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Author Archive for marian

Until recently, losing an hour of daylight in the fall presented a problem for the candy industry. That’s because Daylight Saving Time traditionally ended on the last Sunday in October, a.k.a. before Halloween night. Intense lobbying to push back the date went on for decades. According to one report, candy lobbyists even went so far as to place tiny candy pumpkins on the seats of everyone in the Senate in 1985. A law extending DST into November finally went into effect in 2007.

451 degrees

Bradbury’s title refers to the auto-ignition point of paper—the temperature at which it will catch fire without being exposed to an external flame. Bradbury asserted that “book-paper” burns at 451 degrees, and it’s true that different kinds of paper have different auto-ignition temperatures

The Three Princes of Serendip

The lost camel

No sooner do the three princes arrive abroad than they trace clues to identify precisely a camel they have never seen. They conclude that the camel is lame, blind in one eye, missing a tooth, carrying a pregnant woman, and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other. When they later encounter the merchant who has lost the camel, they report their observations to him. He accuses them of stealing the camel and takes them to the Emperor Beramo, where he demands punishment.

Beramo then asks how they are able to give such an accurate description of the camel if they have never seen it. It is clear from the princes’ replies that they have used small clues to infer cleverly the nature of the camel.

Grass had been eaten from the side of the road where it was less green, so the princes had inferred that the camel was blind on the other side. Because there were lumps of chewed grass on the road that were the size of a camel’s tooth, they inferred they had fallen through the gap left by a missing tooth. The tracks showed the prints of only three feet, the fourth being dragged, indicating that the animal was lame. That butter was carried on one side of the camel and honey on the other was evident because ants had been attracted to melted butter on one side of the road and flies to spilled honey on the other.

As for the woman, one of the princes said: “I guessed that the camel must have carried a woman, because I had noticed that near the tracks where the animal had knelt down the imprint of a foot was visible. Because some urine was nearby, I wet my fingers and as a reaction to its odour I felt a sort of carnal concupiscence, which convinced me that the imprint was of a woman’s foot.”

“I guessed that the same woman must have been pregnant,” said another prince, “because I had noticed nearby handprints which were indicative that the woman, being pregnant, had helped herself up with her hands while urinating.”

At this moment, a traveller enters the scene to say that he has just found a missing camel wandering in the desert. Beramo spares the lives of the three princes, lavishes rich rewards on them, and appoints them to be his advisors.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/11/12/parent-teacher-relationships-covid/

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Look at a Tree

In 1984, a researcher named Roger Ulrich noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from gallbladder surgery at a suburban hospital in Pennsylvania. Those who had been given rooms overlooking a small stand of deciduous trees were being discharged almost a day sooner, on average, than those in otherwise identical rooms whose windows faced a wall. The results seemed at once obvious—of course a leafy tableau is more therapeutic than a drab brick wall—and puzzling. Whatever curative property the trees possessed, how were they casting it through a pane of glass?

That is the riddle that underlies a new study in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of researchers in the United States, Canada, and Australia, led by the University of Chicago psychology professor Marc Berman. The study compares two large data sets from the city of Toronto, both gathered on a block-by-block level; the first measures the distribution of green space, as determined from satellite imagery and a comprehensive list of all five hundred and thirty thousand trees planted on public land, and the second measures health, as assessed by a detailed survey of ninety-four thousand respondents. After controlling for income, education, and age, Berman and his colleagues showed that an additional ten trees on a given block corresponded to a one-per-cent increase in how healthy nearby residents felt. “To get an equivalent increase with money, you’d have to give each household in that neighborhood ten thousand dollars—or make people seven years younger,” Berman told me.

Are such numbers fanciful? The emerald ash borer, which has killed a hundred million trees across North America in recent years, offers a grim natural experiment. A county-by-county analysis of health records by the U.S. Forest Service, between 1990 and 2007, found that deaths related to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses rose in places where trees succumbed to the pest, contributing to more than twenty thousand additional deaths during the study period. The Toronto data shows a similar link between tree cover and cardio-metabolic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. For the people suffering from these conditions, an extra eleven trees per block corresponds to an income boost of twenty thousand dollars, or being almost one and a half years younger.

What is most interesting about this data, though, is one of its subtler details. The health benefits stem almost entirely from trees planted along streets and in front yards, where many people walk past them; trees in back yards and parks don’t seem to matter as much in the analysis. It could be that roadside trees have a bigger impact on air quality along sidewalks, or that leafy avenues encourage people to walk more. But Berman is also interested in a possibility that harks back to Ulrich’s hospital-window finding: perhaps it is enough simply to look at a tree.

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Amendments IV-X

 

Amendment IV (4): Search and arrest warrants
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V (5): Rights in criminal cases
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Amendment VI (6): Rights to a fair trial
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII (7): Rights in civil cases
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII (8): Bails, fines, and punishments
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX (9): Rights retained by the people
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X (10): Powers retained by the states and the people
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a funeral cloth over the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform. In the U.S. Armed Forces, at the ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at a ceremony of reveille, flown high as a symbol of belief in the resurrection of the body.
The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.
  1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
  3. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
  4. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is Him we turn to in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
  5. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. In the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  9. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood. It has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that has molded the character of the men and women who have made this country great.
  10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, who has also given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
  11. The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  12. The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
  13. The 13th and last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the Folding Ceremony
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
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The Pomodoro Technique® Daily/Weekly Process

The Pomodoro Technique book is organised into six incremental goals. The objectives should be achieved in the order in which they are given here:

1. Find out how much effort an activity requires

Ever wonder where all your time goes? Wonder no more: it’s all on the page. Your Pomodoro To-Do sheet is a visual overview of the time you’ve spent on various tasks.


2. Cut down on interruptions

Usually, you can afford to take 25 minutes before calling back a friend or replying to an email. You’ll learn how to handle the inevitable interruption while staying focused on the task at hand.


3. Estimate the effort for activities

Once you’ve gotten the hang of the technique, you’ll be able to accurately predict how many Pomodoros it will take to accomplish tomorrow’s — or next month’s — tasks.


4. Make the Pomodoro more effective

While the contours of the Pomodoro are set, what you do within them can be adjusted to maximize efficiency. One way to make a Pomodoro more effective is to use the first few minutes to review what you’ve done before. Other methods are discussed in the book.


5. Set up a timetable

A timetable sets a limit, motivating you to complete a task within a set period of time. It also delineates your work time from your free time. Creating a clear timetable will allow you to enjoy your time off without worrying that you could be doing more work.


6. Define your own objectives

The Pomodoro Technique is a tool you can use to reach your own objectives. For example, a writer might realize he’s spending too much time revising, and adjust his Pomodoro timetable to allow for more brainstorming time.

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#7-9

Focus on Getting Better, Rather than Being Good — Think about your goals as opportunities to improve, rather than to prove yourself

Be a Realistic Optimist — Visualize how you will make success happen by overcoming obstacles

Don’t Tempt Fate — No one has willpower all the time, so don’t push your luck

Roughly two years ago, I wrote about the “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently,” which became HBR’s most-read piece of content over that time span. It was a list of strategies, based on decades of scientific research, proven effective for setting and reaching challenging goals. I later expanded that post into a short e-book, explaining how you can make each one a habit. But how would readers know if they were doing enough of each “Thing”? (After all, we’re terrible judges of ourselves.) To help answer that question, last spring I created something I called the Nine Things Diagnostics — it’s a free, online set of questionnaires designed to measure your own use of each of the nine things in pursuit of your personal and professional goals.

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