret- Weasel family. Endangered. Native to N.america, with tan body, black legs & feet, black tip on tail & black mask. Its short legs with large front paws & claws developed for digging, large skull & strong jaw & teeth are adapted for eating meat.
  9. Black & white all over- panda, polar bear, orca.
  10. Blubber- is layer of fat cells in marine animals covering body to keep them warm. But sea otter doesn’t have.
  11. Blue whale- largest living animal, 70-80 ft long & 90-150 tons.
  12. Bobcat- Has short bobbed tail. Most common wildcat in N.America.
  13. Burrowing owls- Live underground in burrows dug by other animals. Have brown spotted feathers, bright yellow eyes, white eyebrows.
  14. Butterflies- Insects. Undergo series of physical transformations called metamorphosis. After mating, female lays eggs on a plant—>hatch in fav conditions(days/mths/yrs) to caterpillar—>eats plant & grows shredding skin sev times—>in a sheltered spot, suspends itself by silken threads & sheds one last time to reveal skin that will harden to form the chrysalis or pupa—->Butterfly emerges days/mths/yrs later, depending on the species. To protect themselves from predators, can disguise to look life leaf/blend into bark called cryptic coloration, Or have chemical defence with toxic chemicals, esp’lly bright colored ones.
  15. California condor- Largest terrestril bird in N.America, black, almost bald head since have to stick their heads into carcasses to feed.
  16. Capable of complex forms of communication- orca, african elephant, dolphin.
  17. Channel island fox- Only carnivore unique to California. Smallest fox species in US, cat size. Colonized Channel islands 10,000yrs ago. Has grey fur on head, red sides.
  18. Cheetah- Fastest land animal in the world. Its slender, long-legged body is built for speed. They are tan in color with black spots all over body. Smaller than big cats with small head & distinctive “tear stripes” that stretch from eye corners to sides of nose. They rely on tall grasses for camouflage. They are diurnal i.e more active in the day. They knock prey to ground & kill with a suffocating bite to the neck. They must eat quickly before they lose the kills to other bigger or more aggressive carnivores. Cubs are smoky in color with long wooly hair called mantle running down their backs. Mothers move cubs to new hiding places every few days.
  19. Crocodile- Have long slender snouts & lower tooth is visible even mouth is shut.
  20. Dolphin- Family of toothed whales that include orcas & pilot whales. They are mammals, breathe through blowhole on top of head, gray in color, playful, spy-hop i.e leap out of water to view surroundings. May live 100yr. They conserve energy by swimming alongside ships, a practice known as bow-riding. Live in groups of 5-100’s, use echolocation to find prey, give birth to one calf.
  21. Gray wolf- Ranges in color from black to grizzled gray to all white.
  22. Grizzly bear- can run @speeds of 35-40mph.
  23. Insects- Have hard exoskeleton, 3pairs of jointed legs, antennae, compound eyes, antennae, proboscis(long tongue to sip nectar), 3parts-head, thorax, abdomen.
  24. Orca- Largest dolphin species.
  25. Pack- Group of animals hunting in pack. Ex: wolves, wild dogs.
  26. Panda- In the wild it’s found only in China. They are endangered species since only 1000 left in the wild & only 60 in zoos around the world.
  27. Poaching is illegal hunting, fishing, or eating of wild plants or animals contrary to wildlife management laws.
  28. Rhinoceros- Have 1 or 2horns.
  29. Sea otter- has the thickest fur in the animal kingdom.
  30. Social hunting animals- humpback whale, orca, dolphin.
  31. White rhinoceros- 2nd largest animal in the world.
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1 comment June 30, 2009

Blenders facts

  1. Never start blender without the lid.
  2. While liquidizing hot soups in the blender, let soup cool a little before processing to avoid splashing & burns!
  3. Always clean the blender immediately after use with warm soapy water, not in dish washer.
  4. Always use a rubber or plastic spatula to take out the contents after unplugging the cord.

Add a comment June 24, 2009

Power outlets & cords

  1. Don’t overload an outlet with too many lamps or appliances.
  2. Put safety covers over unused electric outlets, particularly imp if you have children.
  3. Do not place electric cords under rugs or where they can be walked on or damage can go unnoticed.
  4. Check for cords that are broken, frayed, damaged or tied in knots, or that have melted insulation. Have them repaired or replaced promptly.
  5. Use extension cords with three-pronged plugs for appliances that require grounding.
  6. Insert & remove plugs by grasping the plug. Pulling on the cord could damage it.
  7. Be careful not to let fingers touch the metal prongs.

Add a comment June 24, 2009

Stoves & cooking range facts

  1. Clean away any grease, oil or debris from the area around burners to prevent fires.
  2. Keep pot handles turned inward, away from the edge of the stove.
  3. Don’t wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking.
  4. Flammable fabrics, such as towels, dish rags or curtains can be ignited merely by being used or stored near a gas or electric range.
  5. Vapors from contact cement, gasoline, cleaning fluids or other flammable liquids can be ignited by the pilot of the kitchen range.
  6. If using matches to lit burners, always light match before turning on the gas.
  7. Never use water to put out a grease fire. Use baking soda, or if a fire is in a pan, smother the flames with a lid. A fire extinguisher in the kitchen is also recommended.

Add a comment June 24, 2009

Refrigerator facts

  1. Temperature shd be set within the range of 1 to 3º C (34º to 40º F) or colder throughout the friz·
  2. Be sure that the doors are closed tightly @ all times. Do not open the doors more often than necessary & close as soon as possible.
  3. Cool air in the friz moves downward & forces warmer air near the bottom to rise. This circulation of air is essential in maintaining the appropriate temp throughout the unit.
  4. Do not overpack the shelves with food. Air needs to circulate to keep every food item at its optimum temp.
  5. Cover foods to retain moisture or else air circulating will dry it out. Also to prevent them from picking up odors from other foods.
  6. Clean friz regularly.
  7. Freezer temp shd be maintained between 0º F & 5º F (-17º C & -15º C).

Add a comment June 24, 2009

Microwave facts

  1. Popular b’cos they cook food in amazingly short period of time, convenient, energy-efficient as heat only food & nothing else, need low-maintenance, affordable.
  2. Uses microwaves called radio waves with frequency of 2.5giga hertz to heat food. Radio waves in this frequency range have an interesting property: they are absorbed by water, fats & sugars. When they are absorbed they are converted directly into atomic motion — heat. 2nd interesting property: they are not absorbed by most plastics, glass or ceramics.
  3. Metal reflects microwaves, so aluminium foils or containers may cause fire or arcing inside. However, if have to shield parts of food with sm amounts of foil, it’s acceptable as long as directions followed carefully.
  4. Cordless phone, wireless router, MW all operate @ same frequency. So there’s chance of interference.
  5. Microwaves are all around us – radars, telecommunications, satellites etc. We are exposed to low levels of radiation on a daily basis.
  6. Mw is accidentally discovered by an employee during WWII when a piece of candy in his pocket melted while he was working with radars.
  7. They cook from outside in. Waves penetrate food & excite h20 & fat molecules all at once evenly.
  8. They penetrate unevenly in thick pcs of food & there are also hot spots due to wave interference.
  9. Air in the oven is at room temp, so there is no way to form a crust.
  10. Can toast nuts, coconut, bread crumbs, spices etc.
  11. Can decrystallise honey or coconut oil.
  12. Can roast garlic, steam veggies, skin tomatoes, soften limes for juicing.
  13. Never attempt to repair a damaged microwave oven as it is one of the most dangerous appliances as they are radiation emitting devices. Also the high voltage potential inside it is a deadly threat.
  14. http://www.gallawa.com/microtech/how_work.html
  15. Magnetron produces microwaves which are EM radiation of long wavelengths.
  16. Waves enter food @ diff angles as they are deflected to random trajectories by a rotating fan. This causes the water molecules to rapidly shift their alignment causing them to rub against each other & produce heat. This heat cooks food.
  17. Cooking is more even in Mw equipped with turntable as the randomness is enhanced.
  18. Foods with more content/greater surface area will cook faster.
  19. Tomatoes, potatoes, etc. shd be pierced before microwaving or else will explode since water that becomes steam inside needs to escape.
  20. To prevent burns, uncover hot food by lifting the farthest edge of the lid & pulling it back towards you to carefully release steam.
  21. Salt draws moisture to the surface & forms a layer that slows the penetration of microwaves & increases the reqd cooking time. It can also make meat & veggies tough & less juicy. So salt after cooking.
  22. Microwaves bounce off metal objects & typically there is a metal mesh on the door which deflects the microwaves back into the appliance.
  23. It’s not safe to stand in front of MW & stare at the food inside since there is a background of radiation that leaks out.
  24. If operate when empty, damage to MW may occur since no absorption of waves, also leakage will be higher.
  25. If an empty glass or ceramic container remains cool after 1min in MW, it can be used for cooking. If it gets lukewarm then can be used for reheating. Avoid using it if it gets warm.
  26. If the number @bottom of plastic container ays #1,#2, or #4 it is safe to use. PVC, Vinyl or plastic #3 can leach phthalates into food, so avoid. Polyethylene ones are good b’cos they are plasticizer free. Yoghurt/margarine containers are #5 & are less safe. Styrofoam, classified #7 are unsafe.
  27. Acc to FDA, cling wrap, microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, white microwave-safe paper towels shd be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving, as chemicals can leach into the food.
  28. If it is @ waist level and within easy reach, to provide for ease in the lifting of hot foods.
  29. Cover foods leaving small vent to avoid splattering & let steam escape.
  30. Open containers away from the face because they could be extremely hot.
  31. Few areas may burn b’cos of hot spots, few areas may not get cooked enough due to cold spots, so stir as per instructions strictly.
  32. Never operate a microwave if the door is damaged or doesn’t close securely.
  33. MW may interfere with the workings of pacemakers.
  34. Vegetables cook beautifully, keeping their vibrant color & natural aroma.
  35. They retain more vitamins & minerals b’cos of the shorter cooking time.
  36. Foods with high moisture content, like fish & most seafood cook extremely well in it.
  37. Cooking in it also requires very little oil.
  38. Clean-up is easier since there’s seldom any baked-on fat or grease to deal with.
  39. To disinfect a dish sponge, wet it & Mw 2mts to kill all kinds of bacteria. Or soak sponge in vinegar/lime juice & water, MW on high 1min.
  40. To disinfect a plastic cutting board, rub with cut side of lemon, MW on high 1min.
  41. To deodorise & clean Mw, put a bowl with 2c h20+2Tlemon juice, Mw high 5mts, wipe it clean.
  42. To plump dried fruit, spr water, cover tightly with plastic wrap, MW on high 10secs.
  43. To dry fresh herbs, lay between paper towels, MW on high 1-2mts, cool, check or continue till dried, store airtight.
  44. Place onions on a covered microwave-safe plate, MW on high 1 to 2 mts to peel skin easily.
  45. MW garlic @ 80% power for 1/2min, let cool so you can handle them, peel away skin.
  46. MW 1stick butter or margarine @ 50% power.
  47. MW on high 1/2 gallon container of rock-hard ice cream for 30 secs to soften it just enough for scooping.
  48. To toast coconut, spread in a thin layer, MW on high 2 to 3 minutes or until light golden brown.
  49. To toast sesame/sunflower/pumpkin seeds, spread on gr’d plate, MW on high 3 to 4mts.
  50. To toast sliced/slivered almonds, spread on gr’d plate, MW on high 3 to 5mts.
  51. MW uncovered on 50% power 1 or 2squares of baking chocolate for 2 to 3mts, stirring every 20secs.
  52. To soften brown sugar, put it in plastic bag along with 1white bread slice or 1/4apple, close tight, MW on high 20secs. Discard bread or apple & stir.
  53. MW @ 50% honey stirring @ every 15sec intervals to liquefy it.
  54. MW on high 4c bread cubes/crumbs for 5 to 7 mts.
  55. Loosely wrap a stack of 3 to 4 corn or flour tortillas in waxed paper, MW on high for 15 to 25 secs.
  56. To freshen chips/crackers, MW uncovered for 1min on high.
  57. Pre-cook chicken, ribs or chops in MW, then finish it on a hot grill.
  58. To remove splatters & odors, MW on high 5mts a small bowl of water+lemon juice+its peel.
  59. Due to the possibility of uneven heating & hot spots, microwaving formula or milk for baby is not safe. Heat water in a deep, narrow bowl, place filled bottle in the hot water to heat instead.
  60. Do not attempt to deep-fry in a microwave oven.

Add a comment June 24, 2009

Vacation time

  1. Pack enough power for the whole trip, disposable or rechargeable batteries with battery charger. Don’t forget to recharge it overnight. If no power for a long time in that area, a spare battery may be needed.
  2. Pack memory cards. Though 1GB might be enough for most vacations, safe to have a backup card.
  3. Carry manual with you, read during free time with camera in hand to try. The more features you use, the more you master the ctrls.
  4. Most compact digital cameras offer 20 or more varieties of preset scenes modes, represented by icons that vary with brand. Once you master these, start thinking outside the box to achieve cool special effects by applying scene settings in creative ways. For example, try shooting a pumpkin with the sunset scene mode. These modes allow even a novice to shoot like an expert. 
  • Portrait- puts subject in focus automatically & the background out of focus.
  • Landscape- achieves greater depth of field with everything in focus.
  • Sunset- enhances warm colors & works well for sunrises too.
  • Self portrait- works for arm’s length shot.
  • Beach & snow- compensates for exposure so snow looks white & sand doesn’t look gray.
  • Cuisine- perfect for shooting food. It compensates for a close distance i.e 1-3ft, reduces flash output, adds color saturation to make food look yummy.
  • Fireworks & Candlelight 

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Compact digital camera

  1. Buying- How does it feel? How easy is it to set the functions & choose features? How many megapixels you want? Any 6/7/8-megapixel compact is going to give you stunning images. For big prints/blowing up sections of images, more mega pixels, the better.
  2. Try at home- How do you get the most from the camera? Try auto features to do everything for you. How you creatively approach your subject is what will make the pictures really special.
  3. Standard features are
  • Autoexposure
  • Autofocus
  • Automatic face detection
  • Automatic red eye fix
  • Brightening dark scenes
  • Image Stabilization, minimizing camera shake effects.
  • Preset exposure choices for-portrait, landscape, beachscape, fireworks, close-up, cuisine etc.
  • Movie mode, complete with sound.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

D-SLR, professional camera

  1. Digital Single Lens Reflex. Similar in design to SLRs of the 70s & 80s but using digital sensors instead of film.
  2. Most widely being used now, powerful,  exceptional picture qlty, easy to use, available for all levels of interest & expertise i.e weekender to professional, offer wide range of features, enduring value, good for creativity.
  3. Big advg’s- Speed, Power, Range. 
  4. Speed- Swift start-up, shutter response, autofocus & framing rate for continuous shooting. There is no shooting lag that occurs between the time you push shutter button & the time the picture is actually taken so you will capture those perfect moments other cameras miss.
  5. Power- Its sensor is bigger, which means its pixels are bigger, which means higher overall picture qlty. Some can analyze the lighting, color, contrast of a scene, instantly refer database & imm’ly choose the correct exposure-even in the most challenging lighting situations. High ISO sensitivity makes once impossible low-light pictures now commonplace.
  6. Range- Offer lens choices from ultra wide angles to super telephotos.  
  7. SLR allows you to ‘see’ through the lens, thereby getting a first hand insight into the depth of field & composition.
  8. Nikon & Canon top the list of digital SLRs. Nikon’s D-700, recently launched & D-90 are the talk of the town today.
  9. Do keep your reqt in mind before you spend a lot of money on a new camera. If you are a hobbyist, you may never use some of the features such as extremely high shutter speeds, offered in the pro models. 
  10. Nikon D-40x, a 12 megapixel camera, is moderately priced, more than adequate to learn photography with, as well as shoot your basic assignments.
  11. Always use a tripod, especially on shutter speeds lower than 1/100 second.
  12. Take the time to compose your frame – resist the urge to fire away at everything that you see. Do get a few shots, then rethink, re frame, re compose, THINK how you have arranged the subjects in your frame & why…
  13. Visualize -especially for studio photography & landscapes. The lighting set up, the exposure points, the filter, the lens, the film/ISO level, the shoot timing, the model make up & costumes, the photo editing stage, finally the presentation. When you are able to break it up into segments like this, you will have a ctrl over photography. 
  14. There are more uses to a UV filter than simply blocking out the UV rays. Filter costs you only a fraction of the amount you paid for your lens. Keep a UV filter attached to every lens that you have (considering it is an SLR of course). If you happen to scratch the ‘lens’ surface, you have only damaged the cheap filter & not lens surface.
  15. To blur out the backgrounds & fore grounds & isolate subject, you should understand the depth of field of the lens at the given aperture. When you focus on an object, there is an area in front of the subject as well as behind the subject that are both ‘in focus’ up to a point. Objects in front of the subject will gradually fall more out of focus the closer they are to you (and the further they are from the point of focus). This gradual change in the sharpness or ‘unsharpness’ of objects is what we call the depth of field or ‘d.o.f.’ of the lens at the given aperture. When you are able to get your backgrounds (or foregrounds) out of focus at will, you have become a better photographer. But need to change shutter speed to compensate for the increased or decreased amount of light that is allowed to enter the lens, with the change in aperture. Another factor which has an impact of depth of field is the focal length of the lens. A longer focal length i.e ’zoomed in’, produces a shallower depth of field. A wide angle lens has the exact opposite affect & produces a larger depth of field – directly proportional to the ‘wideness’ or shorter focal length. So – the shorter the lens focal length the more the depth of field, the longer the focal length the less depth of field. Also – the larger the aperture the less the depth of field, the smaller the aperture…. Use focal length & aperture to control your d.o.f.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Tips for everyday snapshots

  1. In-built camera flashes tend to give a very flat and 2-dimensional appearance to photographs. Avoid using it unless the existing light just isn’t adequate. Try using longer shutter speeds instead. In case of automatic cameras, shutting off the flash (if possible) would automatically ensure longer shutter speeds.
  2. Try shooting at an angle to the face to avoid red eyes. 
  3. Lower the ISO value, the better would be the pixel quality in your files. So use higher ISO only if light is too low.
  4. If background is distracting, throw it off focus & zoom as much as possible to focus subject’s eyes.
  5. While pressing shutter button, squeeze gently till fires but dont jerk down to prevent camera shake. Also hold breath.
  6. Carry camera with you everywhere you go, so you don’t miss a winning image.
  7. Don’t leave batteries in camera for lengthy storage as they leak after a certain period of time, especially the use & throw ones. It is a pathetic way to lose your camera’s functionality.
  8. Never let camera get damp, unless if water-proof. It is the worst enemy of all, especially digital cameras. Use water-proof case for the camera.
  9. Posing is important. Chin held high spells out confidence, but if too high, could speak pride. Stooping gives impression of sluggishness or depression, while chest held out firmly speaks confidence & content. If camera shy, pre-occupy subject’s attention with a prop of some kind. Get person’s hands to do something instead of being stiff.
  10. Never let background be too cluttered, never let poles & trees grow out of people’s heads & shoulders. Instead, better lean against the prop.
  11. Shoot more images than you require & select the best to get the right expression.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

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