Monday, August 21, 2017

'Diamond Ring Effect' Will Add Excitement to Today's 'Great American Eclipse'

Today, the Great American Eclipse will be visible to nearly everybody in North America, but those of us lucky enough to be viewing from a narrow path that runs from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., will experience a total solar eclipse and a bonus phenomenon called the “Diamond Ring Effect.”

During a total solar eclipse, the moon aligns itself precisely between the sun and Earth. Sunlight gets blocked out and a 68-mile-wide shadow of the moon (also called its umbra) gets cast upon the Earth, resulting in total darkness for about 2 1/2 minutes. The Diamond Ring Effect occurs in the instant right before the total solar eclipse and in the moment just after.

Francis Baily in 1836 surmised that the Diamond Ring Effect owed its magic to the rugged surface of the moon. As the moon slowly grazes past the sun, tiny beads of sunlight, now called Baily’s Beads, can shine through in some places and not in others. When only one single point of sunlight remains, the burst bears a remarkable resemblance to a diamond, and the halo of the sun still visible behind the moon looks like a ring.

NASA also noted that more than a century earlier, English astronomer Sir Edmond Halley (who discovered Halley’s Comet) also gave a correct explanation of the Diamond Ring Effect during an eclipse of 1715.

The moon's shadow will race across the continental U.S. at speeds ranging from 2,410 mph in western Oregon to 1,502 mph in Charleston. That means that the Diamond Ring Effect should be visible starting in Oregon at about 10:15 a.m. PST and ending in South Carolina at about 2:48 pm EDT. The duration of the 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast celestial show will be about 90 minutes.

Viewers in the path of the total solar eclipse can expect temperatures to plunge by as much as 20 degrees.

Those not living in the direct path of the total solar eclipse will still see a partial eclipse, which resembles a crescent moon, but in this case it's a crescent sun. New York City dwellers, for instance, will see 70% of the sun covered by the moon.

We can not overemphasize the importance of utilizing proper solar glasses or filters when viewing the Great American Eclipse. Solar eclipse eye safety is reviewed at NASA's website here...

Don't miss the Great American Eclipse of 2017. The next total solar eclipse will take place in North America on April 8, 2024.

Credits: Eclipse viewing image by Arches National Park [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Diamond Ring Effect image by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Map by NASA.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Music Friday: Marc Scibilia's 'On the Way' Inspires Us to 'Sparkle Just Like Diamonds'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia celebrates the season of sun, surf and wanderlust in a catchy tune that inspires us to "sparkle just like diamonds."

TV watchers will recognize "On the Way" from the newest Jeep commercial. The 30-second spot, which is called “Summer of Jeep: On The Way," has accumulated 2,300 national airings and has been viewed on YouTube.com nearly two million times since it was posted about 10 weeks ago. It features great-looking millennial Jeep owners enjoying a perfect day at the beach. Shazam the song and you'll learn that Scibilia also released a full length-version.

Scibilia repeats the hook, "Let your summer guide you, on the way, on the way," while encouraging the listener to be fearless when discovering new roads.

In the first line of the song, he introduces precious stones to help make his point. He sings, "Journey where this path may lead / And live as big as giants / Summer sun and feeling free / Sparkle just like diamonds."

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., to a musical family, Scibilia moved to Nashville to become a songwriter just a month after graduating high school. According to his official bio, the young Scibilia got the idea to head south from a sarcastic guidance counselor who was frustrated with Scibilia's reluctance to pursue a "conventional" career path.

“What are you going to do? Go to Nashville and write songs?” she taunted.

To the young musician, this was a great idea.

Scibilia flourished in Nashville and took in all that it had to offer. He experimented with every genre of music, writing songs for other artists and touring as the opening act for James Bay and the Zac Brown Band, among others. In 2010, Scibilia landed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV.

The artist got a big break when his cover of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land,” appeared in Jeep’s “Beautiful Lands” Super Bowl commercial — the most Shazam-ed commercial of Super Bowl 2015.

Once again, Scibilia's "On the Way" has been catapulted by the popularity of a Jeep commercial.

Check out the two videos below. The first is the Jeep commercial and the second is an audio track of the full song. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"On the Way"
Written and performed by Marc Scibilia.

Journey where this path may lead
And live as big as giants
Summer sun and feeling free
Sparkle just like diamonds

Golden hearts never afraid
Discover roads brightly shining
Wanderlust runs through our veins
Be fearless, tall as lions

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Trust your bones where they take you
Adventure awaits
Here we go it's all brand new
You won't hesitate

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Shocking 'Pavlok' Bracelet Is Designed to Break You of Your Bad Habits

Five years ago, chronic procrastinator Maneesh Sethi hired a woman via Craigslist to slap him in the face any time he strayed off task. The $8-per-hour investment in "Kara The Slapper" quickly paid big dividends, as Sethi quadrupled his productivity AND spawned the concept of Pavlok, a bracelet that can deliver a behavior-altering jolt with the tap of a button.

The idea is based on the 80-year practice of aversion therapy. Each time the user exhibits the undesirable behavior, he or she touches the Pavlok button to self-administer a punishing shock. Over time, the user's brain subconsciously associates the bad behavior with the negative result and the bad behavior is eradicated. The Pavlok website says that the device can be used to break a number of bad habits, including smoking, mindless eating, nail biting and watching too much TV.

A New York Times reviewer noted that the zap could be adjusted from 50 volts (a strong vibration) to 450 volts (like getting stung by a bee with a stinger the size of an ice pick). A police Taser, the writer pointed out, typically delivers about 50,000 volts. The selected intensity of the Pavlok shock can be adjusted with a smartphone app.

Another critic wrote that the Pavlok device was simply a high-tech version of the rubber band, which is sometimes used by patients who are trying to combat anxiety and other disorders. Those patients are instructed to simply put the band around their wrists and deliver a stinging snap to break thoughts related to anxiety, panic and fear.

In 2014, Pavlok got off the ground by generating $284,027 via the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Today, Pavlok's website boasts more then 40,000 units sold and a slew of video testimonials, including the one from Heather, who credited Pavlok with helping her break a 25-year nail-biting habit, and Carlos, who quit smoking in just five days.

The Pavlok device pairs a silicone, battery-powered shock-inducing bracelet with a Bluetooth-connected mobile app designed for iOS and Android smartphones.

In addition to the self-induced shocks, the device can be set to deliver a stimulus, for instance, if one has been sleeping or resting too long. The device also employs a hand-detection function that can sense if the user might be biting her nails, pulling her hair, or smoking a cigarette. The battery can deliver 150 tiny jolts on a single charge.

What's more, the app includes a five-day guided audio course on how to reverse bad habits.

Pavlok is available in five colors and sells for $179.

Credit: Image via Buy.Pavlok.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

Injured Officer Recruits University of Kentucky Police to Assist With Traffic-Stop Marriage Proposal

A retired law-enforcement officer who was dragged nearly 20 feet and run over while attempting an arrest 13 months ago is now the happiest guy in Lexington, Ky., after his girlfriend said "Yes" to an unusual traffic-stop marriage proposal.

Shepherdsville Police Officer Rocco Besednjak, who was forced to retired due to the seriousness of his injuries, recruited the University of Kentucky Police to assist with his romantic, but mischievous, scheme to surprise Lauren Vincent, who is a nurse manager for the pediatric forensics unit at UK Children’s Hospital.

Because Vincent, 36, works for the University of Kentucky, Besednjak wanted the proposal to tie into the school.

On Thursday, August 10, Vincent and her supervisor, Dr. Christina Howard, who was in on Besednjak's scheme, took a drive to pick up a donation for the hospital. During the trip, which passed in front of UK's Kroger Field, Vincent was pulled over by a University of Kentucky officer.

The officer told Vincent that she had something dragging from the back of the car and that she needed to get out and take a look.

When she circled to the back of the car, Besednjak, 38, who had been hiding in the passenger seat of the officer's car, was already down on one knee with a ring box in his hand.

Vincent was startled for two reasons. Certainly, the marriage proposal during a traffic stop was surprising enough, but the nurse also couldn't believe her boyfriend was kneeling on his damaged leg only one week removed from spinal decompression surgery.

On July 3, 2016, Besednjak nearly lost his life while attempting to arrest a suspect at a gas station. The woman had an outstanding warrant, but instead of surrendering, she rammed Besednjak with her car and dragged him nearly 20 feet. His leg was run over during the tragic incident. The perpetrator received a 40-year sentence in May.

Now in the shadow of Kroger Field, Besednjak was ready with a diamond ring and a proposal for the love of his life.

"You know you make every day happy. You make my life the happiest it could have ever been," he said. "I hope you're not too embarrassed, but I love you a lot and I want you to marry me."

Before she answered, the healthcare professional had to admonish him.

"I love you," she said, "but why are you on your knees?

"So, are you going to marry me?" he interrupted.

"Yes," she screamed, adding, “Why are you on your knee? You’re not supposed to be on your knee. I love you."

The couple embraced and then Besednjak handed Vincent the halo-style, yellow-gold ring to place on her own finger.

Vincent giggled with excitement, bending backward while viewing her new ring with her arms extended to the front.

Unable to stay in the romantic moment, Vincent returned to the theme of Besednjak needing to take better care of himself.

"I was worried about why you were on your knee when you had surgery last week," she admonished.

"That's what I'm supposed to do," he said.

The proposal was captured from three camera angles — one shot by a videographer, one from the officer's body cam and one from a camera mounted in the ring box. See the video below.

Rocco Besednjak Proposal from Antonio Pantoja on Vimeo.

Credits: Screen captures via Vimeo.com.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Music Friday: LoCash Pops the Question By Putting a 'Ring on Every Finger'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hot, new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of LoCash have fun with the concept of "a diamond is forever" in their latest hit, "Ring on Every Finger."

In the song, the country pop duo sets the scene for an over-the-top marriage proposal. Instead of going down on one knee, they promise to go down on two. And instead of offering a single engagement ring, they plan to put a ring on every finger.

They sing, "I ain't gettin' down on one knee / Girl, I'm gettin' on two / Might be over the top / But I tell you what I'm gonna do / I'll put on a ring on every finger / Just to show that I'm legit / Gonna try my last name on ya girl / Just to see if it fits."

Josh Kear, who wrote the song with Thomas Rhett and Jesse Frasure, told Billboard magazine that the song is based on the following theme: "If one ring says I'll love you forever, what would a ring on every finger mean?"

Kear and his collaborators also peppered the banjo-backed song with romantic bridal imagery.

Kear commented, "Most guys want to give their dream girl the wedding of their dreams, so I think men care about making women happy on their wedding day. Maybe less about the specifics and more about giving their bride the day they deserve."

"Ring on Every Finger" was released in November of 2016 as the third single from The Fighters. The song has been on an upward trajectory ever since. This week it rose to #26 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart. The Taste of Country website called the song "an infectious, melodic jam."

Vocalists Lucas and Brust released their first LoCash single in the spring of 2010. Even though they've been on the music scene together for seven years and scored a #1 country hit for "I Know Somebody" in February of 2016, they were nominated in the category of best New Duo or Group of 2017 by the Academy of Country Music.

Please check out the video of LoCash's live performance of "Ring on Every Finger." The video was shot in Omaha on March 9, 2017. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Ring on Every Finger"
Written by Jesse Frasure, Josh Kear and Thomas Rhett. Performed by LoCash.

I've got a pounding in my chest baby
Feels like I'm seventeen again
Got something burning a hole in my pocket lately
Done asked your daddy, done told your friends

I ain't gettin' down on one knee
Girl, I'm gettin' on two
Might be over the top
But I tell you what I'm gonna do

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Gonna try my last name on ya girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you're mine

Well seƱorita, can't nothing be sweeter
Than you in that white wedding dress,
Even the church and white limousine
Girl, why you cryin', it ain't rocket science
All you gotta do is say yes
Spend the rest of your life with me

Don't you know I ain't gettin' down on one knee
Until I'm gettin' down on two
It might be over the top
But I tell you what I'm gonna do

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Gonna try my last name on ya girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you're mine

Come on let's spend this life together
Dropping f bombs like forever
With the whole world as a witness
Gonna flip that Miss to a Mrs.
Gonna spend this life together
Dropping f bombs like forever
With the whole world as a witness
Then I flip that Miss to a Mrs.

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Go ahead and try my last name on
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
I'll put a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Go ahead and try my last name on girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you are mine

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.