Happy National Chess Day – The many benefits of playing Chess


  1. Promotes brain growth:Games like chess that challenge the brain actually stimulate the growth of dendrites, the bodies that send out signals from the brain’s neuron cells. With more dendrites, neural communication within the brain improves and becomes faster. Think of your brain like a computer processor. The tree-like branches of dendrites fire signals that communicate to other neurons, which makes that computer processor operate at a fast, optimal state. Interaction with people in challenging activities also fuels dendrite growth, and chess is a perfect example.
  2. It exercises both sides of the brain: A German study indicated that when chess players were asked to identify chess positions and geometric shapes, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain became highly active. Their reaction times to the simple shapes were the same, but the experts were using both sides of their brains to more quickly respond to the chess position questions.
  3. Raises your IQ: Do smart people play chess, or does chess make people smart? At least one scientific study has shown that playing the game can actually raise a person’s IQ. A study of 4,000 Venezuelan students produced significant rises in the IQ scores of both boys and girls after four months of chess instruction. So grab a chess board and improve your IQ!
  4. Helps prevent Alzheimer’s: As we age, it becomes increasingly important to give the brain a workout, just as you would every other major muscle group, in order to keep it healthy and fit. A recent study featured in The New England Journal of Medicinefound that people over 75 who engage in brain-games like chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non-board-game-playing peers. The saying “use it or lose it” certainly applies here, as a sedentary brain can decrease brain power. All the more reason to play chess before you turn 75.
  5. Sparks your creativity: Playing chess helps unleash your originality, since it activates the right side of the brain, the side responsible for creativity. One four-year study had students from grades 7 to 9 play chess, use computers, or do other activities once a week for 32 weeks to see which activity fostered the most growth in creative thinking. The chess group scored higher in all measures of creativity, with originality being their biggest area of gain.
  6. Increases problem-solving skills: A chess match requires fast thinking and problem-solving on the fly because your opponent is constantly changing the parameters. A 1992 study conducted on 450 fifth-grade students in New Brunswick indicated that those who learned to play chess scored significantly higher on standardized tests compared to those who did not play chess.
  7. Teaches planning and foresight: One of the last parts of the brain to develop during adolescence is the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for judgment, planning and self-control. Because playing chess requires strategic and critical thinking, it helps promote prefrontal cortex development and helps teenagers make better decisions in all areas of life, perhaps keeping them from making an irresponsible, risky choice.
  8. Optimizes memory improvement:Chess players know that playing chess improves your memory, mainly because of the complex rules you have to remember, as well as the memory recall needed when trying to avoid previous mistakes or remembering a certain opponent’s playing style. Good chess players have exceptional memory performance and recall. A study of Pennsylvania sixth-graders found that students who had never before played chess improved their memories and verbal skills after playing.
  9. Improves recovery from stroke or disability: Chess develops fine motor skills in individuals who have disability or have suffered a stroke or other physically debilitating accident. This form of rehabilitation requires the motion of chess pieces in different directions (forward, backward, diagonally forward motion, diagonally backward motion), which can help develop and fine tune a patient’s motor skills, while the mental effort required to play the game can improve cognitive and communication skills. Playing can also stimulate deep concentration and calm, helping to center and relax patients

Credit: Health Fitness Revolution

Family Guy – Brian and Stewie playing chess

A man is found surrounded by Doritos & Chips Ahoy cookies after calling 911 (Epic Fail of the Week)



According to CBS News, A 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 last Friday evening and told officers he was “too high” on marijuana.

According to the police report, when cops arrived at the man’s home, his grandfather directed them upstairs where they found the man moaning, curled in the fetal position, and “surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy cookies.”

CBS News obtained the audio of the 911 call. In the audio, the operator asks the man what he took, he eventually responds with saying it was weed.

The man told police he “smoked too much weed” and couldn’t feel his hands. He directed officers to his car, where they found a glass pipe with marijuana residue, rolling papers and a glass jar of pot.

So far, no arrests have been made.

NASA finds blue skies and Water ice on Pluto – What else do you think we’ll find on Pluto? (Science is Awesome)


New Horizons Space Probe Finds Brilliant Blue Skies, Water Ice on Pluto

NASA‘s New Horizons space probe sent back stunning photos from the dwarf planet, revealing it has blue skies and water ice on its surface.

“Who would have expected a blue sky in the Kuiper Belt? It’s gorgeous,” Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, said in a statement.

The sky is painted blue when haze particles, which NASA said are likely gray or red, scatter blue light.

The second finding released today shows small regions of water ice on Pluto, although it wasn’t initially obvious until scientists reviewed data from the Ralph spectral composition mapper on New Horizons.

“Large expanses of Pluto don’t show exposed water ice because it’s apparently masked by other, more volatile ices across most of the planet,” Jason Cook, a science team member at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a statement. “Understanding why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places, is a challenge that we are digging into.”

What else do you think we’ll find on Pluto?

Photo Credit: ABC News

Survival of the Fittest – List of common Chemicals that are making you Fat & Depressed



We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.

How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.

  1. Artificial & Natural Flavors

All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.

With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.

How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners

Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.

How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.

  1. Pesticides

Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.

How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.

  1. Plastics

Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.

How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.

Credit: Mind Body Green

Happy National Frappe Day!!! – Almost Famous Mocha Frappes





For the coffee ice:

3 tablespoons sugar

2 cups warm strong coffee

For the chocolate syrup:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frappes:

1 cup reduced-fat milk

Whipped cream, for topping


Make the coffee ice: Stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved, then let cool. Pour into a 16-cube ice-cube tray and freeze until solid, about 3 hours.

Make the chocolate syrup: Combine the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan and slowly whisk in 2/3 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes; do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, honey and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Make the frappes: Puree 8 coffee ice cubes, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate syrup and 1 cup plain ice in a blender until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses, then repeat to make 2 more drinks. Top with whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.

National Noodle Day!!! – Noodle Facts – 5 Creative Cup Noodle Creations (Video)



  1. Australians consume more than 18 million kilograms of noodles every year – that’s almost one kilogram per person!
  2. In Japan, it is considered good form to loudly slurp your noodles as a way of telling your host that you are enjoying the meal.
  3. Noodles symbolise longevity in China.
  4. Noodles have been created from flour and water since 1000BC and today they are more popular than ever.
  5. Noodles are low in fat and have a very low sodium content.

Credit: Foodimentary Photo Credit: FunnyJunkSite

Motivation Monday – Programming your Mind for Success by Carrie Green (Video)


Who’s ready for Autumn? – Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare



That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.




Buy it on Amazon.com

National Do Something Nice Day – It just takes a second to be kind