Posts tagged ‘home’

Japan: Where the Streets Have No Names

By Chad Upton | Editor

The U2 song, “Where the Streets Have No Name” refers to the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the streets actually do have names. Bono wishes they didn’t have names because they can be used to determine the class and religion of some people.

In Japan; however, a majority of the streets do not have names.

So, how do you find a location? Instead of the streets being named, the blocks between the streets are numbered.

The houses and units inside a block are also numbered. The blocks are inside a named district, the district is within a city or town. So, other than the block numbers and street names, it’s quite similar to the Western address system.

In Japan, directions to a location often include references to visual landmarks or subway stations. The block numbers could also be good for driving directions; if someone told you to turn right at the end of block 4, you’d see block 4 on a utility pole and know that the next turn is yours. In the Western system, you rarely know when your street is next, unless you’re in one of the few cities that are built on a perfect grid and have incrementally named streets.

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Sources: songfacts, goabroad.com, Wikipedia (Japanese Address System)

July 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm 6 comments

Label Cords Cheaply and Easily

By Chad Upton | Editor

Sometimes you have to temporarily disconnect your home electronics. It can be difficult to find a device you can spare or remember which cables to put back later. Use bread expiration tags as labels.

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July 6, 2011 at 2:00 am 8 comments

Rulebook Specs for Home Plate are Impossible

By Chad Upton | Editor

The earliest known reference to “baseball” comes from a 1744 British publication called, “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” by John Newbery. At the time, the field was triangular and used poles instead of bases. This game was brought to America sometime before 1791, when the first American reference is found in a town bylaw for Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Of course, the game has changed a lot since then. The infield is has gome from triangular to “diamond” (square) shaped. Home base was originally a round metal plate, which is why it is often called “home plate.” Home plate became a square shape in the 1870s, making it jus t like the rest of the bases.

The rear point of home plate sat at the intersection of the baselines from first and third bases. Although this point never changed, in the year 1900, home plated went from four sides to five.

The front of the base was squared in relation to the pitcher. This was done to make it easier for the pitcher to see the left and right edges of the base. When the base was a square, there was only a small point on each side, which was difficult to see and could easily be covered with dirt. Having a long edge rather than a small point also makes it easier for the umpire to see if the ball passes over the base and make an appropriate call.

The official Major League Baseball rulebook specifies the dimensions for home plate. They say it should be a 12 inch square with two corners filled in so one edge (facing the pitcher) is 17 inches. It also specifies that the two sides should be 8.5 inches. That sounds good on paper, but that is an impossible shape to create — according to Pythagorean theorem. If the 12 inch sides are supposed to be at a right angle to each other, then the hypotenuse would be 17 inches according to the rulebook. Mathematically, the hypotenuse would have to be 16.9 inches.

Some would say it’s a small difference, but it’s actually a large difference in modern day manufacturing tolerances. Either way, the point stands: nobody can create a home plate with the exact specifications set in the rulebook.

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Sources: MLB.com, wikipedia (baseballhome plate), MAA

Photo: JC Derr (cc / graphics overlaid)

May 9, 2011 at 2:00 am 16 comments

Finding Home and End on a Mac Keyboard

By Chad Upton | Editor

I use both Mac and Windows computers and I appreciate some attributes of each. For example, I really like the home and end keys on Windows keyboards. These guys make it a breeze to select a single line of text or jump to the end of the line to keep writing after an edit.

Because Apple market share is at an all time high, I’m sure a lot of people are going to notice the absence of these keys when they switch. Unless you’ve got the full-size apple keyboard, the “home” and “end” keys are absent on your desktop or macbook keyboard. But, if you hold down the fn (or control) key, you can use the left and right arrow keys as home and end keys respectively. Hold shift while doing this to select the characters between cursor positions.

Speaking of the Mac keyboard, the delete key is equivalent to the backspace key on a Windows computer — it deletes characters to the left of the cursor. But, you can make Mac’s delete key function like the Windows delete key if you hold the fn key while pressing it — deleting characters to the right. Another favorite keyboard shortcut on Mac OS is fn + F11 which will temporarily hide your windows to expose your desktop, allowing you to easily select files without going to the finder or minimizing all of your windows. Then press fn+F11 to bring all your windows back to their original positions.

By the way, you can plug a Windows USB keyboard into a Mac, although not all of the task keys function the way they do on a PC.

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January 10, 2011 at 2:00 am 41 comments

Keeping Secrets Safe at Home

You probably have things in your home that you want to keep safe: cash, checks, credit cards, jewelry, computer data, documents and other valuables.

In case of fire or theft, the best place to put them is in a fireproof safe. This might sound like overkill, but affordable models start around $30.

Safes are an obvious place to put valuables, so you want a bolt-down model — thieves don’t usually have time to open a safe during a robbery but they’ll want to take it with them and open it later.

If you’re looking for a less obvious hiding place, there are many options. You can buy “diversion safes” that look like everyday objects such as: canned food, bleach, candles, books, clocks and many other items.

If you’re going to use one of these safes then you should store it with other similar items; it doesn’t work well if there is a can of fruit in your sock drawer.

The fake bleach container and candle are both good since there are many places you might find those in your house. The bleach container could make a good hiding spot for the spare key in your garage.

The other thing about these “safes” is that they’re not always that safe. For example, they’re not fireproof and they’re very easy to get into, but they can be useful for storing a bit of spare cash when thin-mint go on sale.

If you don’t want to buy a diversion safe, you can make your own. Pringles cans work well.

Sometimes, it just comes down to location. Reader’s Digest interviewed a number of convicted burglars to find out their secrets to successful home robberies and among other things, the robbers revealed that they rarely ever go into kids rooms. Simply putting stuff in your kids rooms may be secure enough, although you may never find it again either.

The same interviews revealed that robbers don’t go near your house if they see a flickering TV or hear a radio because that’s a sure sign that somebody is home. You can buy a small device that emulates a flickering TV and it’s much cheaper to buy and operate on a timer than a real TV.

Although these hiding places would be great for an Easter egg hunt, they shouldn’t be used for really valuable items. The best place for that stuff is in a proper safe, safety deposit box or federally insured instrument such as a bank account.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Reader’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, FakeTV.com

April 28, 2010 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

How Restaurants Make Taco Shell Bowls

If you’re ever ordered a taco salad, it has probably been served in a giant bowl made from a taco shell. Nachos are often served with smaller versions of these tortilla bowls to hold sour cream and salsa.

My friend Scott worked in a restaurant back in our high school days. While we were having dinner one night I asked him how they did it.

For the smaller sized dipping bowls, they would take two ladles, put one ladle cup inside of the other while sandwiching a small tortilla shell between them. Then they would hang on to the handles and dip the other end into the deep fryer. After a short amount of time they would remove the ladles from the fryer; as the tortilla cooled, it would hold its shape. It was a good bowl, but it was a great deep fried bowl shaped nacho when that last bit of salsa was left at the bottom.

(more…)

March 18, 2010 at 12:13 am 1 comment

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

There are not many household items that are more frustrating than elastic border fitted sheets. On the bed, they work great. In the closet, they’re a nightmare.

Trying to fold a fitted sheet is the adult version of the kids toy that teaches you a square peg doesn’t fit in a round hole. It’s designed to test patience, induce anxiety and destroy self-confidence.

Folding a deformed oval into a tidy rectangle is not meant to happen. The closest I ever got was a triangle and I was pretty happy with it. Usually, it’s a big mess that doesn’t fit the description of any defined shape. Conveniently, that makes it very easy to spot in the closet when you need it. (more…)

February 2, 2010 at 12:45 am 6 comments


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