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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Where To Place Your Router To Get The Absolute Best WiFi Connection

Where To Place Your Router
To Get The Absolute
Best WiFi Connection

 By Sara Boboltz


We've all felt that agonizing moment of WiFi-lessness when the connection drops out unexpectedly. Turns out, there's a right and wrong way to set up a WiFi router, and the wrong way can leave you waiting longer for pages to load or Netflix to buffer. 

Jason Cole, a PhD student in physics at Imperial College London, used math to figure out the best spot to place a wireless router. Cole solved the Helmholtz equation -- which is used to map electromagnetic fields like the ones your router emits -- for his apartment. What he discovered was that tucking a router away in an inconspicuous corner is not ideal for a good connection, even though that's the way most of us do it. 

Speaking with The Huffington Post, Cole offered a number of tips to help your WiFi router send a strong signal all over your home or apartment and reduce the amount of Netflix buffering you have to sit through. 

1. Place the router in a central location.
We know the wires you plug into the router are probably set up in the corner of the room, but it's better to run them over to a more central spot. Ideally, it'll be within sight of wherever you sit and use the Internet most. 

Here's what your WiFi setup is probably like right now:

In this illustration, the WiFi signals are actually traveling from the router throughout the entire apartment in about one ten-millionth of a second. You can see how the signal bounces off walls to fill a room with delicious Internet. Dead zones, where the signal doesn't quite reach, are also visible and become more common further from the source, as walls and other obstacles absorb more signal energy.

2. Avoid surrounding it with metal objects.
"Metal dissipates electromagnetic energy quite efficiently," Cole told HuffPost in an email. So the kitchen is not the best place for your router to live.

3. Concrete or brick walls are the enemy, too.
"All materials reflect a portion of radiation. Some absorb it quite strongly, especially concrete," Cole said. Enclosing the router with concrete or brick on a couple sides won't help your signal reach the furthest corners of your home. 

Additionally, floors and ceilings tend to be more transmissive than walls, Cole noted.

4. Don't keep the router near a microwave.
If you've noticed the Internet slowing down whenever you're heating something up in the microwave, it's not just you. Microwaves operate around the same frequency as wireless routers, and even the tiny bit of radiation that escapes the microwave can disrupt your signal.

5. Set it up high.
WiFi routers emit radio waves, which spread out and down from their source. Mounting the router to a wall or setting it on a high shelf can give you a better signal, especially if you live in a two-story house and want a good connection on both floors.

6. Position the antenna upward for a better horizontal reach, or sideways for vertical reach.
In a multi-story home, positioning a router's antenna sideways can help you get a better signal upstairs. Pointing an antenna up helps the router reach farther laterally.
If your router has two antennas, though, take care of all possibilities by pointing one antenna up and the other to the side. And if you've got a router without any antennas, make sure you stand it the way it's made to go. That is, don't lay a vertical router on its side.

7. Think twice about putting a router somewhere with a lot of people.
Water inhibits WiFi signals. Since humans are mostly water, a bunch of us hanging out in a room together can interfere with the signal. You may have noticed getting worse Internet connections in crowded spaces. And yes, you probably want a good WiFi signal in the room where people like to gather, but all those bodies might slow it down in other parts of the house.

BONUS: Use Cole's app, which lets you visualize the WiFi connection in your own house.
If you're so inclined, Cole created an app for Android phones that lets you upload a floorplan to see how electromagnetic waves propagate throughout your own home. (Some math required. Sorry.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Signs You Shouldn’t Buy Those Groceries

4 Signs You Shouldn’t Buy Those Groceries 
Don’t waste your money:
Here’s how to know when something isn’t a good deal.

By Lynn Andriani

Sign #1: You Think, “Oh, the Bakery Did Some Work for Me!”
Whenever we walk into a pastry shop and breathe in the scent of loaves fresh from the oven, we have trouble thinking clearly. But if the mission is "buy sandwich bread," it's worth remembering this: A loaf of already-sliced whole wheat is not the goal. "Every minute that fresh bread is exposed to air, it becomes more stale and less delicious," writes Dan Pashman in his book Eat More Better. 
 So while a professional-grade machine may do a bang-up job turning out uniform slices, unless you're planning to eat them all within an hour, you're better off buying a loaf intact. It will increase the life span by reducing what Pashman calls "SATVOR" (surface-area-to-volume ratio). 

Once you're home, wrap the bread tightly in plastic, place it in a resealable plastic bag and store it in the freezer
When you want to eat it, remove the loaf, unwrap it and microwave it on a regular setting just long enough to defrost the outermost portions. 
Use a serrated bread knife and saw through (partially frozen bread = more even slices).

Sign #2: When You Tap on an Apple and You Hear Something
A gorgeous yet mealy apple is one of life's greatest small disappointments -- and puzzles: How can something so perfect-looking taste so awful? While it's impossible to guarantee a crisp, juicy fruit (you can forget looks; misshapen apples can taste just fine), there's one indicator you can usually rely on: The sound you hear when you tap the side of the apple with a finger. Good apples should sound hollow; bad ones will often sound dense. But if you do wind up with a mealy apple, one way to rescue it is to turn it into applesauce.

Sign #3: The Label On The Meat Doesn't Give You Any Details
When you shop for beef at the supermarket, you're probably choosing between "prime" (lots of marbling, aka fat), "choice" (somewhat less marbling) and "select" (leaner, so not as juicy). All of these grades are perfectly acceptable, provided you cook them in a suitable way. However, if you see a package of beef simply labeled "USDA graded," steer clear. This description tells you nothing about the meat's quality (and actually applies to 94 percent of beef sold in the U.S.).
Sign #4: The Sale On Red Snapper Is Ridiculous 

We're all for seeking out bargains, but slashed prices on certain items can raise a red flag. One biggie is seafood; the FDA has received numerous reports lately of fish fraud, where a store will substitute a less expensive fish for a more expensive kind (e.g., tilapia for red snapper, farmed salmon for wild or Vietnamese catfish for grouper). It can be tricky to spot fake seafood, especially if you don't buy it often. The best tactic is to know ahead of time about how much the fish you want should cost (walk past the seafood counter every time you're in the store, even if you're not buying, to eyeball the prices).
Also, have some idea of different fishes' high seasons (e.g., wild salmon from Alaska can't be fresh in the winter);

Our United States Seafood Availability Chart is a listing of various sea foods available in the U.S. and when they are in season. In addition to seafood seasons we provide some tips for buying, handling and preparing fresh seafood.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Most Commonly Recalled Foods (And How To Buy Them Safely)

4 Of The Most Commonly Recalled Foods
(And How To Buy Them Safely)

By Lynn Andriani
Posted: 03/17/2015

We talked to former professor of food safety, Douglas Powell, about the safest ways to eat the things we love.

  • Baked Goods

    The Concern: While it's been more than 10 years since the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act went into effect, unlabeled allergens—most often peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish and eggs—are still the number one cause of recalls for FDA-regulated foods. And they often crop up unannounced in bakery products

    Small Thing to Keep in Mind: If you have an allergy, check the label each time you buy a product, because manufacturers sometimes change recipes and a trigger food may have been added. Here's a helpful list of unexpected words to watch out for, broken down by the type of diet you're following. 

  • Cantaloupe
    The Concern: These orange-fleshed melons are different from honeydew and watermelon, since their "netted" exterior is more porous, so contaminants from soil, water, animals (and their manure) can get trapped in the rind. Plus, unlike other fruits, they're not acidic, so pathogens can grow more easily once you cut the melon open. 

    Small Thing to Keep in Mind: As many of us already do, avoid buying cantaloupes that look bruised; and, if you purchase precut cantaloupe, make sure it's refrigerated or on ice. Finally, don't let the sliced fruit sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.

  • Chicken

    The Concern: This popular meat (we buy about 86 pounds per capita annually) is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness.

    Small Thing to Keep in Mind: A good recommendation is to buy chicken last when you're grocery shopping, since keeping it cold can prevent bacteria overgrowth. Also, be sure to defrost frozen chicken safely and cook it to 165 degrees (use a meat thermometer).

  • Sprouts

    The Concern: Alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts, which add crunch to salads and sandwiches, score well nutritionally. But since 1996, there have been at least 30 food-related illness outbreaks linked to raw and lightly cooked sprouts. has an entire page devoted to awareness about these tiny vegetables.

    Small Thing to Keep in Mind: If you enjoy sprouts in salads, buy only ones with fresh, clean, white stems and roots that have been kept properly refrigerated. Douglas Powell, who blogs about food safety, says the best way to prepare sprouts is to cook them thoroughly before eating (so, stir-fries and pad Thai are fine).


    Major Food Recalls

    In August 2010, two Iowa farms recalled 550 million eggs as a result of 1,500 cases of illness associated with salmonella, according to the CDC. The FDA said the contamination was possibly due to the cleanliness and size of the farms' chicken cages.
    In September 2006, the FDA issued a statement warning of E. Coli bacteria in spinach. The outbreak originated on a central California farm. It eventually claimed five lives and caused 205 illnesses across 26 states, with most cases occurring in the Midwest. Ultimately, the spinach industry reported a $350 million loss as a result of the outbreak.
    In February 2008, the USDA conducted the largest beef recall in U.S. history. This recall resulted from the wide circulation of an undercover video from the Humane Society, which revealed workers in a California meat plant abusing "downer cows" -- unhealthy cows that are banned from the food supply. As a result, a record 143 million pounds of meat was recalled.

    Peanut Products
    In January of 2009, a U.S. peanut company issued a recall of its products after discovering possible salmonella contamination. The recall expanded to include 2,100 products from over 200 companies nationwide that contained its peanut products. According to the CDC the salmonella contamination spread through 46 states claiming eight lives and sickening over 700 people.
    Alcohol And Caffeinated Beverages
    In November 2010, beverages with high alcohol and caffeine content sparked national concern after nine college students in Washington state were sent to the emergency room for dangerous levels of intoxication. Certain colleges and eventually four U.S. states -- New York, Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts -- banned the culprit, Four Loko, which contains 12 percent alcohol and roughly the amount of caffeine found in two cups of coffee. In the same month the FDA deemed seven alcoholic/caffeinated products unsafe: Four Loko, Joose, Max, Lemon Lime Core Spiked, Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity Orange and Moonshot.
     Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
    In March 2010, the FDA recalled 178 products containing Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, a flavor enhancer found in processed foods such as salad dressings, soups, stews and various other snack foods. The FDA began an ongoing investigation of salmonella findings in a Las Vegas plant where the ingredient is manufactured.
    Romaine Lettuce
    In May 2010, two food companies in Ohio and Oklahoma recalled their romaine lettuce after the FDA discovered possible traces of E. Coli bacteria. The lettuce, which shipped to 23 states, was tied to a possible E. Coli outbreak. People were sickened in New York, Ohio and Michigan with E. Coli O145-related illnesses. 
    Instant Milk Ingredient
    In June 2009, a Minnesota company recalled its instant milk ingredient due to potential salmonella contamination. The generic ingredient is found in a slew of store-bought food products ranging from yogurt to drink mixes, causing a widespread recall of 287 product brands.

    Pistachio Products
    In June 2009, a California company recalled their pistachio nuts and products due to a possible salmonella contamination. Pistachio nuts, packaged ice creams, cakes, snack bars and candy containing this company's pistachio products were recalled by the FDA.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Health Benefits of Beer


*  Stronger Bones!_dOe1328559208.gif
Beer contains high levels of silicon, which is linked to bone health. In a 2009 study at Tufts University and other centers, older men and women who swigged one or two drinks daily had higher bone density, with the greatest benefits found in those who favored beer or wine. However, downing more than two drinks was linked to increased risk for fractures.
For the best bone-building benefits, reach for pale ale, since a 2010 study of 100 types of beer from around the word identified these brews as richest in silicon, while light lagers and non-alcoholic beers contained the least.

A Stronger Heart
A 2011 analysis of 16 earlier studies involving more than 200,000 people, conducted by researchers at Italy’s Fondazion di Ricerca e Cura, found a 31 percent reduced risk of heart disease in those who quaffed about a pint of beer daily, while risk surged in those who guzzled higher amounts of alcohol, whether beer, wine, or spirits.
More than 100 studies also show that moderate drinking trims risk of heart attacks and dying from cardiovascular disease by 25 to 40 percent, Harvard reports. A beer or two a day can help raise levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol that helps keep arteries from getting clogged.

Healthier Kidneys
A study in Finland singled out beer among other alcoholic drinks, finding that each bottle of beer men drank daily lowered their risk of developing kidney stones by 40 percent. One theory is that beer’s high water content helped keep kidneys working, since dehydration increases kidney stone risk.
It’s also possible that the hops in beer help curb leeching of calcium from bones; that “lost” calcium also could end up in the kidneys as stones. 

Boosting Brain Health
A beer a day may help keep Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia at bay, researchers say.
A 2005 study tracking the health of 11,000 older women showed that moderate drinkers (those who consumed about one drink a day) lowered their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent, compared to non-drinkers. In addition, older women who downed a drink a day scored as about 18 months “younger,” on average, on tests of mental skills than the non-drinkers.

Reduced Cancer Risk
A Portuguese study found that marinating steak in beer eliminates almost 70 percent of the carcinogens, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) produced when the meat is pan-fried. Researchers theorize that beer’s sugars help block HCAs from forming.
Scientists also have found that beer and wine contain about the same levels of antioxidants, but the antioxidants are different because the flavonoids found in hops and grapes are different.

Boosting Vitamin Levels
A Dutch study, performed at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, found that beer-drinking participants had 30 percent higher levels of vitamin B6 levels in their blood than their non-drinking counterparts, and twice as much as wine drinkers. Beer also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid.

Guarding Against Stroke
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that moderate amounts of alcohol, including beer, help prevent blood clots that block blood flow to the heart, neck and brain—the clots that cause ischemic stroke, the most common type.
Reduced Risk for Diabetes
Drink up: A 2011 Harvard study of about 38,000 middle-aged men found that when those who only drank occasionally raised their alcohol intake to one to two beers or other drinks daily, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by 25 percent. The researchers found no benefit to quaffing more than two drinks. The researchers found that alcohol increases insulin sensitivity, thus helping protect against diabetes.

Lower Blood Pressure
Wine is fine for your heart, but beer may be even better: A Harvard study of 70,000 women ages 25 to 40 found that moderate beer drinkers were less likely to develop high blood pressure—a major risk factor for heart attack—than women who sipped wine or spirits.
Longer Life
In a 2005 review of 50 studies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that moderate drinkers live longer. The USDA also estimates that moderate drinking prevents about 26,000 deaths a year, due to lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
These benefits appear to apply in other countries as well, with an earlier study reporting that, “if European beer drinkers stopped imbibing, there would be a decrease in life expectancy of two years—and much unhappiness.” 

How Beer Saved the World

Did you know that Beer was critical to the birth of civilization? 

Or that it played a crucial role in the building of the pyramids, the founding of America, the industrial revolution, and advancements in medicine. 
That s right - Beer. 
Scientists and historians line up to tell the amazing, untold story that puts beer at the center of the human civilization. Until almost modern times, it wasn't just a drink - beer was vital to life. Where water contained deadly bacteria, beer was safe, as the fermentation killed the germs. 

It was drunk by men, women and children for large period of history, and inspired great moments in human history. Louise Pasteur was studying beer when he discovered Germ theory the basis of modern medicine. 
Bottling plants invented factory lines and stopped child labor. 
The Medieval Church became so rich making beer, that kings had to ban them from producing it. And it was vital to the birth of America from the moment the Mayflower stopped in Plymouth because it had run out of beer. 

In the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy
  1. “ This was a very enjoyable film and will make you think twice about beer. ”  
  2. “ It's a great documentary - and informative about so many facts we'd never heard before. ”  
  3. “ It's tongue-in-cheek style leads you through some real facts from history,science and society. ”