Lost nuclear bombs

The very first bomb that the Allies dropped on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo, it is said. The NATO attack on Serbia in 1999 (the Kosovo war) killed more animals than people. “Smart” weapons, such the Tomahawk missile is supposed to hit a postage stamp at 300km or more (200 miles or more). But only two out of thirteen actually hit the target. One skimmed over the house of a small farmer a few miles off target, straight up a track, through bushes, and exploded in the farmer’s field, killing seven sheep, one cow and a goat. The farmer kept the missile nosecone as a souvenir.  Read more…

More movies made in Bollywood than Hollywood

Each year, more movies are produced in India, where the moving image industry is referred to as Bollywood, than in Hollywood. About 1000 movies are released annually in India, about twice the output of Hollywood. The “B” in Bollywood refers to Bombai (renamed Mumbai).

Bollywood movies often are quite long; 3 hours or more of dancing and singing around love as the main plot – although kissing is almost never shown on screen. Everyday, some 14 million Indian people queu for a movie, with more than 4 billion movie tickets sold annually, compared to 3 billion for Hollywood movies worldwide.

Indian comic actress Manorama has played the most leading roles of any performer in movie history. She began her career in 1958 and in 1985 had appeared in her 1,000th movie.

Before Bollywood

The first movie screened publicly was “La Sortie des Ouvriers de l’Usine Lumire” which was presented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere in Paris in 1895. The first movie to use sound was “The Jazz Singer,” released in 1927: the first words, spoken by Al Jolson, were: “Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet.”

The big movies

According to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), in 1996 the average Hollywood film cost $35.3 million to make and another $17.7 million to market. Disney’s “The Lion King” cost $45 million to make and employed a total of 800 animators. Bollywood flicks are produced at average $2m.

The most expensive film ever made as at year 2000, was James Cameron’s “Titanic.” It cost $200 million, but also was the most successful, in the sense that it won 11 Academy Awards, equaling “Ben Hur” of 1959.

The top five moneymaking films of all time, as by 2010, are: Avatar (2009) [$1.850 billion], Titanic (1997) [$1.835 billion], The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) [$1.129 billion], Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) [$1.060 billion], and The Dark Knight (2008) [$1 billion]. They are followed by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) [$972m]. When adjusted for inflation, Gone With The Wind remains one of the highest grossing [$1.4 billion and growing], followed by Star Wars and Sound of Music, according to boxofficemojo.

Note that they all are family-type movies. In fact, movies with strong sexual or violence content usually bomb at the box office. According to the American Family Association, the average cost to produce a movie in 1996 was $40 million. Sex films grossed on average only $700 000. Movies with strong Christian or family content on average grossed over $37 million. The figures have since changed, but not the facts.

Director James Cameron is responsible for directing the two most expensive movies: Avatar (£234 million production plus $150 million promotional budget) and Titanic ($200 million production plus $20 million promotional budget).

“Frankly my dear…”

Gone With The Wind has been the best-attended film since its release in 1939. Without a doubt the most famous line in the movie is when Rhett Butler tells Scarlet O’Hara, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” According to Cuss Control, a book by James O’Connor, director David Selznick was fined heavy for that curse word: $5,000. A lot of money in those days. The movie is based on the book by Margaret Mitchell. It was the only book she wrote.

The biggest movie promotion deal is the $2 billion agreement between George Lucas – the director of the “Star Wars” trilogy – and Pepsi for exclusive worldwide use of the film’s characters.

50% of Hollywood movies never achieve a cinema release. Those that do, make 5 times more from DVD sales than cinema takings.

The longest movie ever

The longest movie in the world according to Guinness World Records is The Cure for Insomnia, directed by John Henry Timmis IV. Released in 1987, the running time is 5220 minutes (87 hours) and has no plot. Instead, it consists of poet L. D. Groban reciting his 4,080-page poem “A Cure for Insomnia” over the course of three and a half days. The movie is inter-spliced with clips from porno and heavy metal music videos.

The first Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was established in May 1927 as a non-profit corporation to promote the art of movie making. In the first year, the Academy had 36 members, with Douglas Fairbanks Sr as president. The first Academy Awards, now better known as the Oscars, were presented at a private dinner in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with less than 250 persons attending. Today, the Academy has over 6 000 honorary members – the Oscar Awards are viewed by more than a billion people on television.

The first television broadcast of the Oscars took place in 1953 – on black and white TV, telecasted throughout the US and Canada. Telecasting in color begun in 1966, and since 1969, the Oscars have been telecast throughout the world. By the mid-1990s it was telecast in over 100 countries.

Emil Jannings - photo (c) www.silent-movies.com
Emil Jannings

Janet Gaynor - photo (c) www.silent-movies.com
Janet Gaynor

Photos with kind permission of silent-movies.com – the premier web destination for Silent Movie facts.

The first Oscars

At the first Academy Awards, held in May 1929, Best Director awards went to Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights and Frank Borzage for 7th Heaven. The first award for Actor in a Leading Role went to Emil Jannings (real name Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz) for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. The first Best Actress award was won Janet Gaynor for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise. The first Best Picture award went to WINGS. All those films were screened in 1927. Those were the days of the silent movies, thus WINGS was the only silent to have won a Best Picture Oscar. It also featured Gary Cooper in a minor role. Swiss-born Jannings grew up in Germany and had a heavy German accent which, with the advent of sound in movies, basically put an end to his Hollywood movie career.

The most popular night in the world

The Academy Award ceremony basically was a non-public affair in 1927 and 1928. But it had created such public interest that the Oscar Presentation Night was introduced in 1929. Until 1954 the Oscars were presented mostly on a Thursday. From 1955 to 1958, they were presented on a Wednesday. From 1959 until 1998 the Oscars were, with a few exceptions, presented on a Monday night. Only since 1999 did the Awards ceremony take place on a Sunday (in March). In total up to 2005, the famous statuettes have been handed out on 32 Monday nights, 21 Thursday nights, 8 Wednesdays, 6 Tuesdays, 2 Fridays, once on a Saturday (1948), and four times on a Sunday.

In 1930, the Academy Awards were held twice: on 3 April and on 5 November. No ceremony was held in 1933. Since 1940 people have been kept on the edge of their seats with the familiar phrase “The envelope please.”

The Envelope Please

The record for most acting nominations without a single win is shared by Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton with seven. The most nominated actors for Best Actor and Best Supporting Roles are Jack Nicholson (11), Laurence Olivier (10), and Spencer Tracy (9). No male performer has yet won three Best Actor awards.

Only one actress has won the Best Actress award four times: Katharine Hepburn is the only actress to have won the Best Actress award four times, for Morning Glory (1932/3), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981). In 1968 Katherine Hepburn was tied with and Barbra Streisand for the Best Actress award.

Anthony Quinn’s performance as painter Paul Gaugin in Lust for Life (1956) is the shortest ever to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. He was on screen for only 8 minutes. Judi Dench made the an equally short performance, winning Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love” (1999). More Oscar fast facts

In 1997 James Cameron’s Titanic received 11 Oscars, sharing the record of the most Oscars awards for a single film with William Wyler’s Ben Hur (1959). The closest runner-up is West Side Story with 10 Oscars in 1961.

Family matters

The Hustons are the only family to produce three generations of Oscar winners: Walter Huston was named Best Supporting Actor in 1948 for his role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; John Huston was awarded Best Director/Adapted Screenplay for the same movie, and Anjelica Huston received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Prizzi’s Honor, 1985.

Only two married couples won Oscars for acting roles: Laurence Olivier (Hamlet, 1948) and Vivian Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951); and Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve, 1957) and Paul Newman (The Color of Money, 1986). The only sisters to have won Oscars are Joan Fontaine (Suspicion, 1941) and Olivia de Havilland (To Each His Own, 1946, and The Heiress, 1949).

No thank you!

In 1970 George C. Scott refused the Oscar for his award-winning performance in Patton. In 1972 Marlon Brando refused the Oscars for his award-winning role in The Godfather. They weren’t the first, though. In 1935 a writer named Dudley Nichols refused to accept the Oscar for his movie The Informer because the Writers Guild was on strike against the movie studios at the time.

Double the honor

Eight actors have won an Oscar twice:

Fredric March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931/2) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946);

Spencer Tracy for Captain Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938);

Gary Cooper for Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952);

Marlon Brando for On The Waterfront (1954) and The Godfather (1972);

Jack Nicholson for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and As Good As It Gets (1997);

Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988);

Tom Hanks for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994);

Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot (1990) and There Will Be Blood (2008).

Many actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar twice:

Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937);

Bette Davis for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938);

Vivien Leigh for Gone With The Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951);

Olivia de Havilland for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949);

Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966);

Glenda Jackson for Women in Love (1970) and A Touch of Class (1973);

Jane Fonda for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978);

Sally Field for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984);

Meryl Streep for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982);

Jodie Foster for The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Also see the list of Oscar winners

Book: Inside OscarUSA | UK
“The fullest and funniest chronicle ever accorded the Golden Guy” – Harry Haun, NY Daily News

The Academy Awards and Oscars are trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Artificial Intelligence

In 1637 Rene Descartes, the French mathematician and philosopher, predicted that it would never be possible to make a machine that thinks as humans do. That was a rather astonishing observation considering that the concept of the analytical machine was devised by Charles Babbage only two hundred years later. Babbage never completed his analytical engine but his theories laid the early foundation for artificial intelligence.

The father of Artificial Intelligence is British mathematician Alan Mathison Turing. In 1950 he declared that in the future there would be a machine that would duplicate human intelligence. He devised a specialised test, known as the “Turing test”, to be used to prove artificial intelligence. In the test, a human and a computer hidden from view would be asked random identical questions. If the computer was successful, the questioner would be unable to distinguish the machine from the human.

In 1947 Turing argued that the brain could itself be regarded as a computer. Working on his Automatic Computer Engine, he declared that he was more interested in producing models of the action of the brain than in the practical applications of computers.

AI laboratories

The first conference on artificial intelligence was held at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire in 1956. It led to the establishment of the AI laboratories at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) by Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy (who invented the AI computer language called Lisp) and Stanford University by Edward Feigenbaum and Joshua Lederberg. Herbert Simon and Allen Newell of the Rand Corporation ran tests that showed the one and zeros in computer language could be used not only to represent numbers but also symbols. Between 1958 and 1960 psychologist Frank Rosenblatt of Cornell University modelled the Perceptron computer after the human brain. He “trained” it to recognize the alphabet. The chase was on to develop “neuron networks” of computer processors.

The human brain consists of more than 100 billion nerve cells (neurons) through which the brain’s commands are sent in the form of electric pulses. It can process many operations at the same time (such as thinking, talking and walking at the same time). This is called parallel processing. Computers follow sets of logic steps, procedures called algorithms. Fast computers perform roughly 10 billion calculations per second. Supercomputers use multiple processors to follow several algorithms simultaneously.

Back to the power of reasoning

When IBMs Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997 it was a boost for AI developers. Today, a host of “smart devices” can recognize postal codes, patterns, symbols, handwriting, voices, etc. But no computer has yet mastered “plain, common sense.” Computers, it seems, can talk to each other but not to humans.

If the computer is to think like humans then its brains should be developed to be like that of a human. So, instead of using digital processors, scientists have developed silicon chips that work in analogue mode, the way a human brain cell works. A computer at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois used this mode of operation to process highly abstract problems, crudely approximating human reasoning.

The androids

The idea of personal assistant robots are not too far off, perhaps. But how will these human-like robots, called androids, behave and how will they be governed? Won’t they “take over the world?” If the robot laws of Isaac Asimov is followed, we’ll be safe.
1. Asimov’s first law is that robots may not harm humans either through action or inaction.
2. They must obey humans except when the commands conflict with the first law.
3. Androids must protect themselves except, again, when this comes into conflict with the first law.

Which one is the computer? Computers talk to each other easily but not to us. Is there something we should know about artificial intelligence?

Open a birthday card, listen to Happy Birthday – and throw the card in the bin. You’ve just thrown away more computer power that existed in the whole world before 1950. Computer power is being developed at a staggering speed.

Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage (1792-1871) is the father of the computer. He did not complete his analytical computer because he couldn’t raise finance for it.

Alan Turing (1912 – 1954) was born and studied in London but earned his doctorate from Princeton University in the US in 1938. During WW II he deciphered the German Enigma codes. It played an important role in the victory of the Allies. He committed suicide by ingesting cyanide.

It takes the human brain approximately one-half second to process and act on an input. Even average computers need less than half that time. But computers cannot process the extremely complex processes of thought creation and emotions… yet.

Well-known science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov also wrote mysteries, studies of the Bible, interpretations of Shakespeare and informative articles on chemistry, astronomy, biology and mathematics. He also laid down rules for the future androids.

The word “robot” comes from the Czech robota, which means labor. Playwright Karel Capek introduced the word robot in his 1920 play R.U.R. – Rossum’s Universal Robots.

In 270BC ancient Greek engineer Ctesibus made organs and water clocks with movable figures, effectively producing the world’s first robot.

Computer History

Jame Bond 007

He is handsome, tall, drives a fast car, has an unlimited expense account, and always gets the girl. That’s just the actor. The character he portrays also has a license to kill.

James Bond debuted in Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale in 1953. The novel was adapted for television in 1954, featuring Barry Nelson as 007. The first Bond movie, Dr No, was released in 1962, starring Sean Connery. David Niven took the lead in a spoof version of Casino Royale in 1967; it is not recognized as part of the Bond franchise. Since Dr No, the equivalent of half the world’s population have seen at least one Bond movie.

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton

Roger Moore

Roger Moore

George Lazenby

George Lazenby

Sean Connery

Sean Connery

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Sean Connery starred in seven Bond movies (including the “unofficial” Never Say Never Again in 1983), George Lazenby in one, Roger Moore in seven, and Timothy Dalton in two. Pierce Brosnan was issued his fourth licence to thrill in the 21th Bond movie, Die Another Day. Daniel Craig had his martini shaken, not stirred, in the 22nd Bond movie, a remake of Casino Royale. He kissed the girls in the 23rd (officially 22nd) Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, released in 2008. All the 007 actors are over 1,8 metres (6 feet) tall.

In the first 22 movies, Bond has 23 vodka martinis, 6 of which he orders himself but two of those he never receives. The rest are prepared and brought to him. Most surprisingly, in his 7 appearances as Bond, Sean Connery utters the phrase “shaken, not stirred” only once, in Goldfinger. In Fleming’s novels, Bond drinks gin martinis instead of vodka martinis.


The 007 sign

The Bond character was said to have been based on Dr John Dee, the very first British secret agent. Dee, who lived from 1527 to 1608, was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He was a brilliant mathematician, magician, philosopher, alchemist and astrologer. During his time, England was at war with Spain, and fearing spies, Dee designed the 007 code for his correspondence with the Queen. The 2 zeros indicated “for your eyes only,” and the 7 was a cabalistic, or, cryptic number. Dr Dee was not the only secret agent of the time. Seeing Spain amassing a new vast empire in the “New World” (the Americas), Queen Elizabeth secretly sent the pirate-turned-explorer Englishman Francis Drake (1540-1596) west with the added intent to harass the Spanish. It is known that Dr Dee and Drake actually met to discuss strategies.

However, Fleming explained the creation of Bond: “I extracted the Bond plots from my wartime memories, dolled them up, attached a hero, a villain, and a heroine, and there was the book.”

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 Aug 1964) was attached to the British Naval Intelligence Division during World War II. After the war, Fleming purchased a patch of land in Jamaica and built a bungalow on it, calling it Goldeneye. It was here, in his forties, on 14 July 1952 that after three attempts the first words of the first Bond novel were created: “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.”

The Bond name was simply borrowed from the author of Birds of the West Indies. The character M was modeled on Admiral John Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence Division (NID), to whom in 1939 Fleming was made personal assistant.

In the novels, James Bond and Q actually never meet. Fleming wrote about Major Boothroyd and the Q branch but never mentioned a character called Q.

Author John Gardner took over the writing of Ian Fleming in 1981 with his first novel License Renewed. Sixteen years later he relinquished the 007 pen to Raymond Benson who debuted with Zero Minus Ten and ending with his last offering called The Man With The Red Tattoo in 2002. Three years on, Charlie Higson was awarded the challenge to depict the teenager Bond in a 1930s setting in a series of 5 Young Bond books, starting with Silverfin.

Places where James Bond made love

In the first 22 movies, Bond is told 35 times that he will die. He doesn’t, of course. What he does, however, is make love 81 times: in a hotel room (20 times), London flat (2), at her place (15), someone else’s place (2), on a train (3), in a barn (2), in a forest (2), in a gypsy tent (2), hospital (3), in a plane (2), in a submarine (1), in a car (1), on a motorized iceberg (1), in, around, under, or by water (25 times). Of the first 62 Bond girls, 31 were brunettes, 25 blonds, and 4 redheads. Women moaned “Oh, James!” 16 times.

From Thunderball:
Pat: “What exactly do you do?”
Bond: “Oh, I travel… a sort of licensed troubleshooter.”

James Bond 007

The 007 girls

The Minister of Martinis

Ian Fleming

Bond expert Steve Hadlow contributed to this story. Get the latest 007 news on his Bond site


What runs all around the yard without moving?
The fence

What is it that someone else has to take before you can get it?
Your photograph

When asked how old she was, Suzie replied, “In two years I will be twice as old as I was five years ago.” How old is she now?
12 years old

How would you rearrange the letters in the words “New Door” to make one word?

There is a town where a quarter of all the people living have unlisted phone numbers. If you select 100 names at random from the town’s phone book, on average how many of these people would have unlisted phone numbers?
None – because phone book have only listed numbers

Where is the only place that yesterday always follow today?
In a dictionary

The maker doesn’t want it, the buyer doesn’t use it and the user doesn’t see it. What is it?
A coffin

What do you throw out when you want to use it, but take in when you don’t want to use it?
An anchor

What is broken when you name it?

What is one thing that all wise men, regardless of their politics or religion, agree is between heaven and earth?
The word “AND”

John is standing behind Mary, and Mary is standing behind John. How is this possible ?
They are standing back to back

What is often returned but never borrowed?

What keys can’t you put in a lock?
Piano keys

If you were to put a coin into an empty bottle and then insert a cork into the neck, how could you remove the coin without taking out the cork or breaking the bottle?
Push the cork into the bottle and shake the coin out

Which is faster, hot or cold?
Hot, because you can catch a cold

Cooking tips to fix those spoils

If a soup or stew is too salty, add raw cut potatoes. Discard them after they have cooked – they will have absorbed the salt.

If a soup or stew is too sweet, add salt. If a main dish or vegetable is too sweet, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar.

Can’t remember if an egg is fresh or hard boiled? Just spin the egg. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled.

A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

An egg white is easiest to beat at room temperature. Take the egg out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before using.

For light, fluffy scrambled eggs, add a little water while beating the eggs.

Add vinegar to the water when boiling eggs. The vinegar helps seal the egg.
(Michel Roux has useful egg tips in his book Eggs)

To avoid ‘onion eyes‘ peel under cold water or refrigerate (or freeze) before chopping.

To perk up soggy lettuce, add lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak lettuce for an hour in the refrigerator.

When cooking carrots, peas, beets or corn, add a small amount of sugar to the water to keep the flavor.

To keep sweet corn yellow, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the cooking water just about a minute before taking off the stove. Never salt the water you cook corn in. It will only toughen the corn.

Store celery and lettuce in paper bags, not plastic. And leave the outside leaves and stalks alone until ready to use.

Sunlight doesn’t ripen tomatoes, warmth does. Store tomatoes with stems pointed down and they will stay fresher, longer. More on tomatoes.

Meat loaf will not stick if you place a slice of bacon on the bottom of the pan.

To soften rock-hard brown sugar, simply add a slice of soft bread to the package and close the bag tightly. In a few hours the sugar will be soft again.

Place green fruits in a perforated plastic bag. The holes will allow air to circulate while retaining the ethylene gas that fruits produce during ripening.

Remove fat from soups and stews by dropping ice cubes into the pot. The fat will cling to the cubes as you stir. Take out the cubes before they melt. Or you can also wrap the ice cubes in cheesecloth or paper towel and skim over the top of the pot. Fat also cling to lettuce leaves.

Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

For fluffier, whiter rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice per litre (quart) of water. To add extra flavor and nutrition to rice, cook it in liquid reserved from cooking vegetables.

Marshmallows won’t dry out when frozen.

If your stew is slightly burnt, milk will take the burnt taste out.

The best way to thaw fish is in milk. The milk draws out the frozen taste and gives the fish a fresh flavor.

Did you know?
The tongue is a muscle with glands, sensory cells, and fatty tissue that helps to moisten food with saliva. You cannot taste food unless it is mixed with saliva.

Seafood health facts

Seafood is the best natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies based on information supplied by the American Health Foundation indicates that regularly eating small amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids has a beneficial effect by reducing blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one serving of fatty fish per week can reduce the risk of cardiac arrest by 50 to 70 percent.

Seafood is good for ALL of you

The role of proteins, minerals, vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood –

Reduces the risk of a stroke
May reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
May reduce the incidence of depression
Aids in infant neurodevelopment and the building of brain tissue

May help relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

Contributes to vision development
Contributes to nerve growth in the retina
May reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
Decreases blood pressure slightly
Decreases risk of heart arrhythmias
Decreases heart triglyceride levels
Improves circulation
Increases HDL (good) Cholesterol

May help relieve symptoms and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis

May help reduce symptoms of asthma and bronchitis and reduce the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Helps build muscles and tissue

May help relieve symptoms of psoriasis and eczema. May also ease the effect of aging and sun damage

Prawns and shrimp

Serving prawns or shrimp has become one of the most gourmet fashions. And, fortunately, apart from the seafood health benefits mentioned above which especially apply to prawns, they also are low in sodium.

Prawns and shrimp are big business, too. It is one of the fastest growing frozen food sectors in the industry. People all around the world are viewing this delicious dish as the perfect health alternative.

Healthy prawns

Want Tender Turkey? The Secret Solution

“Tough, tasteless and dry.” Three words you don’t want to hear your family and guests use to describe the turkey at the center of the holiday dinner table, specifically on Thanksgiving. Yet, according to turkey industry experts, those words are often used to address the state-of-the-bird.

“The biggest complaint people have about turkey is that it’s tough and dry,” says Lynn Lauve, marketing manager of Honeysuckle White Turkeys, Springdale, Ark. “People want their holiday turkey to be moist and flavorful.”

Avoiding a parched bird doesn’t have to take hours of preparation, constant consideration or endless lamentation. All it takes is salt and water.


Simply soaking your turkey in a salt brine the night before the big day could very well save your holiday turkey from a dry and flavorless fate.

“Brining results in a turkey that is flavorful and juicy,” says Michele Anna Jordan, chef, syndicated food writer and author of the cookbook Salt and Pepper. “Salt’s natural ability to draw out a food’s true flavors and juices will ensure that your bird will retain its moisture during roasting.”

The Right Stuff

Brining requires a fresh turkey. The majority of frozen turkeys at the supermarket have been pre-basted with turkey broth, fats or flavorings. This is done to eliminate the chore of basting a turkey during the roasting process. A fresh turkey is just that: fresh and free of any ingredient except turkey. A fresh turkey lets you use any method you choose to boost the flavor and moisture content of the bird.

Salt comes in several forms. The right salt will enhance the natural flavor of a fresh turkey and help it remain juicy. One option is regular granulated table salt, which consists of small, hard cubes that dissolve slowly. Another option is kosher salt, which has crystals that are light and fluffy, much like snowflakes. Kosher dissolves easily, and if you use a kosher salt that does not contain the iodine often found in table salt, its taste is clean and pure.

“You can use basically brine with any salt you wish,” says Jordan, “but I recommend using a good kosher salt, like Diamond Crystal brand kosher. I like its unique flakes that dissolve quickly. It has no anticaking agents or additives — just pure salt. Diamond Crystal’s flakes taste fresh and light: perfect qualities for creating a good brine.”

The Simple Solution

For maximum flavor, brining a turkey should begin the evening before it is roasted. Use a large stockpot should have enough space to brine a bird. The general “recipe” for brining is one cup of kosher salt to one gallon of cold water. Fill the stockpot with the cold water, add the kosher salt and stir until the salt has completely dissolved. Once dissolved, the salt and water mix will stay suspended.

Leave the turkey’s legs in the “lock” and remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities. Next, place the turkey in the pot and cover it with a lid, towel or plastic wrap and place the pot in the refrigerator (if necessary, remove a shelf to accommodate the size of pot). There is no need to stir the solution or shift the turkey unless the brine doesn’t completely cover it. If that’s the case, turn the turkey every few hours to make sure each part is submerged at some point.

Tender turkeyRoasting

When it’s time to roast the bird, remove it from the brining pot, pat it dry with paper towels, add stuffing and place in a shallow roasting pan with the breast side up. Average roasting temperature for a turkey is 325 degrees. Cooking time will depend on the bird’s size and whether or not it’s stuffed, but ranges from 13 to 25 minutes per pound. Check the turkey’s package recommendations for proper cooking time. When the bird is done roasting, test it with a meat thermometer to ensure it is fully cooked. The thermometer should register 185 degrees in the thighs and 170 degrees in the breast.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. White meat cooks faster than dark meat so, chances are, when the dark, thigh meat finally reaches it’s optimal temperature of 185 degrees, the breast meat is also at least that hot, usually resulting in dry white meat. That’s why brining, which keeps the breast meat moist, is so important.

“Brining ensures the breast meat stays succulent while the dark meat cooks,” says Jordan. “The salt pulls out the turkey’s natural juices and the added water essentially steams the turkey breast.”

Added Touches

Although brining should prevent a dry bird, Jordan goes one step further to guarantee a tender turkey. “I soak a tea or flour-sack towel in melted butter and place it over the breast of the turkey while it roasts,” says Jordan. “I also take the bird out thirty minutes before its scheduled finish time. I tent the pan with tin foil and leave the turkey on the counter to let the juices settle.”

Brining is a simple solution for a stress-free holiday turkey. For additional information on salt, go to Cargill Salt. For brining and other turkey tips, log on to the National Turkey Federation’s Web site at eatturkey.com or Honeysuckle White Turkey’s Web site at honeysucklewhite.com

Courtesy of ARA Content

Printing errors in the Bible

In a 1631 edition of the King James Bible – in Exodus 20 verse 14 – the word “not” was left out. This changed the 7th commandment to read – “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Most of the copies were recalled immediately and destroyed on the orders of Charles I. But there are 11 copies still remaining. They are known as the “Wicked Bible.” (The Bible museum in Branson – Missouri has one on display.) The printer was fined the equivalent of $400.

The word “not” was also left out in the 1653 edition. In 1 Corinthians 6 verse 9 it was printed: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God” – instead of “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Again it was recalled immediately (dashing the hopes of many!). It is known as the “Unrighteous Bible.”

The Murderer’s Bible – printed in 1801 – declared: “these are murderers” (instead of murmurers) and continued – “let the children first be killed” (instead of “filled.”)

Perhaps the error in Psalm 119 verse 161 in a 1702 version summed it all up: instead of “princes” it read – “printers have persecuted me.” It is known as the Printer’s Bible.

Books in the world

The first book that Johannes Gutenberg printed in 1454 was the Bible. It is thought that he printed about 180 copies – known as the 42-line Bible – of which significant parts of 48 copies still survive. Gutenberg did not make any printing errors.

Before Johannes Gutenberg invented his printing press in 1438 – there were only about 30,000 books throughout the whole of Europe – nearly all Bibles or biblical commentary. By 1500, there were more than 9 million books. Today there are more than a trillion books.

The world’s libraries store more than a 100 million original volumes – 24 million of those in the US Library of Congress. Amazon.com is the world’s biggest book store, holding some 3 million book titles (print and electronic, the latter which outsells the first mentioned). Sadly, almost  a billion people around the world still cannot read.