Monthly Archives: January 2016

How Much Do You Know About…Coffee?

January 29, 2016


coffeeCoffee is a hugely popular drink prepared from roasted seeds, often called “beans” of the coffee plant, due to their shape. People consume it all over the world,  but often don’t not know much about the history and culture of coffee. Here’s a quiz to test your coffee knowledge:

1. Coffee was first discovered in 800 AD by goat herders in :

A. Columbia.
B. Brazil.
C. Ethiopia.

2. Coffee is the ____ most traded commodity on earth:

A. 1st.
B. 2nd.
C. 3rd.

3. The only state in the US to grow coffee is:

A. Puerto Rico.
B. Hawaii.
C. Florida.

4. The majority of the world’s coffee is produced in: 

A. Vietnam.
B. Columbia.
C. Brazil.

5. The world’s largest coffee drinkers hail from: 

B. Netherlands.
C. Germany. 

6. True or False?

Drinking coffee gives you a 65 percent chance of avoiding Alzheimer’s disease.


1.  C. Shepherds discovered coffee in Ethiopia circa 800 A.D.
Legend has it that 9th century goat herders noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats, who appeared to “dance” after eating coffee berries. A local monk then made a drink from the berries and found that it kept him awake at night, so this is how the original cup of coffee was born.

2. B. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth, second to petroleum. According to the Global Exchange, there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. 

3. B. HawaiiKona coffee is the United States’ gift to the coffee world. Because coffee grows best in climates along the equator, Hawaii’s weather is optimal for harvesting coffee beans.

4. C.. Brazil produces 40% of the world’s coffee, which is twice as much as 2nd and 3rd place holders, Colombia and Vietnam.

5. B. The Netherlands consume 2414 cups per day, followed closely by Finland.

6. True. In an important study, coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life. In conclusion, coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD. Researchers found that older patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood were more likely to avoid Alzheimer’s. Studies have also shown that caffeine has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. It has also been shown to protect against skin cancer in women.

Immerse in the Dutch Golden Age of Art and Science

January 29, 2016
Johannes Vermeer “Girl with a Pearl Earring”_Public domain__ via Wikimedia Commons

 Barry’s Greenlaw’s upcoming class, “The Dutch Republic in the Golden Age – and Beyond”, examines the extraordinary richness of Dutch art and science in the 17th century, which allows us to put into perspective the cities, the landscape, and the people of that glorious time period. For those who want to fully immerse in the Dutch Golden Age, David Brauer is also teaching “The Legacy of the Dutch School”, looking at how the Dutch celebrated their new status and wealth with an explosion of exemplary painting which greatly influenced other schools of painting throughout Europe. We visited with Barry to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is important for us to know about your upcoming class?

Greenlaw: The Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century is one of the great fertile cultural periods in the history of Europe. The combination of economic prosperity brought about, in good part, by domestic and foreign maritime trade, fostered a thriving period of artistic and scientific activity which far surpassed that on any other place in Europe at the time.

WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about this period?

Greenlaw: One statistic that overwhelmed me, was the sheer quantity of painting that resulted from this economic prosperity.  It is estimated that well more than a million pictures were painted in the Netherlands during the Dutch Golden Age by thousands of artists – a reflection of the demand by the prosperous Dutch middle and upper classes to perpetuate themselves and their families in portraits, and to demonstrate their pride in their countryside and newly prosperous cities.

WIH Reporter: Do people have mistaken impressions about this time period?

Greenlaw: The fact that while one thinks of prosperity as occurring in times of peace, for much of the Golden Age, the Dutch were at war, first with Spain, and later with Britain and France.  The Dutch relationship with England, in particular, both good and bad, was of major benefit to both countries.

WIH Reporter: What inspired you to create this course about the Dutch Golden Age?

Greenlaw: This course was inspired by an exhibition that my wife and I saw at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam last summer: “Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age” which introduced one of the main themes of this course, that the Golden age was initiated and stimulated not by the aristocratic rulers of the Netherlands, but by the wealthy burghers of Amsterdam and the other urban centers, who were also the main commissioners of much of the art produced.

WIH Reporter: How will your course fit in with David Brauer’s “The Legacy of the Dutch School”?

Greenlaw: The course will cover the period from the Dutch Revolt against Spain in the last years of the 16th century, to the end of the Golden Age, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries – following essentially a chronological timeline with each session focusing on a particular topic such as the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch Enlightenment, Landscape, Cityscape etc. David Brauer’s class will  emphasize art, I will include art (in some sessions quite a bit) but using it as a reflection of the period itself.

Barry Greenlaw’s class,  “The Dutch Republic in the Golden Age – and Beyond”, begins on February 1st, at 1:00 pm and continues for 10 weeks. To find out more about the class, or to register, click here

David Brauer’s class,“The Legacy of the Dutch School”, begins on February 2nd at 1:00 pm and continues for 6 weeks. To find out more about the class, or to register, click here.

iPhone/iPad Security Secrets: 3 Things You Can Do Now to Make Your Device Secure

January 29, 2016

ApplicationsStoreHomeScreenRedNumberIn these days of identity theft, ad and location tracking, and constant hacking, is there any way we can safeguard our mobile devices? Apple offers numerous ways to make sure our emails, contacts, messages, locations, and web surfing destinations can remain private. To accomplish this, some of the default settings have to be changed. We asked Liz Weiman, our iPad/iPhone technical guru to tell us 3 things we can do right now to start the process. Below are her recommendations.

1. Make sure Find My iPhone has been installed and is turned on for each device. To do so, tap the Settings icon on the Home Screen, and then tap iCloud. Scroll down the list of apps and then tap Find My iPhone (or Find My iPad on an iPad). Make sure it is turned on and enabled as shown below.

2. Set up a 6-digit passcode instead of the usual 4-digits, and make sure your phone locks when it is not being used. Security and convenience are often at odds, but for a few seconds of unlocking your screen, you gain a tremendous security. Here are the steps to create/update your passcode:

A.  Tap the Settings app on the Home screen.

B.  Tap Passcode.  (Note: On devices with Touch ID, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.)


C. If you have a 4digit passcode set up, enter your passcode in the keypad that comes up. You can change it to a safer 6-digit passcode on the screen that follows by tapping Change Passcode. If you do not have a passcode, you can set one up in the Passcode Lock screen by tapping Turn Passcode On. 


3. Clear out your Safari History and Website Data. 

This very quick operation, accomplished in the Settings app will remove history, cookies and other browsing data – all information that can be easily accessed if it is left untouched. Simply tap Settings, and then tap Safari. Scroll all the way down, and tap the Clear History and Website Data link, and then tap Clear in order to clear your history. It is good to do this a a few times a week.

Liz Weiman’s upcoming class, “iWorkshop Part 1: Tips and Tricks for Apple iPhones, iPads, and Apps”, starts in September at 1:00 pm and continues for 4 weeks. To find out more about the upcoming class or to register, look in the Computer/Digital Technology section of this site.

Living the Legacy: The European Grand Tour

January 29, 2016

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, lengthy trips through the European Continent were au de rigueur among British socialites. In her upcoming class, “The Grand Tour: Readings From Abroad”, Anna Saikin has recreated this rich legacy by following a literary itinerary that highlights the people, places, and ideas that made this period of travel so extraordinary. We checked in with Saikin to find out more.

WIH Reporter:  What is important for us to know about the Grand Tour?

Saikin: The Grand Tour was not exactly a scholarly and religious pilgrimage, but rather a pleasurable means of visiting the cultural capitols of the modern world. It was common, indeed highly desirable, to run into one’s acquaintances while abroad. Our class will serve as an introduction to eighteenth and nineteenth century literature through the lens of the cultural and social practices that emerge from the Grand Tour’s rich legacy.

WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about the “institution” of the Grand Tour?

Saikin: Many people picture the Grand Tour as a late eighteenth century rite of passage, but the earliest accounts of tourists dates from the 1660s. The practice flourished during the neoclassical age as interest in Greek and Roman ruins was heightened, through the romantic period, when tourists were equally interested in the aesthetic aspects of traveling in the Swiss Alps as well as in art work.

WIH Reporter: What literary personas and interesting facts are in store for those of us fascinated by the literary Grand Tour?

Saikin: While the many tourists were wealthy young men, people from all walks of life took a Grand Tour for educational or social purposes. Men and Women, young and old, traveled from England and American to Continental Europe for a variety of purposes. Mary Shelley, for instance, took a Grand Tour when she eloped with Percy Shelley in 1816; it was during this trip that she penned the first draft of Frankenstein, later published in 1818. 

WIH Reporter: What format do you plan to use in the class?

Saikin: Our six-week class will mimic the itinerary used by the English nobility in the eighteenth century. Each week we will travel to a new “country” through art works and literary selections seen on or written during the Grand Tour. Our first week begins in Paris; from there, we will virtually tour Geneva, Switzerland; Florence; Venice; Naples; and Munich (Germany).

Anna Saikin’s class begins on March 1st, at 1:00 pm and continues for 6 weeks. To find out more about the class or to register, click here.