Author - Brett Loewe

Traveling musician. And I write about it. Isn't that fun? And what do you do to be happy in life?

Tech News

USB-4 – Get Thunderbolt Speeds

What if a USB cable could provide the same smooth, fast data transfer speeds as a Thunderbolt port?  If that excites you, wait until you meet the USB4, the next generation of mobile devices and PCs.

USB4 will deliver data at incredible speeds when it’s connected via USB cables on compatible devices:  up to 40 Gigabits per second.  Intel has created the Thunderbolt 3 for the USB group, and USB4 bases its technology on Intel’s advanced tech.  Thunderbolt 3 will be available to use royalty-free.

USB Implementers Forum released a press release explaining that they’re built in; this next logical step for the Universal Serial Bus tech will mean that Thunderbolt will become a more affordable tech for manufacturers to include in their devices.

5K Support

Android Central  explains that the sky is the limit; devices could include 100 watts of on-demand power, support for up to eight lanes of DisplayPort data, and 40Gbps transfer rates.   Two 4K HDR displays, at 60 HZ each, or a 5K display could be supported fully.

This will mean that two 4K HDR displays at 60 Hz or one 5K display would be fully supported.  If the tech becomes more affordable to include n devices, it will definitely bring down purchasing costs for devices supporting USB4.

As Jason Ziller, Intel’s General Manager of Client Connectivity explains, “Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

To fully benefit from the max data transfer speed, you will need to have cables that are 40Gbs-certified; these are USBC to USBC only.  The USB4 will be fully compatible to all Thunderbird 3 devices and all USB specifications.

Microsoft, HP, Intel, and Apple are among the 50 tech companies that are going to be taking part in a final review of USB4 tech. They will release the specs around mid-year. The exciting part of these companies taking part in the testing is that it is predicted that they will use these new specifications when they do become available.

The USB4 is expected to be released next year.

What if a USB cable could provide the same smooth, fast data transfer speeds as a Thunderbolt port?  If that excites you, wait until you meet the USB4, the next generation of mobile devices and PCs.

USB4 will deliver data at incredible speeds when it’s...

Cool Stories

Get Smart With St. Patty’s Day Facts

With March being Irish Heritage month, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test.  How many of these St. Patrick’s Day facts did you already know?

St. Patrick’s Day was founded as a religious holiday:  The holiday honored St. Patrick, a fifth-century saint who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle.

There have been parades for a long time:  On March 17, 1762, New York City threw the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The parade was for Irish soldiers who had served in the English military.

Presidents enjoy a parade: President Harry S. Truman attended the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1948.

March is Irish-American Heritage Month: Congress began recognizing March as American-Irish Heritage month in 1991.  The month highlights the contributions and achievements of the Irish in America.

Lots Of Irish-Americans

Large percentages of Irish Americans:  In 2014, Massachusetts claimed an Irish-American residency of 21.5%.  Following closely behind Massachusetts is New Hampshire, claiming 20.9%.

The total number of reported residents of Irish ancestry in the US is 10.4%, just over 33.1 million.  In America, this is the second highest percentage of ancestry, topped only by German Americans.

More educated:  Those claiming Irish heritage have a high rate of college and high school completion.  In fact, 93.7% of Irish Americans have high school diplomas and 35.6% of those over 25 have a bachelor’s degree.

Overall in America, only 86.9% have high school diplomas, while only 30.1% hold a bachelor’s degree.

Higher paying jobs:  Irish American households report median incomes of over $62k while the average overall salary in America is just under $54k, according to a 2014 study.

Homeowners:  Irish Americans are more likely to own their homes, with just over 68% homeowners compared to the national average of 63.1% of Americans claiming home ownership.

Find an Irish classic at a restaurant near you:  A survey taken in 2014 revealed that on St. Patrick’s Day, 235,701 restaurants offered the classic corned beef and cabbage, while just over 41,580 bars served up drinks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Many places across the United States honor the Irish: Oklahoma, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Missouri all have towns named after the shamrock and there are 16 towns named after the capital of Ireland, Dublin. Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and South Carolina all boast towns named Clover, and Minnesota also features the city of Cloverleaf.

Stocking up for St. Patrick’s Day:  In 2014, a survey revealed that 2.2 billion pounds of cabbage and 40.3 billion pounds of beef were provided farmers across the United States.

Make Your Own Irish Stew

If you want to enjoy an easy recipe for corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick’s Day, it doesn’t mean hours over a hot stove.  Here is the best way to make this Irish classic using your crock pot:

  • Fill the slow cooker with water
  • Add the corned beef and seasonings (pickling spices)
  • Cook meat all day
  • Cut up cabbage and cook over the stove for ten to fifteen minutes

With March being Irish Heritage month, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test.  How many of these St. Patrick’s Day facts did you already know?

St. Patrick’s Day was founded as a religious holiday:  The holiday honored St. Patrick, a...

Science

Space: Ultima Thule Is Flat!

Recent discoveries had given a surprising new perspective to 2014 MU69, which has been the most distant object ever explored by NASA. Ultima Thule, in the Kuiper Belt, seems to be a lot less round than originally thought.

According to footage captured by a January 1 New Horizons flyby, Ultima Thule is more of a deflated beach ball than an air-filled one.  The photo above shows Ultima Thule with a crescent shape in an image shared ten minutes after the capsule crossed paths with the entity.

Ultima Thule is a tiny world that is over 4 billion miles from planet earth. Southwest Research Institute’s Principal investigator Alan Stern confirmed, “Nothing quite like this has ever been captured in imagery.”

A Change In Point Of View

The pictures shared a surprising piece of scientific evidence: Ultima Thule’s segments aren’t round, as expected. NASA describes the largest of the lobes as pancake shaped and the smallest lobe carries more of a dented walnut shape.

Prior to this clear image, everything science understood about Ultima Thule was based on a very limited mount of photos transmitted during a flyby, but nothing as informative as this one.  Stern has admitted that they have had to rethink what they understood about Ultima Thule and compare it to a pancake rather than a basketball.

While the bottom image in this picture most closely represents NASA’s current understanding of Ultima Thule’s shape, there is still a fair amount of uncertainty because the images transmitted didn’t include areas of the entity that were hidden from view and not lit by the sun.  Scientists speculate that Ultima Thule could be shaped more like the dotted blue line depictions, flatter than expected or not as flat as the pictures indicate.

Stern explains, “The new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the Sun.”

The images taken by New Horizons on departure revealed the object from a different angle than scientists had previously studied.  Fast flybys aren’t entirely an accurate way of understanding the actual shape of Ultima Thule, but the latest images have given scientists a greater, more accurate view that opens new possibilities regarding the formation of planets in the solar system.

Originally, scientists had theorized that Ultima Thule was single entity with two separate lobes.  Now, they understand that it is actually two separate stars who are so close together that they are touching, perhaps even merging, called a “contact binary.”

Ultima measures approximately 12 miles across, while Thule measures around nine miles across.  It is theorized that the two celestial bodies merged during the solar system’s formation at a speed and force only as comparable as two vehicles in a fender bender.

Recent discoveries had given a surprising new perspective to 2014 MU69, which has been the most distant object ever explored by NASA. Ultima Thule, in the Kuiper Belt, seems to be a lot less round than originally thought.

According to footage captured by a...

Cool Stories

Parade Costumes: Rio’s Dress Code For Carnival

The Rio carnivals are the largest spectacles of their kind anywhere in the world.  It’s a nationwide gathering of dancing, partying, parades, and positively jaw-dropping costumes.

While the costumes may seem just another part of the festivities, each with its own meaning and no connection to the next, they are actually a very important part of the parades and have to follow very strict guidelines.

The Sambodromo is the hub of the Rio De Janeiro parades, with flashy floats and costumes as well as partygoers packed like sardines in a can.  Shrove Tuesday is the ultimate peak of the event, when the top 14 samba schools give their presentations for the judges, each school hoping to be crowned the best in the carnival.

This crucial performance is the showcase of the costumes.  Each costume plays to the chosen theme of its school.  Once the school has chosen its theme, it needs to fashion the costumes to match.  The costumes are generally handmade, with sequins, feathers, and other details carefully chosen and attached by hand to each costume.

These complicated costumes will be equipped with gaudy accessories and an elaborate headdress.  While the rules forbid outright nudity in the competition, many of the revelers are scantily clad, wearing carefully placed, tiny bejeweled bikinis.

The parade splits the school’s performances into wings.  Each wing plays a specific role and wears a specific costume.  The musicians and dancers that surround the moving float are called the Ground Wing.  The Ground Wing welcomes tourists to purchase costumes and join the parade with them, thrusting them fully into the experience.

The next wing is called the Float Wing, which is the float and the performers dancing on it.  The samba schools take the Float Wing seriously as this is the portion of their performances that are judged.  The performers will have dedicated many hours to rehearsing, and these costumes can cost anywhere from $9,000 to $10,000 USD.

Street Parties


Surrounding the parades are street parties.  Lots and lots of parades.  These street parties are all about fun costumes, with no costume requirements.  The street partygoers can dress however they want, although pirates, Indian, sailors, police, and cowgirl costumes are the most popular.

Street parties are generally hot because of the Rio De Janeiro temperatures and the huge crowds.  Some partygoers may opt to not wear costumes, but at the least they will be sporting bright accessories, vibrant colors, and face paint.

The Rio carnivals are the largest spectacles of their kind anywhere in the world.  It’s a nationwide gathering of dancing, partying, parades, and positively jaw-dropping costumes.

While the costumes may seem just another part of the festivities, each with...

Tech News

New Record: Most Autonomous Cars In A Row

In November of 2018, China’s Changan Automobile manufacturing company set a Guinness World Record for the longest parade of autonomous cars.  The car line featured 55 of the self-driving vehicles, traveling two miles at 30 km/h (or 18.6 mph) with a distance of two car lengths between them. The parade lasted nine minutes and seven seconds.  The record was set on a test track in Chongqing.

Yang Guo, an engineer for the autonomous car lineup at Changan Automobile, explained that while each car had a “driver,” they were not permitted to have any contact with the cars’ autopilot systems.  In fact, the parade was originally intended to feature 56 cars before one driver became disqualified by engaging with the car as it drove.

Better Lane Detection

Engineers were able to make alterations to the vehicle sensors to allow them to have better detection for lanes and increased sensitivity to the positions of the cars in front of them.  By reducing the vehicles’ event and object detection and the automatic response to these factors, the vehicles were able to be programmed to drive much closer together than they would under normal driving conditions.

The test track allowed the dynamic driving tasks to be lowered from five percent to one percent because a controlled driving area, such as the test track, has far fewer variables than are found under normal driving conditions.

Changan Automobiles is hoping that by setting the record, they are showing the world China’s commitment to inventing new technologies.  Changan’s Executive Vice President, Tan Benhong, explains,

“The artificial intelligence and new energy of automobiles is a very important trend in the future development of automobiles. As the world’s first brand to break this record, we will make more efforts in the field of intelligence.”

In November of 2018, China’s Changan Automobile manufacturing company set a Guinness World Record for the longest parade of autonomous cars.  The car line featured 55 of the self-driving vehicles, traveling two miles at 30 km/h (or 18.6 mph) with a...

editorial

Hilarious Walmart Moments

The idea of Walmart is a genius one. Selling products at a huge volume for low prices, so while there may not be as much of a profit for each team, when people bought in bulk, the cash rolled in!

Although it seemed like a risky idea at first, as you know it certainly paid off and after one year of Walmart hitting the streets in 1945, the owner went from a J.C. Penney employee to business tycoon almost overnight.

But it wasn’t only successful in the way that it made a huge profit and there are now stores in every single city in the United States, it also is a goldmine for the weirdest and wonderful sites. All types of people seem to flock to Walmart, and we do mean “all kinds of people.” Because of the brilliant deals and ridiculously cheap prices.

The store that we all know and love called Sam’s store is the very same Sam that actually owns and started Walmart. Sam has been spreading discounted love since 1962. Walmart has 11,695 stores in 28 countries….when you have that many stores, you’re bound to have enough crazies going in and out every single day.

Click next to see the craziest photos ever taken at this American icon:

The idea of Walmart is a genius one. Selling products at a huge volume for low prices, so while there may not be as much of a profit for each team, when people bought in bulk, the cash rolled in!
Although it seemed like a risky idea at first, as you know it...

Lifestyle

Carbs For Sports: The Low-Down

For any athlete, one of the most common problems that can crop up during your workout is ensuring your body has enough fuel. As we all know, exercise does a number on our bodies – and we need to help give our bodies the fuel needed to get through the workout itself.

Whether your sport of choice is running, cycling or swimming, you’ll need to give your body the fuel that it needs to complete your workout. Are carbohydrates the right choice for that energy, though?

Most of the time, carbs are seen as being added for us, and they are often decried within dietary communities. That, though, might not be the quality wisdom that was once expected. Carbohydrates are stored in the body by being turned into glycogen. That glycogen is then broken down through exercise, providing energy to our muscles as we go.

Glucose and sucrose are two common forms of carbohydrate and are often found in everything from fresh fruits like bananas to starchy products like rice and pasta. If you are someone who regularly believes that all carbs are bad, then you will definitely struggle to build up the energy needed during a workout.

Your body needs carbs to fuel itself during the workout process, so it’s foolish to simply cut them out of your system altogether. The challenge then is making sure that you get the right amount of carbohydrates into your system.

How Many Carbs Do I Need?

Since the body can only store a finite amount of glycogen, it’s important that you take enough carbs in to cover the length of your workout. If you believe that your workout will exceed one hour in length, then you should definitely look to store as much glycogen as you can to fuel that workout to success.

Without enough carbs, you run the risk of not having enough energy to finish the training program to a satisfying level.

You should, therefore, look to consume your carbs based on the intensity and the scale of your training in the first place. Roughly 30g of carbohydrates after the first hour of your training should be enough to get you around 90 minutes of action. Around 60g per hour is needed after your first 2.5 hours of training, and 90g per hour after the 3-hour mark.

While it will depend on the intensity of the exercise, this should give you a general starting point. Everyone is different, though, so try and experiment to find what appears to work best for you. You might not even need as much as this if you work at a lower training intensity.

Just be sure to start taking some time to look at things like the volume of carbs in grams in everything that you eat, as it will help you to make better decisions on what kind of carbs you are taking in. Get this right, and you’ll be very much more likely to maximize your training output.

For any athlete, one of the most common problems that can crop up during your workout is ensuring your body has enough fuel. As we all know, exercise does a number on our bodies – and we need to help give our bodies the fuel needed to get through the...

editorial

After A Few Emotional Years, What Does The Future Hold For Celine Dion?

Celine Dion, the French-Canadian star was, at one point in time throughout the 90’s, on your playlist after she successfully created the second best-selling single ever (by a female artist.) Celine started her professional singing career when she was only 12! By the time she was 21, she released her first single, which topped the charts. She got some help from someone very important to her.

A few years later she had to put her career on hold so she would have time to deal with turmoils which afflicted her private life and changed it forever. Keep on reading to see how she pulled herself together and conquered all the obstacles life threw at her, including her beloved husband’s death.

A star is born

It seems Celine was destined for the world of music, she was even named after a song! According to Dion, she was named after French artist Hugues Aufray’s song called Céline. Despite being born into a family of musicians (she was the youngest of 14 children!) a young Celine stood out from a young age for her talent which was heads and shoulders above the rest.

At the young age of five, she performed for the first time, a performance that would be the beginning of one booming career.

Keep reading, her story is too amazing to miss out

Celine Dion, the French-Canadian star was, at one point in time throughout the 90’s, on your playlist after she successfully created the second best-selling single ever (by a female artist.) Celine started her professional singing career when she was...

editorial

Hilarious Walmart Moments

The idea of Walmart is a genius one. Selling products at a huge volume for low prices, so while there may not be as much of a profit for each team, when people bought in bulk, the cash rolled in!

Although it seemed like a risky idea at first, as you know it certainly paid off and after one year of Walmart hitting the streets in 1945, the owner went from a J.C. Penney employee to business tycoon almost overnight.

But it wasn’t only successful in the way that it made a huge profit and there are now stores in every single city in the United States, it also is a goldmine for the weirdest and wonderful sites. All types of people seem to flock to Walmart, and we do mean “all kinds of people.” Because of the brilliant deals and ridiculously cheap prices.

The store that we all know and love called Sam’s store is the very same Sam that actually owns and started Walmart. Sam has been spreading the discounted love since 1962. Walmart has 11,695 stores in 28 countries…. when you have that many stores, you’re bound to have enough crazies going in and out every single day.

Anything Can Happen In Walmart (America)

It’s kind of crazy but all social norms seem to be suspended outside those big Walmart doors and anything can happen. You can come in your Pyjamas, you can have your face mask on from the night before, literally anything.

We have compiled the most hilarious list of those wonderfully weird moments that occurred in the Walmart walls. The craziest pets, the wackiest outfits, and the outrageous humans. Get ready to sit back, relax and start aching from laughter. After this, you may want to visit Walmart just to see for yourself!

Click next to see the craziest photos ever taken at this American icon:

The idea of Walmart is a genius one. Selling products at a huge volume for low prices, so while there may not be as much of a profit for each team, when people bought in bulk, the cash rolled in!
Although it seemed like a risky idea at first, as you know it...

City Life

Spend Your Valentines In The Most Romantic Cities

Valentine’s day is upon us! You may think that you have the perfect Valentine’s day celebration planned out for your partner, but you might want to reconsider your location. An exclusive list of the most romantic destinations in the world was just released by Spa Seekers, and you may be surprised to find what the top city on this list is.

In order to construct this list, Spa Seekers examined 66 famous cities around the world, rating these cities on how romantic they are. The index score on this site is a combination of five factors including the city in which you are most likely to be proposed to based on hashtags like #isaidyes #heproposed and #engage.

The site also studied the marriage rates in each of these cities, the rate of sexual activity in each city based on a study done on 450,000 adults, the scene of LGBT dating based on a global study done by Nestpick, and how many people feel romantic in these cities, based on social media updates.

Based on these metrics, Spa Seekers concluded that New York City trumps all when it comes to romance.

Highest Number Of Marriage Proposals

According to the site, New York comes out as the world’s most romantic city with an index score of 46.4 of 50. According to Instagram data, the Big Apple has seen the highest number of marriage proposals over the past six months, and it was rated 5 out of 5 as the world’s best city for LGBT dating.

Amazing Cityscape Views

New York also has the 4th highest marriage rate in the world and is the 9th most sexually active city. There are several picturesque locations to go on dates like Central Park, for instance, or the Empire State Building, from where you can catch the amazing cityscape views.

Thanks to the 1,813 Instagram posts tagging it as a location, and the numerous marriage proposals over the last six months, London comes in as a close second. It is also the 4th most sexually active city in the world.

The rest of the list includes some more predictable locations like Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, Miami, Melbourne, and Sydney. Once you’ve chosen your location, you could always raise the stakes by booking one of the world’s most romantic hotels, and crossing your fingers that your partner accepts your proposal!

Valentine’s day is upon us! You may think that you have the perfect Valentine’s day celebration planned out for your partner, but you might want to reconsider your location. An exclusive list of the most romantic destinations in the world was just...

Celebs

Gordon Ramsay Posts Pictures Of Raw Food. Why?

When you are cooking for your friends, you can pretty much serve whatever you want.  But raw food? You might want to store that in a folder labeled “What Not To Serve At A BBQ”.

That’s probably easier said than done when you are a famous international chef.  The food you prepare is going to be noticed by millions of people.  That’s a given for Gordon to deal with on a daily basis.

He has spent years shouting at chefs in kitchens, making derogatory comments about their sandwiches because they couldn’t seem to grasp how to cook a simple egg.

He is well-known for berating others and making comments that are a far cry from decent. Rarely does he have the focus turned on him or his cooking skills? It seems the tables have turned and many people have taken issue with his latest concoctions during a BBQ.

Controversial Chateaubriand

That said, people had taken issue with one of his latest accomplishments in the kitchen and placing it on social media revealing a delicious looking Chateaubriand.

The dish is served on a wooden board with a Bearnaise sauce, tomatoes, and green garnish.  The pictures, alone, will definitely stir up your appetite, but some people had questioned when the meat was going to be properly cooked?

His post was covered in comments from people saying the meat was way too raw to serve for their liking.  One person said, quite sarcastically, that if they could get a veterinarian on the scene quickly, he or she could probably resuscitate the poor cow.

Others have suggested that Ramsey place it back on the BBQ.

Secret Sauce

What many of these commentators do not understand, this is exactly how you serve Chateaubriand along with a Bearnaise sauce!  It is a tenderloin cut that is located between the sirloin and top sirloin parts of the cow.

Even though he’s not wrong, some people find the image a little beyond upsetting. Moving on to the popular online show, First We Feast, which consists of people asking questions while eating hot wings.

What you might call hot wings might not be the same, these hot wings are super HOT!

Ramsey is the most requested guest on the show and it was his kids bullying him to go on.  They told their dad he is always shouting and screaming all day because he has a big mouth, but can he actually take on some of these hot wings?

During the interview, he couldn’t help but make negative comments about the hot wings, asking how long these wings had been cooked and followed up with “because they are a bit “f**ing” overcooked. He said one of the wings looked like his grandfather’s big toe and quite simply they are just not good.

He managed to take on the wings but as the heat started to rise, he started breaking into a sweat and started tearing. Final comment, as he wiped back tears, he said “I haven’t cried this much since AA Gill’s funeral”

Way to go First We Feast! What goes around, sometimes comes back around!

When you are cooking for your friends, you can pretty much serve whatever you want.  But raw food? You might want to store that in a folder labeled “What Not To Serve At A BBQ”.

That’s probably easier said than done when you are a famous...

Funny Stories

‘Ancient’ Structure Is From The 1990s

In Scotland, archaeologists were disappointed when they found that a stone circle which they believed to be centuries old actually only dates back to the late 20th century.

A group of researchers in Leochel-Cushnie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland swarmed the monument when the current owner of the land reported the site to the authorities.

The archaeologists indicated that the site is authentic and added it to the “recumbent stone circles” list. Recumbent stone circles are a rare kind of circle particular to that local area.

Stop The Party

But the council reported that the celebrations were brought to a halt when the former landowner reported to a representative of Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s archaeology service that the circle was only a replica.

While analyzing the site, the archaeologists had observed that it was quite small and that some of the “kerb” and “cairn” stones one would expect to find, were missing. But still, the council says that this amount of variation isn’t uncommon.

A historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, Neil Ackerman stated that although they were disappointed to learn of the development, it adds an element of excitement to the story.

He says that the fact that it copies the regional monument type so closely shows how much the locals know, appreciate and engage with this region’s archaeology.

He hopes that they continue to use and enjoy the stones and that although it is not ancient, it still an amazing location and is a fantastic part of the landscape.

Recumbent stone circles were built about 3,500 to 4,500 years ago. They are rings of rock identifiable by two pillars with a large stone laid on its side in between them.

They were found in the north-east of Scotland and believed to have been built in the  Stone Age for astronomical purposes ie to monitor the movement of the moon and the sun, and track the year as it passes, according to Forestry Commission Scotland.

Ackerman also says that it is difficult to date these types of monuments and for that reason, they record modern replicas of these ancient monuments, should they later be misidentified.

He also says that they welcome new reports of modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially when they are built with skills similar to those of the stone circle and those that reference the monument types that already exist.

In Scotland, archaeologists were disappointed when they found that a stone circle which they believed to be centuries old actually only dates back to the late 20th century.

A group of researchers in Leochel-Cushnie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland swarmed the...