George Rucker's Adroitly Keen Newsletter for January 9, 2018

Well Met,                                                                        9 January 2018

I just want to mention a new kind of money.  I do not believe they are a good investment.  Recently 70,000,000 were stolen and were never found as there is no real  money trail from their source or where they are now deposited.  This year they have gone from $1K/each to $19K/each

Bitcoin's wild swings occurred as Wall Street prepares for bitcoin futures to start trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday evening and on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange a week later. The futures are designed to reflect the price of bitcoin without an investor having to physically hold the currency, like how oil, gold, copper or cocoa prices are determined by futures contracts.

Yet the dawn of futures trading has some parties on Wall Street concerned. A group of banks, brokerages and clearinghouses came out and complained that federal regulators approved the futures too quickly and without properly considering the risks inherent in bitcoin.

Goldman Sachs, one of the nation’s biggest investment banks, said it will allow only a limited number of clients to trade the CBOE's bitcoin futures when they launch next week. Bank of America will not allow clients access to the futures.

Bitcoin is the world's most popular virtual currency. Such currencies are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded.

In Japan, following the failure of a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox, new laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers.

Earlier Thursday, NiceHash, a company that mines bitcoins on behalf of customers, said it is investigating a breach that may have resulted in the theft of about $70 million worth of bitcoin.

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I am dropping the Knight and Knave riddles or logic puzzles, sorry if it is a problem.  I did many of them in college and find them a little boring.

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The monthly snowfall for Erie, PA is at 97 inches, with 58 inches falling over the 24th and 25th of December.  That sounds like a lot of snow and it truly is.  However, one year of my life was spent at K.I.Sawyer AFB for my record snowfall.  In 1971 we had 171 inches of snow.   K.I.Sawyer is in the upper peninsula (UP) of MI.

The snowfall in Erie has made me want to see how the UP is doing.
2016-2017   96"
2015-2016 113"
2014-2015 121"
2013-2014 143"
2008-2009 225"

The deepest I could find on the UP was 312 during the 2008-2009 Winter Season.  The Upper Peninsula of MI is one place not to live.  Summer there was considered two weeks of bad skiing.  I talked to those that remember snow flakes on the fourth of July.  Land is not sold by the acre but by the ½ square mile, for good reason.

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During warm weather I tend to wear sandals.  Of all my sandals, the most comfortable have been those made by “Birkenstock.”  When exercising I wear various names however they all have one thing in common they use velcro so I can tighten them so they do not slip.  They also have a non-slip sneaker type sole.

I found an article by Reuters News Agency 29 December 2017 regarding Amazon.  The company has more sales than perhaps everyone in the United States.  Would they cheat the public?  The answer is yes.  If you were to mistakenly search for “Brikenstock,” “Birkenstok,” “Bierkenstock” and other variations in Google.

A German court has ordered Amazon not to lure internet shoppers to its online marketplace when they mistakenly search by misspelled Birkenstocks.   The ruling is a victory for the German sandal maker, whose relationship with Amazon has grown increasingly antagonistic.

Birkenstock sought the injunction because it feared unsuspecting shoppers might buy low-quality counterfeits through Amazon that would erode its reputation.

Earlier this month, Birkenstock said that it would end the sale of its products over Amazon in Europe after Amazon “failed to proactively prevent” the sale of counterfeit Birkenstock goods. A year ago, Birkenstock ended its relationship with Amazon in the U.S.

A spokesman for the court declined to comment. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests to comment by phone and email at its Munich office.

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The Patriots are once again number one.  Watching the game was boring as it was almost a given.

But there is a sleeper college team I have been following this year.  Why you ask?  I dislike the ranking system of college football.  UCF (University of Central Florida) has had a winning season 12-0.  Every team in the top 25 has had a loss except one, you guessed it UCF is that one.  However are they ranked number one?  No.

UCF is ranked #eight in the AP top 25
UCF is ranked #10 in the coaches poll
UCF is ranked #eight by CBS Sports
UCF is ranked #12 by Playoff Rankings
There is another poll called FCS Coaches and UCF is not mentioned in their top 25

The people who make up those main four polls decide who has what will be the ranking number.  They say that this team, UCF has had an easy season and if they played with the big guys they would lose.

Well anyway they were in a bowl game on 1 January 2018.  It was the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the 7th ranked team Auburn (10-3).  Chick-fil-A gave each college a $100,000 check for their scholarship fund.  Auburn’s players were huge in comparison and were definitely the big guys.  One of Auburn’s defense men grabbed the UCF runner picked him up and spiked him head first.  I was surprised that the UCF player could get up and Auburn did not get a penalty.

Long story short . . .  The voodoo woman in UCF stands, started to dance and chant, chasing evil spirits out of the stadium and UCF won 34 to 27.  This game was a true David and Goliath sporting event and David won.  I now feel they need more teams for college championships.  Four does not give it justice.  UCF has now finished 13-0 and a funny bit of history is two years ago.  They finished 0-12.

Although this team finished in so called 12th spot, they ranked number one for scoring with an average of 49.4 points per game and fourth in total yards per game with 540.4.

While the number one team this year, Clemson,  in scoring had an average yards per game of 448.2 or 29th position, they also had an average of 35.4 points per game which is in 20th place.

Of all things, Clemson lost to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 24-6.  Alabama #four will now face Georgia #three to be the number one team in the country.

I say the system is broken or it could be just all about the money and we know those with the money make the rules.

Perhaps the voodoo woman worked for UCF as during my lifetime I have been to two voodoo rituals, both in the early1960s when I was either 19 or 20.  They were in Jamaica and Haiti and very hard not to forget due to all the drums, dancing and animal blood but I did not see any magic.

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Here is an article from Jan 6 SportDigest a repeat of the article in USA today Jan 5

Save Alabama and Georgia the road trip, there’s already a national champion.

So says Central Florida, which has claimed the title for itself after capping the only unbeaten season in major college football with a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. While the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are preparing for Monday night’s College Football Playoff title game, the Knights are celebrating like the champs they are.

There’s a parade in their honor at Disneyland on Sunday, a banner to hang in their stadium and $325,000 in bonuses to be divvied up between the assistant coaches and staff.

“Of course we are! That’s what National Champions programs do,” UCF athletic director Danny White said on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

Now, there are some who think all this is ridiculous. That White is turning his up-and-coming program into a joke.

The only joke is a Playoff system not big enough to accommodate a non-Power Five team that has the makings of a giant killer. In the absence of that, White is doing right by his program — and bringing a little levity to college football in the process.

“College football is the only sport in America, professional or college and the only place, where there are teams that really have zero chance of winning it all,” White told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday morning. “That became clear to us as we went through the season and, time and time again, were ranked way lower than you’d assume for team that had gone (undefeated).

“That was a very frustrating thing for our players,” White added. “I know our kids feel like we deserve the chance to compete for a national championship. I know they feel we are national champions for doing what we did.”

College football “purists” have laughed at UCF’s claim and its celebrations, pointing out that the Playoff was created so we wouldn’t have arguments like these. But the same was said about the Bowl Championship Series once upon a time.

Ask Utah and Boise State how that worked out.

“The system is not where it needs to be,” White said. “We’ve taken a step in the right direction … but I think it needs to grow to at least eight. And I think we’re way too subjective in how we rank teams.”

Did UCF deserve one of the four spots in the playoff? On paper, probably not, not when Memphis was the only other American Athletic Conference team to crack the top 25.

But given that UCF did the near impossible in going undefeated and then knocked off Auburn, the only team to beat Alabama and Georgia, it’s clear the Knights should have been part of the debate. At the very least, an unbeaten team that wallops opponents by an average of 24 points should have been higher than No. 12 in the final Playoff rankings.

“If I was a recruit across the county, but particularly in the state of Florida, why wouldn’t you want to come be a part of UCF?” White asked.

That said, White is sincere about wanting his players recognized. Just as Auburn was in 1993, when it gave its players rings after they went undefeated but were barred from the SEC championship and bowl game because of NCAA violations.

Or Notre Dame, Alabama and all those other schools are when they cherry pick organizations that award national titles. (Houlgate system? Dunkel? Really?)

What the Knights accomplished this season was incredible. It should be celebrated. For those outraged by that, lighten up. Your anger is misdirected.

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Once again trying to increase Iron in our diet, I was going to make a beet salad as they have a lot of iron.  I could not find any blood oranges, but had some tangerines, some call them clementines, a seedless tangerine so here is a made up recipe.  It was much better than expected as I am not the beet fan than Patty is.

Beet Salad with Tangerines, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts

Salad:
2 beets, stems and greens removed
Baby spinach
2 small clementines, sectioned
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad: Place beets in saucepan; pour in enough water to cover and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until beets are tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.

Dressing: Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Quarter beets, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange bed of baby spinach on serving plate; layer oranges and red onion slices over top. Top with walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing

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A lady went to a doctor’s office where she was seen by a Doctor. A few minutes into the examination, screeching could be heard from the room, and then the lady burst out of the room as if running for her life. After much effort a nurse finally managed to calm her down enough to tell her story.
The nurse barged into the office of the Doctor and screamed, “shame on you, Mrs. Smith is 82 years old, and you told her she’s pregnant.”
The Doctor continued writing calmly and barely looking up said, “does she still have the hiccups?”

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A man died and went to The Judgment, they told him , “Before you meet with God, I should tell you — we’ve looked over your life, and to be honest you really didn’t do anything particularly good or bad. We’re not really sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can help us make a decision?”

The newly arrived soul thought for a moment and replied, “Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a person who was being harassed by a group of thugs. So I pulled over, got out a bat, and went up to the leader of the thugs. He was a big, muscular guy with a ring pierced through his lip. Well, I tore the ring out of his lip, and told him he and his gang had better stop bothering this guy or they would have to deal with me!”

“Wow that’s impressive, “When did this happen?”

“About three minutes ago,” came the reply.

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An Amish girl and her mother were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The girl asked, “Mother, what is this?”
The mother, never having seen an elevator, responded, “I have never seen anything like this in my life. I don’t know what it is.”
While the girl and her mother watched with amazement, an old man in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the man rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the girl and her mother watched the small numbers above the walls light up sequentially. They continued to watch until the last number was reached, and they watched some more as the numbers began to light in reverse order.
The walls opened up again and a hunky young man stepped out.
The mother, not taking her eyes off the young man, said quietly to her daughter, “Go get your father.”

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The financial world can't stop talking about bitcoin. In recent weeks, the headlines of business journals and finance sections have covered everything from the importance of investing in bitcoin to how the bubble is about to burst (within days of bitcoin futures hitting the stock exchange). To anyone on the outside, those words make no sense.

But that doesn’t mean that bitcoin isn’t on the average American’s radar. Introduced in 2009, bitcoin is an anonymous cryptocurrency, or a form of currency that exists digitally through encryption. It was invented to be unhackable, untraceable, and safe for investors. The value started out insanely cheap and hit a bump in 2013 that took it to about $250 per bitcoin. Once bitcoin futures hit the CME Group, the price of bitcoin skyrocketed to nearly $20,000. Think of it this way: If you'd invested $100 on January 1, 2011, when one bitcoin was valued at .30 cents, those bitcoins could be worth around $5 million today.

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In last weeks letter I have a recipe for “Smashed Brussels Sprouts” I have since learned that those that prefer broccoli can substitute broccoli for the brussels sprouts.  Thanks Lynne.

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot is one of the solar system's great wonders, a centuries-old storm that is larger than the entire Earth. NASA's Juno spacecraft has been studying the Great Red Spot since July 2017, a part of its mission to learn how largest planet in the solar system formed. The spacecraft has shown us that the enormous storm is deeper than expected and that Jupiter's atmosphere is even more complex than anticipated.

"One of the most basic questions about Jupiter's Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?" said Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator, in a press release. "Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles into the planet's atmosphere."

Scientists already knew that the Great Red Spot was 10,000 miles in width, about 1.3 times as wide as Earth. But the new study shows that in terms of depth, "the Great Red Spot's roots go 50 to 100 times deeper than Earth's oceans and are warmer at the base than they are at the top," said Andy Ingersoll, a Juno co-investigator.

The structure helps explain the Great Red Spot's amazing speeds, which can hit between 270 to 425 miles per hour "Winds are associated with differences in temperature, and the warmth of the spot's base explains the ferocious winds we see at the top of the atmosphere," says Ingersoll.

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SpaceX's Mysterious Zuma Mission to Be First Falcon 9 Launch of 2018

The SpaceX Zuma mission has been pushed back 24 hours, with the launch now targeted for Friday, January 5, at 8:00 p.m.

SpaceX has set a new launch window for the clandestine Zuma mission that opens Thursday, January 4, at 8 p.m. EST and closes at 10 p.m. The launch was originally scheduled for last November, but it was scrubbed as SpaceX announced it would take additional time to review data from a rocket fairing test. Zuma is poised to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions predicted by Air Force forecasters.

Want to see a SpaceX launch?  Here is an earlier liftoff.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a14493860/falcon-9-launch-video/

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An old man went to the Doctor complaining that his wife could barely hear. The Doctor suggested a test to find out the extent of the problem. “Stand far behind her and ask her a question, and then slowly move up and see how far away you are when she first responds.” The old man excited to finally be working on a solution for the problem, runs home and sees his wife preparing supper. ” Honey” the man asks standing around 20 feet away “what’s for supper?” After receiving no response he tried it again 15 feet away, and again no response. Then again at 10 feet away and again no response. Finally he was 5 feet away “honey what’s for supper?”

She replies “For the fourth time it’s lasagna!”

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A young Catholic priest decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict sect. The head monk told him, at his indoctrination, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. They could not speak one word at all. However, every ten years, they would be permitted to speak two words.  After 10 years of total silence, the head monk indicated it was now time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Bed hard!” And then he resumed his silent study and work.  Another 10 years passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Food bad!” And then he resumed his silent study and work.  Another 10 years passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “I quit!” The head monk shook his head and said, “I knew this was coming. You’ve done nothing but complain for the past 30 years!”

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An actor had been out of work for 15 years because he always forgot his lines. Then one day he got a phone call from a director who wanted him for a big part in a play. All he had to say was “Hark! I hear the cannon roar! After much worry the actor decided to take the role. Opening night arrived, and while he waited in the wings, the actor muttered to himself “Hark! I hear the cannon roar! Hark! I hear the cannon roar! The time for the entrance finally came and as the actor made his appearance, he heard a loud brooooom! He turned around and said, “what the hell was that?” -Robert De Nero

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An actor had been out of work for 15 years because he always forgot his lines. Then one day he got a phone call from a director who wanted him for a big part in a play. All he had to say was “Hark! I hear the cannon roar! After much worry the actor decided to take the role. Opening night arrived, and while he waited in the wings, the actor muttered to himself “Hark! I hear the cannon roar! Hark! I hear the cannon roar! The time for the entrance finally came and as the actor made his appearance, he heard a loud brooooom! He turned around and said, “what the hell was that?” -Robert De Nero

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That is all for this week.

George

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