Cora's Corner


All things Cora!

What it takes for a joke to really make us laugh!

Scientists studying the brain mechanism responsible laughter and humor believe they've finally found the reason why some jokes make us laugh, and others don't.

They say jokes that are direct and easy to follow are key ingredients for making people laugh.


Researchers (from Oxford University) studied the reaction of 55 undergraduates to 65 different jokes from an online compilation of the 101 funniest jokes of all time.

The majority of the jokes used in the study were produced by successful comedians. 
Some were one-liners, others were longer and more complex and a third of the jokes were factual with reasonably undemanding observations of idiosyncrasies in the world.

Subjects were told to rate the jokes on a scale from one (not funny) to four (very funny).

Students found jokes that involved two characters and up to five back-and-forth levels of something known as 'intentionality' between the comedian and the audience to be the funniest.

For example, an adult can comprehend up to five such levels of intentionality before losing the plot of a too-complex story. 

(Conversations that share facts normally involve only three such levels.   Greater brain power is needed when people discuss the social behavior of others, because it requires them to think and rethink themselves into the shoes of others.)


Proper Food Portions! (Just in Time!)

Experts say that most people don’t know what a proper portion of food should look like, and even healthy food contains calories that can add up.

A 2013 report looked at how portion sizes had changed over 20 years found that ready-meal portions for dishes such as lasagne had increased by as much as 50 percent. Plates and wine glasses keep getting bigger, too.

Here are some portion guidelines that anyone can do.

MEAT: PALM OF THE HAND- A serving of any meat should be the size of the palm of your hand (but not your fingers).

WHITE FISH: WHOLE HAND- For white fish, the portion can be the size of your hand when laid flat, including your fingers.

UNCOOKED SPINACH: TWO DOUBLE HANDFULS- You should have vegetables with every meal.

SMALL FRUITS: TWO CUPPED PALMS- A portion of small fruit such as berries (or larger fruit cut up in a fruit salad) is roughly what you can fit in your cupped hands.

VEGETABLES: CLENCHED FIST- Twice this amount of broccoli would technically count as two of your five a day, though variety is key.

UNCOOKED PASTA: CLENCHED FIST- Carbs, for energy and fiber, should make up just a quarter of your plate. A portion of uncooked rice is also the size of your fist. Any more than this will pile on calories from extra sauce, too.

NUTS: ONE PALM- A good portion is what you can hold in a cupped palm. 'Try to eat nuts and seeds one by one' to get the heart-healthy unsaturated fats, without too many calories.

POTATO: CLENCHED FIST- Baking potatoes can be twice as big as a regular potato, so think about sharing. It's the same for sweet potatoes - but unlike white potatoes these would count as one of your five-a-day.

OILY FISH: PALM OF HAND- One portion a week would give you enough heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

BUTTER: THUMB TIP- Any fat - butter, oil, and spreads such as peanut butter should be a serving no bigger than a teaspoon or the size of the end of your thumb, from the knuckle to the tip of the nail, and no more than two or three portions a day.

CHOCOLATE: INDEX FINGER- A piece of chocolate the size of your index finger works out at around 100 calories, and this would be an appropriate treat.

CHEESE: TWO THUMBS- Cheese should be around the length and depth of both thumbs. That’s around 125 calories here, giving a third of your daily calcium.

CAKE: TWO FINGERS- A piece of cake should be the length and width of two fingers. This makes it around 185 calories - fine as a treat or snack.


Thanksgiving Traditions That Are Costly...and How to Avoid Them!

1. Hosting Thanksgiving at your place: The host is usually stuck paying for things like napkins, table cloths, decorations and most of the food. To help out your wallet rotate who hosts Thanksgiving with your family members.


2. Traveling: Driving or flying can add up each year especially if you are visiting out of state relatives. The solution could be to host next year’s Thanksgiving and see your relatives every other year.


3. Buying your cakes and pies: Pumpkin pie and pudding could be a Thanksgiving tradition but making your own cake or pie could be cheaper. If you don’t know how to bake ask relatives to bring their favorite dessert instead.


4. Going to the movies: The average price of a movie ticket is now $8.61. Renting a movie from Redbox or your local library is a much cheaper option. Netflix or Hulu are cheaper options as well.


5. Making too much food: This isn’t a problem if you don’t mind eating leftovers. However it’s  good idea to get an exact head count on how many people you’re hosting. Once you know how many guests you’ll have, don’t go overboard with the food.


Food Swaps to Save You Calories at Thanksgiving!

A study says the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, with 3,000 calories coming from the turkey dinner alone. The other 1,500 calories can be blamed on hors d'oeuvres and boozy beverages.

Here are some food swaps that can help you save hundreds - or even thousands - of calories this year:

Swap dark meat for white meat

Dark turkey meat has nearly twice the fat of white turkey breast and about 40 percent more calories. Replacing three ounces of dark turkey meat.

Swap traditional mashed potatoes for a lighter recipe made with Greek yogurt

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, but traditional recipes include mounds of heavy cream and butter. Use  two percent milk, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and only three tablespoons of butter to save over a hundred calories.

Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream when making dip

Using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream will save 38 calories per serving.

Swap traditional gravy for low-sodium gravy mix

One fourth a cup of traditional gravy made from turkey drippings, which has 131 calories and 9g of fat, can easily be swapped for one four a cup of prepared low-sodium gravy mix. That will save you 106 calories and 8g of fat.

Swap classic sweet potato casserole for a baked sweet potato

Sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows are another Thanksgiving favorite, but trading that for a small baked sweet potato topped with a teaspoon of brown sugar and chopped pecans will save you a whopping 420 calories.

Swap green bean casserole for sauteed green beans

One cup of traditional green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and topped with fried onions has 235 calories and 15g of fat. Instead, saute a cup of green beans in one teaspoon of butter.

Swap traditional cornbread stuffing for a lighter recipe made with fat-free buttermilk

One cup of cornbread stuffing made with whole milk and butter has 470 calories and 17g of fat. One cup of the same stuffing prepared with fat-free buttermilk and half the butter of the traditional recipe only has 319 calories and 11g of fat.

Swap canned cranberry sauce for cranberry relish  

While one fourth a cup of canned cranberry sauce has 105 calories and 26g of sugar, one fourth a cup of raw cranberry relish has only 67 calories and 12g of sugar.

Swap pecan pie for pumpkin pie

Swapping one slice of pecan pie, which has 806 calories and 25g of fat, with one slice of pumpkin pie will save you a whopping 541 calories and 16g of fat.

Swap slice of apple pie à la mode with one baked apple topped with whipped cream

Warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream has about 448 calories and 19g of fat.

One baked apple made with one tablespoon brown sugar, one teaspoon of butter, cinnamon and a tablespoon of whipped cream.

Swap

20 Ways to Stay Well This Winter

Here are 20 simple tricks to help you keep warm and stay well this winter:

1- Blink more or wear sunglasses. The colder the air, the less moisture it contains, which can mean dry eyes which could lead to inflammation.

2- Eat with your left hand at parties. Hands can carry illness-causing bacteria and bugs. Using a different hand to greet people and to eat reduces the chance of those bacteria being transferred to your mouth.

3- Say no to booze. Alcohol might make you feel warm at first because it causes warm blood to rush toward your skin, but you may end up feeling colder because this can take blood away from the internal organs, causing body temperature to drop.

4- Get a flu shot if you're overweight. Obese people have been shown to be more likely to get flu and suffer complications.

5- Walk round the shopping center. A study says winter weather really can trigger joint pain. Staying active can help keep your joints warm.

6- Sit next to a lamp in the morning. A light therapy lamp, which mimics natural daylight, can help you to cope with the short winter days and lack of vitamin D.

7- Change seats on the bus. If someone close to you is coughing or sneezing, turn your head away for ten seconds while the air clears, and - if you're on a bus or train - change seats if you can.

A sneeze can send 100,000 virus-containing droplets into the air - you only need one to 30 particles to be infected - and the cold virus can survive on a doorknob or TV control or handrail for 48 hours.

8- Stomp around to avoid falls. Ice and snow can be dangerous, with as many as 7,000 hospital admissions a year being due to people falling over on snow or ice. For the elderly, a serious fracture could be fatal.

9- Wear a scarf over your nose. Cold weather can make asthma symptoms worse. Not only will colds and flu inflame the airways, but cold air itself can irritate the airways, causing them to constrict, triggering coughing and wheezing.

10- Wash your pillowcase every week. This prevents germs from festering. They should be washed daily if you share a bed with someone who is under the weather.

11- Don't drain the bath straight away. Studies show the flu virus lives longer when air is cold and dry. That can also aggravate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

12- Go to bed a little earlier. If you sleep for less than seven hours a night, you could be three times more likely to catch a cold than someone who gets eight hours.

13- Change your toothpaste. Teeth can be especially sensitive in winter months. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works by 'plugging' the microscopic holes in the enamel.

14- Check your rash with an ice cube. Cold weather can trigger an outbreak of hives in some people.


Experts Bust Myths About Food!

Rob Hobson, a London-based nutritionist, claims there are many misconceptions around healthy diet. He’s sharing some information that he says separates science from hype.

1. All carbohydrates make you fat

Yes and no. Nutritionally, there is nothing fattening about complex carbs with a low GI, such as oats, whole-grain rice or whole-meal pasta. But what you choose to put on top of these foods will only add to their calorie count and potentially cause weight gain.

2. You shouldn’t eat after 7pm as food is stored as fat

The body doesn’t suddenly decide to turn food eaten after 7pm into fat. The amount of fat you lay down is determined by the excess amount of calories you eat during the day against those you use by staying active.

3. Bread causes bloating

Some people are sensitive to wheat, which may cause bloating. However, sensitivity is not that common and a wheat allergy is rare. It’s also thought that bloaters are more sensitive to the feeling of abdominal gas but don’t actually produce more of it.

4. Frequently eating small meals increases your metabolism and helps you lose weight

It’s true that your metabolism increases slightly as you eat, but not enough to cause any significant weight loss. Snacking does help dieters avoid hunger pangs but the only way to actively boost your metabolism is with regular exercise.

5. You need to include dairy foods in your diet to get enough calcium

Most people know how important calcium is for maintaining healthy bones but this doesn’t mean relying solely on dairy foods. Dark green veggies, almonds, tofu, fortified plant milks and ground spices also contain calcium.

6. Foods high in cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol, increasing risk of heart disease

We now know foods naturally high in cholesterol have very little impact on levels in the blood. However, those with diabetes or high cholesterol levels should still limit eating eggs and high-cholesterol foods to three times across the week.

7. Raw food diets are better for your health as they’re rich in enzymes essential for healthy digestion

Raw foods are highly nutritious, but there are also several antioxidants made more available in foods when cooked such as lycopene (found in red veggies) and beta-carotene (found in orange and dark green veggies).

8. It’s saturated fat in the diet that increases cholesterol and leads to heart disease

Research has suggested saturated fat intake may not be as strongly linked to heart disease as previously thought.


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23 Things Retail Workers Want You To Know

1. We can’t change the prices no matter how much you ask. The company sets the prices, not the retail workers.
2. We deal with hundreds of people a day, so your flirting also won’t change the price. Company policy is company policy no matter how beautiful you may be.
3. We know that the “consumer law” threat is very rarely a valid argument. Not having stock is not a breach of consumer law. Nor is not giving you a refund when you don’t have a receipt.
4. We also understand that you may want a refund, but it doesn’t always mean you’re “entitled” to one. Return policies are there for a reason.
5. We are tired of hearing the “I shop somewhere else” threat. Feel free to shop where you ~wish~.
6. We have staff restrooms for staff; there are public restrooms just outside the store. Do you really need ours?!
7. We may price match, but that doesn’t mean we can discount everything. How can we match online pricing when they don’t have to pay rent or staff?!
8. We also don’t have an unlimited staff discount to give to everyone. Please don’t bring your fifth cousin twice separated to me for a discount. Please.
9. We do try our hardest to get around to serving everyone. We aren’t going out of our way to avoid serving you.
10. We’ve heard the “if it doesn’t scan it must be free” joke about 73 times today. We’ve reached our daily fake-laugh quota.
11. We would prefer you to ask us for help with a size than rummage through all the piles. It saves you time, and it saves us time later.
12. We wish you would just directly give us the things you don’t want rather than place them anywhere in store. It makes recovery cleaning 110% more difficult.
13. We hate when you come in at 8:55pm when we close at 9:00pm. We especially hate it when you stay for two hours at 8:55pm.
14. We have targets to meet, so it would be amazing if you let us know whether you have an intention to buy. We will still help you but it helps us know that we can juggle a few people at the same time.
15. We don’t know every single item in store by heart. When you call up and give us a vague description it really doesn’t help.
16. We can’t value your expired coupons or old catalogues. Company policy, ya know?
17. We know you hate being asked if you need help, but it is literally our job. If we don’t greet you as you walk in… we get in trouble.
18. We don’t control stock. That’s head office’s job.
19. We can’t just give you the floor stock or the item that another customer has on hold. We need display items and we need to not steal other people’s things.
20. We don’t control what’s in the catalogue. Head office AGAIN.
21. We also don’t control whether what is in the catalogue is in stock. It isn’t “ Read more...