Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer in the City

A special Rink Rats Weekend Edition: What interests RRs and what we are doing this summer 2015 July weekend.

What is the weather like this Saturday morning in areas of interest to Rink Rats?

Clareville, CA – High of 82 degrees, chance of thunderstorms, yes thunderstorms

Beijing, China – High of 79 degrees, thunderstorms

Canton, New York – High of 81 degrees, chance of afternoon showers

Jackson, Michigan – High of 90 degrees, partly sunny skies

Saint Andrews, Scotland – High of 64 degrees, windy

Kuwait City, Kuwait – High of 117 degrees, sunny skies

Sao Paulo, Brazil – High of 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies

SUMMER’S DEEP FREEZE – It’s summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

There’s also the widely held misconception that colder temperatures make workers more alert and productive when, in fact, research shows the opposite. Studies have shown people work less and make more mistakes when the air temperature is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit versus 74 to 76 degrees. Moreover, some research indicates feeling cold can take a psychological toll, making people untrusting, uncommunicative and unfriendly.

A region of the brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for our body’s thermoregulatory system, constricting blood vessels when we are cold and dilating them when we are hot to maintain a safe core body temperature. Your physical discomfort is essentially the hypothalamus prodding you to say, put on a sweater if it’s chilly or fan yourself when it’s hot.

Extreme temperature changes like entering a freezing lobby on a sweltering summer day may feel good at first, but it makes the hypothalamus go nuts, intensifying physical and psychological discomfort when the initial pleasure wears off — as if to say: “A blizzard is on its way! Do something!”

A couple of computer scientists have developed a smartphone app (what else is new) that proposes to solve that problem by making people the thermostats. Users can tell the app, called Comfy, whether they are hot, cold or just right. Over time, it learns trends and preferences and tells the air-conditioning system when and where to throttle up or throttle back the cooling. So far it’s used in a dozen buildings, including some of Google’s offices and some government-owned buildings, for a total of three million square feet. The developers claim Comfy-equipped buildings realize savings of up to 25 percent in cooling costs.

Of course, for fresh air and comfort, engineers and architects tend to agree the most effective control is being able to open and close the windows. No app required.

BARBECUE – Rink Rat’s favorite BBQ Sauce –

2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1 smallish onion, coarsely chopped (preferably a Spanish or other sweet onion)
3 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 canned chipotle en adobo, chopped (note that this is 1 chipotle pepper from a can of peppers, not 1 can of peppers)
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika (pimentón)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon molasses
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chile, ancho chile powder, paprika, brown sugar, honey, and molasses and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

3. Scrape the barbecue sauce into a food processor or blender and purée until smooth or until the desired consistency. The sauce will be quite, quite thick. Let cool to room temperature. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. You can start dousing and dolloping right away, although if you wait overnight you’ll be rewarded with a more complex, three-dimensional taste. (You can cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.)

After you’ve made this quick and easy sauce once, you’ll want to slather it on grilled chicken, steak, pork chops…you might never go back to the bottled stuff.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 4.1 TRILLION - That's how many megabytes of mobile data Americans used in 2014, according to a new report from CTIA - The Wireless Association. That's 26 percent higher than data usage in 2013, and it's distributed across 243.4 million mobile devices. Other interesting stats: Americans send 3.6 million text messages and 300,000 photos and videos each minute, according to the report. The trade group is using the stats to back up its push to make more spectrum available to wireless carriers.


 Q. You and your opponent agree to concede all putts within a club length of the hole in an effort to speed up play. Is this permissible?”
What is the correct answer?

Nope, you may not agree in advance to concede putts.

FISHING – Our good friend, Sula Vanderplank, Consejera de Ciencia – Science Advisor at Terra Peninsular and Biodiversity Explorer at Botanical Research Institute of Texas, along with Linda MacKechnie, a Rink Rats Science Advisor – posts a cool picture of her fishing exploits off the Baja Peninsula.

Nice catch Sula!

IT MUST BE THE WATER – An Illinois couple welcomed the 100th child born to their children, grandchildren, and other descendants. Ruth and Leo Zanger have been married for 59 years and have 12 children, 53 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, and now one great-great-grandchild. “We could start our own town,” Leo said.

RINK RATS TRAVEL - The new frontier in air travel: digital bag tags. As the number of passengers climbs, airlines are developing technologies to improve and automate how they handle and track bags. Their latest ideas include allowing fliers to tag their own bags and print luggage tags at home, and track their bags on smartphones and tags that digitally update if flight plans change. The moves, however, face hurdles, including opposition from unions, security rules and fliers who prefer a human touch. In other travel news, the new normal for airlines appears to be more capacity on existing jets, but fewer trips. According to an analysis of data by the Journal, U.S. airlines are offering 12% more domestic seats this month than two years ago, but 4.4% fewer flights.

DEADHEAD FINALE -"Grateful Dead Close Out Their Final Concert With ... 'Please, Be Kind,': The Dead's 'core four' - Phil Lesh on bass, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart handling percussion and Bob Weir on rhythm guitar - embraced and waved from center stage after taking their final bows just before midnight, capping more than three hours of the band's famously improvisational jams spread across two sets and two encores. [Hart:] 'The feeling we have here - remember it, take it home and do some good with it ... I'll leave you with this: Please, be kind.'"

SPORTS BLINK - U.S. Women's Soccer Team Will Get $33 Million Less Prize Money Than The Men's World Cup Winner: The United States Women's National Team will get a paltry $2 million for its victory on Sunday. The men's German team got $35 million for winning the 2014 World Cup.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Stanford University finished out the year a top the final 2014-15 Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings this season with 1448 total points. Stanford scored in 25 total sports, but only 10 men’s and 10 women’s sports are scored in the standings. The following scores were omitted – women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s lacrosse and women’s outdoor track and field and wrestling.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) led all conferences with seven teams finishing in the top-25 – Florida (4th), Georgia (14th), LSU (15th), Arkansas (16th), Texas A&M (17th), Kentucky (22nd) and Alabama (25th).

UCLA finished second with 1236 points. The Bruins have scored in 19 total sports, including 50 points in baseball.

USC secured its third place finish with its 50 points in baseball to increase its total to 1209 points. The Gators of Florida finished in fourth overall with 1188.5 points. Florida had one score omitted on the women’s side, women’s cross country due to scoring in 11 women’s sports.

Rounding out the top five is North Carolina with 1152 points The Tar Heels scored in 24 total sports with the following scores omitted, women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field and men’s indoor track and field.

All 13 spring Division I championships have been completed with the following institutions capturing titles: baseball – Virginia; softball – Florida; women’s golf – Stanford; men’s golf – LSU; women’s lacrosse – Maryland; men’s lacrosse – Denver; women’s rowing – Ohio State; women’s tennis –Vanderbilt; men’s tennis – Virginia; women’s outdoor track & field – Oregon; men’s outdoor track & field – Oregon; men’s volleyball – Loyola Chicago; women’s water polo – Stanford.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women’s and 10 men’s.

WHY THE NEW BOSS IS YOUNGER THAN YOU ARE - Top Executives Are Getting Younger ... More companies hire chiefs in their late 40s. As older baby boomers retire, more companies are turning to members of Gen X, those born between about 1965 and 1980, and younger boomers, now in their mid-50s. Among companies that have recently appointed CEOs aged 50 or younger are McDonald's Corp., Harley-Davidson Inc., Microsoft Corp., and 21st Century Fox ...

As members of the first generation to use personal computers from childhood, they are generally more tech savvy. They also spend more time wooing and keeping younger staffers, and worrying about how to keep products and services relevant for the rising millennials projected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. Gen X and young boomer CEOs also generally take more risks and react faster to sudden business shifts than the CEOs they replaced."


Dustin Johnson wins The Open…U.S.A. Men Soccer 2 Cuba 1….Los Angeles Angels 5 Boston Red Sox 3…Joe Zanetta for the 32nd straight year will get The Swami’s birth date wrong by a week.

Season to date (60-28)

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEKEND – Birthday wishes and thoughts this weekend to: Lucie Arnaz (64), Dick Button (86), Diahann Carroll (80), Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (68), Nick Faldo (58), David Hasselhoff (63), “Action” Jackson Krich (2), Donald Sutherland (83), Joe Torre (75).

WEEKEND ROAD TRIP - They’ll take Manhattan: Obama, daughters explore New York, POTUS, [his] two teenage daughters, ... plus some of the girls' friends, ... had a wide-open day [today] after zigzagging around Manhattan in dad's motorcade [last] night. They lingered past 11 p.m. over dinner at an Italian place in Greenwich Village [Carbone, on Thompson Street between Bleecker and W. Houston Street, per pooler Byron Tau] and took an after-hours tour of the Whitney Museum that lasted until midnight. ...

President Obama was scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday night. He'll be back in New York ... Tuesday for one last appearance with Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ and a Democratic fundraiser.

THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD: On Monday, the President will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House. ... On Tuesday, the President will travel to Pittsburgh ... to address the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. Following the convention, the President will travel to New York, New York and will tape an appearance on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.’ In the evening, the President will attend a [DSCC] event. On Wednesday, the President will meet with small business owners to discuss the importance of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. On Thursday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, the President will travel to Nairobi, Kenya. On Friday, the President will arrive in Nairobi.

Monday: Greece and the state of Banking and those who get it.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 18, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEKEND – Tom Toro, New Yorker Magazine

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