Posts tagged ‘white’

White Wine also Stains Teeth

By Kaye Nemec

We’ve long been told that coffee, marinara sauce and red wine will leave our teeth stained and in need of whitening. Dentists have warned us about letting these foods sit on our teeth for too long without brushing. But, it turns out we also need to be cautious when drinking white wine if we want our pearly whites shiny and bright.

It’s not just the color of red wine that affects our teeth, it is also the acidic nature of wine that helps stain and darken our teeth. In fact, red wine and white wine are equally acidic. The acids erode tooth enamel, which is there to protect your teeth.

Because red wine contains dark pigments that will stain your teeth, you get a two-for-one deal when drinking it. Not only will the acid rough up the surface of your teeth, but it will also clear an immediate path for the red pigments to settle in and stain. White wine, on the other hand, will simply make way for stains and is more dangerous if paired with or consumed in a diet that also contains red sauce, coffee or cola.

Apparently, citrus drinks like orange and grapefruit juice, sodas and energy drinks also contain enough acid to have the same, damaging effect on the enamel of teeth. Because coffee, sodas, juices and energy drinks have become so popular, whitening agents and toothpastes have also increased dramatically in popularity over the last few years. It seems that dentists agree, it is OK to use a toothpaste with a whitening agent in it; however, it is recommended that you do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking wine. As mentioned above, the acid in the wine will weaken the enamel on your teeth. The weakening process will last about an hour so if you brush before that hour is up you risk brushing away bits and pieces of your weakened enamel causing further damage.

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Sources:, NPR,

Photo: Danielle Bauer (cc)

November 24, 2010 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Why You Shouldn’t Wear White After Labor Day

By Chad Upton | Editor

Labor Day is a popular holiday in the United States and Canada, observed on the first Monday of September.

According to the US Department of labor, it’s “a creation of the labor movement.” Therefore, it only seems fitting that we celebrate by not going to work — it is a Federal holiday in both the US and Canada.

Labor Day also marks the last day people should wear white (until Memorial Day in May). About 10 years ago, I was schooled on this manner of etiquette.

I was walking downtown by myself and it was pretty late. As I turned the corner onto another street I saw two tough guys walking toward me. I noticed that one guy got visibly angry when he saw me. I didn’t know the guy and I didn’t know what problem he could possibly have with me.

I held my ground and I kept walking toward them, trying not to look at them. But, just as we were passing I looked up, either to say “hey” in a friendly way or just to block a punch if that was the case. The one guy yelled at me, “Don’t wear white after labor day.”

I was really surprised. Based on the his outfit, I would not have guessed he was the fashion police, but maybe he was undercover.

That’s a completely true story and I laugh about it now, but at the time I was pretty scared when I saw his reaction to me.

In my defense, I was wearing khaki.

Historically, the rule only applied to white dress shoes and high heels. In the 50s and 60s, the middle class extrapolated this rule to include other clothing.

Some believe it was practical advise, since white clothing would be tough to keep clean in the winter. Others say that white clothing was typical dress for members of high society during summer holidays and was too casual for getting back to serious business when summer had finished. In the 1950s, the middle class was growing and they were given simplified rules of high society to help them fit in, including the rule about white after labor day.

In the latest edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, the ban was lifted on wearing white after labor day. In fact, some now consider it very fashion forward to do so.

If you’re old fashioned and are shy about trading in this tradition, you should know that cream colored wool has always been exempt. So, go ahead and wear cream (at your own risk).

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Sources: Dept of Labor, Wikipedia, Wise Geek, Time, Yahoo

September 6, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

The White Dashes at the Top of a TV Picture

By Chad Upton | Editor

They may appear as rapidly flashing dots, dashes, lines or boxes across the top of your TV screen.

The white lines are more prevalent on HDTVs, although they can show on older standard definition sets too.

They often appear while watching an HD channel that is broadcasting a standard definition signal, which frequently happens during commercial breaks and shows that are not available in high definition.

The lines are supposed to be there, you’re just not supposed to see them. If you have seen them, they will vary in size and shape depending on your TV.

These lines are like barcodes embedded in the picture. Closed captioning, teletext and programming guide information is represented by these white lines. Your TV can interpret them and display the information in a format that you can read.

Although this primarily affects HDTVs, it stems from variances in old Tube TVs (Cathode Ray Tubes). In the early days of television, there were extreme variances in production of television sets — some would cut off more of the picture than others.

Broadcasters overcame this problem by trying to keep all titles and important actions away from the very edges of the screen, in case they were cut off on some TVs. That extra space that you don’t see is called the overscanned image (because of the way that CRTs would paint an image on the screen by scanning side to side sixty times per second).

The overscan area became a good place to hide extra information when closed captioning data was added to TV signals.

HDTV signals do not overscan. Their signals are newer and were designed to encapsulate extra information from the beginning. But, you may still see these lines on an HDTV if the broadcaster is showing content that has the lines.

Most good televisions have the option to adjust overscan, including hdtvs. You’ll have to consult your manual, but this option will allow you to adjust the picture so the white lines are not visible.

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Sources: Wikipedia (Safe area, Overscan)

August 20, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

White Chocolate is Real Chocolate

By Chad Upton | Editor

Somebody once told me that White Chocolate is not really chocolate. The argument is that white chocolate is not made from chocolate liquor and white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids; therefore, it is not real chocolate.

That is not necessarily true.

Chocolate was discovered by Aztecs in Central Mexico, at least three hundred years ago. The name comes from the Nahuatl word, “chicolatl” meaning “beaten drink.” It is derived from, “chicoli”, which means “beating stick” and “atl”, meaning “water.”

To make chocolate, the seeds of the tropical cacao tree are harvested. They are bitter and must be fermented to make the flavor more palatable. The fermented beans are then dried, roasted and shelled to expose cacao nibs (you can buy cacao nibs, they’re an interesting balance between slightly bitter and mildly sweet — click on the photo for amazon link).

The nibs are ground to produce cocoa mass, which is melted to create chocolate liquor (not to be confused with chocolate liqueur). When chocolate liquor cools, it forms what we commonly refer to as baking chocolate.

At this stage, the chocolate is about 53% cocoa butter (fat), the rest is carbohydrates, protein, tannins and theobromine.

Theobromine is in the same family of chemical compounds as caffeine and is believed to be the proof that chocolate is addictive. Healthy humans can break down reasonable amounts of this compound, but many animals cannot. This is why chocolate can be harmful to pets. White chocolate contains only trace amounts of theobromine, which is what gives other chocolate its brown color.

White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat and sugar. According to the FDA, white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter to be called “White Chocolate.” The European Union has adopted the same standard for cocoa butter requirements, but there are some other regulations around milk and sweetener contents that differ between the US and the EU.

Confectionery items that look and taste similar to white chocolate, such as “Almond Bark” are not white chocolate. In fact, they’re not chocolate at all. They are usually made from solid or hydrogenated vegetable and animal fats instead of real cocoa butter.

White Chocolate is real chocolate when it’s made from cocoa butter.

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Sources: FDA, WP (Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Liquor, History of Chocolate, Aztec, Theobromine)

August 3, 2010 at 5:00 am 10 comments

Why do Some Cars Have Blue Headlights?

Traditionally, cars have had yellowish headlights. Now, many cars have light blue colored headlights. Some cars come with those headlights from the factory and other times, owners will install similar systems or similar looking systems.

The factory blue headlights are known as HID (high intensity discharge) headlights. Just like the name describes, they’re brighter than normal halogen headlights.

Traditional lights heat a small metal filament to produce light while HID lights create a plasma discharge arc between two tungsten electrodes. It is this plasma discharge that creates the blue color. But, this technology is not new, it’s very similar to the bright lights that illuminate stadiums and roadways.

The brightness is the main advantage of these lights. Like rear fog lights, these headlights were popularized in Europe where fog, rain and curvy roads create demanding driving conditions. Because HID lights are brighter, they penetrate fog, rain and snow better than halogen lights — an advantage when the conditions are not ideal.

HID headlights are also more energy efficient than halogens, which isn’t a major concern in vehicles right now, but as we move to battery powered cars that will become very important — the less power accessories consume, the further the vehicle can drive on a single charge. (more…)

April 2, 2010 at 12:46 am 17 comments

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