Posts tagged ‘secret’

Understanding Trucker Signals

By Chad Upton | Editor

You can’t go far on the highway without seeing a semi-truck. While they may be intimidating to some, in many cases they are the most careful drivers on the road — their life and livelihood is on the line.

Truckers usually communicate with each other using citizen’s band (CB) radios, but they communicate with you using headlights, turn signals and trailer lights. In a lot of cases, you probably don’t realize they’re doing it.

Trucks have a lot of advantages over the average driver. For example, they sit a lot higher, so they see past other cars when you can’t. Also, from their CB radio, they know about things that are around the next corner.

The most common signal is used by cars and trucks in oncoming lanes. They will double-flash their headlights when they just passed a police speed trap that you’re heading toward. While this is very helpful, be sure you know your local laws about this, in some places it is against the law.

More than two consecutive flashes from oncoming traffic signals that there is another type of danger ahead, such as a foreign object on the road and drivers should proceed with caution. These two signals are often confused, but the appropriate action is the same, slow down. (more…)

April 26, 2010 at 12:02 am 38 comments

Use Your Watch as a Compass

I remember in third grade science class, my teacher asked for a helper who had a watch with a second hand. I volunteered because my watch had two hands, the first one and the second one. I was really embarrassed when she explained that the second hand was actually a third hand that measured seconds.

Watches are more jewelry than necessity these days. Many young people don’t wear watches because their cell phone keeps the time. But, if you do have an analog watch, you can use it as a compass. If you don’t have an analog watch, you can draw one in the dirt or picture it in your mind.

Let’s say you’re lost in the woods, or maybe you’re just lost on Wood street in Chicago. You know it’s getting close to dinner time and you were going to meet your friend by the lake for dinner. You know the lake is East, but you don’t know which way that is. So, you think back to this post on BrokenSecrets.com. (more…)

April 22, 2010 at 12:12 am 5 comments

The Space Bar Scrolls Down in Your Browser

This is an awesome week and I mean that figuratively. The Book of Awesome arrives in stores this Wednesday and I wanted to celebrate by sharing some broken secrets from the website 1000AwesomeThings.com.

One of my favorite “Awesome Things” is “Learning a new keyboard shortcut.” Since I’m talking favorites, I want to share one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts: the space bar.

If you’re reading this in a web browser or you do a lot of reading on the web, this is one shortcut you should learn before all others. To scroll your browser down exactly one page, press the space bar.  To scroll up one page, hold shift while you press the space bar.

It’s that simple, happy reading.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Subscribe on Kindle

Photo: jakebouma (creative commons)

April 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm 5 comments

Neil Armstrong’s Famous Words Include a Mistake

The famous words from the Apollo 11 “Journey to the Moon” were spoken by Neil Armstrong after his first step on the lunar surface, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Most people know these words well because the recording is frequently played in everything from TV commercials to training videos. But, depending on your age, you might not know that’s not what he intended to say. He meant to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He apparently said “man” instead of “a man.”

Armstrong was sure he said the “a” but later stated, “Damn, I really did it. I blew the first words on the moon, didn’t I?” Armstrong has since indicated that he intended to say the “a” and when the quotation is written he would prefer the “a” is included in parenthesis: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

There has been great debate over what he actually said. In 2006, a researcher in Australia claimed that the “a” was spoken, but that it was inaudible due to transmission and recording equipment of the time. Using high-tech computer software, he was apparently able to detect the missing word. Other researchers have disputed this claim. Since one theory is that the “a” is inaudible, that will be a hard case to prove. I think another clue is the gap between the words. You can decide for yourself if there was room for an “a” between the words “for” and “man” — I have embedded the video, which includes the famous quote.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Follow BrokenSecrets on Twitter

Sources: Snoops, Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Space Week

April 5, 2010 at 12:25 am 4 comments

You Can Buy Your Own Dental Tools

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that you can buy your own tamper proof screwdrivers. Ownership of tamper proof screwdrivers ups your do-it-yourself status to a new level; but, you can’t earn your DIY badge without having your own set of dental tools.

Maybe you’ve got a deep pocket in a molar that you can’t floss or brush clean, or maybe you just want to descale your pet’s gum line.

There are so many uses for dental tools. Hobbyists use them for carving, cleaning and hooking small objects. Technicians and mechanics may use them for removing tiny o-rings and gaskets. Perhaps you will use them to pick locks or scratch lotto tickets, poke the CD-ROM eject hole or spread glue in a hairline crack on the ceramic you broke last summer.

I found a 5 piece set on Amazon at a great price. Heck, for $2 (see “other sellers”), I’m not sure there is a more versatile set of tools for your toolbox. Best of all, you probably don’t own these tools yet and we all know it’s fun to get new tools.

Buying a new tool is like buying a new skill. It empowers you to put yourself in the way of new dangers and abstain from doing new things that you never dreamed of avoiding before.

So go ahead, have your popcorn and eat it too.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

PS – I’m really excited for fellow blogger Neil Pasricha’s new book: The Book of Awesome. Pre-order it now (or if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t already, at least checkout the blog)!

February 15, 2010 at 12:34 am 3 comments

Starbucks Drink ID Codes

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you’re a Starbucks customer, you’ve probably noticed the column of check boxes down the side of your cup. The boxes are labeled: Decaf, Shots, Syrup, Milk, Custom and Drink.

It’s pretty obvious these boxes are used to record your drink order. Sometimes I look at the writing in these boxes and try to match the secret codes with the options I requested. Most are pretty self explanatory, but some of the codes are not.

In fact, I didn’t even know what the entire “custom” box was for.

Today I found out. You see, I got a special delivery today. It started last week during my regular search for secrets, I had an idea. I wanted to know how easily I could get a Starbucks employee training manual. About ten minutes later I had purchased one from the used book section of Amazon. There was only one copy available.

I got it, and I’m going to share its secrets with you. (more…)

February 5, 2010 at 1:43 am 99 comments

Why is Coffee Called Java?

I love coffee.

I started drinking it in college, like most people, for the caffeine boost. Over time, I got really attached to the flavor. I went through a coffee obsession phase, trying coffee from different parts of the world with different tastes and different roasting techniques.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but there really are coffee connoisseurs out there. Premium coffee retailers and distributors have tasting rooms where they constantly inspect and taste coffee.

They sip it, swirl it around in their mouth and then spit it out. It must meet their strict approval to make it to the stores. If you think I’m exaggerating, click here to get a taste on the Starbucks blog. They even talk about coffee that is aged 3 to 5 years before being roasted.

Aging coffee probably reminds you of something else, wine. It turns out the coffee industry is a lot like the wine industry. Experts taste coffee the way connoisseurs taste and rate wine. They also share a similar vocabulary for describing flavor notes, hints of: caramel, chocolate, nuts…etc. Wine is classified by it’s region and grape (species). Coffee is also classified by region and species.

Historians believe that coffee plants were first cultivated in Ethiopia, around the year 850. In the next 50 years, coffee seeds were taken to the Arab world. The Arabians saw a future in coffee trade and guarded the seeds closely, but a few seeds were smuggled to the Dutch. Early in the 17th century, seeds made their way to Indonesia, being planted in Sumatra, Bali and the island of Java.

Java is one of the earliest coffee plantations and still an exporter of coffee today. Calling coffee, “java” is similar to referring to wine by it’s region, such as “I’ll have a glass of Champagne.”

On a related note, check out another coffee related secret: How to Properly Pour a Cup of Coffee.

Written By: Chad Upton

BrokenSecrets.com [Available on Kindle]

Sources: Coffee, Java Coffee, Indonesian Coffee, Coffee Bean, Champagne

January 20, 2010 at 1:47 am 8 comments

Getting The Most For Your Charitable Donation

By Chad Upton | Editor

With the recent disaster in Haiti, I have been thinking a lot about charitable donations. My wife and I wanted to make a donation, but had no idea where to start. We wanted our donation to provide as much aid as possible by giving to a trustworthy charity with minimal administration costs and decent buying power. Our questions was: which charity meets our standards and how much should we give?

I have done some research, learned some secrets and wanted to pass them along. This should be helpful for making any type of charitable donation, not just Haiti relief.

Give Cash

It might be tempting to buy blankets for a homeless shelter or give food to a food bank, but it’s actually better to give cash. Firstly, you don’t know what that charity needs most. The homeless shelter may have more than enough blankets, but not enough soap. If you give cash, they can buy what they actually need. Of course, if you already have a stack of blankets, call first to see if they can use them or if you should hang on to them for a later donation.

Secondly, your buying power is minimal. If you brought $50 worth of food to the food bank, they’d be very grateful. But, if you gave them $50, they combine that with their other cash donations to get a bulk discount and get more food with your $50 than you can.

Texting Is Actually a Slow Way to Donate

While it is extremely fast for you to initiate a donation by texting from your mobile phone, it can take 2 – 3 months for that money to get to the Charity. From the time you send the text to the time you pay your bill, 30-45 days may pass. That’s the first delay, the second delay is your mobile carrier. According mgive.com, the mobile giving foundation, carriers release donation money to mgive every 60-90 days. Then mgive takes 10% (processing fee) and distributes the money to the charities. Most of the charities take donations at their website, this is the fastest way to turn your money into help and cut out the middle man.

Know What You’re Buying

If you can’t decide how much to give, it may help to understand what your money can buy. Here are some of examples of what a donation to Unicef can get.

  • $67.79 – Water purification tablets, cleans 50,000 liters of water
  • $232.86 –  School in a box, enough school supplies for 80 children
  • $500 – Water pump, provides clean water for an entire community
  • $1,994.77 – Maternity kit, enough supplies to safely deliver 50 babies

In other words, you’re not giving $68, you’re giving 50,000 liters of clean water.

Donate To a Reputable Charity

There are some great websites to help you find a charity that provides the help you want to give. These sites also rank the charities and provide transparency by including information such as charitable institution’s financial statements. Here are some sites, and what I like most about each one:

  • Charity Navigator – Helpful ranking of charities. Good list of Haiti charities and their ranking.
  • Network for Good – Quick links for some of the most popular charities.
  • Just Give – Great search engine for finding a charity in your own community, also has a wedding registry for charitable donations.

You Don’t Need Money To Donate

Many local charities can use your time. Use Just Give to find a charity in your community.

The Largest Charities Are Not Always The Highest Rated

The largest charities usually do the best job of raising awareness, but that often means less of your money actually goes to the cause itself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, awareness is a very important part of fund raising, and many charities allow you to designate your gift. This is ideal if you want to ensure your money is used for aid rather than further fund raising.

Click here for a list of some of the highest rated charities you can donate to, all of these are rather large charities but few of them are charities you usually hear about. Click here for a list of the charities participating in Haiti relief (4 star charities are at the top).

Privacy

Using some of the sites I mentioned above, you can ensure your charity of choice has a written privacy policy that will protect your information. It is especially important that your information is not sold to other charities — they know you’ve given before and your phone will be ringing off the hook.

Avoid scams

The FBI recently released some tips to avoid charity scams. It is very important that you don’t reply to or click on links in any spam email. Donate directly to the charity when possible, not through third parties. Verify the legitimacy of the charity with one of the sites I mentioned above. The rest is common sense, but you can read the entire list by clicking here.

Tax Benefits

One of the best parts about giving is the tax benefit. Most donations are tax deductible and many people also take advantage of a free efile, further adding to their refund. For a few countries, I have provided links to better understand the tax benefits and implications of giving to charities: USA, Canada, UK

Giving to a charity that you believe in can be one of the most rewarding things you do, for you and the people that you help.

Broken Secrets

Get updates from: FacebookTwitterEmailKindle

Photos: Zoriah, DVIDSHUB (creative commons)

Sources: Charity Navigator, Just Give, Network for Good, mgive, school in a box, Unicef Health, Unicef Water,

January 18, 2010 at 12:59 am 1 comment

Automatically Add WWW. and .COM to a Website Address

Because I spend so much time on the internet, I have bookmarked hundreds of websites, maybe thousands. They’re neatly organized into folders by category, some of them 8 folders deep. But, I rarely see anyone else use bookmarks — I know that you’re typing in the address for many of the sites you visit.

This secret will save you some keystrokes.

Instead of typing “www.BrokenSecrets.com” and then hitting enter, just type “BrokenSecrets” and press CTRL+ENTER (Mac users use COMMAND + RETURN). That will automatically add “www.” to the beginning and “.com” to the end.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, look at the top of your web browser (the program you’re using to view this site).  You’ll see a text input area that starts with, “http://brokensecrets.com”.  That is where you can type web addresses that you’d like to visit.  For most sites, you need to at least type the address and the extension (ex: brokensecrets.com).

In Windows, this works with: FireFox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. On Mac, this works with FireFox and Chrome, but use CTRL + RETURN for Chrome. It does not work in Safari for Mac or Windows.

BrokenSecrets.com

Subscribe on your Kindle

January 6, 2010 at 12:12 am 5 comments

Leap Years and Leap Seconds

Happy New Year!

You probably know that leap years occur every four years. On leap years we add an extra day to keep our clocks and calendars in sync with Earth’s rotation.

On the other hand, most people don’t know about leap seconds. Leap seconds are used for the very same reason as leap years, to keep our clocks in sync with Earth’s rotation.

Because Earth’s rotation varies, leap seconds are added or subtracted up to twice per year when needed. Leap years add a day in February while leap seconds can be added at midnight on December 31st or June 30th when necessary.

An extra day on the calendar isn’t going to go unnoticed, but an extra second is difficult to sense. That’s why most of us don’t know about them. Accurate time keeping devices (atomic clocks) are updated appropriately and you may notice the update on connected devices like cell phones or GPS units, but generally it goes unnoticed by nearly all of us. The last two leap seconds were added on New Year’s Eve of 2005 and 2008. The next time a leap second will be added is not known.

Here’s a video that shows an extra second inserted between 59 and 00 on an atomic clock.

BrokenSecrets.com

Sources: WP – Leap Year, WP – Leap Second, TimeAndDate.com,

January 1, 2010 at 12:01 am 1 comment

Older Posts Newer Posts


Follow Broken Secrets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,415 other followers

Big Awards


Best Personal Blog/Website (People's Voice)


W3 Award - Copy Writing

Categories

Featured by…

• Yahoo
• Business Insider
• NPR
• BBC
• Smithsonian Magazine
• USA Today
• AskMen (and many more...)

Contact Info


%d bloggers like this: