The Life Slant - Page 13

Some Will Go To College – All Will Go Through Life: Part Three – We’ll Be Amazed

*There has never been a good answer to the question, “Why do we have to learn this?”  Asked millions of times by millions of students, it is invariably responded to by teachers with avoidance tactics or gibberish because very often the real answer is: you don’t.

We invest heavily in information from the bell curve, yet ignore much of what it tells us.  We know ahead of time that students like Jane, whose classidemic test scores fall in the center or the left of the standardized test bell curve, will not do well in Algebra or Biology class, yet we are compelled to require that they take those courses.  Why?  In order to give them a well-rounded education??Achievement Ladder - We''ll be Amazed

Because they’ll need it to get into college and we must prepare all students for college no matter what??  Or is it because the idea that we all must strive to get to the top of the achievement ladder – that in its essence education IS striving to get to the top of the achievement ladder –  is so ingrained in us that we can’t even question it?

Nature’s Wellness Science: Big Trees

*We all need Nature. Nature provides us with powerful,  free medicine that maintains our health and wellbeing especially in this man-made toxic 21st century.

Big, old trees are crucial as superlative carbon dioxide warehouses that also absorb mega amounts of pollution. Big trees regulate the climate, the water cycle, and provide priceless shade in the heat of the summertime as well as create vital habitat for creatures.

As the ancient ones age they increase, not decrease, in their ability to perform as Nature’s giant oxygen generators and carbon warehouses.

General Sherman Tree
General Sherman is largest single stemmed tree on Earth. At over 2,500 years old this giant sequoia reaches 275 feet towards the heavens.
Photo credit: Reese Halter, Sequoia National Park.

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Some Will Go To College – All Will Go Through Life: Part Two- What About Jane?

*On an autumn day in September of 1962, President John Kennedy challenged a nation to do the impossible and send a man to the moon in just seven short years. Perhaps the thing he his best remembered for other than his unfortunate death, we take his declaration for granted.

What is interesting is that at a time before digital calculators and watches, before microwave ovens and before TV shows were regularly broadcast in color, the audience at Rice University did not greet his proclamation that “We choose to go to the moon” with incredulousness, or appear to wonder how such a monumental goal might be achieved, but instead greeted it with eager applause and giddy enthusiasm.
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Harpooning Nature’s Last Masterpieces: Endangered Whales

The ocean-killing nation of Iceland intends on resuming commercial whaling on June 10. Its self-appointed quota of as many as 200 endangered fins, the second largest whales next to blues, is both illegal and morally wrong.

Whaling
Whaling is a gruesome bloodlust, a cowardly display of barbarism. Photo credit: alternews.com

In 1986, a world moratorium on commercial whaling took effect. Iceland, Norway and Japan refuse to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Norway is currently the leading offender then followed by Japan and its whale-trading partner, Iceland.

The sheer brutality of chasing until over-heated and then lancing our brethren, the whales, with harpooned-tipped grenades is horrific. Keep Reading

Some Will Go To College – All Will Go Through Life: Part One- Curves, Tests and Grades

Teachers, school administrators, school boards and government agencies across America work diligently to educate our youth, yet the U.S. consistently ranks squarely in the middle of worldwide achievement in Science, Math and Reading.  How can this be in what we all like to think of as the greatest nation on earth?

There are two underlying fundamental problems with the American education system in the 21st century.  The first is that there is not now, nor has there ever been, an American Education System.  From the time of the first New England schoolhouse to today, local education has been paid for by local tax dollars, with local government setting curriculum and standards for hiring teachers in accordance with the bidding of local voters.

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Celebrating Cherry Blossoms

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come from around the world to witness the spring majesty of Washington D.C.’s flowering cherry trees. This breathtaking event reminds us that trees are remarkable.

There are over 80,000 tree species and their progenitors have inhabited our planet for over 350 million years. They provide watersheds, supply drinking water for billions of people, protect cities from stormwater runoff, and reduce cooling costs to our homes and buildings by as much as 40 percent. City trees also absorb mega-tons of air pollutants each year.

Trees and ancient forests are superlative carbon dioxide warehouses. In return, ancient forests provide more than one of every three breaths of oxygen. Ancient forests provide invaluable habitat for animals. They are also vanguards of some of the most potent cancer, coronary and pain medicines known to science.

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A Father’s Journey – Part 3. Independently Breathing

* A small victory; independently breathing


Stephen Pecevich, a single dad of three in the Boston area, had his life take a complete detour when his youngest child was diagnosed with cancer before she she was even 60 days old.  Follow the story of how this devoted father found faith and strength on what Stephen calls “a life detour”, as we publish regular excerpts from Stephen’s own memoir, which will be available in its entirety in the near future.

January 22nd

Dear Sydni,

You stepped forward today (figuratively speaking of course). Your dedicated overnight nurse said you slept well all throughout the night (your first good night’s sleep). And then, at 11:00 A.M., the ICU staff began weaning you off the respirator.
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Chemical Chaos in the Ocean – the Death of Dolphins and Sea Turtles

Dolphins and sea turtles are in dire jeopardy. Necropsies, or autopsies performed on animals, show that as poisons are brimming in the oceans, animal deaths are piling up.

Over the previous several months, hundreds of scrawny, frightened and bloated gray dolphins have been stranded along Rio de Janeiro’s coast. Their autoimmune systems were completely compromised by a measles virus. These highly intelligent mammals were discombobulated, covered in grotesque rashes and gasping for oxygen – a terrifying way to die.

Dead dolphins and sea turtles
Photo credit: Instituto Boto Cinza.
The tragic death of dolphins and sea turtles is a wake-up call to stop polluting our planet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Investing in Education = Investing in our Future

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The bell rings and twenty-nine angelic faces look to her for guidance. In that moment she realizes that while as Governor overseeing the statistical lives of her state’s almost four million citizens is a huge responsibility – one she takes seriously, being entrusted with the actual lives of these twenty-nine cherubs is a grander burden.

Initially an eager participant in the new ‘Leaders in School’ program, the Governor is becoming increasingly dismayed as the reality of spending an entire day working as an educator in the public school system is becoming clear. It was bad enough that she had to make her own coffee and breakfast this morning and then actually drive herself to school, but facing a day without her personal assistants seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

The day is only forty seconds old, and she is already looking for a light at the end of an awfully long tunnel.

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Responsible Right of Way

Once upon a time in a land called America, schoolchildren were taught how to cross the street by their parents or their older siblings.  Red light means the cars stop, and green light means the cars go. Pedestrians were not so confused by basic traffic etiquette.

Wait for the red light and make sure the cars have stopped, look both ways, carefully cross the street.  For decades, first graders across the nation successfully crossed the street without tens of thousands of dollars worth of flashing lights and annoying beeping and counting and pictures of a cute little walking man at every stinking intersection.

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Aussie Glimpse at a 2.4C World

There is a revived fossil fuel fever taking hold of the climate Down Under.

Burning fossil fuels releases CO2, which triggers the release of two other planetary, heat-trapping gases: methane and nitrous oxide. These three gases together are known as CO2 equivalent (CO2eq).

Currently, CO2eq is 495 parts per million and rising. According to the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report, Earth is committed to a temperature increase of at least 2.4C (4.3F), which translates into climate instability with more frequent and intense extreme weather e.g. heatwaves, droughts, firestorms, insect epidemics and flooding.

Dead mangroves in Queensland Australia
Photo credit: digitaljournal.com Tatiana Gerus. 200,000 people from 22 towns were affected from extreme weather, torrential rains and flooding, December 30, 2010.

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Pre-employment Predictors of Prejudice

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*When you look at job descriptions, many times there are phrases and descriptions of prejudice that, apparently, are not recognized as prejudiced. Diversity is more than ethnicity, race or gender, but I will leave it to you to determine what other factors should be considered. But don’t take my word for it; the U.S. Congress said so in 1967, when the Gen-Xers and Millennials were just a gleam in their parents’ eyes.

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Toxic Tar Sands Cooking Our Planet

On February 24, 2018, the mercury at the Cape Morris Jesup weather station, northern Greenland, soared to 43 degrees (F), 70 degrees above normal – unprecedented. During that month, temperatures in northern Greenland were above freezing for 61 hours, three times the number of hours in any previous year. Terrifying. Our planetary life support systems are rapidly overheating, deteriorating, dying, and dead.

Emaciated Polar Bear
Photo credit: inhabit.com photographer Kerstin Langenberger
As the Arctic melts, the incidence of starving polars will escalate quickly. How much longer will people turn a blind eye to the death of animals and plants as Earth’s rising temperature accelerates from burning fossil fuels?

The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as any other region on the globe. For example, the Arctic has just experienced its warmest winter on record. February Arctic sea ice cover was 521,000 square miles (almost twice the area of Texas) below its normal – the lowest monthly record ever witnessed. At the South Pole, the summer Antarctic sea ice cover reached its minimum extent, the second lowest since the inception of satellite data.

The missing Arctic sea ice and the heat escaping from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere is unhinging the polar jet stream. It’s linked to record-breaking flooding, firestorms, heatwaves, droughts, torrential rains, blizzards and even China’s airpocalypse.

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Hey Doc – a Little Help? Life In the Era of Opioids.

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* I did it. *

I turned down the Vicodin during the pre-op appointment.

When he asked why, I replied, “I like it too much.”

Vicodin

Instead of considering the acknowledgement I’d just made that I am to some degree addicted to opiates, or perhaps even complimenting me on my self-restraint and self-awareness, he pressed the idea that I would need some pain relief over the weekend, and we compromised on a prescription for ten pills of something ‘similar’ to Vicodin.

During interactions with doctors, nurses and support staff in the hours before and after my surgery, I told five other people that I like Vicodin too much. Each time I expected them to make a note in my chart but no one did, although Heaven knows that anything else you tell them gets noted and is then impossible to get deleted, even if it is in error!

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The Digital Death Blow to Sarcasm

That highly-touted, often-quoted, super- scientific website “Mother Nature Network” on the internet is now reporting that the internet is dealing the death blow to sarcasm. To quote the website: “Of course, that statement could be dripping with sarcasm and you wouldn’t know it. Don’t worry, your sarcasm detector isn’t broken. It’s just that words on a screen — the prevailing mode of communication in the digital age — just can’t handle the fine nuances that sarcasm requires. As a result, sarcasm is dying. And if anything, the internet is dealing the death blow.”

I sure hope that America’s dear friend and ally, that poor self-sacrificing Vladimir Putin doesn’t hear of this. Of course, this report also coincides with and is an indicator of the end of the world, which will happen in just a few months.

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Amnesty For Lolita – 47 Cruel Years

In a concrete tank four times her length, a 51-year-old apex mammalian predator with a brain more than two times the size of a human, Lolita the orca, paces back and forth exhibiting an indomitable spirit.

Lolita was abducted from the Salish Sea on August 8, 1970 in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington. She is the only living captive orca, of 45 members from looting the Southern Resident pod, during the gruesome pillage of 1967 to 1973. At least 13 members of her family were brutally suffocated during these ghastly captures.

Orca Capture
The violent and brutal kidnapping of Lolita the orca along with her brothers, sisters and aunties in 1970. Photo credit: Dr Terrell Newby

There is every reason to believe that Lolita is suffering horrendously.

Lolita has been forced to perform for 47 years at the Miami Seaquarium. She exists in a tiny bathtub-like tank in solitary confinement. No human could bear these abhorrent conditions yet still regularly carry on for almost five decades.

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New Skyscrapers Fueling Arctic Meltdown

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* 2017 set a record for the most skyscrapers built in a single year – 144. 2018 is predicted to eclipse it by reaching 160 superstructures. Happy dance. Not.

The fossil fuel energy necessary to produce the concrete and steel in each of those 144 edifices, located in 69 cities (many of which sit empty in China), is cooking our planet alive.

China Concrete Usage
China Used More Concrete in 3 Years than America Used in the 20th Century

In 2018, the Arctic had its warmest winter on record at least 10º(F) above normal. The Arctic is missing 62,000 square miles of ice below last year’s record low.

Minus the ice, the latent heat from the Arctic Ocean transfers immense amounts of energy into the troposphere. It supercharges the polar jet stream which now meanders 10, 20 and even 30º southward, off course. This wayward polar jet stream has unleashed deadly and wild weather around the globe, including recent snowfalls in London and Rome. Keep Reading

Positivity with Strategy, a Recipe for Success

* Positivity is Fickle – Strategy is Enduring*

I like to think that I am an inherently positive person. I grew up in a household that instilled belief, confidence, and encouragement into me on a regular basis. Hearing these things made me feel good – like I could accomplish anything as long as I put my mind to it.

This was great when I was younger, and even to this day I hold these types of values close. Being positive feels good and who doesn’t like to feel good?

Who doesn’t gain gratification from delivering an uplifting message to another person that provokes them into action?

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A Beautiful Sight – Hope in the Wake of Tragedy

It’s easy to complain … seems like I’ve been doing it nonstop since November ’16. Determined to write something positive today, I asked myself, “What is the most beautiful thing I have seen lately?”

The answer was there waiting for me before I could finish the question: those students in Florida. The way they marched to Tallahassee determined to make a difference. The way they tempered their anger and pain with their intellect and handled themselves in a manner we can all be proud of. The way they were filled with, and inspired hope; beautiful, human hope.

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A Father’s Journey – Part 2

* Post Surgery Struggle to Survive


Stephen Pecevich, a single dad of three in the Boston area, had his life take a complete detour when his youngest child was diagnosed with a brain tumor before she she was even 60 days old.  Follow the story of how this devoted father found faith and strength on what Stephen calls “a life detour”, as we publish regular excerpts from Stephen’s own memoir, which will be available in its entirety in the near future.

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Chapter 1

“I do believe, but help me not to doubt.” (Mark 9:24)

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