Apples and Oranges: A comparison
February 4th, 2011 03:34 pm
Apples and oranges are both popular fruits. Both vary in coloration and size depending on the variety, but they both range from approximately 2-3 inches in diameter in diameter. Apples have a broad range of hues while oranges stick pretty close to the color of its namesake.

Both apples and oranges grow on trees. Both fruits follow the same basic anatomy, with an exocarp layer (peel or skin), a mesocarp layer (the pith), and an endocarp layer surrounding the seeds. The pith of an apple is crunchy and consistent in texture, while an orange pith is made up of juicy cells divided by a thin membrane. Oranges, like all citruses, are acidic while apples are not.

It is amusing to note that in many countries, oranges are known as a "Chinese apple", though in the united states that phrase refers to pomegranates.


Nutrition

Both apples and oranges are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol or sodium. They are both high in fiber, though oranges are slightly higher. They are both high in sugar, and contain many essential vitamins and minerals, but oranges contain high levels of thiamine and vitamin C.

orange (peeled) 2 3/8 diameter
  • 3.4 oz
  • 45 calories
  • 11.3 carbohydrates
  • 2.3g fiber
  • 9.0g sugars

apple (no skin, no core) 2 3/4 diameter
  • 4.5 oz
  • 61 calories
  • 16.4 g carbohydrates
  • 1.7g fiber
  • 12.9g sugars

Usage

Both apples and oranges are commonly enjoyed as a raw snack. Apples seeds are housed in a core structure which is typically discarded while orange seeds are embedded in the edible sections of orange. Apples are most often eaten with the skin and the orange peel is most often discarded, but it varies by taste and preparation. Apples may be eaten whole or cut into slices, while oranges are typically peeled then seperated into segments.

Apples and oranges are both popular for making juice and spreads--apples in jellies and oranges in marmalade. Additionally apples are used to make a wide variety of drinks and foods such as ciders, vinegars, and deserts. Oranges are used as a flavor and scenting ingredient in teas, perfumes, and body products.

On safeway.com, prices for individual oranges range from $0.50 to $0.70, and a three pound bag can be purchased at $1.99. Apples come in higher at $0.60 to $1.40, with the three pound bag coming in at $3.49.

If refrigerated, apples will last about 1-2 months, while oranges will go bad after 2-3 weeks.

Production

Oranges and apples are both very popular commodities in world trade. In 2008, oranges sold 64 million tonnes worldwide, and apples 68.5 million. Orange production comes primarily out of Brazil and Florida which combined make up roughly 85% of the market. Apple production is dominated by China, which makes up about 2/3rds of the worldwide market.

Comparison

Based on economic and nutritional concerns, oranges are a better value. However, this may be offset by the fact that apples bigger on average than oranges, more versatile for cooking and will keep longer. Depending on the specific situation, other factors may need to be considered such as convenience, taste, and specific needs.

However, if you are seeking a simplest basis for comparison that can be achieved. A red delicious apple weighing approximately 0.5lbs can be purchased for $1.10 each from safeway.com. A medium orange navel orange, also weighting roughly 0.5lbs can be purchased for $0.50 at the same store. Therefore five red delicious apples could be considered equivalent in value to eleven medium navel oranges.
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the response modulation hypothesis
November 24th, 2010 12:54 pm
Whereas most people automatically anticipate the consequences of their actions, automatically feel shame for unkind deeds, automatically understand why they should persist in the face of frustration, automatically distrust propositions that seem too good to be true, and are automatically aware of their commitments to others, psychopaths may only become aware of such factors with efforts. (Newman, 1998, p.84)
--Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
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coloured glasses
May 16th, 2010 05:51 pm
Young attractive women often think the the world is full of nice people. Everywhere they turn, people are friendly, helpful, and so willing to go out of their way to lend a hand. Isn't life grand?

I'm beginning to suspect that people who are intimidating are often under the impression that the world is full of considerate and respectful people. I'm finding the realization that this is not a universal experience just as sad as I once did as a young girl.
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How to stop biting your nails
January 11th, 2010 02:36 pm
I don't remember when I started biting my nails but there is not a memory in my childhood in which it is not a prominent fixture. After many frustrated years of failed attempts to drop the irksome and embarrassing habit I finally succeeded for the first time when I was twenty. I have started and stopped a few times since then and every time the topic comes up someone asks with desperation in their eyes, "How did you do it?"

A friend of mine once wrote, "Imagine trying to quit smoking while being forced to walk around all day with a lit cigarette in your hand." Reading that was an ah-ha moment for me as to just why this insidious habit is so difficult to break.

I stopped again a week or so ago at the end of a particularly stressful stretch in my life. I've got a system down pretty well at this point, so I thought I'd I would share what I have learned.




Step 1: Timing is everything

One of my many unsuccessful attempts to stop biting my nails involved a nail polish marketed for the purpose. The taste was intended to be unpleasant enough to cause you to jerk your hands away from your mouth in disgust. Halfway through the first day of trying it out, I found myself idly pondering the likelihood of success ...which made me to realize that I was gnawing away at my fingers that very moment.

Those of you who have this habit know that it is a deeply ingrained subconscious action. Initially breaking it is going to demand your constant and rigorous attention. If you are worrying about your mom in the hospital, finding a job, or how you are going to meet that deadline, you won't have the mental cycles to spare for a project like this. Wait until things settle down.

If you find that you are always in a time of overwhelming stress, you'll need to fix your life first. It's cool, go ahead. I'll wait here.

Step 2: The tools of the trade

If you are like me, the thing that compels you to worry at your fingertips (aside from the bundle of nerves itching for a way to manifest) is that one little jagged edge. There you are, minding your own business when a rough edge of a nail demands your attention. "Well, that won't do," your hind-brain proclaims. And it sets about to resolve the nagging imperfection with the tools at hand.

Unfortunately, teeth are not designed for such fine detail work and tend to botch the job, leaving more of a gnarled mess than what started.

Instead of leaving your poor digits to the mercy of your well-intentioned but clumsy subconscious, acquire the tools to do the job right.

The Nail File

The canonical nail tool. If you get nothing else, carry a nail file with you at all times. The moment you notice a precious bit of density protruding from your recovering derma, stop what you are doing and smooth it out Right. Now.

If you forget your nail file one day, there is nothing to stop your jaws from closing in on your poor budding nails. They won't stand a chance. I... I speak from experience.




The Cuticle Trimmer

It always starts out innocently enough. A little vertical tear in the skin around the edge of your nail bed. But it doesn't take long to develop into a little triangle of unrelenting aggravation. And worst of all, you can't get at it! For all your fretting at it, you've massacred the surrounding flesh, while it remains insolently untouched.

This is where the cuticle trimmer comes in. Made for fitting into the curve of your nail, it cleaves off the stubborn dry bit leaving behind a neat and healthy nail bed.




The Cuticle Nipper

The flat patch of skin further back from the nail bed can be trouble too. A hang-nail torn off in absent-minded chomping will scab over and leave more of a mess. Attack these with the precision of the cuticle nipper, which leaves no ragged edges in its wake.




Lotion

There are lots of fancy products for softening your cuticles. Go as crazy as you like with the skin products, but I've found that plain ol' lotion will do just fine. Apply to the tips of our fingers at least once a day in the beginning, until your skin is a little more skin-like.




These are your tools. Take them with you everywhere. Keep a backup in your glove box, your purse, your desk at work. If you notice a hang nail or rough edge, stop what you are doing and address it right this moment.

Step 3: The actual stopping

Here is the moment you've been waiting for. The secret to defeating the habit that has afflicted you since childhood. Ready?

Stop biting your nails.

Sorry to say, but in all of my experimentation and machinations battling with this particular affliction, I have never discovered a magic bullet. There is no trick, there is no get rich fast, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and no, you can't have a pony. In the end, the only effective strategy is to just... stop.

The first three days are the hardest. This is about the length of time it takes for your nails to grow out enough that they can be filed, your skin to heal enough that it can manicured.

Step 4: The trick

Okay, I lied. I have discovered one trick. Develop an alternate nervous habit. Tap your foot, twirl your hair, chew your lip. I've found that worrying at my nail bed with the pads of my fingers can be an effective, if somewhat odd, expression of my nervous energy.

Train yourself to use some substitute habit as a crutch while you get through the toughest stretch.

Step 5: Fail

You are going to fail. At some point in this undertaking, you are going to have a shit day, your boss is going to yell at you, your kid is going to push you to the end of your rope, the car won't start, the deadline was missed, and you look down and realize that your fingers are bloody stumps once again. You have failed.

This will happen. It's best if you just accept that right now.

The important thing to understand is that failure isn't failure. Failure means that you have discovered the part of the process that doesn't work for you. You've identified the weak link in the chain. Now you have the insight to tweak your behavior to account for this new information, and start again.

If you take failure as a sign that you are hopeless and will never be able to stop biting your nails, you won't be disappointed. If you accept your inevitable slip-ups as an opportunity to debug your habits and behavior, you can eventually find a configuration that can be sustainable integrated into your life.

Step 6: The aftercare; getting professional help

Alright, you're two weeks in and you seem to have the situation under control. For the first time in years, your nails are just barely peeking out beyond the nub of your fingers. Now, how to keep them from retreating again?

I strongly recommend regular manicures. I know, I know. If your paws have served as lifelong, ravaged gauge of your stress level, the idea of going in for a mani might seem a bit odd. But a regular appointment will keep your nails and surrounding skin happy and healthy. Besides, the thought of showing up to the salon with mangled claws might be just embarrassing enough to keep you on the straight and narrow.

In summary

The crux of this strategy is quite simple: Smooth nails and soft neat cuticles do not make appealing victims for your nibbling nerves. Getting them that way is the hard part, but luckily once you're there an entire industry just waiting to welcome you and your dollar bills with open arms.
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my 5am
December 30th, 2009 06:30 am
There is this cat that has been in my house for a few months now. It is diseased and wounded and feral, and it is stuck. The creatures claw is stuck under a piece of tile in my floor, and he cannot get free. I am afraid to go near, for I know he would lash out at me in his immense pain.

It is the middle of the night, and I suddenly become concerned that he will attack my cats, or infect them with his disease. So, I twitter my location, my situation, and ask for advice. A woman answers that she is a vet and makes house calls--would I like her to come visit? In great relief, I accept.

The woman arrives. We chat mildly while she is fussing with her medical kit, and I work up to gingerly petting the poor creature. His hair is mostly gone, he is covered in sores and wounds. His entire foot is swollen and bleeding. In spite of his terrible pain, he is purring against me, taking comfort in this rare moment of affection.

I turn to ask the woman a question when suddenly the creature under my hand runs away, and I see that it is actually a rat. It scurries into the fireplace. The woman strides over to the fire place as if on cue, and deftly starts a fire. I scream, and run to put out the fire which has already started to blaze at an intense heat. The creature is nowhere to be seen.

I realize that the woman is insane. Completely, entirely, insane. After a brief struggle, I have her incapacitated, holding her arms firmly behind her back. I laboriously maneuver to the medicine cabinet, where I manage to get a xanax out while still keeping her secured. I force in her mouth, but she refuses to swallow.

I suddenly realize that there is someone else in the room. It is her accomplice, dressed in an elaborate brocade cloak. She effortlessly slips from my grasp, and I see now that she is not an old woman at all. She is a young man, wearing a long green coat, a top hat of the same color, and an ironic grin. I know then that this has all been an elaborate hoax, and he and his cohorts mean to rob me and set my house on fire.

The new-coming companion guards me amiably while the emerald mad hatter goes about collecting my valuables. I am angry and afraid. I see the hilt of a dagger peeking out of from the folds of the brocade coat of my keeper, and in a desperate impulse I grab it and stab him in the throat.

Blood gushes everywhere. He tells me, with a wry, bemused smile that he supposes it is only fair since I too am already dead and just don't know it yet. I look at my wrist to see three bright scratches, from the poison that I had been treated with in the earlier scuffle.

"Is this going to suck?" I ask.
"Depends how you feel about lots of pain," he replies with a grin.
I laugh without mirth and let out a weary sigh.

He leaves me to join his friends--there are dozens of them now--and die with the people he loves. They walk outside, and I follow, dazed.

I watch as each member of the crew, in their resplendent attire, walks across the street to one of the houses in a row, with white picket fences. The mad hatter transforms into a man made of clockwork, then like the Cheshire cat, fades away.

Each remaining member of the band has paused at their respective houses, and in a single moment, each figure suddenly and completely transforms their posture, their expression, their gait. From the spry thief making away with his ill gotten goods, to a father shuffling out to the curb before work to take out the trash; from a mercenary bent over his wound, to a bleary eyed man bending to fetch the morning paper before his coffee. Like a puppet suddenly freed from its strings, each slumps into the manner and being of the pedestrian world. My neighbors, going about their morning tasks.

Then I woke up.
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me and my mac
November 13th, 2009 01:13 pm

Me
: Hi OSX. I'm here for my semi-monthly podcast update. Here's my iphone, do your thing.


OSX: Oh, you're back! Sure, I can help you with that, and it will be SO EASY AND CONVENEIENT. You see, that's why people love me. But first, look at all that's happened while you were away.


Me: Uh...


OSX: Look at all these upgrades! Why don't you do that first.


Me: I don't really want to upgrade. I'm just here for the files really.


OSX: Well, you'll need to upgrade iTunes. The version you have isn't compatable with your iPhone.


Me: Oh.


OSX: And you should probably upgrade iPhoto, iLife and Quicktime while you are at it.


Me: But, I don't want to use iPhoto. And what the hell is iLife?


OSX: iTunes uses iPhoto, and you know how fussy it is about always being up to date with the latest jazz. It may also integrate with any of these other pieces of software. If you want, you can try not upgrading them and just see how iTunes feels about that... but you remember what happened last time...


Me: Fine. Whatever. Install the updates.


...


OSX: Hey, you're back!


Me: Are you done installing those updates?


OSX: No, silly! I was waiting for you. There's quite a bit of paperwork we must go over first.


Me: Oh. Wait, what paperwork?


OSX: Well, you'll need to sign here. Yes, that's it. And there. And don't forget to initial there. Ok! We're all set.

Me: *strained smile*

Me: Oh, hey. I was wondering about something that maybe you could help me with. There's this article on wikipedia, can you pull it up for me while we wait?

OSX: Oh, dear me no. I've really got my hands full with fetching all these software updates for you. The files are rather large you see, so it will take me some time to carry them over. I won't be able to do anything else for quite some time. But please enjoy our lovely background image and progress bar while you wait!

...


Me: Ok, the updates are done now, right?


OSX: Yep, you're all set!


Me: Oh, good. Can you please sync up my iphone now?


OSX: Oh, well, we'll need to restart before we can do that. I wanted to wait for you to get back before I did that. It's a big decision, and I wouldn't want to make it until I'd confirmed that you are okay with it. So, how are you feeling? Would you like to restart now?


Me: ...yes. Please.


...


OSX: Hi there! Oh, I see that you've got your iphone there. Why don't I just start up iTunes for you!


Me: Yes. Please, do.


iTunes: Hey there! Would you like to watch a movie? How about your photos, I can take care of that for you! Oh, and wait till you hear about the new ringtones we've got! I can get you a deal on the latest Brittney Spears song! What do you say!


Me: Just my podcasts please. Can you just put them right there please? Right there, you see. Just copy them. Right. there.


iTunes: Sure, I can help you with that! And it will be SO EASY AND CONVENIENT! You won't even have to think about it! But first, look what's been going on while you were away! There's a very important upgrade to your iPhone software. Would you like to install it now?

Me: *twitch*



This post was written while waiting for my OSX, iTunes, and iPhone upgrades to install.
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on leadership, council and credulity
November 5th, 2009 09:43 am
"So a shrewd prince should adopt a middle way. choosing wise men for his government and allowing only those the freedom to speak the truth to him, and then only concerning matters on which he asks their opinion, and nothing else But he should also question them thoroughly and listen to what they say; then he should make up his own mind, by himself. And his attitude towards his councils and towards each one of his advisers should be such that they will recognize that the more freely they speak out the more acceptable they will be.

...

"I want to give a modern illustration of this argument. Bishop Luca, in the service of Maximilian the present emperor, said of his majesty that he never consulted anybody and never did things as he wanted to; this happened because he did the opposite of what I said above. The emperor is a secretive man, he does not tell anyone of his plans, and he accepts no advice. But as soon as he puts his plans into effect, and they come to be known, they meet with opposition from those around him; and then he is only too easily diverted from his purposes. The result is that whatever he does one day is undone the next, and what he wants or plans to do is never clear, and no reliance can be placed on his deliberations.

"A prince must, therefore, always seek advise. But he must do so when he wants to, not when others want him to; indeed he must discourage everyone from tendering advice about anything unless it is asked for. At the same time, he should be a constant questioner, and he must listen patiently to truth regarding what he has inquired about. Moreover if he finds that anyone for some reason holds the truth back he must show his wrath."

--The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
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meme commentary
October 15th, 2009 10:14 pm

Have you seen this thing that people say now? "FML"? It's a clever little acronym for "fuck my life," a sentiment apparently so common among the internet community that it requires shorthand.

There are so many delightful aspects to those three little letters. Right off the bat, the phrase absolves you of all responsibility for the whatever predicament you happen to be in. After all, you are powerless in these matters. A helpless pawn to the forces of fate that brought you here.

And what forces! Oh abused internet masses! Huddled together in chat rooms, catching what streaming content you can muster, room lit by the cold glare of your macbook. Indeed, how could you be expected to be an active player in your own existence, when the only power you have at your disposal is the most advanced technology that has ever existed and all of the knowledge of mankind at your fingertips?

The only recourse left to you is to take out your iphone, and instantly communicate your grievances to audiences all over the world.

Yes. Fuck your life indeed.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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what really counts
October 14th, 2009 11:45 am

Over the years, I have worked at many companies that were awesome to all appearances, but were home to a bunch of miserable employees---almost always in spite of the best intentions of the management.  As is my habit, I spent a lot of time pondering why this tends to happen and I've identified some common threads.

As an employer, there are a few things for which, if you get them right you can get just about everything else wrong and get away with it--even come out of it with your employees loving you. On the other hand, I've worked at companies where I spent a huge amount of time enjoying free food and booze while commiserating with my co-workers about our terrible working conditions.  That may sound ungrateful, but the truth is no amount of perks can make up for the things that really count.

aligned values

Feeling like the people you work with, or worse the people you work for, don't care about same things you do is a discouraging prospect.  If you are a person who cares deeply about user experience and work for a company that doesn't understand what is wrong with pop ups and banner ads, you are never going to be happy there.  If you care about best practices and standards compliance, but your boss doesn't get why it takes you such a long time to write code, you're going to be pretty frustrated. 

A mismatch of core values like these leave you with a couple of unappealing choices.  Either give up on the things you are passionate about and treat your work as an unpleasant chore, or spend your time and energy alternately fighting or sneaking around to do a good job.  I've come to recognize that feeling as a sign that it is time to move on.

feeling empowered

This is one of those things that sounds obvious once articulated, but often escapes notice otherwise. People are happy when they have the power to do their job well. When they are unable to fill their role effectively, they are not.

There are a million and one things that could stand in the way of being able to do your job and do it well, ranging from bad process to simple incompetence.  Some common problems I have seen are lack of good information flow, wasteful and non-productive process, and ownership that is not aligned to responsibility, inclination and aptitude.  Whatever the reason, the feeling that you are not providing value leads to the kind of demoralization that extends beyond the work day.
 

feeling appreciated

There are some obvious ways to let people know they are appreciated, and these are too often neglected. Appropriate salaries and titles, regular performance reviews, even just saying "thank you" can make a big difference. But I've found that far more often the things that are really devastating are more subtle.  Things like failing to consult someone about decisions that affect their area of expertise, leaving them to find out incidentally about major and relevant events, or giving tasks within their domain to an outside party--these things leave a person feeling pretty crappy.  When you've taken ownership and killed yourself for your job, feeling as though you've been disregarded makes you wonder why you bother.



I'm going to make a bold (and probably wrong) statement and say that if you are unhappy at your job--the deep seeded, soul crushing kind of unhappy--the reason falls into one of these three categories.  Figure out which one, and tell someone about it.  Your boss probably really wants to understand what they are doing wrong, and it may be something that can be solved with frank communication.  And if not--move on, find a better fit.  There are precious few jobs worth the cost of your soul.  I'm willing to bet this isn't one of them.


Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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rain dance
September 14th, 2009 11:24 pm
I found this passage from Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow(*) rather delightful. For context, the preceding paragraphs describe some experiments in which pigeons are trained to tap increasingly complex patterns into a pad with their beaks, the successful completion of which would result in a reward being dispensed. But then someone decided to try a surprising variation on the experiments...

He set up the apparatus to "reward" the pigeon from time to time no matter what the bird did. Now all the birds actually needed to do was sit back and wait for the reward. But in fact... in six out of eight cases they built up--exactly as if they thought they were learning a reward habit--what Skinner called "superstitious" behavior. Precisely what this consisted of varied from pigeon to pigeon. One bird spun itself around like a top, two or three turns anticlockwise, between "rewards". Another bird repeatedly thrust it's head towards one particular upper corner of the box. A third bird showed "tossing" behavior, as if lifting an invisible curtain with ts head. Two birds independently developed a habt of rhythmic, side-to-side "pendulum swinging" of the head and body. ...

It was the pigeon equilivant of a rain dance.

--Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins





* While the book certainly had its moments, I would recommend against reading it for reasons elaborated upon in my review on goodreads.
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