Saturday, July 31, 2021

‘Conversation about Long–COVID’ Webinar on Monday August 2nd at 1 p.m. SLT

By Gentle Heron

On July 26, 2021, the US federal government released a package of resources to support individuals experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19, known commonly as “Long–COVID”. This guidance, a collaborative effort between the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Education, and Labor provides information about where individuals can access resources and accommodations and clarifies the rights for health, educational, and support services.

The White House Office of Public Engagement, in conjunction with agency partners from HHS, Education, and Labor, invites you to a Conversation about Long–COVID on Monday, August 2nd from 1-1:45 p.m. SLT (4-4:45 p.m. EDT). The agenda is to review the published guidance, provide information on how to access support services, and answer questions from the audience.

If you wish to attend the webinar, please register for it at this link below:

Each individual attendee must register in order to gain access to the meeting.

ASL interpreting and CART will be provided. If there are any other accommodations that would make this meeting accessible to you, please indicate it in the registration form.

**Note that this conversation will be off-the-record and is closed to the press.

Are You Dense About Food Density?

Food density is not about brick-like Yule fruitcakes. It means caloric density, or the number of calories in a volume of food.

High density foods have a lot of calories in a small amount of food. These are fatty foods such as fast food meals and fatty meats, and sugary items such as candy, cakes, cookies, and sodas.

Low density foods have fewer calories in each amount. They often have a lot of water or fiber, and tend to be low fat. Most fruits and vegetables are low density foods.

Eating low density foods is helpful for your diet, because you feel fuller with a lower calorie intake. The water in vegetables and fruits increases the volume in your stomach, allowing you to feel satisfied with much fewer calories. The fiber in whole grains and vegetables not only increases your sense of fullness, but helps you feel fuller longer because it takes longer to digest.

Switching to lower density foods should be done gradually. Let your body accommodate itself to the increase in fluid volume and fiber content. You will improve your health overall by making this switch.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

TIP - Two Things to Be Sure Are Full Before You Grocery Shop

1. A list - Between shopping trips or online orders, make an ongoing list of items you are running low on. You really won’t want to run out of milk, eggs, or toilet paper. If you plan meals ahead (and that’s a good idea!), add any ingredients to your shopping list that you will need.

2. Your stomach - If you shop when you are hungry, you are more likely to pick up junk food. It’s easy to avoid that temptation by eating before shopping.

When you head to the grocery store with a full stomach and a complete shopping list, you will probably come home with nutritious and healthy foods.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Did You Know That Your Diet Can Help You Fight Aging?

Two-Tiered Cake With 50 at the Top

By Gentle Heron

Here are some mealtime ideas that will help you feel younger and stay healthier longer as the number of candles on your birthday cake increases.

• Drink more water. Older people do not feel thirsty as readily as younger people, so they risk dehydration. Drink water at every meal; it’s better for you than drinks with sugar, alcohol or caffeine.

• Be aware of calories. Metabolism slows as we age, so we need lower calorie meals and snacks.

• Get enough protein. A third of older adults do not eat enough protein, which your body uses to renew many tissues. Meat is a good source of protein, but so are dairy products and legumes.

• Adequate calcium is necessary for bone health. Bone mass decreases with age, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Dairy products are a good source of that mineral, but 
lactose malabsorption and intolerance also increases with age. Other sources of calcium include canned fish (with bones), beans and nuts.

You may not taste things as well when you age, but avoid adding extra salt. That won’t help your blood pressure. Instead use herbs and spices which have the added benefit of fighting inflammation.

• Be sure you get enough potassium to help control blood pressure, which tends to increase with age. Good dietary sources of potassium include greens (beets, chard, spinach, etc.), lima beans, and sweet potatoes.

• Avoid constipation caused by inadequate fiber intake. Be sure you get enough fibrous fruits and vegetables as salads, snacks, and desserts.

• Since some vitamins (e.g., B12 and D) are more difficult to obtain from food as you get older, you may need a specific supplement. Check with your doctor first, and if a supplement is recommended, buy one that contains only what you need without unnecessary other ingredients.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Celebrate Your Disability Pride in July

I am a warrior poster with drawings of Wonder Woman and Batman speeding in wheelchairsLogo of the Chicago Disability Pride Parade showing a circle of hands with many skin colors, one signing, I Love You, and another a prosthetic hook.
By Gentle Heron

Disability pride is about recognizing and celebrating our self-worth as people with disabilities. We are a very diverse group of individuals, and we need to band together to support disability justice. Disability pride encourages us to reject ableism, and stop hiding or denying our disabilities because we are ashamed of them.

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This marked a significant step in the progress of persons with disabilities toward independence. The ADA legislation is intended to protect the rights of people with disabilities in five key areas: employment, state and local government facilities and services, public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation. As such, the ADA is part of the civil rights movement. It not only protects people with disabilities from discrimination, but also allows us to participate in our communities equally with people who do not have disabilities.

Disability Pride Month has been celebrated in July since 1990. Often a city will hold a Disability Pride Parade on July 26 or the last Saturday in July. These parades are meant to celebrate diversity and fight disability stigma. You can participate in a virtual Disability Pride Parade on social media on July 26. Or you can share your Disability Pride throughout July, and the rest of the year as well.

For more information about Disability Pride, please visit the following:

“Disability Pride Toolkit and Resource Guide” from the National Council on Independent Living -

“5 Questions to Think About This #DisabilityPrideMonth” -

“A chance to ‘amplify one another’: What is Disability Pride Month?” -

How will you show your Disability Pride?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

How Can Whole-Grain Foods Help your Blood Pressure?

By Gentle Heron

Whole-grain foods include the fibrous bran and the germ, not just the starchy endosperm of the grain or seed. They are a good source of healthy nutrients and minerals, in addition to fiber.

Whole-grain foods help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, or might help lower hypertension by providing several health benefits.

Eating whole-grain versions of foods you already enjoy, such as breads and pasta, can help your weight management. They tend to make you feel fuller longer.

Whole-grains contain significant potassium. This mineral has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Blood vessel damage can take many forms, several of which increase the risk of high blood pressure. Whole grain foods reduce damage to blood vessels.

Insulin resistance is a condition where the body does not respond properly to the hormone insulin. Insulin controls the amount of the sugar glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Eating more whole grains increases insulin sensitivity.

The Dietary Guideline for Americans suggests that adults should eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains daily as part of a healthy diet. That’s just three slices of whole-wheat bread. According to the guidelines, at least half of all grain products you eat should be 100% whole grain.

With all these benefits, why not try eating more whole-grain foods?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Fun Way to Learn about the ADA - July 7th


By Gentle Heron

The ten regional ADA centers are doing an ADA Jeopardy game on Zoom on Wednesday, July 7th, at 11 a.m. SLT (2 p.m. Eastern Time).

Topics for the Jeopardy questions will include:

  • Employment (ADA Title I),
  • State and Local Government (ADA Title II),
  • Public Accommodations (ADA Title III),
  • Accessible Technologies,
  • Effective Communication,
  • Facility Access,
  • Reasonable Accommodation, and
  • Reasonable Modification of Policy and Procedures.

You can ask your own personal question when you register for the session.

Register here:

Saturday, July 3, 2021

What is Internet Security?: Part 1 - How a home network operates

Internet security is a really big topic.  But what does it mean?  Does it mean:

  • Keeping your antivirus up to date?
  • Updating your operating system and applications regularly?
  • Keeping your private information safe from prying eyes?
  • Making sure your data is secure and recoverable in case of disaster?

It means all those things, and more.  In addition to those, and most importantly, it means:

  • Having a basic understanding of how the Internet works.
  • Educating yourself about how Internet evildoers attempt to take over your computer and/or gather your private information.

Why is it important to understand how computers talk on the Internet?

The old saying goes “knowledge is power.”  Without understanding the process of how basic computer communications work it is impossible to decide how to best protect yourself.  Think of it as “if I do not understand my house’s security weaknesses, I cannot protect it.”

How is my home network constructed?

We start at the beginning – the home network.  Here is a standard home network configuration:

Figure 1:  Standard Home Network Configuration

Your devices talk to the home router using either an Ethernet cable or a wireless network connection.  That is fine and dandy, but we need a deeper dive into the home router to understand how information is transmitted to and from your devices and servers on the Internet.

Why is it called a “home router”?

Devices connected to your home router are on one network.  Everything else is on other networks.  Your home router “routes” communications between networks.  If there were no routers all devices would have to be on one network, which is not possible.

Understanding how your home router works requires looking under the hood.  This is how nearly all home routers are constructed internally:

Figure 2: Home router internal breakout

Let’s define each of these components.

  • Switch:  so-called because it “switches” information from one device to another; this is what allows your home router to connect many devices to the Internet and your devices to talk to one another.
  • Ethernet-Inside:  this is the network connection on the firewall that talks to your devices.
  • Ethernet-Outside:  this is the network connection on the firewall that talks to the Internet.
  • Firewall:  the heart and soul of any home router, the firewall acts as a gatekeeper and does the job of routing communications between networks.

How does the firewall act as a gatekeeper?

In general, the firewall allows requests to go from inside your network to the Internet.  When the requested information comes back from the Internet the firewall matches that information with the requests going out.  If they match, you get your email, web pages, Google Docs, OneDrive, and cat videos.  If information comes into the firewall from the Internet and there is no matching request, the firewall will not respond to (“drop”) that connection attempt.  Remember that.  If a server on the Internet attempts to talk to your home router without you previously requesting information from that server, the firewall will simply drop that communication.

How does the firewall keep things straight?

The details would send us down a rabbit hole from which we would never return, so we’ll keep things fairly general.

We’re going to talk about “IP addresses.”  There are two kinds:  Internet Protocol (IP) version 4 and version 6 (IPv4 and IPv6).  We will talk only about IPv4 right now (shown here as IP).  IPv6 will be discussed at some point in the future.

  • Your firewall has two IP addresses.
    • The “Ethernet-Inside” IP address will be something like (emphasis on the 1, here) and is often called the “default gateway.”  This IP address is not routable to or from the Internet.  What that means is if I take a device with an IP address that belongs on my home network and connect it directly to the Internet, nothing will talk to it.  All routers on the Internet will not talk to anything with an IP address that belongs on a home network.  More about that later.
    • The “Ethernet-Outside” IP address will be assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and is routable because this IP address is part of the public IP address space (more about that later).
  • Each device on your home network gets a different IP address that is only accessible to devices on your home network – like 192.168.0.something.  (Something in this case will be anywhere from 2 through 254.)  Your firewall knows the IP address of each device on your network and puts it in a table.
  • When your computer makes a request for data to the Internet (email, web pages, videos, etc.) the firewall adds to the table what server you're trying to talk to on which specific “port.”  To make a long story shorter, the firewall waits for a response from the server on the Internet (from which you requested information) to that specific port.  When, and if, the response comes back to the firewall from the Internet, the firewall matches it to the table; if the ports are the same, it will forward the information back to your computer.

Wait – you said someone could try connecting to my home router from the Internet.  Could someone be trying to hack my home router?

Yes.  In fact, it happens constantly in an automated process.  There are millions of computers on the Internet constantly scanning for home routers they can access.  These computers are usually controlled from a series of central locations.  Each group of computers controlled by a central location is called a “botnet.”  There is nothing you can do to stop one of those computers from trying to talk to your home router.  What you can do is make sure your home router is configured correctly (so it drops the connection attempt) and keep its software updated.

Update my home router?  How do I do that?  How often should I check?

Home routers are single-purpose computers and, like any computer, are controlled by software.  If you acquired your home router from your Internet Service Provider, generally the ISP will keep it updated.  If you bought your own home router it will be your responsibility to occasionally check for updates.  Fortunately, every home router has a website you can log on to for that purpose.

Your home router has a web page used to administer it.  You will need two pieces of information:

1.       The default gateway mentioned above

a.       To get the default gateway,

                                                   i.      On a Windows computer, in the Search box type “powershell” and click on the app that is presented to you.  Next, type “ipconfig” and press Enter.  Look for the line that says “Default Gateway” with an IP address.  Write that down.

                                                  ii.      On a Mac or Linux, open the Terminal program.  At the prompt, type “ifconfig” and press Enter.  Again, look for the default gateway in the output.  It will be somewhat buried, but you will see it.  It will almost always be the IP address that ends in “1.”  Write that down.

2.       The default username and password

a.     To find the default username, open a web page and use your favorite search engine to look for this phrase:  “make and model of your home router default username.”  So, if I had a Netgear C6230 (you’ll find the make and model on the back or bottom of your home router), you would search for “Netgear 6230 default username.”  Or you can download the manual from the manufacturer’s website and search for “username.”

b.     The password will be listed with the username in the documentation.

The home router’s documentation will explain how to search for updates.  Generally, this is a button that will say “Check for updates.”  If an update is available, follow the instructions on the web page to download and install it.

While you are doing this, change the password for the default username to something secure.  Write that password down and keep it safe.  If any security issues are found with your home router that might allow someone on the Internet to use the default username and password to log on to it this will foil their attempt.

Updates to a home router’s software is infrequent.  Check every three months to six months.

Sometimes your Internet Service Provider will help you do this, but they will tell you they cannot take responsibility for updating the software.

You mentioned that IP addresses on a home network are not routable – what addresses are they?

IP addresses have four pieces, separated by a “.”.  Each piece starts at 0 and goes to 255.  For example, a IP address could be  Here is what it looks like generally:

[0-255] . [0-255] . [0-255] . [0-255]

IP addresses are broken up into six classes with specific ranges.  Those ranges are:

Table 1: IP Addresses by Class






Class A –



Class B –



Class C –



Class D –

Multicast – not assigned to a computer


Class E –

Research only


Reserved –

Loopback, for testing

All the IP address ranges in Classes A through C are part of the public IP address space, except for ranges reserved for private networks.  The ranges are:

Table 2: Private IP Addresses




Class A –

Private IP addresses

Class B –

Assigned by the computer itself if it can­not other­wise get a network address

Class B –

Private IP addresses

Class C –

Private IP addresses

Any IP address in the public address space is routable on the Internet – that is, Internet routers will accept communications from and send communications to any device with a public IP address.  Addresses in private networks cannot talk directly on the Internet – all equipment on the Internet will refuse to communicate with any machine that has an IP address in those ranges.

Figure 3: Internet routers refuse communications with private IP addresses

What it means for you is this:  if your home network is functioning correctly your computer will have a IP address in one of the private IP ranges listed above.  Assuming your home router is working and correctly configured your home computers are safe from someone trying to break into your network.  The firewall and routing functions in your home router will protect you.

Of course, this does not mean you do not need antivirus.  The most common way for hackers to break into your computer is to convince you to let them in.  That will be our next topic.

Comments are welcome.  Please leave them here or send them to Orange Planer inworld.

Healthinfo Island Displays and Exhibits for July 2021

By Gentle Heron

You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs in this posting. Once you are there, you can click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set, and you will get a notecard that contains all the text of the posters plus descriptions of the images.  If you click the other posters within a particular exhibit, you will get a message with additional information and sometimes live links.

Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island

Check out the calming breathing exercise on the back wall!