Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why Computer is Dumb

Most people think computers will never be able to think.   That is, really
think. Not now or ever. To be sure, most people also agree that computers
can do many things that a person would have to be thinking to do. Then
how could a machine seem to think but not actually think? Well, setting
aside the question of what thinking actually is, I think that most of us
would answer that by saying that in these cases, what the computer is
doing is merely a superficial imitation of human intelligence. It has been
designed to obey certain simple commands, and then it has been provided
with programs composed of those commands. Because of this, the
computer has to obey those commands, but without any idea of what's

Indeed, when computers first appeared, most of their designers intended
them for nothing only to do huge, mindless computations. That's why the
things were called "computers". Yet even then, a few pioneers --
especially Alan Turing -- envisioned what's now called "Artificial
Intelligence" - or "AI". They saw that computers might possibly go
beyond arithmetic, and maybe imitate the processes that go on inside
human brains.

Today, with robots everywhere in industry and movie films, most people
think Al has gone much further than it has. Yet still, "computer experts"
say machines will never really think. If so, how could they be so smart,
and yet so dumb?

================== CAN MACHINES BE CREATIVE? ==================

We naturally admire our Einsteins and Beethovens, and wonder if
computers ever could create such wondrous theories or symphonies. Most
people think that creativity requires some special, magical "gift" that
simply cannot be explained. If so, then no computer could create - since
anything machines can do (most people think can be explained.

To see what's wrong with that, we must avoid one naive trap. We mustn't
only look at works our culture views as very great, until we first get good
ideas about how ordinary people do ordinary things. We can't expect to
guess, right off, how great composers write great symphonies. I don't
believe that there's much difference between ordinary thought and
highly creative thought. I don't blame anyone for not being able to do
everything the most creative people do. I don't blame them for not being
able to explain it, either. I do object to the idea that, just because we can't
explain it now, then no one ever could imagine how creativity works.

We shouldn't intimidate ourselves by our admiration of our Beethovens
and Einsteins. Instead, we ought to be annoyed by our ignorance of how
we get ideas - and not just our "creative" ones. Were so accustomed to the
marvels of the unusual that we forget how little we know about the
marvels of ordinary thinking. Perhaps our superstitions about creativity
serve some other needs, such as supplying us with heroes with such
special qualities that, somehow, our deficiencies seem more excusable.

Do outstanding minds differ from ordinary minds in any special way? I
don't believe that there is anything basically different in a genius, except
for having an unusual combination of abilities, none very special by
itself. There must be some intense concern with some subject, but that's
common enough. There also must be great proficiency in that subject;
this, too, is not so rare; we call it craftsmanship. There has to be enough
self-confidence to stand against the scorn of peers; alone, we call that
stubbornness. And certainly, there must be common sense. As I see it, any
ordinary person who can understand an ordinary conversation has
already in his head most of what our heroes have. So, why can't
"ordinary, common sense" - when better balanced and more fiercely
motivated - make anyone a genius,

So still we have to ask, why doesn't everyone acquire such a combination?
First, of course, it sometimes just the accident of finding a novel way to
look at things. But, then, there may be certain kinds of difference-in-
degree. One is in how such people learn to manage what they learn:
beneath the surface of their mastery, creative people must have
unconscious administrative skills that knit the many things they know
together. The other difference is in why some people learn so many more
and better skills. A good composer masters many skills of phrase and
theme - but so does anyone who talks coherently.

Why do some people learn so much so well? The simplest hypothesis is
that they've come across some better ways to learn! Perhaps such "gifts"
are little more than tricks of "higher-order" expertise. Just as one child
learns to re-arrange its building-blocks in clever ways, another child
might learn to play, inside its head, at Fe-arranging how it learns!

Our cultures don't encourage us to think much about learning. Instead
we regard it as something that just happens to us. But learning must itself
consist of sets of skills we grow ourselves; we start with only some of them
and and slowly grow the rest. Why don't more people keep on learning
more and better learning skills? Because it's not rewarded right away, its
payoff has a long delay. When children play with pails and sand, they're
usually concerned with goals like filling pails with sand. But once a child
concerns itself instead with how to better learn, then that might lead to
exponential learning growth! Each better way to learn to learn would lead
to better ways to learn - and this could magnify itself into an awesome,
qualitative change. Thus, first-rank "creativity" could be just the
consequence of little childhood accidents.

So why is genius so rare, if each has almost all it takes? Perhaps because
our evolution works with mindless disrespect for individuals. I'm sure no
culture could survive, where everyone finds different ways to think. If
so, how sad, for that means genes for genius would need, instead of
nurturing, a frequent weeding out.

================== PROBLEM SOLVING. ==================

We can hardly expect to be able to make machines do wonders before we
find how to make them do ordinary, sensible things. The earliest
computer programs were little more than simple lists and loops of
commands like "Do this. Do that. Do this and that and this again until that
happens". Most people still write programs in such languages (like BASIC
or FORTRAN) which force you to imagine everything your program will
do from one moment to the next. Let's call this "do now" programming.

Before long, Al researchers found new ways to make programs. In their
"General Problem Solver" system, built in the late 1950's- Allen Newell,
J.C.Shaw and Herbert A.Simon showed ways to describe processes in terms
of statements like "If the difference between what you have and what you
want is of kind D, then try to change that difference by using method M."
This and other ideas led to what we call "means-ends" and "do if needed"
programming methods. Such programs automatically apply rules
whenever they're needed, so the programmers don't have to anticipate
when that will happen. This started an era of programs that could solve
problems in ways their programmers could not anticipate, because the
programs could be told what sorts of things to try, without knowing in
advance which would work. Everyone knows that if you try enough
different things at random, eventually you can do anything. But when
that takes a million billion trillion years, like those monkeys hitting
random typewriter keys, it's not intelligence -- just Evolution. The new
systems didn't do things randomly, but used "advice" about what was
likely to work on each kind of problem. So, instead of wandering around
at random, such programs could sort of feel around, the way you'd climb a
hill in the dark by always moving up the slope. The only trouble was a
tendency to get stuck on smaller peaks, and never find the real mountain

Since then, much Al research has been aimed at finding more "global"
methods, to get past different ways of getting stuck, by making programs
take larger views and plan ahead. Still, no one has discovered a
"completely general" way to always find the best method -- and no one
expects to.

Instead, today, many Al researchers aim toward programs that will match
patterns in memory to decide what to do next. I like to think of this as "do
something sensible" programming. A few researchers -- too few, I think
-- experiment with programs that can learn and reason by analogy. These
programs will someday recognize which old experiences in memory are
most analogous to new situations, so that they can "remember" which
methods worked best on similar problems in the past.

================== CAN COMPUTERS UNDERSTAND? ==================

Can we make computers understand what we tell them? In 1965, Daniel
Bobrow wrote one of the first Rule-Based Expert Systems. It was called
"STUDENT" and it was able to solve a variety of high-school algebra "word
problems"., like these:

The distance from New York to Los Angeles is 3000 miles. If the
average speed of a jet plane is 600 miles per hour, find the time it
takes to travel from New York to Los Angeles by jet.

Bill's father's uncle is twice as old as Bill's father. Two years from
now I Bill's father will be three times as old as Bill. The sum of their
ages is 92.
Find Bill's age.

Most students find these problems much harder than just solving the
formal equations of high school algebra. That's just cook-book stuff -- but
to solve the informal word problems, you have to figure out what
equations to solve and, to do that, you must understand what the words and
sentences mean. Did STUDENT understand? It used a lot of tricks. It was
programmed to guess that "is" usually means "equals". It didn't even try to
figure out what "Bill's fathers' uncle" means -- it only noticed that this
phrase resembles "Bill's father". It didn't know that "age" and "old" refer
to time, but it took them to represent numbers to be put in equations. With
a couple of hundred such word-trick-facts, STUDENT sometimes managed
to get the right answers.

Then dare we say that STUDENT "understands" those words? Why bother.
Why fall into the trap of feeling that we must define old words like
"mean" and "understand"? It's great when words help us get good ideas,
but not when they confuse us. The question should be: does STUDENT avoid
the "real meanings" by using tricks?

Or is it that what we call meanings really are just clever bags of tricks.
Let's take a classic thought-example, such as what a number means.
STUDENT obviously knows some arithmetic, in the sense that it can find
such sums as "5 plus 7 is 12". But does it understand numbers in any other
sense - say, what 5 "is" - or, for that matter, what are "plus" or "is"? What
would �say if I asked you, "What is Five"? Early in this century, the
philosophers Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead proposed a
new way to define numbers. "Five", they said, is "the set of all possible sets
with five members". This set includes each set of five ball-point pens, and
every litter of five kittens. Unhappily, it also includes such sets as "the
Five things you'd least expect" and "the five smallest numbers not
included in this set" -- and these lead to bizarre inconsistencies and
paradoxes. The basic goal was to find perfect definitions for ordinary
words and ideas. But even to make the idea work for Mathematics, getting
around these inconsistencies made the Russell-Whitehead theory too
complicated for practical, common sense, use. Educators once actually
tried to make children use this theory of sets, in the "New Mathematics"
movement of the 1960's; it only further set apart those who liked
mathematics from those who dreaded it. I think the trouble was, it tried to
get around a basic fact of mind: what something means to me depends to
some extent on many other things I know.

What if we built machines that weren't based on rigid definitions? Wont
they just drown in paradox, equivocation, inconsistency? Relax! Most of
what we people "know" already overflows with contradictions; still we
survive. The best we can do is be reasonably careful; let's just make our
machines that careful, too. If there remain some chances of mistake, well,
that's just life.

================== WEBS OF MEANING. ==================

If every meaning in a mind depends on other meanings in that mind,
does that make things too ill-defined to make a scientific project work?
No, even when thing go in circles, there still are scientific things to do!
Just make new kinds of theories - about those circles themselves! The
older theories only tried to hide the circularities. But that lost all the
richness of our wondrous human meaning-webs; the networks in our
human minds are probably more complex than any other structure
Science ever contemplated in the past. Accordingly, the detailed theories
of Artificial Intelligence will probably need, eventually, some very
complicated theories. But that's life, too.

Let's go back to what numbers mean. This time, to make things easier,
well think about Three. I'm arguing that Three, for us, has no one single,
basic definition, but is a web of different processes that each get meaning
from the others. Consider all the roles "Three" plays. One way we tell a
Three is to recite "One, Two, Three", while pointing to the different
things. To do it right, of course, you have to (i) touch each thing once and
(ii) not touch any twice. One way to count out loud while you pick up each
object and remove it. Children learn to do such things in their heads or,
when that's too hard, to use tricks like finger-pointing. Another way to
tell a Three is to use some Standard Set of Three things. Then bring �set of
things to the other set, and match them I one-to-one: if all are matched
and none are left, then there were Three. That "standard I Three" need
not be things, for words like "one, two, three" work just as well. For Five
we have a wider choice. One can think of it as groups of Two and Three, or
One and Four. Or, one can think of some familiar shapes -. a pentagon, an
X, a Vee, a cross, an aeroplane; they all make Fives.

o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o

Because each trick works in different situations, our power stems from
being able to shift from one trick to another. To ask which meaning is
correct - to count, or match, or group - is foolishness. Each has its uses
and its ways to support the others. None has much power by itself, but
together they make a versatile skill-system. Instead of flimsy links in
chain of definitions in the mind, each word we use can activate big webs
of different ways to deal of things, to use them, to remember them, to
compare them, and so forth. With multiply-connected knowledge-nets,
you can't get stuck. When any sense of meaning fails, you can switch to
another. The mathematician's way, once you get into the slightest trouble,
you're stuck for good!

Why, then, do mathematicians stick to slender chains, each thing
depending as few things as is possible? The answer is ironic:
mathematicians want to get stuck! When anything goes wrong, they want
to be the first to notice it. The best way to be sure of that is having
everything collapse at once! To them, fragility is not bad, because it helps
them find the perfect proof, lest any single thing they think be
inconsistent with any other one. That's fine for Mathematics; in fact,
that's what much of mathematics is. It's just not good Psychology. Let's
face it, our minds will always hold some beliefs that turn out wrong.

I think it's bad psychology, when teachers shape our children's
mathematics into long, thin, fragile, definition tower-chains, instead of
robust cross-connected webs. Those chains break at their weakest links,
those towers topple at the slightest shove. And that's what happens to a
child's mind in mathematics class, who only takes a moment just to watch
a pretty cloud go by. The purposes of ordinary people are not the same as
those of mathematicians and philosophers, who want to simplify by
having just as few connections as can be. In real life, the best ideas are
cross-connected as can be. Perhaps that's why our culture makes most
children so afraid of mathematics. We think we help them get things
right, by making things go wrong most times! Perhaps, instead, we ought
to help them build more robust networks in their heads.

================== CASTLES IN THE AIR. ==================

The secret of what something means lies in the ways that it connects to all
the other things we know. The more such links, the more a thing will
mean to us. The joke comes when someone looks for the "real" meaning of
anything. For, if something had just one meaning, that is, if it were only
connected to just one other thing, then it wold scarcely "mean" at all!

That's why I think we shouldn't program our machines that way, with
clear and simple logic definitions. A machine programmed that way
might never "really" understand anything -- any more than a person
would. Rich, multiply-connected networks provide enough different ways
to use knowledge that when one way doesn't work, you can try to figure
out why. When there are many meanings in a network, you can turn
things around in your mind and look at them from different perspectives;
when you get stuck, you can try another view. That's what we mean by

That's why I dislike logic, and prefer to work with webs of circular
definitions. Each gives meaning to the rest. There's nothing wrong with
liking several different tunes, each one the more because it contrasts
with the others. There's nothing wrong with ropes - or knots, or woven
cloth - in which each strand helps hold the other strands together - or
apart! There's nothing very wrong, in this strange sense, with having all
one's mind a castle in the air!

To summarize: of course no computer could understand anything real --
or even what a number is - if forced to single ways to deal with them. But
neither could a child or philosopher. So such concerns are not about
computers at all, but about our foolish quest for meanings that stand by
themselves, outside any context. Our questions about thinking machines
should really be questions about our own minds.

================== ARE HUMANS SELF-AWARE? ==================

Most people assume that computers can't be conscious, or self-aware; at
best they can only simulate the appearance of this. Of course, this
assumes that we, as humans, are self-aware. But are we? I think not. I
know that sounds ridiculous, so let me explain.

If by awareness we mean knowing what is in our minds, then, as every
clinical psychologist knows, people are only very slightly self-aware, and
most of what they think about themselves is guess-work. We seem to build
up networks of theories about what is in our minds, and we mistake these
apparent visions for what's really going on. To put it bluntly, most of
what our "consciousness" reveals to us is just "made up". Now, I don't
mean that we're not aware of sounds and sights, or even of some parts of
thoughts. I'm only saying that we're not aware of much of what goes on
inside our minds.

When people talk, the physics is quite clear: our voices shake the air; this
makes your ear-drums move -- and then computers in your head convert
those waves into constituents of words. These somehow then turn into
strings of symbols representing words, so now there's somewhere in your
head that "represents" a sentence. What happens next?

When light excites your retinas, this causes events in your brain that
correspond to texture, edges, color patches, and the like. Then these, in
turn, are somehow fused to "represent" a shape or outline of a thing.
What happens then?

We all comprehend these simple ideas. But there remains a hard problem,
still. What entity or mechanism carries on from there? We're used to
saying simply, that's the "self". What's wrong with that idea? Our standard
concept of the self is that deep inside each mind resides a special, central
"self" that does the real mental work for us, a little person deep down
there to hear and see and understand what's going on. Call this the
"Single Agent" theory. It isn't hard to see why every culture gets attached
to this idea. No matter how ridiculous it may seem, scientifically, it
underlies all principles of law, work, and morality. Without it, all our
canons of responsibility would fall, of blame or virtue, right or wrong.
What use would solving problems be, without that myth; how could we
have societies at all?

The trouble is, we cannot build good theories of the mind that way. In
every field, as Scientists we're always forced to recognize that what we
see as single things - like rocks or clouds, or even minds - must sometimes
be described as made of other kinds of things. We'll have to understand
that Self, itself, is not a single thing.

============ NEW THEORIES ABOUT MINDS AND MACHINES. ============

It is too easy to say things like, "Computer can't do (xxx), because they
have no feelings, or thoughts". But here's a way to turn such sayings into
foolishness. Change them to read like this. "Computer can't do (xxx),
because all they can do is execute incredibly intricate processes, perhaps
millions at a time". Now, such objections seem less convincing -- yet all
we did was face one simple, complicated fact: we really don't yet know
what the limits of computers are. Now let's face the other simple fact: our
notions of the human mind are just as primitive.

Why are we so reluctant to admit how little is known about how the mind
works? It must come partly from our normal tendency to repress
problems that seem discouraging. But there are deeper reasons, too, for
wanting to believe in the uniqueness and inexplicability of Self. Perhaps
we fear that too much questioning might tear the veils that clothe our
mental lives.

To me there is a special irony when people say machines cannot have
minds, because I feel we're only now beginning to see how minds
possibly could work -- using insights that came directly from attempts to
see what complicated machines can do. Of course we're nowhere near a
clear and complete theory - yet. But in retrospect, it now seems strange
that anyone could ever hope to understand such things before they knew
much more about machines. Except, of course, if they believed that minds
are not complex at all.

Now, you might ask, if the ordinary concept of Self is so wrong, what
would I recommend in its place? To begin with, for social purposes, I don't
recommend changing anything - it's too risky. But for the technical
enterprise of making intelligent machines, we need better theories of
how to "represent", inside computers, the kinds of webs of knowledge and
knowhow that figure in everyone's common-sense knowledge systems.
We must develop programs that know, say, what numbers mean, instead of
just being able to add and subtract them. We must experiment with all
sorts of common sense knowledge, and knowledge about that as well.

Such is the focus of some present-day Al research. True, most of the world
of "Computer Science" is involved with building large, useful, but shallow
practical systems, a few courageous students are trying to make
computers use other kinds of thinking, representing different kinds of
knowledge, sometimes, in several different ways, so that their programs
won't get stuck at fixed ideas. Most important of all, perhaps, is making
such machines learn from their own experience. Once we know more
about such things, we can start to study ways to weave these different
schemes together. Finally, we'll get machines that think about themselves
and make up theories, good or bad, of how they, themselves might work.
Perhaps, when our machines get to that stage, we'll find it very easy to
tell it has happened. For, at that point, they'll probably object to being
called machines. To accept that will be will be difficult, but only by this
sacrifice will machines free us from our false mottos.

================== KNOWLEDGE AND COMMON SENSE ==================

We've all enjoyed those jokes about the stupid and literal behavior of
computers. They send us silly checks and bills for $0.00. They can't tell
when we mean "hyphen" from when we mean minus They don't mind
being caught in endless loops, doing the same thing over again a billion
times. This total lack of common sense is one more reason people think
that no machine could have a mind. It's not just that they do only what
they're told, it's also that they're so dumb it's almost impossible to tell
them how to do things right.

Isn't it odd, when you think about it, how even the earliest Al programs
excelled at "advanced" subjects, yet had no common sense? A 1961
program written by James Slagle could solve calculus problems at the
level of college students; it even got an A on an MIT exam. But it wasn't till
around 1970 that we managed to construct a robot programs that could see
and move well enough to handle ordinary things like children's building
blocks and do things like stack them up, take them down, rearrange them,
and put them in boxes.

Why could we make programs do those grown-up things before we could
make them do those childish things? The answer is a somewhat
unexpected paradox: much "expert" adult thinking is basically much
simpler than what happens in a child's ordinary play! It can be harder to
be a novice than to be an expert! This is because, sometimes, what an
expert needs to know and do can be quite simple -- only, it may be very
hard to discover, or learn, in the first place. Thus, Galileo had to be smart
indeed, to see the need for calculus. He didn't manage to invent it. Yet any
good student can learn it today.

The surprising thing, thus, was that when it was finished, Slagle's
program needed only about a hundred "facts" to solve its college-level
calculus problems. Most of them were simple rules about algebra. But
others were about how to guess which of two problems is likely to be
easier; that that kind of knowledge is especially important, because it
helps the program make good judgments about what to do next. Without
this such programs only thrash about; with it they seem much more
purposeful. Why do human students take so long to learn such rules? We
do not know.

Today we know much more about making such "expert" programs -- but
we still don't know much more about making programs with more
"common sense". Consider all the different things that children do, when
they play with their blocks. To build a little house one has to mix and
match many different kinds of knowledge: about shapes and colors, space
and time, support and balance, stress and strain, speed, cost, and keeping
track. An expert sometimes can get by with deep but narrow bodies of
knowledge - but common sense is, technically, a lot more complicated.

Most ordinary computer programs do just the things they're programmed
for. Some Al programs are more flexible; when anything goes wrong,
they can back up to some previous decision and try something else. But
even that is much too crude a base for much intelligence. To make them
really smart, we'll have to make them more reflective. A person tries,
when things go wrong, to understand what's going wrong, instead of just
attempting something else. We look for causal explanations, or excuses,
and, when we find them, add them to our networks of belief and
understanding. We do intelligent learning. Some day programs, too, could
do such things -- but first we'd need a lot more research to find out how.

================== UNCONSCIOUS FEARS AND PHOBIAS. ==================

I'll bet that when we try to make machines more sensible, we'll find that
learning what is wrong turns out to be as important as learning what's
correct. In order to succeed, it helps to know the likely ways to fail. Freud
talked about censors in our minds, that keep us from forbidden acts or
thoughts. And, though those censors were proposed to regulate our social
activity, I think we use such censors, too, for ordinary problem solving --
to know what not to do. Perhaps we learn a new one each time anything
goes wrong, by constructing a process to recognize similar
circumstances, in some "subconscious memory".

This idea is not popular in contemporary psychology, perhaps because
censors only suppress behavior, so their activity is invisible on the
surface. When a person makes a good decision, we tend to ask what "line
of thought" lies behind it. But we don't so often ask what thousand
prohibitions might have warded off a thousand bad alternatives. If
censors work inside our minds, to keep us from mistakes and absurdities,
why can't we feel that happening? Because, I suppose, so many thousands
of them work at once that, if you had to think about them, you'd never get
much done. They have to ward off bad ideas before you "get" those bad

Perhaps this is one reason why so much of human thought is
"unconscious". Each idea that we have time to contemplate must be a
product of many events that happen deeper and earlier in the mind. Each
conscious thought must be the end of processes in which it must compete
with other proto-thoughts, perhaps by pleading little briefs in little
courts. But all that we do sense of that are just the final sentences.

And how, indeed, could it be otherwise? There's no way any part of the
mind could know everything that happens in the rest. Our conscious
minds must be like high executives, who can't be burdened with the small
details. There's only time for summaries from other, smaller parts of
mind, that know much more about much less; the ones that do the real

================== SELF-CONSCIOUS COMPUTERS. ==================

Then, is it possible to program a computer to be self-conscious? People
usually expect the answer to be "no". What if we answered that machines
are capable, in principle, of even more and better consciousness than
people have?

I think this could be done by providing machines with ways to examine
their own mechanisms while they are working. In principle, at least, this
seem possible; we already have some simple Al programs that can
understand a little about how some simpler programs work. (There is a
technical problem about the program being fast enough, to keep up with
itself, but that can be solved by keeping records.) The trouble is, we still
know far too little, yet, to make programs with enough common sense to
understand even how today's simple Al problem-solving programs work.
But once we learn to make machines that are smart enough to understand
such things, I see no special problem in giving them the "self-insight"
they would need to understand, change, and improve themselves.

This might not be so wise to do. But what if it turns out that the only way
to make computers much smarter is to make them more self-conscious?
For example, it might turn out to be too risky to assign a robot to
undertake some important, long-range task, without some "insight" about
it's own abilities. If we don't want it to start projects it can't finish, we'd
better have it know what it can do. If we want it versatile enough to solve
new kinds of problems, it may need to be able to understand how it
already solves easier problems. In other words, it may turn out that any
really robust problem solver will to understand itself enough to change
itself. Then, if that goes on long enough, why can't those artificial
creatures reach for richer mental lives than people have. Our own
evolution must have constrained the wiring of our brains in many ways.
But here we have more options now, since we can wire machines in any
way we wish.

It will be a long time before we learn enough about common sense
reasoning to make machines as smart as people are. Today, we already
know quite a lot about making useful, specialized, "expert" systems. We
still don't know how to make them able to improve themselves in
interesting ways. But when we answer such questions, then we'll have to
face one, even stranger, one. When we learn how, then should we build
machines that might be somehow "better" than ourselves? We're lucky
that we have to leave that choice to future generations. I'm sure they
won't want to build the things that well unless they find good reasons to.

Just as Evolution changed man's view of Life, Al will change mind's view
of Mind. As we find more ways to make machines behave more sensibly,
we'll also learn more about our mental processes. In its course, we will
find new ways to think about "thinking" and about "feeling". Our view of
them will change from opaque mysteries to complex yet still
comprehensible webs of ways to represent and use ideas. Then those
ideas, in turn, will lead to new machines, and those, in turn, will give us
new ideas. No one can tell where that will lead and only one thing's sure
right now: there's something wrong with any claim to know, today, of
any basic differences between the minds of men and those of possible

Twenty Healthy Foods

When it comes to eating healthy most people think of dull, boring food that's green in color. In reality, most of the world's healthiest foods not only taste great, they also come in a vast array of vibrant colors. Many require little, if any preparation, yet provide you with the energy and stamina to get through the day. They are the ultimate fast food!

Although fresh, whole fruits and veggies are amongst the world's healthiest foods, it's also important to consume an assortment of grains, nuts, seeds and foods rich in essential fatty acids. Experts recommend consuming a daily total of 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 6-11 servings of grains, and 1-2 servings of nuts and seeds.

One serving of vegetables is equivalent to1/2 cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables, or 3/4 cup vegetable juice, or 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, collard greens). One serving of grains equals 1/4 cup of cooked grains. A serving of nuts and seeds equals one ounce or approximately two tablespoons sunflower seeds or 12 whole almonds.

Essential fatty acids are obtained through a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Daily intake should be between 1 and 3 grams. The omega-3 and omega-6 oils are the essential fatty acids. There are omega-9 oils, but these are not essential because the body can produce them naturally.

Omega-3 and omega-6 oils must come from your diet because the body cannot make them. Not only must you consume both oils, you must consume them in the proper balance. The human brain contains omega-3 and omega-6 in a ration of 1:1. Unfortunately, the typical American diet has most people consuming the omegas at a 1:10 ratio.

Foods rich in omega-6 EFAs include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. Foods rich in omega-3 EFAs include flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, grains, and spirulina.

Scientific research has shown eating a balanced diet provides a host of benefits. Eating healthy foods can provide you with more energy, brain clarity, less aches and pains, restful sleep and more.

Here you will find twenty of the world's healthiest foods and the health benefits they provide. Start by adding one new food each day. In just 20 days you will be well on your way to a healthier you!


Apricots: These beauties are rich in the antioxidant beta carotene; the molecule that gives fruits and vegetables their orange color. Apricots also contain an abundant supply of iron and potassium. They help regulate blood pressure and maintain regular bowel function. If you ever experience constipation, eat an apricot!

One fresh apricot or a handful of dried apricots, provide an adult with one-fifth of the daily recommended value of potassium. It also packs a whopping 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 8 percent vitamin C, and 5 percent fiber. Apricots contain tryptophan, which helps to induce sleep and relaxation.
Avocados: Oftentimes, people shy away from avocados because of their fat content. However, avocados contain "good" fat and are rich in vitamins C, E, and B6. They are also a good source of potassium.

Studies have shown avocados possess the ability to reduce cholesterol. Individuals diagnosed with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can obtain health benefits by consuming two to three avocados per week. Avocados are high in calories, so limit weekly consumption to a maximum of three.

Bananas: Need a quick energy boost? Eat a banana. This delectable fruit contains only 62 calories and is rich in potassium and vitamin B6. It also boasts a healthy dose of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Look for bananas which are fully ripened because they contain more starch than "green" bananas. Banana starch is converted to sugar, making this fruit a good choice for people with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Bananas are probably one of the most versatile health foods available. They can be eaten with every meal, as a snack or dessert. You can add them to frozen yogurt or a fruit salad. They can be grilled, broiled, sautéed or flambéed. One of my all-time favorite banana recipes is to insert a popsicle stick into a banana, coat in melted carob, roll in chopped nuts and freeze. There's nothing better on a hot summer night!

Blueberries: This tart berry has been shown to reduce inflammation; making blueberries a good choice for individuals with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Research shows that eating thirty blueberries per day can help alleviate aches and pains in the joints.

In addition to being an anti-inflammatory fruit, blueberries also offer anti-blood clotting and antibacterial effects. They can help ease the pain associated with diarrhea or food poisoning. Blueberries contain the highest level of antioxidants and are said to possess anti-aging properties.

One cup of blueberries contains less than 100 calories, yet provides nearly 30 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 10 percent vitamin E, and 15 percent dietary fiber. They can be added to cereal, oatmeal, fruit salads, and yogurt or eaten plain. Add dried blueberries to granola and eat as an afternoon snack for a quick-pick-me-up.

Mangoes: Mangoes contain beta-cryptoxanthin, a potent antioxidant that prevents free radicals from damaging your cells and DNA. Recent studies have shown that mangoes may help to reduce the risk of colon and cervical cancer. Mangoes are rich in beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A within the body. It's important to note that beta-cryptoxanthin is best absorbed by the body when eaten with fat. For best results, consume mangoes as part of a meal.

Mango salsa makes an excellent companion with chicken and pork. They add a tart, yet sweet flavor to fruit salads and smoothies. Mangoes can be frozen, but be certain to remove the skin and core and store in a freezer bag.

Artichokes: This odd-looking vegetable is fat-free, a good source of complex carbohydrates, and contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a non-digestible fiber. The human body does not possess the enzymes required to break down FOS. However, bacteria found in the large intestine and colon does contain the enzymes. For this reason, artichokes are beneficial to people who experience bowel problems.

Artichokes are a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. They provide nearly 20 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 23 percent of vitamin K and 17 percent folate.One artichoke contains around 76 calories.

Broccoli: Research has proven broccoli has the potential to prevent cancer. That fact alone should make you want to eat it on a daily basis. Broccoli has also been proven effective in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Broccoli is rich in beta carotene, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin C and E, and zinc. Broccoli contains about 15 percent of tryptophan; an essential amino acid that aids in sleep and relaxation. Eat this food throughout the day and for an evening snack to keep your nerves calm and to obtain a peaceful sleep.

Garlic: One of the most notable benefits of garlic is its ability to reduce blood pressure. Garlic is also known for its antibacterial properties, which can reduce the risk of infection and illness. Recent studies show garlic may also help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

At only 9 calories per clove, it is a perfect vegetable for those watching their weight. Garlic is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and calcium. Garlic can be eaten raw, added to nearly every recipe, or baked for a delicious garlic spread. Garlic salt or garlic powder can be used as a salt substitute.

Onions: Not only are onions a good source of fiber, potassium, and B vitamins, they also possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Research indicates onions may help to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and relieve bronchial congestion.

At only 36 calories per medium-sized onion, these flavorful veggies can be abundantly consumed on a daily basis. Raw onions provide the highest level of health benefits. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to onion slices and toss on the grill. Fresh herbs and spices can be added for an extra punch of flavor.

Tomatoes: Perhaps one of the most versatile vegetables is the tomato. It can be eaten raw, cooked, steamed, grilled, baked, juiced, or pureed. Tomatoes are compatible with nearly every type of food including meats, vegetables, potatoes and rice.

One tomato contains a mere 17 calories, making it an excellent choice for those following a weight management program. Tomatoes contain a high level of antioxidants and are a good source of vitamins C and E. Just one cup will provide you with more than 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 20 percent of vitamin A and 15 percent of vitamin K. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a phytochemical known to reduce the risk of heart disease.


Barley and rye: These grains are high fiber whole grains and contain five times more fiber than any other whole grain. Studies show barley can slow the progression of atherosclerosis and may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. It is believed these grains reduce estrogen levels, help prevent the risk of heart disease, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Barley and rye are both good sources of potassium and fiber. They contain small amounts of iron, Pantothenate, vitamins B1 and B6, and zinc. One cup of cooked grains contains 270 calories. These grains are a good choice for dinner, as they are high in tryptophan and can aide in restful sleep.

Oats: Starting your day off with a bowl of steaming oats can provide you with energy and brain clarity. Studies have shown eating oats on a daily basis can help to lower blood cholesterol. Oats also have the ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain regular bowel function.

Oats are a good source of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E. One cup contains less than 150 calories, making it an excellent choice for those who are watching their waistline.

Quinoa: Pronounced keen-wa, and known as the "Mother of all Grains", this grain contains more protein than any other. Quinoa is an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper. It is a light grain that can be substituted for rice or pasta and makes a nice addition to soups and stews.

Rice: Rice is a good source of both magnesium and potassium. It also contains fiber, iron, niacin, vitamins B1 and B2, and zinc. Rice provides a quick energy boost and is easily digested. Rice helps to maintain bowel health and stabilizes blood sugar levels. There are many varieties of rice including white, brown, basmati, jasmine and saffron.

Wheatgerm: This super grain has been used for centuries to relieve constipation. Studies show wheatgerm supports the heart and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It strengthens the immune system and may help maintain cognitive function as we age.

Wheatgerm is rich in antioxidants and folate. It also contains vitamins B1, B6, and E and is a good source of potassium and zinc. It is recommended to consume two tablespoons of fresh wheatgerm on a daily basis. Sprinkle wheatgerm on cereal, oatmeal, fruit salad or yogurt.


Almonds: Classified as a nut, almonds are actually the seed of the fruit of an almond tree. They offer a delicate and mild flavor to dishes and can be added to vegetables, meats, fruits and desserts.

Eating twelve almonds per day can provide you with the recommended daily allowance of essential fatty acids. Almonds are rich in potassium and are considered a "good" fat. These fruit seeds are high in calories, so limit your intake to no more than twelve per day. Unblanched almonds are considered to be the healthiest choice. Avoid dry roasted almonds or almonds covered in sugar, honey or salt.

Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. Brazil nuts contain exceptionally high levels of selenium; a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of zinc, which is essential to digestion and metabolism. Brazil nuts contain a high level of fat and should not be consumed more than three times per week. One serving equals eight nuts and is equivalent to 30 grams of fat.

Chestnuts: These nuts pack a wallop of beneficial carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for people trying to gain weight. Chestnuts are cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and a good source of dietary fiber.
Additionally, chestnuts contain small amounts of vitamin C, thiamine, and riboflavin. Although chestnuts are considered a "good" fat, they should not be consumed more than four times per week. One serving of chestnuts equal five whole nuts. It's best to roast chestnuts at home by baking them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 5-6 minutes.

Pumpkin seeds: Research shows pumpkin seeds to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels, promoting prostate health, and supporting the function of the immune system. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. One and one-half ounces of pumpkin seeds can provide over one-third of an adult's daily zinc requirements. However, pumpkin seeds are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation. Limit consumption to no more than three times weekly.

Sunflower seeds: One of the most popular seeds consumed, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E and known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Studies have also shown them effective in guarding against cataracts. Experts recommend eating two tablespoons of sunflower seeds each day. Doing so will double your intake of vitamin E. However, they are high in calories and should be eaten in limited quantities.

Friday, March 14, 2008

100 Ways to Cut Calories

REACHING YOUR FAT-LOSS GOALS may be easier than you think. To lose a pound of fat a month, all you need to do is cut 100 calories a day from your diet, assuming the intake and expenditure of all other calories remains the same. That's because a pound of body fat is equivalent to about 3,500 calories. So if you cut 100 calories a day for 31 days, you're cutting 3,100 calories--or about a pound.

Wait...a pound a month? Isn't that a little slow? Well, mounds of research indicate that you're more likely to keep weight off if you lose it slowly. Besides, losing a pound a month doesn't require drastic changes in your eating habits. It can be as simple as eating two egg rolls with your Chinese stir-fry instead of three. Here are 100 painless ways to cut 100 or more calories a day. As a bonus, they all reduce fat or sugar, which means, calorie for calorie, you're getting more vitamins and minerals.

1. Spread 1 tablespoon of all-fruit jam on your toast rather than 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.

2. Replace 1 cup of whole milk with 1/2 cup of nonfat milk.

3. Eat 2 poached eggs instead of 2 fried eggs.

4. Replace 1/2 cup of granola with 2 cups of Cheerios.

5. Instead of using whole milk and eggs to prepare 2 slices of French toast, use nonfat milk and egg whites.

6. Snack on an orange and a banana instead of a Snickers candy bar.

7. Munch on 35 pretzel sticks instead of 1 ounce of dry-roasted peanuts.

8. Replace 1 cup of sweetened applesauce with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

9. On your lamb-and-vegetable kabob, replace 2 of the 4 chunks of meat with fresh whole mushrooms.

10. Dip an artichoke in 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons of regular mayonnaise.

11. Steam your asparagus rather than sauté it in 1 tablespoon of butter or oil.

12. Instead of a 5-ounce glass of wine, opt for cherry-flavored sparkling water.

13. For a chewy snack, have 1/2 cup of dried fruit rather than 9 caramels.

14. Replace 3 slices of bacon with 3 slices of Light & Lean Canadian bacon.

15. Eat a Lender's egg bagel instead of a Sara Lee egg bagel.

16. Select 1 cup of home-style baked beans instead of an equal serving of baked beans with franks.

17. Replace 2 biscuits with 2 dinner rolls.

18. When making a sandwich, use 2 slices of Roman Light 7-grain bread instead of Pepperidge Farm wheat bread.

19. Eat 1/2 cup of steamed fresh broccoli instead of 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli in cheese sauce.

20. Make a burrito with 1/2 cup of fat-free refried beans and 1 ounce of nonfat cheese instead of the same amount of traditional refried beans and cheese.

21. Replace an apple muffin with a high-fiber English muffin.

22. Reduce a typical serving of chocolate cake (1/8 of a two-layer cake) by one-third.

23. Switch from 1 cup of whole-milk hot chocolate to 1 cup of steamed 1% milk flavored with a dash of almond extract.

24. Replace 1 cup of caramel-coated popcorn with 2 1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn.

25. Switch from 1/2 cup of yogurt-covered raisins to 1/2 cup of plain raisins.

26. Snack on 1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt instead of 1 cup of custard-style yogurt.

27. Top your celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of fat-free cream cheese instead of 3 tablespoons of regular cream cheese.

28. Replace 2 fried-chicken drumsticks with 2 roasted drumsticks and a cup of peas and carrots.

29. Instead of eating 5 chocolate-chip cookies, savor the taste of 2.

30. Lighten your 2 cups of coffee with 2 tablespoons of evaporated nonfat milk instead of 2 tablespoons of half-and-half.

31. Replace a 12-ounce can of cola with a 12-ounce can of diet cola.

32. Thicken your cream sauce with 1 percent milk and corn starch instead of a roux of butter and flour.

33. At the appetizer tray, choose 4 fresh raw mushrooms instead of 4 batter-fried mushrooms.

34. Use 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream (on baked potatoes or in stroganoff). If done twice in the day, 100 calories will be cut.

35. Reduce the size of your steak from 4 1/2 ounces to 3 ounces.

36. Grill a cheese sandwich with nonstick cooking spray instead of margarine.

37. Replace 1 cup of chocolate ice cream with 2/3 cup of nonfat chocolate frozen yogurt.

38. Snack on 2 ounces of oven-baked potato chips instead of regular potato chips.

39. Instead of topping your salad with an ounce of croutons, get your crunch from 1/4 cup of chopped celery.

40. Instead of 1 cup of macaroni salad, eat 3 1/2 cups of spinach salad with 2 tablespoons of low-calorie dressing.

41. Cut the peanut butter on your sandwich from 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon.

42. Serve your turkey with 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce instead of 1/2 cup.

43. Order a sandwich on cracked wheat bread instead of a croissant.

44. Complement your hamburger with 1 1/4 ounces of oven-baked tortilla chips instead of a side of fries.

45. Split an apple Danish with a friend rather than eat the entire thing.

46. Order 2 slices of cheese pizza instead of 2 slices of pepperoni pizza.

47. Grab a Dole Fresh Lites Cherry frozen fruit bar instead of a Sunkist Coconut frozen fruit bar.

48. Snack on 1/2 cup of fruit cocktail canned in water instead of 1 cup of fruit cocktail canned in heavy syrup.

49. Switch from 1 cup of fruit punch to 1 cup of sparkling water flavored with 2 teaspoons of concentrated orange juice.

50. Instead of eating garlic bread made with butter, spread baked garlic cloves on French bread.

51. Rather than snack on 1 cup of grapefruit canned in syrup, peel and section 1 small grapefruit.

52. Dip your chips in 1/2 cup of salsa instead of 1/2 cup of guacamole.

53. Switch from 1/2 cup of Frusen Gladje butter pecan ice cream to Breyers butter pecan ice cream.

54. Use 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise in your tuna salad instead of 2 tablespoons.

55. Hold the tartar sauce on your fish sandwich, and squeeze lemon on it instead.

56. Replace 3 fish sticks with 3 ounces of grilled halibut.

57. In sandwich spreads or salads, use 3 teaspoons of dijonnaise instead of 4 teaspoons of mayonnaise.

58. Use 2 tablespoons of light pancake syrup instead of 2 tablespoons of regular syrup.

59. Top your pasta with 1 cup of marinara sauce instead of 1/2 cup of alfredo sauce.

60. For each serving of pasta salad you make, reduce the oil or mayonnaise by 1 tablespoon.

61. Replace 1/2 cup of peaches canned in extra-heavy syrup with 1/2 cup of peaches canned in water.

62. Prepare 1/2 cup of steamed peas and cauliflower instead of frozen peas and cauliflower in cream sauce.

63. Cut back on sampling during cooking. The following "tastes" have 100 calories: 4 tablespoons of beef stroganoff, 3 tablespoons of homemade chocolate pudding, 2 tablespoons of chocolate-chip cookie dough.

64. At an Italian restaurant, snack on a large breadstick instead of a slice of garlic bread.

65. Eat a 3/4-cup serving of pudding made with skim milk rather than a 1-cup serving of pudding made with whole milk.

66. Choose 1/2 cup of brown rice instead of 1 serving of frozen rice pilaf with green beans or 1 serving of frozen Oriental rice and vegetables.

67. Compliment your sandwich with 3/4 cup of split-pea soup instead of 1 cup of chunky bean and ham soup.

68. Replace 3 tablespoons of strawberry topping on your ice cream with 3/4 pint of fresh strawberries.

69. Pass on the second helping of mashed potatoes.

70. Eat 3 grilled prawns with cocktail sauce instead of 3 breaded and fried prawns.

71. Make a pie crust with 1 cup of Grape-Nuts cereal, 1/4 cup of concentrated apple juice and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, instead of using a traditional graham-cracker crust. You'll save 100 calories per slice.

72. Replace 8 sticks of regular chewing gum with sugar-free chewing gum.

73. Snack on a papaya instead of a bag of M&Ms.

74. Substitute 3 ounces of scallops for 3 ounce of lean beef in your stir-fry.

75. Rather than spread 4 tablespoons of cream cheese on two slices of raisin bread, dip the bread in 1/2 cup nonfat apple-cinnamon yogurt.

76. Munch on 1 cup of frozen grapes instead of an ice cream sandwich.

77. Rather than drink a strawberry milkshake, make a smoothie of 2/3 cup of low-fat milk, 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 a banana.

78. Replace 2 brownies with 2 fig bars.

79. Eat 2 meatballs instead of 4 with your spaghetti.

80. On a hot day, quench your thirst with a glass of ice water with lemon or mint instead of a can of light beer.

81. Eat 1/2 cup of black beans instead of 3 ounces of roast beef.

82. Replace 1 1/2 tablespoons of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Nucoa Smart Beat margarine.

83. Choose 1 serving of vegetarian lasagna instead of lasagna with meat.

84. Eat 2 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars instead of 2 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts.

85. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of low-calorie French dressing on your salad instead of 2 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing.

86. Replace 1 large flour tortilla with 1 six-inch corn tortilla.

87. Eat a turkey sandwich instead of a chicken salad sandwich.

88. Choose 4 1/2 ounces of tuna packed in water instead of 4 1/2 ounces of tuna packed in oil.

89. At Burger King, have a Whopper Jr. Sandwich with regular fries instead of a Whopper With Cheese Sandwich.

90. Order your Quarter Pounder without cheese.

91. At Jack in the Box, eat a regular taco instead of a super taco.

92. Fix 1 cup of turkey chili with beans rather than regular chili with no beans.

93. Use 1 cup of fat-free cottage cheese instead of regular cottage cheese.

94. Order a sandwich with barbecued chicken instead of barbecued pork.

95. Replace 1 cup of corn with 1 cup of carrots.

96. Reduce your helping of turkey stuffing from 1 cup to 2/3 cup.

97. Have a single scoop of ice cream instead of a double scoop.

98. Replace 2 ounces of corn chips with 2 ounces of SnackWell's wheat crackers.

99. Eat 1 hot dog at the baseball game instead of 2.

100. Shred 2 ounces of fat-free cheddar cheese on nachos instead of regular cheddar.

Waves - A source for Renewable Energy

Orecon’s Wave SystemNowadays many companies are implicated in the development of devices capable of producing alternative energy and currently the most efficient are solar and wind energies. But there is one technology that could be successful and compete against solar and wind power - wave power.

A company which is willing to develop full-scale machines in order to produce wave energy is called Orecon and it has received until now $24 million from Advent Ventures, Northzone Ventures, Venrok and Wellington Partners. If their research will meet the expectations, then they will begin to manufacture and to commercialize wave power machines.

Orecon has already developed a project and their idea consisting of a buoy destined to crop power. The power coming from the waves hit the buoy and when this happens, the pressure created bestirs a turbine which finally produces the long-expected energy. According to the U.K. company, a system like that will produce around 1.5 megawatts of energy and it will last more than 25 years.

Among the U.K., Ireland is one of the countries that is trying to install wave power systems. WaveBob, an Irish company, is already testing an 1/4 scale device in the waters near Galway and in a few years they it will be complete and will produce 1 megawatt of energy.

Currently, this technology is very expensive and they are not very efficient (only 250 kilowatts per system) and another set-backs are the environmental challenges. Some reports say that this technology is expected to be commercialized as of 2010 or 2015.

Animal Parts On Chinese Auction Website

Illegal Animal Parts

In China the illegal wildlife trading is very common. Recently, the authorities have tried hard to fight against this illegal commerce. This market is well-spreaded on the internet where you can find multiple auction sites that sell parts of endangered animals. A recent report showed that in Borneo were sold tiger parts and there were photos to prove that.

A study made by International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2007, who took 10 months to be completed, uncovered about 1,900 illegal items from 30 species. Those were all found on web auction sites from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is very hard to find these auction sites because the is not much support from web companies which should are not very interested to improve their filtering systems.

The most popular items on China’s illegal market are the elephant ivory and the bones of the tiger - the ivory represents a souvenir for collectors and the tiger bones are used in traditional medicine. It is very hard to track down the auction web sites because of the many characters of the Chinese language - you can form many words for ivory with minor changes from the original word.

I think that every person who cares a little about the other species that live in our world is against this online trading. Also, we should wake up and realize that every animal is important for our planet.

Nano Crystal Coated LEDs

LED Building

Some reports say that now nothing can stand in the way of LEDs. With the nanocrystal coating, the LEDs are more efficient than the fluorescent light, are warmer and produce a very beautiful white light. These LEDs are greener considering the fact that a quarter of the electricity in U.S. is used by illuminated buildings and we all know that the electricity comes from coal power plants which pollute through greenhouse gas emissions.

Current commercial LEDs are based on blue LEDs, but coated in phosphorus they change into an yellow glow. According to Hilmi Volkan Demir from the Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, the color possibilities are infinite with the nanocrystal coating: “Using combinations of nanocrystals, one can generate any emission spectrum as desired”.

The Ultimate Dream House

Waterproof mirror TV

mirror tv 1mirror tv 2

mirror tv bathroomAt first sight our new idea may not look so revolutionary. It’s a simple mirror, slim profile, choice of frame, the sort of thing which would look good anywhere. But then you hit the remote control. Behind that perfect mirror is a Hitachi plasma screen, as well as a range of 20-46” LCD panels with in-built tuners and a range of external connectors. So it can give you a pin sharp picture from TV, satellite, cable, DVD, and AV system or PC. Sound can come from integrated stereo speakers or pre-amplified connectors to external sound. Everything you’d expect from the very best wall-mounted thin screen TV. Except when you switch it off it’s a mirror again!

Revolving cupboard kitchen

revolving kitchenRevolving cupboard kitchen 2
The “CleverKitchen” offers intelligent kitchen comfort compressed into the smallest space but with a storage capacity equivalent to 12 cupboards and a bench top length of approx. 3000 mm, equipped with refrigerator, dishwasher, ceramic hob, oven with microwave, range hood, sink and waste bin as a conventional kitchen.

Holographic TV

Claro Holographic TV
The Holoscreen is a revolutionary holographic film which displays any image fed through a projector at a specific angle on to a transparent display. All other light is ignored. The result is a remarkably bright and sharp image quality - even in brightly lit environments. The screen is a 1.5m x 1.0m rectangle of 10mm glass with a 610mm x 814mm sheet of translucent attached to it. Any type of projector can be used to cast the image. To complete the futuristic setup, a pair of optional Ferguson Hill FH001 speakers can be positioned either side of the screen.

Self adjusting bed

Self adjusting bedThis futuristic bed has sensors that detect a user’s weight and shape. The mattress then adjusts accordingly, pushing up on certain body parts, to ensure the user’s body is flat—for ideal sleeping conditions. it can even be set to wake you up in the morning by gently vibrating you awake and can even push you out of bed after a certain amount of snooze pushes!

Computer controlled whirlpool bath

Whirlpool bath with tv Imagine having a bath controlled by your computer…well now it is possible! This “whirlpool bath” has a built in TV with 7″ display, 16:9 standard screen, FM radio, CT type control panel and Multimedia interface controlled by a Dual CPU control system. The whirlpool itself is powered by a 2 HP low noise water pump (less than 50db) and 4 turbo & 8 mini hydro massage jets. The onboard computer can “listen” to the music you are playing or the film you are watching and change the built in Chromatherapy lighting and whirlpool settings accordingly!

Picture Frame Speakers.

Artcoustic Picture Frame Speakers.Artcoustic loudspeakers employ high-quality Scandinavian speaker drivers, hand-built crossovers, and low-resonance cabinet material as well as flat speaker wire that is so thin it disappears when taped to the wall and painted Unlike other so-called “flat” speakers, they are true dynamic loudspeakers, delivering the full range and high output levels associated with studio-quality loudspeakers.

The innovative DF-MULTI deserves special focus. It is a long, narrow speaker designed to mount on the wall beneath a flat-screen plasma TV. It contains all three front-channel speakers for a home theater: left, center, and right. (It can also be used strictly as a center channel, matched with other Artcoustic speakers to the left and right of the plasma TV.)

Finger print reader door lock

Finger print reader door lockImagine securing your home with the latest in technology and at the same time eliminating the headache of shared or lost keys. Now you can with the F006 Biometric Door Lock. The F005 fingerprint door lock runs exclusively on battery power it can be operated for up to a year without changing the batteries. Fingerprint enrollment is quick and easy. Up to 30 users can be enrolled directly on the fingerprint lock at the door.

Key cutting is a thing of the past with this new system. In rented accommodation you can enable or disable up to 30 different users, making it impossible for a previous tenant to gain access to the property with a key.

Robot Lawn Mower

Automatic Lawn Mower RoboMow 1000The mowbot is the ultimate mower to be introduced for 2008. Now Completely weatherproof and with a docking station system for true automation. Simply select the day and times you want the lawn mowed and the RL1000 will do it automatically for you, day after day and week after week, truly the most efficient way to keep your lawn maintained. The RL1000 still includes manual trim mowing and the ability to drive it anywhere and even use it in other smaller areas without the docking station.

SS016 Super Sauna Shower HouseSauna Shower House

This 1700×1200x2150mm Shower room also doubles up as a sauna, with built in TV, telephone, Radio/CD player and Digitally controlled control center. The ultimate pimp bathroom accessory!

The sauna components are all imported specially from Finland to create the finest wood sauna room money can buy. Relax in your sauna and then walk straight into your shower to cool off. Luxury!

Smart refrigerator

LG Smart refrigerator
This refrigerator by LG Electronics has a built-in computer and barcode scanner keeps track of your grocery needs by working out the expiry date of every item. It can also keep track of your average purchases and suggest a weekly shopping list for you and will even automatically e-mail you when you’re out of milk! Additional shopping list ideas can be downloaded from the internet and suggested to you based on the type of food you like to eat.

Lava Stone hob

Lavastone hobThe latest innovation is cooking with an Induction unit - directly upon the worktop - no cut-outs or dirt traps just a continuous working & cooking surface. Any magnetic pot or pan is placed within the cooking ring. The induction unit senses the pan & reaches temperature rapidly at the twist of a dial. The heat passes through the stone to the pan giving absolute control to boil, fry or simmer sauces. Its un-believable, its magical & its unique.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

An old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar (though no tags) and well-fed belly and clean that he had a home.

He followed me into the house, down the hall, and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

My dogs didn't seem to mind him. He seemed like a good dog and I was OK with him, so I let him nap. An hour later he ambled to the door and I let him out.

The next day he was back, resumed his position on the couch, and slept for an hour.

This continued for days. Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap. I don't mind but want to be sure it's OK with you."

The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar.

"He lives in a home with six children -- all boys. I'm sure he's just trying to catch up on his sleep. May I come with him tomorrow?"

What Women Really Want

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him, but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So the monarch offered him freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer; if, after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question: What do women really want?

Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and, to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everybody: the princess, the prostitutes, the priests, the wise men, the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many people advised him to consult the old witch--only she would know the answer.

The price would be high; the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no alternative but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer his question, but he'd have to accept her price first: The old witch wanted to marry Gawain, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified: She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises ... etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature. He refused to force his friend to marry her and have to endure such a burden.

Gawain, upon learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He told him that nothing was too big a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table. Hence, their wedding was proclaimed, and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was. The neighboring monarch granted Arthur total freedom.

What a wedding Gawain and the witch had! Arthur was torn between relief and anguish. Gawain was proper as always, gentle and courteous. The old witch put her worst manners on display, and generally made everyone very uncomfortable.

The honeymoon hour approached. Gawain, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But what a sight awaited him! The most beautiful woman he'd ever seen lay before him! The astounded Gawain asked what had happened. The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she'd appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible, deformed self half the time, and the other half, she would be her beautiful maiden self. Which would he want her to be during the day, and which during the night?

What a cruel question! Gawain pondered his predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his home, an old witch? Or would he prefer having by day a hideous witch, but by night a beautiful woman with whom to enjoy many intimate moments?

Noble Gawain replied that he would let her choose for herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time, because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Drive-in movies

Drive-in Movie

Have you seen the new Chevron Cars ad with the Drive-In Movie Theater? Have you ever been to a Drive-In movie? If you’ve been to one, you know that the family piles into the car on a summer night and heads to the outdoor movie theater.

The screen looms up, huge against the dark night sky and your family pulls the car up to a parking slot. After picking up some popcorn at the concession stand and placing the speakers in the car window, you are ready to sit back and enjoy the movie. Or if it’s really hot, you and your family sit outside the car on the camp chairs you brought along, leaving the speakers on their poles to project the movie sound.

Not so long ago, there were Drive-In theaters everywhere in the country. How did they get started and what happened to them? The first Drive-In Theater was the brainchild of Richard M. Hollingshead. He started by hanging a sheet between two trees in his backyard. That was the screen. His driveway was in a direct line with the sheet, so he mounted a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car.

Car Tire

Richard put a radio behind the sheet for sound and started testing his idea. He tested sound with the windows up, down, and halfway in between. He wanted to test different weather conditions so he turned up his sprinklers full blast and created a little rainstorm. Things were looking pretty good.

There was however, one problem. If cars lined up directly behind each other, people couldn’t see the whole screen because the car in front was in the way. So Richard began lining cars up in his driveway, working out the right spacing and finally realizing that if he placed blocks under the front wheels, the problem would be solved!

Excited with his new invention, Richard went to the U. S. Patent Office. On May 16, 1933, Richard Hollingshead was granted Patent #1,909,537 for the first Drive-In Movie Theater. (A patent gives an inventor exclusive use of his invention. The patent protects him/her from someone else coming along and stealing the idea.) Richard opened the world’s first Drive-In Theater on June 6, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey.

Over the next several years, Drive-Ins sprang up everywhere. The steady growth of Drive-Ins only slowed during World War II. Gasoline and rubber for car tires were in short supply because they were needed for the war effort.

At first the idea of a Drive-In was strange to people. To help their future customers understand how it all worked, new Drive-Ins would host an Open House during the day. They would show people how to park, how the sound system worked and what food was available in the concession stands. As many as 400 cars would show up for an Open House.

Some Drive-Ins created a playground between the screen and the front row of cars. Families began to arrive early so the children could play before the movie. A few Drive-Ins practically became amusement parks, with miniature trains, pony rides, miniature golf and animal shows. You could order dinner from your car by pushing a button on the speaker and the fried chicken or hamburgers would be delivered to your car by a carhop. And of course, during intermission there would be singing cartoon snacks on the screen encouraging you to buy your favorite one!

Drive-Ins were a favorite form of entertainment until Cable TV and VCRs became popular in the 1980s. Now it was easy to see all the Hollywood movies right at home. Many Drive-Ins had to close because of dropping attendance. From 5,000 in 1958, there are only about 800 Drive-Ins left today. Sadly, five of the 50 states no longer have any Drive-Ins at all.

On June 1st, Drive-In Movie Theaters across the country will celebrate Richard Hollingshead and his invention with a variety of special events. Summer is just around the corner and maybe you can talk your family into a night out(side) at the movies!

Get to know the Fire Trucks

Fire Truck

At the beginning of the 1900s there simply were no fire trucks. The combustion engine hadn’t been invented yet and the only horsepower available was the genuine horse variety. Horses pulled the wagons that carried water barrels and the essential water pump. The fire hoses were on a separate cart pulled by very strong men! Both horses and men ran at top speed to the conflagration!

The first cars came off the assembly line in 1908 and in 1913 the first motorized Fire Engine was created. Now the water, water pump, hoses and firemen could all be speedily transported together to the fire.

Today firemen are highly trained professionals with the science and modern equipment they need to effectively fight fires and to save lives and property. The most familiar of their modern tools are the bright red or yellow fire trucks we see in our communities. We’ve come a long way from wagons and carts!

Did you know there are different kinds of fire trucks? Here are a few of the basic models:

The Pumper Truck is the one you see most of the time. It is about 30 feet long and holds some water though not as much as some other trucks. A pump on the truck can increase the pressure in the hose to make the water reach further. If it has a hydrant, lake or other source of water to increase its supply, a Pumper Truck can pump 1,250 gallons (that’s 15,000 glasses of water) a minute! The Pumper Truck is often called to the scene of a car accident. If the gas tank leaks and the gasoline catches on fire, the firemen will be there ready to douse it.

The Tanker Truck is also 30 feet long, but it holds more water than the Pumper Truck, about 1,000 gallons! When it arrives at the scene the firemen set up a pond made out of canvas. The Tanker Truck unloads its water into the pond. Now the Pumper Truck can move into position and pump the water from the pond into its hoses and onto the fire. Meanwhile the Tanker Truck can leave to get more water. The Pumper and Tanker trucks work well together, the one pumping water onto the fire, the other re-supplying water as needed.

The Ladder Truck is 40 to 50 feet long, much longer than Pumper or Tanker trucks. It has a ladder on top that is about 100 feet long! There is a “bucket” or big box at the very end of the ladder. Firemen ride in the bucket to reach the windows of a building to rescue people who are trapped inside. The ladder and “bucket” also allow firefighters to get to the roof of a building to cut a hole and let smoke and heat escape.

The Tiller Ladder Truck has metal ladders that expand like a telescope. The ladders can reach up in the air about 100 feet (ten stories high). The Tiller Ladder Truck has two steering wheels and two drivers - one in the front and one in the back. The one in the back controls the rear wheels and allows this very long truck to go around corners easily.

The Quint Truck is both a Pumper Truck and a Ladder Truck. “Quint” means “five” and this truck has a pump, water tank, hose, ground ladders, and an aerial ladder.

The Heavy Duty Rescue Truck is equipped with tools to help get people out of car wrecks and other places where they might be trapped. Some rescue trucks can generate their own electricity to run lights and electric tools. That’s mighty handy in an emergency!

History of Cars

Cars are everywhere you look. All kinds of models are available from VW Bugs to sports cars, sedans, station wagons, and limousines. They all come with standard features that we take for granted like a gas gauge. And the colors! You can see a crayon box full of colors ranging from quiet beige or silver all the way to boisterous yellow or screaming lime green.

It wasn’t always this way. Back in the early 1900s when Henry Ford first started producing cars in the United States, he only offered one color, black. His first car was the “Model A” and in 1908 he introduced a new and improved version called the “Model T.” Because Ford used lightweight sheets of metal for the car’s body, the Model T was nicknamed “Tin Lizzie.”

By 1919 you could buy a Tin Lizzie for $525.00. (That would be about $8,641.00 today.)

To start the car you would have to “crank the engine,” a process similar to winding up a very large toy. If you didn’t want to work that hard, you could get an electric starter as an “extra”. “Demountable,” or removable tire rims were also extras and you could get both the starter and rims for an additional $100.00, or about $1,646.00 in today’s dollars.

Did you know that windshield wipers and a fuel gauge weren’t included when you bought your Model T? If you wanted to see in rainy weather or know how your fuel supply was holding up, you had to order the “extras” from other companies that made parts for cars.

Old Antique Car The very earliest cars didn’t even have doors or windshields!

Filling up the tank was not as easy as it is today. The gas tank was under the driver’s seat! The front seat of the car was like a bench. The part that the driver and passenger sat on, was one long piece that could be lifted out. And as if that weren’t enough of a headache, there was no door on the driver’s side. The fuel hose had to be passed through from the passenger side.

Once the gas tank was full and the oil and coolant were checked, it was hard going. In the year 1900 there were only 10 miles of paved road in the whole United States. The situation hadn’t changed much by 1919 and odds were you would be driving on dirt roads.

Traveling on unpaved, rocky roads meant a very bumpy ride and lots of flat tires and overheated radiators. In the interest of self-preservation, every driver carried his own “tourist kit.” The kit was filled with wrenches, screwdrivers, and jacks to change tires and fix other problems. And just in case your were stuck by the side of the road for a long time, the kit also included food rations.

What Roads are Made of

In the year 1900 there were only ten miles of paved road in the United States. Today, there are two million miles of paved roads and streets!

Asphalt Road

Unlike early drivers, you don’t have to consider whether or not a road exists to your destination. You just get out the map, plot your course and take off. You can make a quick trip downtown, head out to the seashore or up to the mountains. Hit the interstate and you can visit your uncle in Kalamazoo, Michigan, see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, or visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida. You never run out of road!

Did you ever stop to wonder what all those miles of road are made of? Wherever you go in the world, and as far back as 4,000 BC, stone is the common ingredient in roads. Simple stone roads were often rough, uneven, and pitted with ruts and holes that filled up with rain and mud in the winter. It wasn’t until the 1700s that the smooth, even roads we know today became possible. We have three Scottish engineers and their improved road building techniques to thank.

Although he was blind, John Metcalfe was able to design and build firm, three-layer roads. First he placed large stones on the bottom layer, then he took the materials excavated from the roadbed such as smaller rocks and earth and used them for the middle layer, and finally he spread a layer of gravel on top.

A second Scottish gentleman by the name of Thomas Telford designed a way to raise the center of the road so that rainwater would drain down the sides. He also devised a method to analyze how thick the road stones had to be to withstand the weight and volume of the horses and carriages that were common in his day.

The last of the three, John McAdam, mixed the necessary road stones with tar. The tar “glued” all the stone together and created a harder and smoother surface for the carriage wheels to roll on. “Tarmacadam roads” became the standard used everywhere until the 1870s. “Tarmacadam” was a mouthful, so eventually people shortened the word to “tarmac.”

A natural rock known as asphalt had been used to construct buildings for many years. In 1824 large blocks of natural asphalt rock were placed on the wide boulevard in Paris known as the Champs-Élysées. This was the first time this type of rock was used for a road.

In the United States during the 1870s, a Belgian immigrant by the name of Edward de Smedt created a man-made asphalt that was of a higher density and quality than the natural stone. And like the tar that McAdam used, asphalt could harden and smoothe the road. Smedt’s new product was soon put to the test on Fifth Avenue in New York City and on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Today almost all the roads in the U.S. are surfaced with this man-made asphalt. Asphalt comes from the processing of crude oils. Everything that is valuable in crude oil is first removed and put to good use. Then what remains (hydrogen and carbon compounds with minor amounts of nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen) is made into asphalt cement for pavement.

Ribbons of firm, well-drained, smoothly paved roads and highways are ready to take you and your family anywhere you want to go this summer, thanks to the construction methods pioneered by three Scottish engineers and the invention of man-made asphalt.

History of Gasoline

Old Gas Station

A gas gauge was an “extra” in a Model T and the gas tank was under the front seats. But where did you get the gasoline to fill the tank?

Of course today there are gas stations everywhere, but when cars were first invented gas stations weren’t around yet. People actually bought their gasoline at the general store. They filled their own buckets with gasoline and used a funnel to pour it into the car’s gas tank.

As more and more companies got into the business of making gasoline, stations began to appear. Some of them were just a single gas pump right alongside the curb with an attendant ready to help when you drove up. Unlike the automated gasoline pumps today, old-fashioned ones took some muscle to hand pump, but at least you didn’t have to slosh a bucket around. Customers pumped their own gas and the station attendant wrote up the bill on a piece of paper.

Starting in 1920 stations got fancier. Some put up neon signs to advertise their name and many added water fountains and vending machines for thirsty customers. New pumps offered two grades of gasoline without hand pumping. The new pumps had glass covered gauges that displayed the amount of gas being dispensed and the cost.

It took a long 8 minutes to fill the small 5-gallon car tanks that were common in those days. While the tank was filling up, the gas station attendant wiped the windshield, checked the oil and water for you, and if necessary, cranked the engine to get it started again.

Sometimes called a “gas jockey,” the station attendant worked 13 days in a row before he got a day off. Customers would often tip a gas jockey 10 or 25 cents for his service.

In the 1950s when Della Deluxe and Hank Hot Rod were the most popular cars, gas jockeys could work part time and it was a fun job for high school boys. They would service the car and pump the gas too. Pumps were more efficient and could fill the larger 14-gallon gas tanks quickly.

When a gas shortage caused prices to go up in the 1970s, customers wanted the best price they could find. To keep prices down, gas stations changed over to self-serve and gas jockeys became a thing of the past.

Today convenience stores are a part of many gas stations. Now, instead of working as gas jockeys, high school students can work part time as store clerks and help ring up your sale. Drivers can make one, quick stop for gas and snacks and be back on the road in no time at all. It kind of reminds you of the days when gasoline was sold at the general store.

Color of Tires

Car Tire

The first car tires were white! One tire manufacturer wanted his tires to look more distinguished than other tires. He asked the Peekskill Chemical Company in Peekskill, New York, to see what they could do to make a tire that was a silver gray color.

Joseph Binney had founded the Peekskill Chemical Company in 1864 and specialized in producing black and red colors and paints. The red he created was used on barns all across the American countryside and was made with the same red iron oxide that the cavemen had used to make their red paint.

The Peekskill chemists succeeded in creating a darker color for the tire manufacturer. More importantly, they discovered that by adding carbon black as an ingredient to the rubber they not only got a darker tire, but one that lasted four to five times longer than white ones!

And from there you know how this story ends, except for one little detail. The Peekskill Chemical Company later became known as Binney & Smith, the makers of Crayola Crayons!

From Horse and Buggy to CARS

Horse and Buggy

In 1903, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in Ford Motor Company, saying, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”

Other than traveling on foot, horses were the proven method of transportation for centuries. They pulled carts, stagecoaches, covered wagons, and delivery vans. They hauled water tanks, men, and hoses to fires and for a time sped pony express riders to their destinations. So why were people so ready to give horses up for cars?

Think a moment about the barge loads of feed that had to be delivered to a city like New York where about 175,000 horses clip clopped at the turn of the last century! All those well-fed horses produced prodigious amounts of manure that then had to be shoveled and barged out again. The odor and flies were something awful and in the summer heat it was almost unbearable.

Cars on the other hand, didn’t need feed or water and since they didn’t produce manure, there was no fuss and no muss. All you had to do was fill the tank and the car could take you anywhere a road would go. Furthermore, cars could travel long distances at high speeds without getting tired.

Soon there were fire engines that could deliver fire fighters and water in a fraction of the time. In cities like San Francisco which is built on steep hills, fire engines could race up a steep grade while horse drawn fire wagons loaded with heavy equipment were often at risk of sliding back down.

As cars became more affordable, more people opted for cars over horses and within a short time cars replaced horses as the basic from of transportation. Where once cars were a novelty, now it’s the horse that has become a rare sight.

First Auto Race

Model-T Car

Participating in and watching car racing has been one of America’s favorite pastimes for years. It seems that each year automobile designs improve and speed increases. Let’s go back to 1895 and get a glimpse of the first American car race. It’s a bit different from what we are used to seeing today.

In June 1895, the Chicago Times-Herald newspaper announced the very first motor car race. Though it was regarded as a race, it was more of a test to see what kinds of horseless vehicles people had been creating. Remember that in 1895 gasoline-powered autos were just beginning to make their debut in America. In 1891, John Lambert took the first drive in America in his auto and shortly thereafter, the Duryea brothers followed suit. In Europe, there had been some earlier success but a gasoline-powered vehicle was far from being a normal thing to see on the streets.

The required criteria for the vehicles were that they have at least 3 wheels and could carry at least 2 people. Each vehicle had to carry the driver and an umpire selected by the judges to make sure that the driver and the vehicle were not cheating.

The racecourse route ran about 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston and back. It was originally scheduled to happen at the end of October, but of the 89 entries, only a small percentage of the autos were ready to go. The race was rescheduled for Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

The big day arrived welcomed by a fresh dusting of snow on the ground. This made for slippery road conditions and frigid temperatures. Keep in mind that the roads were dirt and none of these vehicles had roofs. They were completely open and subject to the elements. At the starting line were only 6 cars. Two were electric and powered by batteries, three were gasoline-powered and built by the German maker Benz and one was gasoline-powered and built by American Frank Duryea.

The icy temperature combined with the extremely poor road conditions were too much for some of the cars and 4 out of the 6 had to drop out. Topping a high speed of 7.5 miles per hour, it took the winner, Frank Duryea 9 hours to win first place! The second (and last) contestant rolled in 2 hours later.

Duryea’s winnings were $2,000 and worldwide acknowledgement for beating the famous Benz automobile. With his winnings, he started the Duryea Motor Wagon Company and became the first manufacturer of automobiles.