Have you ever tried underwater basket weaving?
It’s not just a fictional course designed to inflate a university catalog. It’s a real course designed to…inflate a university catalog. Well, OK, it’s really just recreational course offered by Rutgers University (alas, no credit or degree granted) that also teaches the fundamentals of scuba diving.
What’s amazing to me is not that such a course exists — there’s all kinds of crazy stuff out there in the world — it’s that I can so easily find it.
Not too long ago, I bought a copy of a book entitled The Ultimate Brag Book About Yourself: A hundred questions about how awesome you are! Written by my friend Marla Albertie, this book gives the readers a framework to pull out personal preferences, strengths, and successes.
When first reading the title, I have to admit — I was intrigued, but also a bit surprised. A brag book? No one likes a braggart — will this book take me down that path?
I opened to the book to see what exactly it meant. As Marla writes in the introduction:
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “For the next six months, your conference edition of the [Liahona] should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently.”
— David A. Bednar, April 2021 General Conference
What was taught at the April 2021 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
While the messages that speak to you personally are the most important, I have a semi-annual tradition of taking the General Conference texts and analyzing the words used.
To be clear, the most commonly used words at General Conference (outside the standard lexical the, and, is…
Water is amazing.
As a chemical, water has some very unique properties:
1) It expands when it freezes
2) It has a very high heat capacity (ability to store heat)
3) It exists as solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor) in substantial quantities on earth
4) It can dissolve a huge variety of other chemicals — it’s a “super solvent”
5) It sticks really well to itself (cohesion, surface tension)
6) It sticks really well to other things (adhesion)
For these chemical properties and a variety of others, water takes its place as the central component of life…
Let’s face it — motivation can be a fickle friend. One day, you’re motivated to try something new, make a bold move, make changes. The next day, you’re just happy to get out of the bed in the morning.
We’ve all been there — great intentions to exercise, study, work hard, save money, be patient. And then life hits, and you’re just trying to get by.
Thus, while you might feel excited by the following habits on one day, perhaps you might also feel annoyed that someone (like me) is telling you to:
H.G. Wells popularized the idea of mechanized time travel in his 1895 book The Time Machine. Ever since then, science fiction books and movies have exploded with hundreds of tales of adventurers jumping backwards or forwards through time.
I wish I could give you the secret for how to zoom to the future and bring the secrets back to the present. Or how to disappear into the past and visit with the people that lived long ago. However, since flux capacitors are in short supply, I’ll have to introduce you to a different technique.
Although we don’t have a time…
4 reasons why connecting with the past matters.
My great-great-great-great grandparents Moses and Alma Spencer and their children had a different kind of life than you or I.
Alma (formerly Flagg) was the daughter of a American Revolutionary War soldier. Alma and Moses were both born and bred in Connecticut. Their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were also all born and raised in Connecticut (with a Massachusetts exception on one side of the family).
However, after a 200-year family tradition of living in Connecticut, they and their 9 children made a bold move. Like many other Americans of the mid-19th century…
Several years ago, I received an acute criticism for a particular way I handled a problem at work. It wasn’t disastrous or anything. I wasn’t going to lose my job or get demoted. But the criticism floated around in my head for several days.
As a scientist, I daily engage in a process of the critical examination of facts and assumptions. However, when the process of critical analysis get applied to me as a person, it can be hard to embrace.
I’m OK considering ideas that challenge my understanding of human physiology and microbiology or a concept that reinvents the…
I recently heard a story about a Christmas card gone awry (story shared with permission). A local religious leader I know recalled the year he sent out Christmas cards to various members of his congregation. In addition to the season’s greetings, he thanked several of them for their special help and assistance.
Unfortunately, there was one Christmas card that must have been written in haste. Instead of the message “Thank you for your help this year. I couldn’t have done it without you” the closing message read:
“I could have done it without you.”
Yes, the message essentially said, “Your…
I’d like to start off telling you a short, silly story. Please bear with me; I promise it has a point.
Try to visualize the story in your mind as you read it.
One evening, I walked into my bedroom. I noticed a large Turtle on my bed eating my pillow. I was so mad! I went to hit him, but he’s a small guy so I had to Punch Low.
My wife came in and asked what was going on. I couldn’t let her know about the turtle, so I told a big Male Fib. To hide my lying…
PhD Chemist, father of six kids, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Writes about life habits and hacks and personal improvement.