Kettle Corn Catastrophe

kettlecorn2 (2)

Not long ago, my Papi and I were gearing up to pop in a DVD and enjoy some classic father-son bonding time via Hollywood violence. He required that popcorn be a part of our experience and asked me if I would eat some. I told him that I would eat some kettle corn, one of my personal favorite edibles. After helping him navigate the complexities of the technological conundrum known as Red Box, he dropped me off before heading to the grocery to apprehend the other half of our night’s event, the popped corn of the kettle variety. Remarkably, the kettle corn was on point and rounded out the father son occasion in glorious fashion. Like the generous father he is, Kash Dad let me take the rest of the kettle corn cache home with me, and I was delighted as I enjoyed its deliciousness for several subsequent nights while reflecting on our paternal bond.

When the sweet and salty corn supply ran bare, I grew distressed by my cravings for more. I was hooked on its powerful flavor and yearned for more popped kettle maize, so I placed an order with my personal grocery service. Then delivered, I threw a bag into the magic heating machine, and bode my time as electromagnetic radiation exploded the kernels into their snackable form. After firing up the interwebs to renew my ritual of Netflix and kettle corn, I began to devour bits from the bowl when my senses raised alarms that something was dreadfully wrong. The kettle corn did not taste like it did before, a pure heavenly goodness. It was off, way off. First my tastebuds and then my whole being rejected this monstrosity that I continued to sample in disbelief. What is this dark sorcery? How could anyone refer to this bizarre evilness as food, let alone the amazingness that is kettle corn? I rushed to examine the packaging and found the culprit among the ingredients list: the artificial sweetener sucralose! My culinary nemesis! A vile abomination! I despise fake sugar and am bewildered at how anyone could enjoy such a distasteful thing.

In an effort to reduce sugar intake, a noble endeavor recommended by health officials and anti-obesity movements, the malevolent corporations have opted to utilize chemically synthesized low-calorie nastiness to sweeten products instead of just, you know, USING LESS SUGAR. Many times have my roommate and I been duped by such marketing stating something like ‘Reduced sugar’ into purchasing a product we hoped would be a healthier less sweet, less caloric alternative to the usual. We were disturbed to discover that it contained a nefarious zero calorie and grotesquely irregular sweet artificial sugar alternative.

Admittedly, these artificial atrocities have been enjoyed by many people for quite some time and are common ingredients in many products such as diet soda and other drinks as well as candy and desserts. Why do I detest them you might ask? My main reason is their gross abnormal and funky taste. It truly disgusts me and causes foods to be practically inedible. Furthermore, I cannot fathom that a man made ultra sweet substance with next to zero calories could be healthy despite being approved by the FDA. And there is evidence to back it up. Artificial sweeteners and non-caloric natural sweeteners including stevia still trigger the brain’s sweetness receptors causing the body to prepare itself for the caloric intake that comes from sugar. Insulin is released but when that sugar doesn’t come, your metabolism still expects the calories and it causes you to crave which results in more eating. Thus, those who ingest sugar-free sweeteners tend to eat more calories overall. On top of that undesirable and rarely known consequence, fake sugars tend to promote certain fat storing gut bacteria and thereby encourage overeating and obesity. I am vexed by why anyone would reach for these foul products, and I hope this knowledge helps you to think twice when trying to cheat your way out calories with artificial sweetener.

Here are the ingredients to look for that are artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA:

  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium(or K)
  • Sucralose
  • Neotame
  • Advantame

Remember that it’s allowable to market products with artificial sweetener as natural, even though they are anything but. Also, the FDA does not require food manufacturers to clearly mark the use of artificial sweeteners. Beware of the labeling: smart, lite, reduced sugar or sugar free. Watch out because they are sneaking this evil into all kinds of products nowadays including condiments, cereals and breads, and even outrageously corrupting our snacks like my beloved kettle corn!

Learn more:

The Case Against Artificial Sweeteners Is Getting Stronger

Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t the Answer to Obesity

Cast Level 10 Name Recall

whoname

‘I’m bad with names.’ is a tired phrase you hear regularly at social gatherings of all sorts. Every time I hear this phrase I think, and sometimes say, something along the lines of, ‘You just don’t care enough.’ If it’s discussed then I explain that if one simply tries to learn to remember names, it goes a long way. That is to say I believe that our brains remember what we care to remember. Furthermore, we are better at remembering that which we have cared to remember more over time, or we do well at retaining information for the types of things we have experience trying to remember.
The greatest example of this for me was when, as a recently single college sophomore who had spent his entire freshman year basically in social isolation, I quested to meet new people and build a new social framework (Read: meet girls). One of the first steps in making new friends is learning their name and remembering it. How many times have you yearned to say hello to someone you once met but were stifled by being unable to remember their name?
So I set off to learn to retain and recall names with consistency. This turned out to be a much simpler endeavor than I expected. Much of the work simply took care of itself once I was conscious of my desire to remember. The basic effort combined with the simple tip of repeating someone’s name after first contact, aloud or in your head, amplified my name recall skill. Oddly enough, remembering names is basically as simple as remembering to repeat their name when you first hear it! This repetition along with putting myself in position to meet a good number of new people enabled me to soon recall names with ease.
Just a couple of months of focusing on this skill paired with high exposure to new people and I was set. Intentionally practicing something does wonders! Or as I would say, caring enough to put the effort in.
It really didn’t take long before I noticed my name recall as superior to most of my peers. I could approach persons with which I had previously connected, address them by their name and pick up right where we left off. Even names of people I didn’t care to remember or see again would float into my mind and out my mouth. Which is useful in a different way. ‘Don’t invite Chad, because, well, I don’t like him!’ (Nobody likes Chad.) Or ‘Let’s not go over there. I see that annoying Chad guy!’ A personal favorite of mine when dealing with the unliked is when they don’t remember your name. They might say ‘Oh hey dude!’ and you get to smother your response with sarcasm ‘Oh hi, Brock!’ A power play and also a great way to subtly communicate ‘leave me alone’ without being too disrespectful. How can you be disrespectful when you remembered their name and they didn’t? Works every time.
There are many benefits to the skill of name recall. It is one of the premier tools of networking, and I shouldn’t have to explain to you the many uses and benefits of networking. Additionally, it makes people feel great when you remember their name. And when their face lights up you feel great too. To have your name remembered is to be appreciated (most of the time), and it strengthens and facilitates connections. It’s very useful with romantic pursuits. To this day I recall names with ease and the best part is that I am no longer focused and caring about it. It just happens naturally. I get complimented on it and it’s a skill I openly boast about. So enough with being bad with names. Just try for awhile, remember to repeat the names of those you meet, and you’ll be a social wizard in no time.

Lifehacker – How To Remember Names

Stegosaurus – The Greatest Of All Time

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The stegosaurus is the most boss of all animals that ever lived. I shouldn’t have to explain why, but I will as I enjoy anything and everything relating to stegos. I mean just one look at a depiction of this majestic creature or a glance at its fossilized skeleton elicits reverence of the highest magnitude. Just imagine how a hungry predatory dinosaurs felt when they were looking for food and they came across the dreadful beast that was the stegosaur. Try to conceive the internal battle in their head as they debated whether to try to take a bite out of such a monstrosity or continue to starve. What a conundrum! Envision salivating at a 3 ton hunk of meat in your sights but at the same time looking down a spine lined with a super intimidating double row of SHARP ARMORED PLATES and then onto a long agile tail tipped with two pairs of HEINOUS SPIKES OF ANNIHILATION and then being scared right out of your dino-pants! It’s important to know that those tail spikes are informally called a thagomizer. That’s right, THAGOMIZER! (Coined by Gary Larson of the Far Side comics.) The most awesome word I have ever heard and certainly a term that brings forth feelings of pure terror.

Scientists who have had the privilege of studying this sadly extinct amazing dino, say that stegosaurs were basically expert kung-fu masters at whipping their ultra vicious tails around to eradicate any nearby threat. If only I had a trained stegosaur to unleash upon my enemies! Literally built like a truck and probably the most appropriate thing to ever be described as ‘not to be messed with’, the stegosaurus is in a league all on its own as far as living organisms go in my book. So if you’re into tyrannosaurs, spinosaurs, or raptors, get outta my face! Those guys literally couldn’t even touch the stegosaur. No other dinosaur has anything on the great stegosaur, who to top off its wicked coolness was essentially a pacifist that only ate plants and only messed around and hurt others in self defense. What a marvel!

10 Spiky Facts About Stegosaurus – Mental Floss

The Magic of Manufacturing

tballs

‘How It’s Made’ videos are just so darn cool. They are interesting in a thousand different ways. It is especially intriguing for someone such as myself who has a passion for manufacturing and is striving to make a career out of working in the industry. I have extremely enjoyed every manufacturing plant tour I have ever been on and felt fortunate for the experience. Thankfully, ‘How It’s Made’ videos allow me to take a condensed rapid plant tour from the comfort of my own home. Hooray, Internet!

When I watch these kinds of videos I am in awe of the current state of processes used to mass produce everyday common objects. I wonder at the ability to take bulk amounts of simple homogeneous materials and compound and blend them into intricate products using energy and ingenuity. I try to fathom what the earliest methods were that were used to create the object. I marvel at how impossible it is to imagine all the various iterations that were used to go from crude manual construction to the most efficient way currently possible. Of particular awesomeness are the custom dedicated machines that were designed for one single obscure purpose, to perform a lone manufacturing step in a sequence of many aligned to produce the final result. It is fascinating how despite all the technology used, in almost all instances, humans are still a very important part of the system and perform essential functions that just can’t yet be done better or cheaper by machines. Sometimes, the most astounding processes are the machines and methods that merely package the product!

This post was inspired by how tennis balls are made. Check it out!
How Tennis Balls Are Made

My favorite how its made video is all time is the one about potato chips. Looks amazing and tasty!

How Potato Chips Are Made

What’s your favorite ‘How It’s Made Video’?

Top 5 – The Best Keyboard Shortcuts:

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Wizard at work!

I always say I was raised on computers. One may refer to someone with elite computers skills as a computer nerd or geek. I’ll just go with computer wizard. Here are some my favorite keyboard tricks that can be employed when clicking and menus won’t do it.

ALT+F4:

There are many scenarios where one might need to close a window faster than navigating the cursor to the X symbol in the top right, which can sometimes not even have an effect. That journey is longer than you might think in brain calculation time and one might find that journey is enough time to nullify a decision to close a window that has overstayed its welcome. Be decisive with Alt + F4 and squash those windows! While using a computer, one can end up getting into a number of different undertakings causing multiple windows and programs to be open and cluttering your computer’s world. When this gets overwhelming or tiring, it is a great relief to simply mash the Alt + F4 buttons simultaneously and repeatedly to close window after window and end your voyage into the the digital rabbit hole brought forth by computers and the internet. Use this shortcut to rage quit a frustrating endeavor or escape the clutches of addicting software with haste before your willpower fades.

CTRL+ALT+DELETE:

Equally as important with escaping the clutches of CPU pitfalls is this three finger wonder: Delete with Control and Alt. This magical maneuver can generate a number of results, but first and foremost, it interrupts whatever confounded undertaking your PC is involved in and allows you to retake control when programs freeze or your computer has stalled any further use. This is crucial when your processing ambitions have become too great for your machine to accommodate. This button combination almost always interrupts the current tasks in order to bring up the ability to initiate a full reboot or just utilize the task manager, with which you can target and smite evil programs crippling your computer companion.

CTRL+SHIFT+T:

A personal favorite spell of mine is cast reanimate on last closed browser tab! Control + Shift +T is extremely useful for when you need to bring back previous internet pages that have been slain. Handy for responding to accidents or tab closing actions made prematurely. The mouse operation for this one is cumbersome, so this one is a real time and frustration saver. Practice this one until it becomes second nature to reverse your internet adventure blunders.

WINDOWS+ARROW KEYS:

For when your windows are not organized for optimal viewing and you need to get them in order quick, use the windows key along with an arrow key to align the open window neatly to the left or right side of the screen with the left or right arrow. Use up to maximize the current window and down to minimize. BONUS SHORTCUT: Use Alt+Tab to alternate between windows while organizing your open windows into optimal viewing arrangement. Perfect for referencing your spellbook while writing scrolls!

CTRL+Z, CTRL+C, CTRL+X, CTRL+V:

The grandmasters of all keyboard shortcuts are these letters located adjacent to each other. Shame on you if you don’t already know and use ‘Control + Z’ to neutralize any mistakes and practically go back in time a few second to right your wrongs. Tremendously useful in preventing excess clicking around is the shortcuts to copy, ‘Control + C’, or to cut, ‘Control + X’, and then paste, ‘Control + Z’. These all are a must know for any apprentice computer wizard striving for greatness.

Bigger Spellbook

Robots & Manufacturing

Helpful Robots!
Helpful Robots!

One of my former bosses once handed me a pamphlet he received in the mail for a local seminar about a newer robot designed to work in manufacturing. He wanted to know if I was interested in attending in order to evaluate if the new robot could be worthwhile investment for our plant. To get away from work to see a robotics demonstration and a free lunch, how could I say no?
While typical manufacturing robots are simply automated arms or machines custom designed to perform particular functions, this one was something else entirely. The robot was almost humanoid and possessed several innovative features that would allow it to add value to manufacturing processes in ways entirely different than most of the standard machinery available.
Its name was Baxter. Though I ended up not recommending our company invest in the $30,000 robot as opposed to hiring a human worker that could ultimately perform a wider variety of tasks with greater skill, it was exciting to observe a type of technology that would obviously soon make a substantial impact in my field. Baxter was a two armed robot that could learn tasks simply by humans moving its arms and interfacing with its controls. Impressively, Baxter had a visual system for analyzing parts and making decisions based on programmed criteria, as well as advanced safety features to detect nearby human workers as well as halt movements in order to prevent injury.
I knew that Baxter could be useful to many factories right that day, but not ours. This was on account of the fact that we already had high end machinery that performed all of our main processes. We also had a limited number of very experienced, very skilled floor employees that were employed to do things that Baxter just couldn’t… yet. Furthermore, I had my doubts about the usability of the control interface and training the average worker to teach Baxter. The biggest deal breaker was that most of our operations dealt with moving parts that were too small for Baxter to handle.
However, as with the case with most technologies, once they exist they are improved upon rapidly. So I could clearly envision a Baxter 2.0 handling a number of our manufacturing duties down the road. With just a reasonable amount of design refining and usability improvements applied to this robot, it was clear that there would be no reason that robots like Baxter would not someday be widely implemented.
I really wanted to justify the purchase of a Baxter and to see his LCD face displaying basic reactions around our plant. It just was not the time yet, but it was rewarding experience to gain a glimpse into what manufacturing future might hold and see a demonstration of technology on the cusp of large scale break through.

Read more: These are the droids you’re looking for.

Welcome to the Ryan Kashubara Blog

The inaugural post of the Ryan Kashubara Blog brought to you by the man, himself. Why RyanKashubara.com? Well, let’s just say the world needed it and it was time! A one stop resource for all things ‘Ryan Kashubara’ with links to all my social media profiles as well as links to some significant events in my life that will function as an internet resource for insight into my life and who I am. Doesn’t that sound splendid!? What is the purpose of the Ryan Kashubara Blog? I don’t know and nobody else does either! Figuring that out will be part of the fun as I force myself to turn thoughts and opinions into text and paragraphs. I’m sure it will be filled with random spoutings from the depths of my mind and also fun little exposés of my opinions on just about anything! I never was big on writing, but such a thing is supposed to be healthy and helpful in one way or another. Over the course of my posting about such things as manufacturing – my career field, typical nerd topics from the internet or about technology, or my thoughts on various other topics that hold my interest, I’m sure to run out of writing material so please let me know if there is any subject that you think needs to be addressed by Kash’s thoughts and feelings. Please, visit all my links! Thanks for reading! Until next time, maintain your harmony with the universe! ~Kash