Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If You Can..

If you can start the day without caffeine;
If you can get going without pep pills;
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains;
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles;
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it;
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time;
If you can forgive a friend's lack of consideration;
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when,
through no fault of your own, something goes wrong;
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment;
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him;
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend;
If you can face the world without lies and deceit;
If you can conquer tension without medical help;
If you can relax without liquor;
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs;
If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice
against creed or color, religion or politics; then, my friend, you are
almost as good as your dog.

Source: Jim Geary

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

35 Thought Provoking Education Quotes

1. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle

2. Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. ~Hector Berlioz

3. An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field. ~Niels Bohr

4. Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. ~Albert Einstein

5. What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. ~George Bernard Shaw

6. Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century. ~Perelman

7. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. ~Mark Twain

8. Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. ~Jim Rohn

9. Education is that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. ~Ambrose Bierce

10. In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

11. The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change. ~Carl Rogers

12. A liberally educated person meets new ideas with curiosity and fascination. An illiberally educated person meets new ideas with fear. ~James B. Stockdale

13. A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

14. The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn. ~Cicero

15. Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. ~Chinese Proverb

And the rest is here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

List of 100 global public intellectuals (2005)

In 2005, Prospect and Foreign Policy asked 20,000 people to vote for their top names of global public intellectuals from a longlist of 100. The criteria were simple. Candidates have to be living, and still active in public life. They have to have shown distinction in their particular field as well as an ability to influence debate across borders. The first ten names are:

1 Noam Chomsky
2 Umberto Eco
3 Richard Dawkins
4 Václav Havel
5 Christopher Hitchens
6 Paul Krugman
7 Jürgen Habermas
8 Amartya Sen
9 Jared Diamond
10 Salman Rushdie

Source: Prospect Magazine

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Top Ten Things That Math and Sex Have in Common

1. Explicit discussions of either topic is a faux pas at most cocktail parties.
2. Historically, men have been in control, but there are now efforts to get women more involved.
3. There are many joint results.
4. Both are prominent on college campuses, and are usually practiced indoors.
5. Most people wish they knew more about both subjects.
6. Both involve long and hard problems, and can produce interesting topology and geometry.
7. Both merit undivided attention, but mathematicians are prone to think about one while doing the other.
8. Saint Augustine was hostile to both, and Alan Turing took an unusual approach to both.
9. Both typically begin with a lot of hard work and end with a great but brief reward.
10. Professionals are generally viewed with suspicion, and most do not earn high pay.

Source: Math Humor

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Some useful Latin phrases

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar.

(At a barbeque)
Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?

Sona si Latine loqueris.
Honk if you speak Latin.

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
If you can read this you're over-educated

Vidi Vici Veni
I saw, I conquered, I came

Vacca foeda
Stupid cow

Raptus regaliter
Royally screwed

Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!
If you can read this sign, you can get a good job in the fast-paced, high-paying world of Latin!

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.
I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.
Don't call me, I'll call you.

Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!
May barbarians invade your personal space!

Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy!

Radix lecti
Couch potato

O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem!
Oh! More! Go on! Yes! Ooh! Ummm!

Tam exanimis quam tunica nehru fio.
I am as dead as the nehru jacket.

Ventis secundis, tene cursum.
Go with the flow.

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Nihil est--in vita priore ego imperator Romanus fui.
That's nothing--in a previous life I was a Roman Emperor.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!
Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.

Fac ut vivas.
Get a life.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Best Bush T-Shirts

1) (On an infant’s shirt): Already smarter than Bush.
2) 1/20/09: End of an Error!
3) That’s OK, I Wasn’t Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
4) Let’s Fix Democracy in This Country First
5) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6) You Can’t Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time
7) If You Can Read This, You’re Not Our President
8) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9) George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10) Impeachment: It’s Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11) America : One Nation, Under Surveillance
12) They Call Him “W” So He Can Spell It
13) Which God Do You Kill For?
14) Jail to the Chief!
15) Who Would Jesus Torture?
16) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade?
17) Bush: God’s Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
18) Bad president! No Banana.
19) We Need a President Who’s Fluent In At Least One Language
20) We’re Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
21) Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Blood
22) Is It Vietnam Yet?
23) Bush Doesn’t Care About White People, Either
24) Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
25) You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
26) Impeach Cheney First
27) Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
28) When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46/gal!
29) The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
30) 2004: Embarrassed - 2005: Horrified - 2006: Terrified
31) Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Source: Best Bush T-Shirt

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some of Heinlein's quotes

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.

Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow if tomorrow might improve the odds.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an "intellectual"- find out how he feels about astrology.

Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.

The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.

To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.

Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

Source: Robert A. Heinlein Quotes

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't eat bread

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations

4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average North American eats more bread than that in one month!

6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.

7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.

8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.

9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.

11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 240 degrees Celsius! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.

12. Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Death quotes

Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying. Martin Luther (1483-1546) German priest and scholar

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) British poet and playwright

To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?
Socrates (BC 469-BC 399) Greek philosopher of Athens

The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways; I to die, and you to live. Which is better? Only God knows.
Socrates (BC 469-BC 399) Greek philosopher of Athens

For the sword outwears its sheath, and the soul wears out the breast. And the heart must pause to breathe, and love itself have rest.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) American black leader

Dying is a wild night and a new road.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet

The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
Marcus Tulius Cicero (106-43 BC) Writer, politician and great roman orator

The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, and dramatist

Those to whom we say farewell, are welcomed by others.
Unknown Source

Monday, September 8, 2008

Risk (author unknown)

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to others is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,
because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.

The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.

They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave,
they forfeited their freedom.

Only the person who risks can be free.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some questions I found interesting

· What's special about 4th May 2006, and specifically two minutes and three seconds after one o'clock in the morning?

· What are the astrological star signs and the two months that each sign represents?

· Who wrote: "Bring me my bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire.."?

· What connects the words sitcom, smog, brunch, muppet and cyborg?

· What symbolic item did Lauren Bacall put into the urn containing Humphrey Bogart's ashes?

· Which one of these is on the coast: Cairo, Johannesburg, Tripoli, Sarajevo, Nairobi, Khartoum?

· What upper case (capital) letter of the English alphabet requires that the pen be lifted from the paper twice (providing no lines are re-traced)?

· Who was the 'The Wizard of Menlo Park' who said, "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." ?

· There are four (known to us - perhaps there are more) perfectly recognizable and understandable words in the English language having one of each vowel in reverse alphabetical order (UOIEA), what are the words?

· Why would the following stand no chance of being approved as official names for British racehorses? - Salisbury Cathedral, Wonderful Terminator, Sexy Disciplinarian or Sea Bee.

· How much time elapses between any Sunday 29 February and (going forward in time) the next respective Tuesday 29 February? (This is not a trick question) A supplementary question is: what year was the last Sunday 29 February?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Wisdom of the Heart from the 14th Dalai Lama

1. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

2. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

3. Sleep is the best meditation.

4. Spend some time alone every day.

5. We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

6. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

7. We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.

8. Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

9. If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

10. The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Wolves (Cherokee Wisdom )

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Monday, August 18, 2008

50 Things Professors Can Do on the First Week of Class

1. Address students as “worm”.

2. After confirming everyone’s names on the roll, thank the class for attending “Advanced Astrodynamics 690″ and mention that yesterday was the last day to drop.

3. After turning on the overhead projector, clutch your chest and scream “MY PACEMAKER!”

4. Announce “you’ll need this”, and write the suicide prevention hotline number on the board.

5. Announce that last year’s students have almost finished their class projects.

6. Announce that the entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica will be required reading for your class. Assign a report on Volume 1, Aardvark through Armenia, for next class.

7. Announce that you need to deliver two lectures that day, and deliver them in rapid-fire auctioneer style.

8. Announce to students that their entire grades will be based on a single-question oral final exam. Imply that this could happen at any moment.

9. Ask for a volunteer for a demonstration. Ask them to fill out a waiver as you put on a lead apron and light a blowtorch.

10. Ask occasional questions, but mutter “as if you gibbering simps would know” and move on before anyone can answer.

11. Ask students to call you “Tinkerbell” or “Surfin’ Bird”.

12. Ask students to list their favorite showtunes on a signup sheet. Criticize their choices and make notes in your grade book.

13. Ask the class to read Jenkins through Johnson of the local phone book by the next lecture. Vaguely imply that there will be a quiz.

14. Begin class by smashing the neck off a bottle of vodka, and announce that the lecture’s over when the bottle’s done.

15. Bring a CPR dummy to class and announce that it will be the teaching assistant for the semester. Assign it an office and office hours.

16. Bring a small dog to class. Tell the class he’s named “Boogers McGee” and is your “mascot”. Whenever someone asks a question, walk over to the dog and ask it, “What’ll be, McGee?”

17. Claim to be a chicken. Squat, cluck, and produce eggs at irregular intervals.

18. Deliver your lecture through a hand puppet. If a student asks you a question directly, say in a high-pitched voice, “The Professor can’t hear you, you’ll have to ask *me*, Winky Willy”.

19. Devote your math lecture to free verse about your favorite numbers and ask students to “sit back and groove”.

20. Every so often, freeze in mid sentence and stare off into space for several minutes. After a long, awkward silence, resume your sentence and proceed normally.

21. Give an opening monologue. Take two minute “commercial breaks” every ten minutes.

22. Gradually speak softer and softer and then suddenly point to a student and scream YOU! WHAT DID I JUST SAY?”

23. Growl constantly and address students as “matey”.

24. Have a band waiting in the corner of the room. When anyone asks a question, have the band start playing and sing an Elvis song.

25. Have a grad student in a black beret pluck at a bass while you lecture.

26. Have one of your graduate students sprinkle flower petals ahead of you as you pace back and forth.

27. If someone asks a question, walk silently over to their seat, hand them your piece of chalk, and ask, “Would YOU like to give the lecture, Mr. Smartypants?”

28. Inform your English class that they need to know FORTRAN and code all their essays. Deliver a lecture on output format statements.

29. Jog into class, rip the textbook in half, and scream, “Are you pumped? ARE YOU PUMPED? I CAN’T HEEEEEEAR YOU!”

30. Mention in passing that you’re wearing rubber underwear.

31. Pass out dental floss to students and devote the lecture to oral hygiene.

32. Pick out random students, ask them questions, and time their responses with a stop watch. Record their times in your grade book while muttering “tsk, tsk”.

33. Point the overhead projector at the class. Demand each student’s name, rank, and serial number.

34. Refer frequently to students who died while taking your class.

35. Show a video on medieval torture implements to your calculus class. Giggle throughout it.

36. Show up to lecture in a ventilated clean suit. Advise students to keep their distance for their own safety and mutter something about “that bug I picked up in the field”.

37. Sneeze on students in the front row and wipe your nose on your tie.

38. Sprint from the room in a panic if you hear sirens outside.

39. Start the lecture by dancing and lip-syncing to James Brown’s “Sex Machine.”

40. Stop in mid-lecture, frown for a moment, and then ask the class whether your butt looks fat.

41. Tell students that you’ll fail them if they cheat on exams or “fake the funk”.

42. Tell your math students that they must do all their work in a base 11 number system. Use a complicated symbol you’ve named after yourself in place of the number 10 and threaten to fail students who don’t use it.

43. Turn off the lights, play a tape of crickets chirping, and begin singing spirituals.

44. Use a graduate student to bang cymbals every time your name is mentioned.

45. Warn students that they should bring a sack lunch to exams.

46. Wear a “virtual reality” helmet and strange gloves. When someone asks a question, turn in their direction and make throttling motions with your hands.

47. Wear a feather boa and ask students to call you “Snuggles”.

48. Wear a hood with one eyehole. Periodically make strange gurgling noises.

49. Wear a pointed Kaiser helmet and a monocle and carry a riding crop.

50. Wear mirrored sunglasses and speak only in Turkish. Ignore all questions.

Source: FunBlog

Friday, August 15, 2008

Advices to save money

Dean Kamen, Segway inventor: “Find work in something you love and it won’t feel like work.”

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees shortstop: “Always know where your money is. Even if you have someone who handles your finances for you, you should be involved in the process.”

Whitney Tilson, manager of T2 Partners LLC: “Read all of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway shareholder letters. That’s all you need to know.”

Meir Statman, professor of finance at Santa Clara University: “Use money well, but do not waste it.” Be frugal but not stingy. Money is there to do good things.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love: “Borrowing money is like wetting your bed in the middle of the night. At first all you feel is warmth and release. But very, very quickly comes the awful, cold discomfort of reality.”

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist: “Material stuff won’t make you happy.”

John Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group: “Whoever cultivates the Golden Mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.” In other words, seek the middle ground.

Olivia S. Mitchell, director for the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research: “Save your money first and get used to living on what’s left over.”

Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics: “Don’t save too much.” Take advantage of consumption smoothing. (I’m still not sure I agree with this advice; it relies too much on predicting the future.)

Source: GetRichSlowly

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quotes about the Bible by famous men of the past

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” George Washington

“That Book (the Bible) is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
Andrew Jackson

“I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and pleasure.”
Woodrow Wilson

“The Bible is a book in comparison with which all others are of minor importance, and which in all my perplexities and distresses has never failed to give me light and strength.”
Robert E. Lee

“If we will not be governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.”
William Penn

“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.” Ronald Reagan

“The more profoundly we study this wonderful book [the Bible], and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”
William McKinley

“Education is useless without the Bible.”
Daniel Webster

“A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men's lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”
Sir Isaac Newton

“Those who sacrifice essential liberty for temporary safety are not deserving of either liberty or safety.”
Ben Franklin

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties, write its precepts on your hearts and practice them in your lives.” Ulysses S. Grant

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people...so great is my veneration of the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens in their country and respectful members of society.”
John Adams

“We must not build on the sands of an uncertain and ever changing science…but upon the rock of inspired Scriptures.”
Sir Ambrose Flemming

England has two books; the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.” Victor Hugo

“No lawyer can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”
Rufus Choate

“It has been my custom for many years to read the Bible in its entirety once a year“
John Quincy Adams

“Almost every man who has by his lifework added to the sum of human achievement . . . has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“All Scripture is God-breathed and He doesn’t waste His breath.”
Jim McCotter

“Tell your prince that this book is the secret of England's success.”
Queen Elizabeth

“The fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state.”
Harry S. Truman

“A single line in the Bible has consoled me more than all the books I ever read besides.”
Immanuel Kant

“I have known ninety-five of the world's great men in my time, and of these eighty-seven were followers of the Bible.”
W. E. Gladstone

"I was humbled to learn that God sent His Son to die for a sinner like me. I was comforted to know that through the Son, I could find God's amazing grace, a grace that crosses every border, every barrier and is open to everyone. Through the love of Christ's life, I could understand the life changing powers of faith...Faith changes lives. I know, because faith has changed mine. I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change. Today's friend is tomorrow's adversary. People lavish praise and attention. Many times it is genuine; sometimes it is not. Yet I build my life on a foundation that will not shift."
George W. Bush

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tricks on body (dug out from some email)

1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.

When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you're more discriminating. Take that tickle in your throat; it's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch: "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."

2. Experience supersonic hearing

If you're stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It's better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you're trying to identify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.

3. Overcome your most primal urge

Need to pee? No bathroom nearby? Fantasize about Jessica Simpson. Thinking about sex preoccupies your brain, so you won't feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. For best results, try Simpson's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" video.

4. Feel no pain

German researchers have discovered that coughing during an injection can lessen the pain of the needle stick. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.

5. Clear your stuffed nose

Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you'll feel your sinuses start to drain.

6. Fight fire without water

Worried those wings will repeat on you tonight? "Sleep on your left side," says Anthony A. Star-poli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat. When you're on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity's in your favor.

7. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth

Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

8. Make burns disappear

When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natural method brings the burned skin back to a normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.

9. Stop the world from spinning

One too many drinks left you dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance—the cupula—floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. "As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises," says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

10. Unstitch your side

If you're like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

11. Stanch blood with a single finger

Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed—if you don't mind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your upper gums—just behind that small dent below your nose—and press against it, hard. "Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose," says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. "Pressing here helps stop them."

12. Make your heart stand still

Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It'll get your heart rate back to normal.

13. Thaw your brain

Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. "Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache." The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

14. Prevent near-sightedness

Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. "It's usually caused by near-point stress." In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles—like the eyes—into relaxing as well.

15. Wake the dead

If your hand falls asleep while you're driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side. It'll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so don't let your sleeping dogs lie. Stand up and walk around.

16. Impress your friends

Next time you're at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He'll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that's a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will fold like a house of cards. By misaligning his hips, you've offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body's ability to resist.

17. Breathe underwater

If you're dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths first—essentially, hyperventilate. When you're underwater, it's not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it's the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin' ain't right. "When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity," says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. "This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen." It'll buy you up to 10 seconds.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

General aspects on human interpretation of the world

Watch, listen and observe, but never conclude

Humans are endowed with sensory organs, which have been put to an extensive use of in our bid of trying to figure out, explain and describe the world. Early humans, due to lack of knowledge and understanding, deployed view, touch and feel to understand and describe natural phenomena. It was however not until Socrates that the systematized reasoning and subsequent rationalization became not only widespread, but also the only norm for explaining away every event and development on the Earth. His theory, immortalized by his pupil Plato (Academy) and latter’s meticulous but decadent apprentice Aristotle (Lyceum), became what now is considered the only approach for understanding various aspects of world evolution. It is easy to understand why this happened. Rationalization is what allows a systematic and logical way of connecting dots and arriving to a line of reasoning, which is easy to grasp and therefore enormously appealing to every human.

Humans must watch, listen and observe but never conclude because there is so much we don’t perceive nor understand and which is off the range of our sensory organs that concluding and generalizing based on what small amount of biased information we receive will undeniably lead to wrong outcomes.

What we think is true because of conclusions of our sciences and religions is not necessarily the truth. It is a human truth, not the truth.

Don’t judge or otherwise infuse meaning

Nothing has meaning. It is our judgments and interpretations which infuse meaning in otherwise meaningless things, events and phenomena. Humans feel the urge of knowing and understanding. Seeing meaning, objective, or intention is easing this urge by satisfying our inner physiological need to understand. That is why we seek and “find” meanings and intentions in everything around and affecting us.

Assigning meaning and intention is only natural for humans. But we mustn’t forget this because if we do, we will start living in an illusionary world – my guess is that 99% of humanity does so – but we will think that it is the only true world.

Interpret from viewpoint of self-preservation

Humans like the rest of creatures walking this world have always been and still are driven by self-preservation instinct. Every explanation or interpretations else must be based on this viewpoint. Sense of beauty and attraction all have their roots in self-preservation.

Our everyday and long-term choices all count self-preservation to one degree or another and we have to remember that.

Loose the illusion of control

Because of trying to explain, conclude and therefore necessarily oversimplifying the world, we think that we are in possession of all knowledge and information and therefore are able to control and influence outcomes and developments.

Nicolas Taleb has written an excellent book called "Fooled by Randomness," which gives a rather exhaustive explanation of how much we are not in control. The recent movie "Kung Fu Panda" is also basing some of its turnkey ideas on this concept.

Consider power struggle as the main objective

What happens when more than one creature of the same species (let alone, many species) are put together in one place, which has limited resources? Power struggle ensues. Creatures try to appropriate resources in proportion to their physical capacity and mental agility. There is no idea or sense of democracy, equal rights or apathy – all of these being recent human inventions for social coherence and unity. Nature pure and raw designates and rewards the strongest.

Humans are no exception and human history is the most solid testimony to this. What is taught in schools is a retrospective and delusionary interpretation of world evolution full of heroes, their (incumbent) good intentions and higher feelings. Needless to say that we couldn’t be farther off the mark. Neither Alexander the Great embarked on his military campaign to spread democracy nor Otto von Bismarck (during the Congress of Berlin in 1878) decided to let Ottoman Empire in one piece for sake of peace and unity. History books teach us what looks like a logical and rational line of developments aimed at proving how humans evolved from barbarian, insensitive, blood-lusty creatures into higher species full of apathy, compassion and awareness of global issues.

Many believe us to be so. Unfortunately, there is no basis for this belief.