What do baby’s blankets have in common with murder’s gloves?

Children become attached to a blankie or a toy for much the same reason that most of us don’t want to own or touch anything belonging to a murderer.  Somehow, we (and the children) believe that there’s an essence that belongs to people or things that can rub off.  At least that’s what scientists are saying.  Personally, I think they’ve established that children love their blankies but they haven’t really figured out why yet.

They did a study where they had a machine that magically copied objects.  (Really a researcher slid out a second object.)  Children were ok with the copies of all objects except the copy of their blankie.  Then only the original would do.  The only other exception they found was when the object was special because it belonged to someone special:

This unique property also applied to objects belonging to famous
people. Hood and Bloom placed a metal goblet in the copying machine and
told 6-year-olds that the object was special either because it was made
of a precious metal or because it once belonged to the Queen.

shown the original and a copy, children thought the duplicate silver
goblet was worth the same as the original, but a goblet that once
belonged to royalty was worth more than any copy.

So the next time you are getting frustrated with your child for wanting to carry their blankie or favorite stuffed animal into the swimming pool, ask yourself, would you want to wear a murderer’s gloves?

Photo by frogmuseum2.

Commenting on blogs with coComment

Blogs are about conversations.  In order for a blog conversation to happen, people have to comment.  One of the reasons I never used to comment on blogs was because I felt like I was dropping into a party, dropping a question or comment and then leaving without waiting to see if anyone had a response.  And I’d never go back to a blog post to see who responded to my comment!

coComment solved my problem.  If you use FireFox (and you should use Firefox!
), you can install their extention and then everytime you comment on a blog, it makes not of it.  Once a day or once a week you can log into your coComment account and see all the blogs you commented on and whether or not anybody responded after you.  You can then follow up on the comment … or not.  You can also see who is commenting on the blogs you commented on.  It’s a very useful tool if you like commenting on blogs.  And if you don’t comment on blogs, well, maybe it will help you get started.

Photo by rougerouge.

Would you save 2500 kids?

I sit around and wonder what to do with my life.  What’s my purpose in life?  And then I read about someone like Irena Sendler.  This amazing woman saved the lives of 2500 children!  Can you imagine?  She helped 2500 Jewish children in Poland find homes with Catholic families so they would escape the concentration camp.  She herself was tortured but she didn’t give away any information about the children.

I’m sure she didn’t go out looking for ways to save the world but when the opportunity presented itself, she stepped up to the plate.  She saw a need and stepped in to help at great cost and expense to herself.

How do we make sure that if the opportunity presents itself to us, that we recognize it?  And how do we find these opportunities?  My first response is "well, we all won’t get the opportunity to save children from the Nazis" but then my next thought is "no, but there’s probably even bigger opportunities today." 

Irena Sendler is now 97 years old and her only regret is that she didn’t do more. 

We have an Atheist Member of Congress

As I’ve posted on atheism a couple of times, this news caught my eye.  A California congressman has identified himself as an atheist, a "Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being."  He is the fourth public official in the United States to identify himself as atheist.  The other three are a California school board president, a Maine school
committee member and a Massachusetts town meeting member.  They are all awfully brave considering that most Americans would vote for a Catholic, black, Jewish, woman, or homosexual before they would vote for an atheist for president!

Caffeine is not a stimulant

Turns out that coffee in the morning doesn’t make you any more alert than non-coffee drinkers.  However, if you are addicted to caffeine and you don’t get your coffee, you will be less alert than those non-coffee drinkers.  This University of Bristol study found:

all the drink does is counteract the mild caffeine withdrawal symptoms people are experiencing because they have gone without the stimulant overnight.

And those who drink a caffeinated drink first thing are no more alert than those who never consume one.

So, drink coffee if you like it, but if you are doing it just to help you stay awake or to be more alert in the morning … you’ll need to find something else.

Photo by ° d i °.

Winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cut out to be

Why do we all play the lottery when it’s been proven that winning the lottery won’t make us any happier?  Lottery winners are no happier six months after they win the lottery than they were before they one.  Many of them are considerably unhappier.

I wrote a few days ago about how money isn’t evil.  The flip side is also true – money won’t solve all your problems.   I think we play the lottery because we don’t want to go to work everyday and we think we want a new car, maybe a new house and fancier vacations.  The real problem is that we don’t know what we want – we don’t know what would make us happy.  While money is certainly an enabler and I believe having money is a good thing, it won’t help you figure out the purpose of your life.  Money won’t help you figure out what makes you happy.  It won’t tell you how to spend your day. 

The key to happiness isn’t winning the lottery, it’s figuring out what makes you happy.  I guarantee that if you know what makes you happy, what you enjoy doing every day, you can find a way to do that and pay the bills.   But no matter how big the jackpot is, it won’t tell you what to do with the rest of your life.

Can you take needles through airport security?

After I wrote How to go Through Airport Security Like a Pro a friend asked if you can take a sewing kit with needles through security.  The answer is yes.  You can bring:

  • needles
  • knitting needles
  • crochet hooks
  • blunt sissors
  • finger nail clippers

If you are ever in doubt you can bring a self addressed envelope with postage.  If they don’t let you though security with your needle or sissors, you can drop them in your envelope and mail them home from the airport.

Photo by mrjoro.

See the Pictures on Craigslist

For those of you that like to shop on Craigslist, ParentHacks pointed me at a great new website called Listpic.  On one page, it will show you a picture of all the items for sale.  For example, if you look up boats for sale in Denver, you can see at a glance what type of boat is listed in each ad and just click on the ones you are interested in instead of having to read them all.

For those of you not familiar with Craigslist, it’s an online classified ads site.  It’s taken over the newspaper for the best way to find out what’s for sale around you.

Money is not Evil

Money is not evil.  Having money is not wrong.  Spending money is not wrong. 

Steve Olson has a great post about Why People Believe Money is the Root of all Evil – both Steve Olson and Steve Pavlina take that one step further and explain why if you think money is evil you will never have any.  Steve Olson’s post has a great list of things he grew up hearing that implied having money was bad.  Here’s the ones on his list that I also heard a lot:

  • He’s filthy rich
  • That house is a waste of space, can you imagine the heat bill
  • Whadda ya think money grows on trees
  • He’s got money to burn
  • How much money does a person need?

All of those are negative comments and imply that having money is evil, but money enables you to do things.  It’s very hard to save the world or even yourself if you don’t have any money. 

So, earn the money, make sure it doesn’t ruin you, use it wisely and accomplish your goals.  You can use money to find a cure for autism or to hang out on the beach for the rest of your life or make sure everybody in your town makes it to college.  Without money any of those will be hard to accomplish.  It’s even easier to stay in shape, eat healthy and live a longer life if you have money.   

Passing on having money won’t make you a better person, it will just give you one less tool to accomplish what you’d like to do in life.

Photo by Big-E-Mr-G.