Since 2011, the number of Americans owning smartphones has increased from 35 percent to 81 percent, although there remains a significant digital divide, demographically. A Pew Research survey found the vast majority of younger Americans rely on smartphones, while just 53 percent of the 65-and-over crowd use the devices.1
Americans who have embraced the technology are finding it can greatly simplify and enhance their lives. No matter what you want to accomplish, the chances are you can download an app to get it done. Apps, a.k.a. mobile applications, are computer programs that make it possible for your phone to do almost anything. All you have to do is tap the right icon. For example, you can:
Drive more safely: Even adults have been guilty of using their phones while driving. Some apps use text-to-voice translators to let you listen and respond to texts and emails while driving so you can keep your eyes on the road.2
Check out a book: Anyone with a current library card can download e-books and audio books from their libraries with an app.2
Stay healthy: Whether you want to know more about nutrition, fitness, or specific health issues, it’s likely there is an app to help your specific needs.2
Shed some light: If it’s getting harder to read menus in dark restaurants, see if your phone has a flashlight app. If not, you can download one.2
Stay in touch: Have family or friends who live far away? Mobile messaging apps let you share pictures, send texts, and make voice or video calls.3
Entertain yourself: You can watch television and movies, listen to music and podcasts, read books and articles, find dates, play games, and so much more.4
Translate languages: It can be daunting to travel through a country when you don’t speak the language. Smartphone apps can help bridge language barriers.5
Manage your money: If you have trouble with budgeting and spending, an app may help.5
Provide first aid: Don’t panic when disaster strikes. The American Red Cross has an app that provides expert advice for everyday emergencies.6
Apps can be mighty helpful. In fact, you may find yourself spending too much time on your phone. If that’s the case, there are apps for monitoring and controlling phone use.7
It’s So Easy!
When you read recipes from the 1800s, modern cooking seems pretty simple. Mary Randolph’s 1824 classic cookbook, The Virginia Housewife, offered a soup recipe that began,
“Put fowls in a coop and feed them moderately for a fortnight; kill one and cleanse it, cut off the legs and wings…”
After reading her instructions, grocery stores seem downright indulgent. Here is a recipe for fowl from Real Simple that is tasty and requires a lot less labor.8, 9
Classic Chicken and Dumplings
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
10 cups water
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for serving
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Brown in batches, 4-6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; reserve the pot.
Add celery, carrots, onions, thyme, and garlic to chicken drippings in the pot and cook, stirring until the vegetables begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add chicken, bay leaves, and 10 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Shred chicken with 2 forks and return it to the pot (discard skin and bones).
Whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups cooking liquid, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk flour mixture back into the pot and simmer until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes.
Dumplings: Whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter, buttermilk, and parsley. Reduce heat to low and drop the mixture into the broth in 8 large spoonfuls. Cover and simmer until dumplings are firm, 12-15 minutes. Serve chicken and dumplings sprinkled with parsley on top.
What Do Countries Stockpile?
It’s not widely known, but countries, states, and provinces often stockpile goods they believe are essential to human survival. For instance, since World War I ended, the Swiss have maintained emergency supplies of sugar, rice, edible oils, and animal feed, reported Reuters. See what you know about stockpiling by taking this brief quiz.
- What state or province keeps a strategic reserve of maple syrup?
- What might you find in the United States’ Strategic National Stockpile?
a. Antibiotics, vaccines, and antivirals
b. Corn, soybeans, and flour
c. Ferromanganese, copper, and chromium
d. All of the above
- Which countries have global strategic petroleum reserves?
a. United States
d. All of the above
- How big is the United States’ cheese stockpile?
a. 4 billion pounds
b. 900,000 cubic yards
c. Enough to wrap around the U.S. Capitol
d. All of the above
Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder
A lot of people suffer from the blues, especially during winter months. If you’re experiencing low energy and moodiness, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.10
Many people who suffer from SAD have similar symptoms at the same time every year. The Mayo Clinic advises,
“Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of… seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.”10
One option is morning light box therapy.10
The theory behind the treatment is a lack of sunlight is responsible for SAD. If that’s the case, then light treatments could help alleviate the problem. Harvard Health explained:11
“Bright light works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day can restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus banish seasonal symptoms.”
New research has found light treatment works on SAD, as well as other types of depression, reported AARP. If you have persistent feelings of sadness, light therapy may be able to help.12
- c – Quebec Province, Canada. Farmers contribute to the maple syrup reserve which helps keep the price high and the business predictable.13
- a – Antibiotics, vaccines, and antivirals. The Strategic National Stockpile includes medicines and supplies for health emergencies.14
- d – All of the above. Many countries around the world have strategic petroleum reserves.15
- d – All of the above. Milk production has increased by 13 percent over the last 10 years in the United States but Americans are drinking less milk. Suppliers turn the extra milk into cheese because it is less perishable and stays fresh for longer periods.16
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