Autumn is an invisible bridge that begins with the fading delights of summer and slowly reaches into the world of winter.
It’s when most crops are harvested and when the days grow shorter and cooler, especially in northern latitudes. September is the month of the Harvest Moon, a full moon that allows farmers to work later and have more time to bring in their crops. Gardens are ripped up, but rows of turnips, potatoes, and onions are planted.
Children have strapped on their backpacks and trekked back to school but take time out to select pumpkins, carve their Jack-o’-lanterns and throw themselves into the adventure of Halloween.
This is when tourists hit the road to find, photograph, and enjoy the color palette of fall foliage. These wanderers are often referred to as “leaf peepers.”
Apple trees are heavy with fruit, apple cider stands begin to pop up, and apple pie is a staple on many menus. Family outings to the nearest orchard are common, and kids can pick their own apples and even watch apple cider being made. Getting a taste of the fresh cider is part of the fun.
Tailgate parties hail the arrival of football season. Bonfires proliferate, with some of them turning into traditional hot dog roasts, complete with toasting marshmallows to make s’mores and augmented by a singalong.
Corn mazes offer a scary but exciting escapade, and hayrides are enjoyed by all ages. Scarecrows and cornstalks become part of decorating while squirrels scurry around burying nuts.
It’s autumn. Breathe deeply and enjoy the precious days. As Albert Camus said, “Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”
Selecting the right configuration to future-proof your laptop
Selecting the right computer can be a difficult task. There are dozens of different models, but each model often comes in several different variations. No matter what laptop you buy, you’re likely spending hundreds of dollars, so you’ll want a computer that will last for years to come. Wondering how to future-proof your laptop? We got you covered.
First, there’s the processor. If you plan to buy a PC laptop, you’ll want a computer with a recent Intel i Series or AMD Ryzen processor. These processor lines offer enough power for most users. Sometimes you’ll see companies offering cheap laptops with mobile chips, but these basic computers often struggle even with simple tasks.
If you’re a fan of Apple and need a laptop for basic use, it’s hard to go wrong. All current generation Mac laptops offer at least 8GB of RAM, powerful “M” processors, and at least 256 GB of storage space. Right now, Apple’s in-house M CPUs rank among the most powerful processors around.
8GB RAM is enough for basic use, but 16GB is far more future-proof. And whether you use a PC or Apple laptop, if you’re going to edit photos and videos, you’ll want at least 16GB of RAM. Editing software uses a lot of RAM; if you only have 8GB, your computer may freeze up or crash.
Then there’s storage space. Most folks will need an SSD with at least 256GB of space. Some computers come with just 64GB or 128GB. If you’re storing video games, photos, or videos, you will use those gigabytes up very quickly.
Also, many budget laptops feature low-resolution 1366 x 768 screens. These displays look pixelated and can be hard on the eyes. You’ll want a Full HD (FHD) screen with at least 1920 x 1080. You could also get a UHD screen with 4K or 3.5K resolution. However, you’ll have to sacrifice battery life.
Return of the flip phone: Are they worth the premium?
For many years, foldable flip mobile phones were common. Then came the iPhone, and flat tablet-style phones have been all the rage ever since.
Flip phones offered some advantages, however. While folded up, they kept the screen protected and the footprint compact. Now, folding phones are making a bit of a comeback. But make no mistake, modern flip phones are far from retro.
The typical smartphone screen is manufactured from multiple layers of inflexible glass. You’d shatter the screen if you tried to fold such a phone. Early foldable phones got around the inflexibility of glass by using polymers or plastics. Plastic can be very flexible, but it’s also prone to scratches — say, from the keys in your pocket. Hence why, smartphones typically use glass screens.
In 2020, Samsung debuted the Galaxy Z Flip, which uses a very thin glass screen. Scientists figured out that the right types of glass could actually be bent and thus folded without shattering.
However, the glass layer must be very thin for this to work.
Further, old LCD screens use backlighting, meaning bulbs are behind the screen. These bulbs can’t be folded. However, many smartphones now use organic LED (OLED) screens, which aren’t backlit. Instead, the organic materials themselves light up once electricity passes through.
However, if you want a modern folding phone, expect to pay a premium. Folding phones typically cost at least a few hundred more than tablet phones with similar specs. That said, folding phones offer more screen space while still maintaining a smaller footprint. While folded up, the screen remains protected from coins, keys, and other hazards. So is a folding phone worth it? Ultimately, that’s up to the consumer, but these phones do offer considerable advantages.
How buying local affects the economy
Have you wondered how your choices affect the local economy as a consumer? Here are a few things that can happen when a small or medium-sized business in your neighborhood doubles its sales due to strong local support.
• Expand services. The more money a small business makes, the more likely it’ll expand its product and service offerings and delve into new markets. For instance, your favorite local brand may set its sights on opening a new location in a nearby town.
• Improve the job market. When small businesses grow, they require more employees. A prospering local business can help create jobs in your area.
• Uplift other local businesses. Small businesses often look to local suppliers to support their growth and help each other prosper.
• Increase social involvement. Local businesses are active in charitable causes. For example, thriving small businesses often give back to their communities by donating to local organizations.
• Reap tax benefits. Small businesses that make more money also pay more taxes. This means more money is going back into your local government to help with infrastructure and social initiatives.
Buying local is an easy way to invest in your community. It’s a simple move that benefits you as well.
October Celebrity Birthdays!
Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?
1 – Emerald Fennell, 37, director, actress (Call the Midwife), London, England, 1985.
2 – Kelly Ripa, 52, television host, Stratford, NJ, 1970.
3 – Alicia Vikander, 34, actress (The Danish Girl), Gothenburg, Sweden, 1988.
4 – Susan Sarandon, 76, actress (Dead Man Walking), born Susan Tomalin, New York, NY, 1946.
5 – Jesse Eisenberg, 39, actor (Batman v Superman), New York, NY, 1983.
6 -Stephanie Zimbalist, 66, actress (Remington Steele), Encino, CA, 1956.
7 – Vladimir Putin, 70, President of Russia, St Petersburg (then Lenningrad), Russia, 1952.
8 – Chevy Chase, 79, comedian, actor (Caddyshack), born Cornelius Crane, New York, NY, 1943.
9 – Bella Hadid, 26, model, born Isabella Khair Hadid, Los Angeles, CA, 1996.
10 – Ben Vereen, 76, actor (Sweet Charity), singer, dancer, Miami, FL, 1946.
11 – Cardi B, 30, rapper, television personality, born Belcalis Almanzar, the Bronx, NY, 1992.
12 – Kirk Cameron, 52, actor (Growing Pains), Panorama City, CA, 1970.
13 – Ashanti, 42, singer, actress (Coach Carter), born Ashanti Sequoiah Douglas, Long Island, NY, 1980.
14 – Usher, 44, singer, actor (Moesha), bornUsher Raymond IV at Chattanooga, TN, 1978.
15 – Tito Jackson, 69, singer, musician (Jackson 5), born Toriano Adaryll Jackson, Gary, IN, 1953.
16 – Barry Corbin, 82, actor (Northern Exposure), Dawson County, TX, 1940.
17 – Eminem, 50, musician, rapper, Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Kansas City, MO,1972.
18 – Freida Pinto, 38, actress (Slumdog Millionaire), Mumbai, India, 1984.
19 – Peter Max, 85, artist, designer, Berlin, Germany, 1937.
20 – John Krasinski, 43, actor (The Office), director (A Quiet Place), Boston, MA, 1979.
21 – Kim Kardashian, 42, television personality, Los Angeles, CA, 1980.
22 – Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 47, actor (Modern Family), Missoula, MT, 1975.
23 – Nancy Grace, 64, talk show host, Macon, GA, 1958.
24 – Drake, 36, singer, born Aubrey Drake Graham, Toronto, ON, Canada, 1986.
25 – Katy Perry, 38, singer, born Katheryn Hudson, Santa Barbara, CA, 1984.
26 – Ivan Reitman, 76, filmmaker (Dave, Ghostbusters), KomaÌrno, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), 1946.
27 – Matt Drudge, 56, journalist (The Drudge Report), Takoma Park, MD, 1966.
28 – Dennis Franz, 78, actor (Hill Street Blues), Maywood, IL, 1944.
29 – Winona Ryder, 51, actress (Stranger Things), born Winona Horowitz, Winona, MN, 1971.
30 – Kennedy McMann, 25, actress (Nancy Drew), Holland, MI, 1996.
31 – Letitia Wright, 28, actress (Black Panther), Georgetown, Guyana, 1993.
Trees rooted in the ages survive still
More than a thousand years before the oldest sequoia was a seedling, Alerce Milenario was growing in the mist and humidity, deep in a ravine in the coastal mountains of Chile.
It kept its mossy whereabouts a secret for over 5,000 years until it reached 200 feet into the sky, supported by a 13-foot-diameter trunk. And then, 50 years ago, a park ranger spotted the Patagonian cypress.
Its exact age can probably only be determined by taking a core sample and counting its seasoned rings under a microscope. Park rangers are unwilling to disturb the ancient tree. Most of the tree is already dead, and its living part relies on a fragile root system that human foot traffic could kill it.
Instead of ring cores, tree scientists have used statistical modeling, using cores from other nearby alerces. They think the tree is 5,484 years old.
That would put it well ahead of the oldest sequoias in California, which reach an age of more than 3,600 years.
If correct, the alerce would still be older than the gnarled Methuselah tree of the White Mountains in California. That ancient bristlecone pine germinated 4,800 years ago before the Egyptian pyramids were built. As with all the ancients, its exact location is secret to protect it from modern well-wishers and vandals.
Bristlecone pines are thought to be the oldest living individual organisms and now live on protected federal lands.
Methuselah has contemporaries still living today. There is Sarv-e Abarkuh, an enormous cypress in Iran, and the Llangernyw Yew in Wales, both thought to be 4,000 to 5,000 years old.
If you consider the root systems of trees and not the age of the trunk, none of these ancients comes close to the 100 acres of quaking aspen in Utah, called the Pando. The 47,000 trees in the Pando are stems growing from a single root system, which is certainly tens of thousands of years old.
In Sweden, Old Tjikko, just 16 feet tall, has a root system believed to be 9,500 years old, although the trunk is only a few hundred years old, according to Science magazine.
Making sense of UCLA and USC’s move to the Big Ten
Close your eyes and envision the Midwest. You might see rolling crop fields, beautiful lakes, dense forests, and the bright lights of Los Angeles — wait, what?
In a seismic move, the University of Southern California (USC) and UCLA announced that they were joining the traditionally Midwestern athletic conference, the Big Ten.
Originally, the Big Ten was made up of schools from the Midwestern states near the Great Lakes. Back in 1993, Penn State joined the Big Ten, stretching the conferences into central Pennsylvania.
Penn State quickly found itself at home, a large land grant university with rural roots. Then, in 2014, the University of Maryland and Rutgers joined, expanding the Big Ten’s footprint into metro Washington D.C. and New York City’s doorstep.
So what’s driving the expansion? Money, and more specifically, TV contracts worth lots of money. Los Angeles is the second largest TV market in the USA, and the “B1G” now has a presence in the three biggest cities: L.A., Chicago, and NYC.
When new media markets are added to the Big Ten, the conference can push for its TV network, the Big Ten Network, to be added as part of the basic cable package, drumming up mountains of cash. The Big Ten Network is already in 80 million American homes, paying out up to $49 million to each university in 2021. With the Big Ten coming to California, these payouts may increase.
Currently, there are five “power” conferences in college sports: the Big Ten, the SEC, the Big 12, the ACC, and the Pac-12. Many analysts predict that soon there will be just two Power conferences, the SEC and the Big 10. If so, these two power conferences, made up of the biggest college athletics programs, will likely enjoy the most lucrative TV contracts and ever-growing coffers.