garage door 

Updated August 14


A 14-Year-Old Inventor and the Wall This Country Needs

ABC News - August 14

Audrey Larson is a 14-year-old inventor. For past competitions, she's created glow-in-the-dark pajamas and a device to pet your dog. But this year, after hearing about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, she felt compelled to focus on a more serious issue. "It's really scary to just think about, and that's kind of what sparked that idea," Larson said. "Some of my friends were having anxiety about being at school and I don't think that's fair to any kid." Larson was looking for an idea to enter into competition, and discussions around school shootings among her peers led her to what she says is her own solution to the problem. She invented a foldable bulletproof wall model that can be used to protect students like her in the event of a school shooting. "It's a foldable two-panel barrier that comes out of the wall for kids to hide behind in the event of a lockdown and, ultimately, in the event of a school shooting," Larson told "GMA" about her invention called Safe K.I.D.S. The name stands for Kevlar-cellulose-nanocrystal-AR500-steel Instant Defense System.

Larson, who lives in Connecticut, first submitted her idea to the Connecticut Invention Convention, a program for young students to build projects centered on innovation. She won awards there before moving on to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) in Michigan. There Larson competed against other young inventors from all over the country, winning more awards and placing second in her grade level. She is currently working on securing a patent. "It's very relevant, it really addresses the fears that are in school children today," said Mary Lombardo, a judge at the Connecticut Invention Convention and the vice president of engineering and innovation and research at United Technologies Corporation.

Lombardo is of two minds when it comes down to the issue. "As a mom I was saddened that these are the things that are on the mind of a freshman girl in high school," Lombardo said. "I think as an engineer, I was fascinated with the robustness and detailed design work," she continued.

Larson chose the mix of materials that could make the wall including Kevlar to help it withstand shots from guns, even an AR-15 rifle. The accused Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter in Parkland, Florida, allegedly used an AR-15 in the Valentine's Day massacre where 17 students and teachers were killed. "From an engineering perspective I felt that it was very well thought-out," Lombardo said. "It was doable and really gave a very simplistic solution to a very difficult and complex social problem." Larson's invention is in line with other bullet-resistant products, including backpacks and clothing that have been marketed to schools and parents in the wake of mass shootings. Questions have been raised about the efficacy of some of these products and more broadly, debates about the best way to keep kids safe. Larson declined to weigh in on the gun reform debate, but said she considers her invention to be a "non-political solution" to the highly-politicized issue.



Signal to Noise

Science Alert - August 14

Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest and most energetic events in the Universe. They're also some of the more mysterious, but now researchers have made a discovery that could help us understand the conditions under which they occur. The light curves of six gamma-ray burst events showed evidence of complex time-reversible wavelike structures, that is, there was an event in each pulse in which time seemed to repeat itself backwards. It could also tell us something about the death of massive stars. We're not entirely sure what produces gamma-ray bursts. They can last from a few milliseconds to several hours, and they're extraordinarily bright. We know, thanks to the amazing gravitational wave discovery of colliding neutron stars, that this is one type of event that can produce a gamma-ray burst.

But there are likely others, too. Astronomers think these include the collapse of a rapidly spinning massive star into either a neutron star, a quark star (which is still a hypothetical object) or a black hole, producing a supernova or hypernova in the process. We can only detect them when the beam is pointed directly at us, and most take place billions of light-years away. This requires some pretty sensitive equipment, often of the optical variety, which means there's a fair bit of noise mixed up with the signal. That doesn't mean the bursts are difficult to detect, NASA's gamma-ray burst observatory Swift, for instance, which was launched in 2004, had detected 1,000 bursts by late 2015.

But all that noise means that the finer details of the bursts' light curves can be difficult to tease out. And low instrumental sensitivity, the researchers found, results in a lower resolution signal, "smearing" the structure of a gamma-ray burst pulse light curve. This results in a triple-peaked appearance for medium bursts, and a single peak for faint ones at low signal-to-noise. To attempt to minimise this effect, the researchers found six exceptionally bright gamma-ray bursts in the data from the BATSE instrument on NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, in operation from 1991 to 2000. This is where they found the complex time-reversible wavelike structures; and, moreover, only the brightest gamma-ray burst light curves had them.

So, what does this actually mean? It could mean that some sort of impactor, a clump of particles like electrons or ions, or a condensed wave such as a soliton, was ejected at high velocity by the central object. As this impactor moves through the clouds of material previously ejected by the dying star, it produces an emission. If it's partially reflected back through the same clouds, it will produce a similar, but fainter, emission in reverse.

Another explanation is if the clouds of material have some sort of radial bilateral symmetry, like a series of concentric rings, and the impactor moves through them in one direction, without being reflected. Think of an object moving across a target from one side to the other. The centre of the target is denser clouds than the rings. When the impactor passes through this region, it creates the appearance of a 'reflected signal', although the researchers aren't sure why. The research, the team believes, should provide astrophysicists with a new set of tools for understanding stellar death and black hole formation.


Gamma Ray

Samantha Bee's Message to The Emmys - August 14

"Hello The Emmys, I know you must be sick of all those FYC (For Your Consideration) ads everyone is running, and I don't blame you!" Bee begins, ingratiatingly, in her new FYC video. "This is not one of those!" she insists, adding, "All I want this year is to present." "Not asking to host - that would be crazy!" TBS' Full Frontal host assures. "I mean what if I got my period during the third hour of the show and I just went nuts and invited Vladimir Putin to a secret meeting at my Big White House," she continues, checking the Donald Trump snark box.

Bee and Full Frontal made headlines at this year's noms announcement when she again got put into the running for Best Variety Talk Series, despite the storm over an episode in which he referred to Ivanka Trump as a "feckless c**t." Bee had gone after Ivanka for staying mum on Dad's baby-snatching border policy, despite promising to champion children from her White House position. Bee subsequently apologized for the word choice.

"All I want is one or two minutes to talk on the stage, with a celebrity of equal or greater value, look down the barrel of the prompter and say whatever it is you tell me to," Bee says in this morning's video message. "I'm so versatile I can do anything! You want me to introduce the In Memorial reel? I will crush it!" Then she demonstrates why she would be perfect for that particular In-Memoriam gig, though TV Academy may feel otherwise:

"Tonight we honor the men we lost, who made television the indelible and respected art form it is. And, the women who worked harder, made way less money and were still pissed off about it when they died."



Crunchy Mint Wins!

Food Beast - August 13

Earlier this year, M&M's decided to put America's taste buds to the test. Instead of choosing a new crunchy M&M's flavor, the folks over at Mars (the company that owns M&M's) asked America to decide. After sifting through hundreds of flavor combinations, M&M's decided to present three to the public: Crunchy Raspberry, Crunchy Mint, and Crunchy Espresso. Americans had a few months to vote on their favorite flavor, and after taste testing the Crunchy M&M's flavors ourselves, it's safe to say that the decision was a hard one to make. They are all so delicious! But luckily we didn't have to make the decision, because M&M's fans knew what they wanted. Crunchy Mint won! Who can resist a delicious bag of crunchy, minty goodness? Although some people would say that a mint and chocolate combination isn't exactly their cup of tea, apparently most folks in America prefer it.


M & M

Oui! - August 13

The stench of urine in the streets has long been one of the annoyances of life in the French city of Paris, but new urinals that expose users to public view have shocked many residents. The French often joke about being less "prudish" than Britons, but even permissive Parisians have taken exception to open urinals installed on pavements with nothing to screen users from passers-by. One model, in letterbox red, topped by a flower-box and installed on the ultra-chic Île Saint-Louis, one of the city's most select quarters, has caused particular indignation. The island in the Seine, normally a haven of relative calm in the heart of Paris, has become an unlikely hotbed of protest.

Residents and shopkeepers have written to the mayor demanding the urinal's immediate removal and say they are about to launch a petition. Paola, a local shopkeeper, said: "I'm ashamed, you understand. Planting a plastic urinal like that beneath the windows of the Lauzun mansion, one of the most beautiful on the island, where [the poet] Baudelaire lived, it's such bad taste. Paris is making itself ridiculous." Paola acknowledged that residents had long been urging the authorities to install urinals because young people who spend the long summer evenings on the banks of the Seine had taken to urinating in the streets. "But this model, 20 metres from a primary school, is not suitable at all." The urinal is "environmentally friendly", according to its manufacturer, the Faltazi design agency, because it "stores urine in a bed of dry material, straw, which is then used as compost for the flowers".



Kellyanne Conway's BIG FAIL!

thinkprogress.con - August 13

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared on ABC News Sunday morning, where host Jonathan Karl asked her to name the "most prominent, high-level adviser on the West Wing staff" who is African-American. Conway responded like a fourth grader delivering a book report on a book she did not read. Conway's first response was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, who, as his job title suggests, works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and not in the West Wing.

When pressed to name a black aide who is on "the White House staff right now," Conway eventually names someone called "Ja'Ron" who has "been very involved with Jared Kushner and President Trump on prison reform." It is a testament to the prominence of African-Americans in this White House that, when asked to name a single one, one of the president's top advisers didn't even give that person's last name. Nevertheless, it is likely that the "Ja'Ron" Conway points to is Ja'Ron Smith, who holds the title of "Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization." Smith, as the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey notes, is a "mid-level aide" who works in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a building adjacent to the White House. Conway, in other words, was not able to name a single black person who works in the West Wing.



Elba, Idris Elba

BBC - August 13

Idris Elba has posted a cryptic tweet suggesting he could be the next James Bond. Days after reports that a producer of the franchise is tipping him to be 007, he posted: "My name's Elba, Idris Elba". Fans are taking it as a big hint that he could be about to take on the role when Daniel Craig leaves next year. There've been rumours linking Idris to the Bond role since 2014, which he's neither confirmed nor denied. The 45-year-old actor, best known for his roles in Star Trek, Luther and The Wire, has in the past said he's too old to take on the famous 007 role. But, he's never shied away from the speculation and has said he "feels like a national treasure" being associated with Bond. Earlier this week, reports said Bond movie boss Barbara Broccoli had said "it is time" for a non-white actor to take on the role. Speaking to the Daily Star, director Antoine Fuqua said that Broccoli had told her that she felt that a black actor in the famous role "will happen eventually".



A Bold Fan - August 13

For a brief moment, a fan lived out his dream of suiting up and practicing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A man, dressed in full uniform, sneaked onto the turf practice field at Saint Vincent and joined the players for a few moments during the team stretch before practice Saturday afternoon. The first giveaway the player was not legit was his uniform number. He was wearing No. 43, which had not been given out by the Steelers since Troy Polamalu retired after the 2014 season. Also, the numbers were in block format, and the jersey color was a slightly darker yellow than the bona fide Steelers players were wearing. Another indication something was amiss was the pads under the man's jersey. The Steelers weren't wearing them for practice Saturday.

Other than that, the man looked the part, and he apparently arrived on campus seeking a tryout with his favorite football team. His scheme was quickly snuffed out, and he was escorted off the turf practice field by conditioning coordinator Garret Giemont. Steelers players seemed amused by the man's diligence, and Antonio Brown laughed and talked briefly with the intruder. The man, whose identity was not revealed, was assisted to a golf cart where he was greeted by security personnel and a policeman. After a few moments of polite conversation, the man jumped into the back of the golf cart and was whisked away from the practice field. Steelers officials declined comment about the situation. When asked about the intruder at his post-practice press gathering, coach Mike Tomlin said "I'll pass" and walked away.



9 Fruits and Vegetables You Don't Want to Fridge - August 13

Small fridges don't work if you have mountains of food to keep cold, so it's good to know which foods like the fridge and which ones would prefer to stay out. This has two benefits: It frees up room in the refrigerator, plus it allows non-fridge-loving produce to shine in its full potential of texture and flavor.

1. Tomatoes

Putting a tomato in the refrigerator is sentencing it to a sad future in which it loses its beautiful flavor. That gorgeous, luscious taste of a tomato is determined by sugars, acids, and volatile chemical compounds. Refrigeration doesn't affect the first two, but it basically turns off the synthesis of the volatiles, rendering the poor things bland and insipid. Free the flavor compounds! Leave your tomatoes out!

2. Cucumbers, eggplants, peppers

These tropical fruits, as strange as that sounds, don't love the cold. While they can be refrigerated, they don't require it, and when kept too cold for their tropical little bodies, may develop pitting and soft spots.

3. Onions, shallots, garlic

While chives, green onions and ramps all prefer the cool of the fridge, their papery allium cousins, onions, shallots, and garlic, prefer a cool, dry place that is not the fridge. And note that they come in a mesh/net bag, that's because they like to breathe, so be sure not to suffocate them with plastic.

4. Potatoes, sweet potatoes

Scientists say to leave potatoes out, because of all the surprising things: potential cancer risk! One study concludes: "Don't keep raw potatoes in the fridge. At low temperatures, an enzyme called invertase breaks down the sugar sucrose into glucose and fructose, which can form acrylamide [a chemical linked to cancer] during cooking." Into a dark and dry spot the potatoes go.

5. Summer fruits

Peaches, plums, cherries, all stone fruits with pits, will become mealy and flavorless if put in the fridge before they've had a chance to ripen. As the Los Angeles Times explains, "When under-ripe stone fruit is chilled below 50 degrees, the ripening process is stopped and all of those wonderful flavors and aromas never get a chance to appear." They can eventually go in the fridge once they are properly ripe, but you will likely devour them all at that point anyway.

6. Winter squashes

Does anyone put winter squashes, like butternut and acorn, in the fridge? They are so gorgeous that they deserve a starring role on the counter. But aside from their good looks, their flavor is better when they are left out.

7. Some melons

Melons with rough netted skins (like cantaloupe) will continue to ripen after they've been picked, so do not put them in the fridge or they will not become the sweet juicy things they were destined to become. Smooth skinned melons like honeydew resist further ripening, so they won't protest too much if they're forced into the icebox, even if they seem juicier and better tasting at room temperature.

8. Avocados

Avocados should only go in the fridge once they are ripe and threatening to turn into mush. Before that, they will refuse to ripen in the cold, and nobody likes hard avocados. If you eat enough avocados, the best strategy is to buy them ahead of time while still nice and hard, leave them out, and eat them as they ripen.

9. Basil

Oh basil, why so sensitive? Most herbs fare finely in the fridge, especially when the stems are dunked in a glass of water. But finicky basil is touchy in the cold and will turn on you by softening and turning brown when left in the fridge for too long.


no fridge

Jason Statham's The Meg Exceeds Expectations

Box Office Guru - August 12

Much like the summer of 1975, sharks were back in fashion this weekend as The Meg powered past expectations to lead the box office. Sometimes all audiences want is mindless, escapist fun and that's what Jason Statham and company provided with The Meg which opened to a powerful $44.5M, according to estimates, from 4,118 theaters for a per screen average of $10,806. Critics were on the poor side of mixed while audiences gave the film a B+ CinemaScore. Overseas the film took in an additional $97M, according to estimates, including a massive $50M from China. Its worldwide total stands at $141M. How soon before WB greenlights a sequel?

Mission: Impossible - Fallout had to settle for the runner-up position as it added another $20M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its total up to $162M after three weekends. Disney's Christopher Robin fell 51% in its second weekend to an estimated $12M bringing its cume up to $50M. Look for a finale in the $75-80M range which is decent but disappointing for a Disney film over the last few years.

Quietly sneaking into theaters was the horror flick Slender Man which opened to a decent $11.3M, according to estimates, from 2,358 theaters for a per screen average of $4,792. That being said, critics demolished the film while audiences... also hated it giving it a D- CinemaScore. Spike Lee returned with arguably his best received film in decades as BlacKkKLansman debuted with an estimated $10.8M from 1,512 theaters for a per screen average of $7,142, second best in the top 10. Critics were fawning over the film while audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore.

Outside of the top 10 opening to extremely poor results was the rom-com Dog Days which only managed an estimated $2.6M this weekend from 2,442 theaters. Critics were on the positive side of mixed while audiences enjoyed what they saw giving the film an A- CinemaScore. Throw in an additional $1M from its Wednesday opening and its cume now stands at $3.6M. Perhaps better marketing would have lifted it higher?


"The Meg"

Drake Finally Falls to Travis Scott

Billboard - August 12

Travis Scott's Astroworld bows atop the Billboard 200 chart with 2018's second-largest week for an album, earning the rapper his second No. 1. The set, which was released Aug. 3 via Cactus Jack/Grand Hustle/Epic Records, earned 537,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Aug. 9, according to Nielsen Music. Of that total, 270,000 were driven by traditional album sales, the biggest sales week of 2018. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Drake's Scorpion falls one slot, after spending five straight weeks atop the list. Scorpion earned 117,000 equivalent album units (down 19 percent).

Mac Miller's Swimming arrives at No. 3 with 66,000 units (of which 30,000 were in traditional album sales), garnering the hip-hop artist his fifth consecutive top five-charting release. His last album, The Divine Feminine, debuted and peaked at No. 2 in 2016 with 48,000 units earned (32,000 of what sum were album sales). Malone's beerbongs & bentleys falls one rung to No. 4 (down 7 percent). The album has yet to depart the top four in its 15 weeks on the list. At No. 5, YG notches his third top 10 effort, as Stay Dangerous bows with 56,000 units (11,000 in traditional album sales). He previously visited the top 10 with 2016's Still Brazy (No. 6) and 2014's My Krazy Life (No. 2).

Juice WRLD's Goodbye & Good Riddance falls 4-6 (down 3 percent), Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy descends 5-7 (down 8 percent) and XXXTentacion's ? moves 6-8 (down 13 percent). Hip-hop dominates the top 10, as, for the first time, the entire top eight titles are all hip-hop sets. That beats the previous hot streak, when the top six were locked down by hip-hop on the July 21-dated tally (which was then replicated on the July 28 and Aug. 11-dated lists). Closing out the Billboard 200's new top 10 are the highest ranking non-hip-hop sets on the tally: the soundtracks to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (moving 7-9; down 27 percent) and The Greatest Showman (9-10; down 9 percent).



Amish Uber

Oddity Central - August 12

In the currently oversaturated market of ride-sharing, entrepreneurs strive to out-innovate one another by offering unique perks. One such pioneer is Timothy Hochstedler from Colon, Michigan, who's created a one-of-a-kind "Amish Uber". He isn't actually affiliated with Uber, but has stepped up to fulfill the needs of an area lacking in taxi options. Nowadays, when you want to get somewhere and you don't have a car, or don't want to drive, all you have to do is whip out your smartphone, open up the app for Uber, and you'll get a lift to your desired destination within minutes. But while other regular ride-share passengers climb into a car, Timothy's customers step up into a horse-drawn buggy. For just $5, he will take riders throughout Colon on a scenic trip to wherever they desire.

"Most of them aren't from Colon, but the Colon people have given me a few options like: 'Would you give me a ride to Curly's? Would you go to my house?' And, yeah I'd do that",Hochstedler said. But how do you catch a ride from Timothy and his horse, when the Amish are forbidden from using electronic devices? He certainly doesn't have an app, or even a smartphone, for that matter. Well, he simply rides around town with his buggy, advertising his services as "Amish horse buggy rides: $5". Instead of making a request on your smartphone, you'll have to flag Timothy down, then hop in his buggy. As with Uber and other ride-shares, you can also choose to have others picked up on the way so you can split the costs.


Amish Uber

Stay Away from Poppy Seeds Before a Drug Test

Mother Nature Network - August 12

Perhaps you've heard this one before: If you eat poppy seeds shortly before a drug test, you may end up with a false positive for the opioid morphine. You probably assumed it was a myth. It's not, as one new mom recently found out to her horror. Elizabeth Eden from Baltimore County, Maryland, tested positive for opioids while she was in labor after she had eaten a poppy seed bagel earlier in the day, Newsweek reports. Her doctor reported her to the state before telling her about the positive test or giving her a chance to explain. For five days, she wasn't allowed to leave the hospital, even though she and the baby are fine. She even had a caseworker assigned to her. In the end, her case was closed because tests showed she hadn't used any opioids, but it was a "traumatic" experience, she said.

What do poppy seeds and morphine have in common? There are various types of poppies, and only some of them produce narcotics. The flower known as "opium poppy," Papaver somniferous, is used to produce morphine, heroin and other painkillers, says Slate. The same variety of poppy also produces the seeds that are used for culinary purposes, like the poppy seed bagel Eden ate shortly before labor.

It's the milk-like substance that's taken out of the seed pod that produces the illegal drug, but sometimes the dried and cleaned seeds that are also inside the seed pod can be contaminated with opium milk, according to the New Zealand Drug Foundation. While the residual opium milk on poppy seeds won't make someone who eats a bagel or slice of lemon cake feel the effects of morphine, it can mess with a drug test. The residual opium milk in poppy seeds usually doesn't last longer in your body than 12 to 24 hours, but in some cases it can stay around for two or three days. If you're due to give birth anytime soon or will be taking a drug test for employment, skip anything with poppy seeds, and you'll skip the hassle of dealing with a false positive.



Trump and Flat-Earthers Take Issue with Each Other

The Daily Beast - August 12

President Donald Trump wants a Space Force to expand U.S. military power beyond the globe. That's a problem for flat earthers who incorrectly believe the world is a flat disc floating through space. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced plans to launch "Space Force," a sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020. The proposed branch would be reserved specifically for outer space operations. Military experts say the Air Force currently carries out space missions just fine. And flat earthers say going to space is basically impossible, so why bother trying. "While there is some difference of opinion between different Flat Earth groups, I think it's fair to say that the overall belief is that sustained spaceflight is impossible, or at the very least cost-prohibitive", Pete Svarrior, a spokesperson for the Flat Earth Society told The Daily Beast.

The Flat Earth Society is one of the best-known, apparently serious groups of people who claim Earth is not round, but a disk, maybe one covered with a dome. The flat earth movement has seen a surge in attention in recent years, fueled in part by several minor celebrity adherents, and in part by its convergence with other extreme-fringe conspiracy theories. Flat eartherism, already popular among a small set of conservative evangelicals, now crops up semi-regularly in forums for QAnon, an unhinged pro-Trump conspiracy that has led to multiple armed conflicts. Svarrior said he wasn't sure flat earthers leaned conservative. "In my experience, the Flat Earth Society leans somewhat towards the center of the political spectrum," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of Flat Earth Trump supporters, but I wouldn't say it's a disproportionately large group."

But the flat earth and pro-Trump movements share strands of the same conspiratorial, counter-factual DNA, which has resulted in forums and Facebook groups like the 101-member "QAnon flat earthers club," which accuses Hillary Clinton of being a pedophile and German Chancellor Angela Merkel of being Adolf Hitler's daughter. When Earth is flat, other untruths are trivial.


flat Earth

What is Dry Cleaning?

Live Science - August 11

Despite the name, dry cleaning is a process that uses liquids other than water to clean clothes, bedding, upholstery and other types of fabrics. Water can damage certain fabrics, such as wool, leather and silk, and a washing machine can wreak havoc on buttons, lace, sequins and other delicate decorations. Enter dry cleaning.

Dry cleaning chemicals

Dry cleaners use a variety of solvents to clean fabric. Early solvents included gasoline, kerosene, benzene, turpentine and petroleum, which were very flammable and dangerous, according to the State Coalition for Remediation of Drycleaners (SCRD), a group whose members share information about cleanup programs. The 1930s saw the development of synthetic, nonflammable solvents, such as perchloroethylene (also known as perc or PCE) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (also known as GreenEarth), which are still used today. Detergents are typically added to the solvents to aid in the removal of soils, according to an SCRD report titled "Chemicals Used in Drycleaning Operations." Detergents aid dry cleaning in three ways: 

• Carrying moisture to aid in the removal of water-soluble soils.

• Suspending soil after it has been removed from the fabric so it won't be reabsorbed.

• Acting as a spotting agent to penetrate the fabric so that the solvents will be able to remove the stains. 

Detergents are either added into the solvent before dry cleaning begins or added into the process at specific times.

Dry cleaning process

Dry cleaning machines consist of four parts, according to the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), an international trade association for garment care professionals:

• The holding tank or base tank that holds the solvent.

• A pump that circulates the solvent through the machine.

• Filters that trap solid impurities and soils removed from either the solvent or the fabric.

• A cylinder or wheel where the items that are being cleaned are placed.

During dry cleaning, the pump pulls solvent from the tank and sends it through the filters to remove any impurities. The filtered solvent then enters the cylinder, where it interacts with the fabrics and removes any soil. The solvent then travels back into the holding tank so it can begin the process again. After the items complete the cleaning cycle, the machine goes through an extraction cycle, which removes excess solvent. During this process, the rotation rate of the cylinder increases, much like the final spin cycle on a home washing machine. After the extraction cycle completes and the cylinder stops moving, the clothes are either dried within the same machine (if it is a closed system) or transferred into a separate drier. The excess solvent is collected, filtered and transferred back into the holding tank.


dry cleaning

Colonel Sanders Meets Jason Alexander

USA Today - August 7

There's yet another new face for KFC, and this time, it's the face of George Costanza. The fried-chicken chain announced in a press release Monday that its newest Colonel Sanders is Jason Alexander, the actor and comedian best known for his work in the television show "Seinfeld." According to the release, Alexander will help promote the chain's $20 Fill Ups, or buckets targeting large groups. "As the son of two working parents, there were plenty of dinnertimes when a bucket of chicken and all the fixins saved the day," Alexander said in the release. "It's been fun to combine my personal love for KFC with my sitcom experience into a new take on the role of Colonel Sanders." Alexander is the latest celebrity to play the Colonel Sanders character, a tradition that KFC started in 2015. Notable examples include Darrell Hammond, Ray Liotta and Reba McEntire, who played portrayed KFC's first female colonel.



'Homeland' will End after Season 8 - August 7

Showtime president and CEO David Nevins said at TCA on Monday that Homeland's eighth season will be its last. "It's not a cancellation," asserted Nevins. The Alex Gansa-Howard Gordon political thriller has won eight Emmys during its run including best drama in 2012, plus two best actress trophies for star Claire Danes. In April, Danes told Howard Stern on his Sirius XM show that Homeland would end with Season 8, but this is the first official network confirmation of the decision. Homeland was renewed for Season 7 and Season 8 ahead of its sixth season. "Alex Gansa will be bringing his show to its proper conclusion," said Nevins this afternoon. "I can't say how much it has meant to the acceleration of our brand and for me personally: It was the first series I greenlit." "Alex and Claire talked about this (with us) last season," said Nevins, "Alex brought it in and Claire has been the mainstay. But the two of them finally made the decision."

Gary Levine, Showtime president of programming said, "The show isn't limping into the sunset," saying that Homeland has "reinvented itself every year finding different world events that were eerie." No premiere date for the eighth and now final season has been set. Levine said when asked where the action will take place: "I don't think anyone knows."



'The Americans' Wins Big at TV Critics Awards

Hollywood Reporter - August 6

FX's The Americans on Saturday ended its run on a high, taking home Television Critics Association Award wins in three of the four categories in which it was nominated, including program of the year. Star Keri Russell took home the honor for individual achievement in drama as the dearly departed FX spy series, which headed into the 34th annual TCA Awards with the second-most nominations, was also recognized for outstanding achievement in drama as well as being named program of the year. The Americans was the night's only multiple award winner. BBC America's Killing Eve, which entered the night with a leading five noms, was tapped as outstanding new program. NBC's Mike Schur comedy The Good Place collected the prize for outstanding achievement in comedy, while Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan took home the individual achievement in comedy award.

HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver won for achievement in sketch/variety shows (a new award this year), while CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was recognized for achievement in news and information. HBO's Sesame Street was recognized for achievement in youth programming; Netflix's Queer Eye revival took home the top reality programming award; and in the miniseries category, the second season of FX's American Crime Story - The Assassination of Gianni Versace took home the prize.


"The Americans"

Will Season 14 of Criminal Minds Be Its Last? - August 6

When CBS crime drama Criminal Minds clinched another last minute renewal in May, the number of episodes was not revealed amid speculation that the veteran series may be getting an abbreviated final season. The network eventually settled on a 15-episode order but, being on the fall schedule and returning to the Wednesday 10 PM slot, Criminal Minds could conceivably do more, as many as 22 episodes, which has been the norm for the veteran crime procedural. "As scheduling evolves and we try to get more original episodes on air, we have to cut and paste and sometime trimming episodes on some of those shows to get more originals on the air," CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told Deadline at TCA on Sunday. "They possibly can get a couple of more episodes. It depends where they are in production, they will let us know when (we need to make that call)."

Will Season 14 be Criminal Minds' last? "I'm not saying this is the last season," Kahl said. "We will have an honest discussion with them at the right time." While the core cast of Criminal Minds is already locked in for next season, they will have to make new deals for a potential fifteenth season. After a long run at 9 PM, Criminal Minds moved to 10 PM last season. It has improved the time period and is doing well in delayed viewing. The crime drama ended its 13th season on a cliffhanger. It will now be resolved in the Season 14 premiere, which will mark the show's 300th episode.

Criminal Minds revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country's most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. Joe Mantegna stars as David Rossi, along with Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid, A.J. Cook as Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis, Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez and Daniel Henney as Matt Simmons.


"Criminal Minds"

Why Hammocks Will Never Go Away

Mother Nature Network - August 6

Staying at home on the couch is boring. Hanging out at the mall is passé. Sure, you could go outside, but sitting is limited to uncomfortable lawn furniture, folding chairs or, well, the ground. Or is it? The tried-and-true hammock has made a resurgence in the last several years, a low-cost and lightweight way to literally hang out outdoors, whether it be in the woods, a local park, a college campus or your own backyard.

Mocking it up

Short for hammocking, because presumably saying the whole word doesn't convey how chill the activity is, mocking is simply the practice of stringing up some hammocks anywhere there are enough trees or posts and relaxing with others. Or perhaps there's a double meaning, and by engaging in the practice, you're mocking all other forms of relaxing. Either way, the mocking trend garnered attention in the earlier part of the decade as college campuses and some cities saw an uptick in hammock use. Teens and young adults were wrapping up hammocks as places to nap, study or simply meet up with friends and chat in an environment that wasn't a dorm lounge or a stuffy indoor venue. Honestly, though, the point is to do as little as possible.

"It comes as no surprise that the goal of mocking is to, well, not really do much at all," Clint Carolson wrote for 50 Campfires. "I couldn't be happier about this trend. Between coursework and sports, most kids barely have time to eat these days, and it's still important that they find time to do nothing at all." Minneapolis was a hot spot for the craze in the middle of the decade. Multiple stories were written about teens stringing up hammocks in parks around the city and simply hanging out. "Pretty much everyone I know does this," teenager Vaughn Hill told the MinnPost in 2015. "When people want to do something but they don't know what they want to do, you can kind of just hang out and say you're doing something, I guess. I've got my bike and my backpack and my hammock and I'm good."



Trump is Now Truly Screwed - August 6

Special Counsel Robert Mueller just obtained a major court ruling that destroyed any chance Donald Trump ever had of getting his case thrown out. Many people in Trump's camp have argued that Mueller doesn't have the legal authority under the U.S. Constitution to go after the president. That argument has now gone down in flames. Federal Chief Judge Beryl Howell just issued a long 92 page ruling spelling out Mueller's legal authority in detail which essentially means that nobody else is going to be able to challenge that authority. She's a Chief Judge, so this sets a strong legal precedent that will be followed in subsequent cases. The specific case in question concerned the grand jury testimony of Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller, and whether he could be forced to testify.

Over the course of her 92 page analysis Howell strongly rejected an attempt by Miller to quash a subpoena to testify before the grand jury. This may hurt Stone and Trump, but more importantly it sets forth the detailed legal explanation for why the "scope of the Special Counsel's power falls well within the boundaries the Constitution permits." In other words: Mueller's power is valid under the U.S. Constitution, so don't try to challenge it.

Miller's lawyers had argued that Mueller is a "principal officer" who was unconstitutionally appointed since he was not nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Chief Judge Howell found Miller's claim without merit because of the Supreme Court's decision in Morrison v. Olson, which upheld the constitutionality of provisions of a federal statute creating an independent counsel. There also are subsequent court decisions saying the same thing. Howell's ruling holds that Mueller is legally considered to be an "inferior officer" under the supervision of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, and thus did not need to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. "Mr. Mueller's appointment, without presidential appointment and senatorial confirmation, did not violate the Appointments Clause," Howell wrote in her opinion.



Can't Quit Smoking? Go Ask Alice - August 6

Using psychoactive drugs, such as magic mushrooms could help people defeat their addiction to tobacco, scientists have suggested. This is because the intense psychedelic experiences mean they forget withdrawal symptoms, claim scientists. The active compound found in magic mushrooms is called psilocybin and was administered to a handful of smokers. The six-year study aimed to uncover the mechanism in the brain that makes it so difficult to kick the habit. 'Cigarette smoking is today a huge public health scourge and there are no effective reliable treatments,' said Tehseen Noorani of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Durham University. 'An open-label pilot study had impressive results in the treatment of cigarette smoking addiction with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, and we wanted to understand better how it worked, commonly referred to as the 'mechanisms of change'.'   

For the study, the researchers interviewed 12 individuals who had participated in a previous study on psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation. In the original study, the participants received cognitive-behaviour therapy along with two or three psilocybin treatment sessions. The interviews were conducted an average of 30 months after the initial psilocybin sessions. Nine of the 15 participants had effectively quit smoking after treatment with the magic mushroom-derived compound, while two relapsed and one participant became a social smoker. Participants also reported benefits besides overcoming nicotine addiction. 

The people in the study reported heightened levels of aesthetic appreciation, openness to experience and engagement in the community. 'The careful preparation of participants and considered facilitation of sessions was vital, as was the trust in the team and rapport, for participants to explore their smoking addiction and to fully relax into their psilocybin experiences', said Dr Noorani.



How AT&T and Verizon Separate Fools from Their Money - August 6

Tens of millions of people in the AT&T and Verizon service territories can only buy slow DSL Internet from the companies, yet they often have to pay the same price as fiber customers who get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the US. That's the conclusion of a new white paper written by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), a broadband advocacy group. AT&T has been charging $60 a month to DSL customers for service between 6 and 10Mbps downstream and 0.6Mbps to 1Mbps upstream, the white paper notes, citing AT&T's advertised prices from July 2018. AT&T also charges $60 a month for 50Mbps and 75Mbps download tiers and even for fiber service with symmetrical upload and download speeds of 100Mbps. These are the regular rates after first-year discounts end, before any extra fees and taxes.

Verizon similarly charges $65 a month for 100Mbps fiber service (including a $10 router charge), and $63 or $64 a month for DSL service that provides download speeds between 1.5Mbps and 15Mbps, the white paper says. The price is this high partly "because Verizon ADSL service at any speed requires paying separately for a landline telephone account."

"[I]n recent years, the nation's two largest telco ISPs, AT&T and Verizon, have eliminated their cheaper rate tiers for low and mid-speed Internet access, except at the very slowest levels," the NDIA wrote. "Each company now charges essentially identical monthly prices, $63-$65 a month after first-year discounts have ended, for home wireline broadband connections at almost any speed up to 100/100 Mbps fiber service." The exceptions are for Verizon DSL service with download speeds of 768kbps or less and for AT&T service with download speeds from 768kbps to 5Mbps. For those extremely slow services, "the two companies charge $10 a month less," or $50 a month, the NDIA wrote.

AT&T didn't dispute any of the specific prices from the NDIA report but called it "misleading."



The Return of Jean-Luc Picard (Update) - August 5

It's official, Patrick Stewart is returning to the Star Trek franchise. The acclaimed Shakespearean actor is set to headline a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access, reprising his iconic Next Generation character, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The project, which has been rumored since the June announcement of a Star Trek universe expansion with new series, was just unveiled by Stewart himself in a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. The new series, which is not a Star Trek: Next Generation reboot, will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard's life. It will be shepherded by Star Trek: Discovery co-creator/executive producer Alex Kurtzman who was tapped to oversee development of new Star Trek content under a big new overall deal with CBS TV Studios. "With overwhelming joy, it's a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold," Kurtzman said. "For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can't wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old."



"Tick, Tock" Trump..."Tick, Tock" - August 5

Maria Butina, the Russian gun-rights activist who was charged last month with working as anunregistered agent of the Kremlin, socialized in the weeks before the 2016 election with a former Trump campaign aide who anticipated joining the presidential transition team, emails show, putting her in closer contact with President Trump's orbit than was previously known. Butina sought out interactions with J.D. Gordon, who served for six months as the Trump campaign's director of national security before leaving in August 2016 and being offered a role in the nascent Trump transition effort, according to documents and testimony provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee and described to The Washington Post.

The two exchanged several emails in September and October 2016, culminating in an invitation from Gordon to attend a concert by the rock band Styx in Washington. Gordon also invited Butina to attend his birthday party in late October of that year. Prosecutors have said Butina, 29, who became a graduate student at American University in 2016, attempted to infiltrate the U.S. political system at the direction of a senior Russian official. Her activities cameat the same time that, according to U.S. intelligence officials, Moscow was seeking to interfere in the presidential election to help Trump. During the campaign, Butina asked Trump at a public event in 2015 about his views on Russia and briefly met Donald Trump Jr. at a National Rifle Association meeting in May 2016.

U.S. investigators probing alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia have been examining dozens of contacts between Russians and Trump associates, including Trump Jr., former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Gordon, 50, a former naval officer who served as a Pentagon spokesman under President George W. Bush before working on several Republican political campaigns, said his contacts with Butina were innocuous.



The Return of 'Better Call Saul'

Review by Michael Starr of The New York Post - August 5

It's been nearly 14 months between "Better Call Saul" ending its third season and Monday's (Aug. 6) Season 4 return on AMC (9 p.m.). It was worth the wait. That being said, "Saul" fans would be well-advised to watch last season's finale like I did for a quick refresher, but here's a snapshot: Kim (Rhea Seehorn) was recovering from her car crash; Chuck (Michael McKean) was forced out of HHM by Howard (Patrick Fabian); and Hector (Mark Margolis) collapsed after a parking-lot confrontation with drug overlord Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda) and Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Jimmy (series star Bob Odenkirk), meanwhile, moved out of his law office and tried apologizing to Chuck. (It didn't end well.) In the episode's final scene, Chuck, battling a crippling relapse of his psychosis (an aversion to electricity), torched his house, with himself inside.

Fans of the show will be pleased, I think, with how the Season 4 opener plays out, setting up several storylines that, if past seasons are any indication, will be woven into these 10 episodes and might even carry over into Season 5 (which was recently announced by AMC). Expect to see much more of Gus and of Howard: Gus, as his ties to the cartel and to Madrigal grow deeper, and Howard as he deals with Chuck's death. Patrick Fabian, in my opinion, has been the show's secret weapon since Day One, as Howard has slowly morphed from unctuous to combative to empathetic. I hope Fabian gets more screen time this season to flesh out what has proven to be an interesting, quirky, multi-faceted character.

Monday's episode, "Smoke," is well-written and hews closely to the show's mythology and tropes, including its Emmy-nominated cinematography (dark and shadowy), which creates a world in which the bright Albuquerque sun is cast in a sinister, forbidding hue, and its innovative camera work, which can be overdone at times. Do we really need to see yet another closeup of water circling a drain? It's clever. We get it. But these are minor quibbles in a series that continues to thrive in its singular universe and move forward in an absorbing direction.


"Better Call Saul"

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

Fox News - August 5

Canada's new radio telescope has picked up a mysterious signal from deep in space with a frequency so low, it's never been detected before. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, detected the strange noise known as a fast radio burst on July 25, reported. FRBs are frequently picked up on radio telescopes though their exact origins aren't fully understood. This most recent one, named FRB 180725A, is notable because of its low frequency of 580 megahertz. Before it, there has never been an FRB picked up below 700 MHz. It's likely that FRBs come from turbulent black hole activity, such as when two black holes merge into one. CHIME is located in British Columbia and its FRB from last month was reported in a post by the Astronomer's Telegram. One FRB, FRB 121102, has been detected several times before, and researchers believe its origin is in a galaxy some three billion light years from Earth, meaning it'd have to be extremely powerful to be picked up on a telescope.


radio telescope

Scare Off Burglars with Alexa - August 5

Some people leave lights, music or the TV on when they're away from home in an attempt to ward off burglars, but a new Alexa skill called "Away Mode" has a different idea. Instead of lights and noises, you can keep your home safe from unwanted visitors by playing lengthy audio tracks that sound like real, and completely ridiculous, conversations. When you launch Away Mode, Alexa will play one of seven audio tracks penned by comedy writers from SNL, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and UCB. The company doesn't have permission to share all the writers' names at this time, but says there were half a dozen involved, including Kristin Belka Maier of "Always Sunny…" These include gems like "Couple Has Breakup While Also Trying to Watch TV," "Two Average Guys Brainstorm What's Unique About Themselves So They Can Start a Podcast About It," "Emergency PTA Meeting To Discuss Memes, Fidget Spinners, and Other Teen Fads," and more.

There are conversations from a book club where no one discusses the book, a mom walking her daughter through IKEA assembly over the phone, a stay-at-home mom losing her s***, and argument over a board game. For example, the mom can be heard yelling things like: "For the love of god! Cadence! No. No! Okay, it looks like someone should put their listening ears on! Momma's gonna count to three!" A would-be podcaster pitches his friend: "Okay. You know how much I love ketchup, right?" The board game players argue: "Hand me the rulebook! The other rulebook! That's the rules reference…. No, it's in the learn-to-play guide. That's the quick reference!" The mom gives IKEA instructions: "You put the cylinders into the holes. No, wait. Yeah. You put the cylinders into the holes. You see 'em? Good. Well, wait, hold on a sec. I think I missed a step. Now it's saying you put that piece on what looks like a fully built dresser. When did that happen?" 

After enabling the skill on your Alexa device, you can cycle through the various conversations by saying "Next." The idea for this wacky skill comes from the folks at homeowners' insurance startup Hippo Insurance, who are using it as a means to get a little free advertising.


Away Mode

Meet "Death-Metal Grandma"

Oddity Central - August 5

She may not look like one, but 96-year-old Inge Gingsberg is a rock star. She is the songwriter and lead vocalist of death metal group TritoneKings and is known as "Death-Metal Grandma". Inge has had quite a remarkable life. She grew up in Austria, but was forced to flee to Switzerland in the early days of World War 2, to avoid persecution. She spent years in a refugee camp, and after the war, she and her husband relocated to Hollywood, where they had to start their new life from scratch. Inge was able to begin a career in the music industry, composing songs for some of the most popular singers at the time, such as Nat King Cole, Doris Day, and Dean Martin. After a while, Inge started to get tired of Hollywood life, and decided to reinvent herself. Today, she is the vocalist of a death metal band.

Despite being in her 90s, she decided to form a metal band with Pedro. They took the name The TritoneKings, with Inge handling lyric writing duties, and Pedro and the rest of the band writing the music. This new creative outlet allowed Inge to spread her message to a whole new audience. She and the band have taken part in various competitions, such as Switzerland's Got Talent and America's Got Talent, and their songs have thousands of views online. "I can write my poetry, except nobody would hear it," Inge said, "but if I take part in the competitions, millions of people hear it on YouTube." But what exactly is Inge Gingsberg's message? "Every one of my songs has a message," she said. "The first one is don't destroy what you can't replace. But the second is a very heavy message to it: you can't avoid death, so laugh about it."


Death Metal Grandma