4 years, 11 months, and 8 days. Rudeness is contagious. Avoid rude people; they will infect you with their rudeness.

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Workplace rudeness is contagious, study says

Rudeness in the workplace isn’t just unpleasant: It’s also contagious.

Encountering rude behavior at work makes people more likely to perceive in later interactions, a University of Florida study shows. That perception makes them more likely to be impolite in return, spreading rudeness like a virus.

“When you experience rudeness, it makes rudeness more noticeable,” said lead author Trevor Foulk, a doctoral student in management at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration. “You’ll see more rudeness even if it’s not there.”

The findings, published June 29 in the Journal of Applied Psychology, provide the first evidence that everyday impoliteness spreads in the workplace.

“Part of the problem is that we are generally tolerant of these behaviors, but they’re actually really harmful,” Foulk said. “Rudeness has an incredibly powerful negative effect on the workplace.”

The study tracked 90 graduate students practicing negotiation with classmates. Those who rated their initial negotiation partner as rude were more likely to be rated as rude by a subsequent partner, showing that they passed along the first partner’s rudeness. The effect continued even when a week elapsed between the first and second negotiations.

Rudeness directed at others can also prime our brains to detect discourtesy. Foulk and his co-authors, fellow doctoral student Andrew Woolum and UF management professor Amir Erez, tested how quickly 47 undergraduate students could identify which words in a list were real and which were nonsense words. Before the exercise began, participants observed one of two staged interactions between an apologetic late-arriving participant and the study leader. When the leader was rude to the latecomer, the participants identified rude words on the list as real words significantly faster than participants who had observed the neutral interaction.

The impact of secondhand rudeness didn’t stop there, however: Just like those who experience rudeness firsthand, people who witness it were more likely to be rude to others. When study participants watched a video of a rude workplace interaction, then answered a fictitious customer email that was neutral in tone, they were more likely to be hostile in their responses than those who viewed a polite interaction before responding.

“That tells us that rudeness will flavor the way you interpret ambiguous cues,” Foulk said.

Foulk hopes the study will encourage employers to take incivility more seriously.

“You might go your whole career and not experience abuse or aggression in the workplace, but rudeness also has a negative effect on performance,” he said. “It isn’t something you can just turn your back on. It matters.”

https://phys.org/news/2015-07-workplace-rudeness-contagious.html

 

Rudeness At Work: On the Rise, And Coming With A Big Cost

Just because you’ve developed a thick skin for rude, discourteous behavior, doesn’t mean workplace incivility is not hurting you–and your family. A new Baylor University study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that workplace rudeness can follow you home, causing you to unleash “incivil” behavior on your loved ones.

That’s disconcerting news for the 43% of Americans who have experienced incivility at work, according to the report, Civility in America, 2011. To be clear, incivility is different from aggressive bullying, which usually carries the intent to harm someone. With incivility, the intent is ambiguous, and it’s less intense and characterized by demeaning remarks, showing little interest in a worker’s opinion, acting rudely or with poor manners, among other uncivilized behaviors.

The Baylor study found that those who experienced workplace incivility had lower levels of marital satisfaction and greater family/work conflict, particularly for the partner. It also found that stress from incivility was contagious to family members.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rudeness-at-work-on-the-rise-and-coming-with-a-big-cost/

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Christmas is a difficult time for us, and I’m sure for you guys.  Your absence is felt more strongly during the holidays.  We miss you and love you boys so much!  Do try to enjoy the warmth and joy of Christmas.  It’s such a special season.  It has always been for us, and will be again some day.

For now try to get into the Christmas spirit and be kind to loved ones and others.  Like rudeness, kindness is also contagious.  Be kind.

Kindness is Contagious, New Study Finds

Imerman Angels, a cancer support organization based in Chicago, has “floods of volunteers,” according to John May, chairman of its board of directors and a long-time volunteer himself.

“You can’t help but just get excited to get involved,” he said.

These do-gooders are not alone: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 63 million people volunteered in 2009, 1.6 million more than the year before. But the question of motive remains: Why is being nice so popular these days?

New research may unlock the mystery: Kindness is contagious, according to a study done by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Cambridge and University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom.

When we see someone else help another person it gives us a good feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something altruistic ourselves, the study found, which was the first of its kind to systematically document this tendency in human nature.

“When you feel this sense of moral ‘elevation’ not only do you say you want to be a better person and help others,” said Simone Schnall, of Cambridge, the lead researcher. “But you actually do when the opportunity presents itself.”

Researchers performed two experiments in which they showed viewers either a nature documentary, a funny TV clip or an uplifting segment from the Oprah Winfrey Show, and then asked them to voluntarily help with another task. In both cases, participants that watched Oprah and subsequently experienced the elevated feeling were more likely to help.

“Elevation,” a term coined by Thomas Jefferson, is different from regular happiness, a specific emotion that we experience only when we see someone else engaged in virtuous acts, Schnall said.

And though previous studies have documented this emotional response before, little research had been done to see if people actually acted on their feelings of being inspired, she said.

“Human nature is essentially good,” she said. “And this study proves that seeing good things actually makes us better.”

https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/kindness-contagious-new-study-finds

Do you remember what Father Dave used to say?  Before you speak, ask yourself: (1) is it kind? (2) is it helpful? (3) is it necessary?  If it doesn’t pass all three of those tests, keep it to yourself.

Sometimes, you will be challenged to be kind when encountering rudeness — which appears to be more pervasive these days.  If that should happen, think of Emily Post’s advice.

Five Ways to Combat Rudeness

Handling other people’s rudeness is tricky. You can’t control someone else’s behavior. So focus on maintaining your own standard of good behavior instead. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Don’t take it personally. Perhaps the offender is having a bad day.
  2. Size up your annoyances. Is it worth it to make a fuss over something small, or is it a waste of your emotional time?
  3. Set a good example. Rudeness begets rudeness. If you speak sharply to the bank teller, don’t be surprised if you get the same treatment in return.
  4. Count to ten. When someone’s behavior makes you angry, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself, “Is it really worth blowing my stack over this?”
  5. Laugh it off. If you can’t come up with a friendly joke, just chuckle and change the subject.

http://emilypost.com/advice/five-ways-to-combat-rudeness/

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My goal for my life is significantly less ambitious than Gandhi’s.  I simply want to leave my little corner of the world a little nicer than how I found it.  That’s it.

In my younger days, I had grandiose goals — to change the world, to teach kids how to be altruistic, to create good laws and good policies that would elevate society, to fight great injustices against the weak by the powerful and greedy, to help the homeless, to protect the abused, etc.  These days, I just my sons, a clean sidewalk, a patch of grass that is litter-free, etc.

Whatever your goals, try to reach it through kindness rather than rudeness, meanness, and pettiness.  For example, years ago, I thought about applying to law school at Georgetown University.  However, I was disabused of that idea by my roommates, who attended GU Law.  We all agreed it is a great law school, but it was also a mean one.  Students there were  known to hide reference books that were necessary for class assignments, steal notes, and sabotage other students.  No doubt GU Law students are smart people and able to gain admission to a top-tier program.  However, their conducts also revealed that they were insecure.  They saw the world as a zero sum game, and believed they could only advance by pulling others down.  That’s a pitiful way of looking at the world.

Not every one sees the world that way.  In graduate program for public policy at Duke University, for example, during the first week of school, we were given the manual for SPSSx (a computer language used for, among other things, multi-variable programing and data analysis) and an assignment.  None of us were computer programmers.  None of us had experience programming.  Some of the girls cried in computer lab.  Others steamed with frustration.  Then, someone decided to bring music, and others brought beer.  Then, as a group, we helped teach other SPSSx.

Avoid those who tear you down to lift themselves up: work with those who believe it in working together to improve the lot of everyone.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

 

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4 years, and 11 months. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes: be afraid of NOT LEARNING from your mistakes.

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The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Not so much afterward, when I got driven downtown in handcuffs for spray-painting “Corporate Deathburgers” across a McDonald’s.

I earned myself a long night in jail for my lack of judgment. But my family and friends — and perhaps most important, my college, the University of Michigan — never learned about the episode (until now). Because in 1985, a college student could get a little self-righteous, make a bad decision, face consequences and then go home, having learned a “valuable lesson.”

These days I work as the senior communications officer at another college, where I spend a healthy fraction of my time dealing with students who’ve made mistakes of their own. I recognize myself in them: intellectually adventurous, skeptical, newly aware of life’s injustices. They’re also different from me in many ways: less Grateful Dead and Dead Kennedys, much more technology.

That’s the important bit. Because for all of the supposed liberating power of their digital devices, they might as well be wearing ankle monitors. Technological connectedness has made it much harder for them to make mistakes and learn from them.

Today’s students live their lives so publicly — through the technology we provide them without training — that much simpler errors than mine earn them the wrath of the entire internet.

 

Usually, the outrage is over things they say, for example a campus newspaper editorial that grapples with balancing free speech and appropriate behavior. That’s a quandary that has occupied American legal theorists since the founding of the country. It’s certainly one any young citizen should think through.

But last year, when Wellesley’s student paper ran an editorial wrestling with this same idea — and advocating limits on hate speech — it was widely read and criticized in the media as if it were enormously consequential.

Were the authors’ arguments entirely mature and well reasoned? No. But students deserve the chance to try out ideas. When they do, sometimes they’re going to botch it — sometimes spectacularly. And that’s why we have learning spaces.

Thirty years ago, college students could have tried out radical ideas about limiting free speech in print. The results might have been simplistic or doctrinaire. But readership would have been largely restricted to campus, and the paper would have been in circulation for only a day or two.

In this climate, there is little room for students to experiment and screw up. We seem to expect them to arrive at school fully formed. When they let us down by being just what they are — young humans — we shame them.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I demand better of you because I want you to be better.  I do that because I care.  You are my sons.

Don’t mistake the lack of constructive criticism and the lack of expectations from others as love.  It simply means they don’t care enough to invest their time in you to help you grow and become better.  False friends often exhibit such behaviors.  They heap praise on you when things are going well, but abandon you when things get difficult.  Don’t waste your time with the likes of them.

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You have but one life to live, so I want you to embrace it!  Dare to try new things.  Be bold in your efforts, not timid.  If you are going to try, why not do it with gusto?  Mistakes will be made.  But, who cares?  So long as you have thought through the consequences of your actions, no one is hurt, and there are no lasting adverse effects from the mistake, then embrace the lesson learned from that mistake.  That’s how you grow and expand your horizons!!!!

Timid, fearful, and inferior people often tell you to stick to what is known, tried, and true.  But, if no one explores beyond the confines of existing life and knowledge, where would human beings, as a species, be?  There would be no new discovery.  There would be no expansion of territory.  There would only be staleness and death as we deplete known resources from over-use, over-populate the small territory into which we were born, degrade the land from over-use and over-population, etc.

No, don’t heed the nay-sayers.  Hear them and thank them for their counsel, but determine for yourself the wisdom of a certain course of action.

Be you.  Be the best you.  Dare to try new things and to experience the beautiful things in life.

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All my loves, always,

Dad

4 years, 10 months, and 27 days. The art of deconstruction cont.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Today, let’s continue our conversation about the art of deconstruction.  To deconstruct is to break things down to their constituent parts.  Once you do that, it is amazing what you can see about how the thing works (or fails), and how much you can reimagine the thing itself.  That’s the art of deconstruction, and it is an invaluable tool for problem solving.

Years ago, within a couple months of joining an organization, I was asked to resolve a compliance issue that plagued the company for half a decade.  Literally, there were communications with regulators going back five years, telling the organization that its conducts were illegal.  Yet, the organization was unable to bring their practices into compliance with the law.  Instead of resolving the problem, staff from organization made all sorts of excuses and complaints about the competency of the regulators.  As you can imagine, the regulators — charged with protecting the public from illegal and fraudulent practices — were not happy.

Into that mix, I was thrown.  My first steps were to read all available information about the problem, meet with all the relevant players (both from within the organization and within the regulatory agency), and ask for their perspectives on the problem.  Then, I took apart the “problem” as enshrined in writing and in practice to review it against applicable laws.  That assessment enabled me to identify where entrenched positions were consistent or inconsistent with legal requirements and find a pathway that mutually satisfied both the regulators and stakeholders from within the organization.  In a matter of weeks, the problem was resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, and a heavy penalty was averted.

Shortly thereafter, I was promoted and asked to resolve a different problem that the organization had failed to resolve in the preceding several years.  Again, I researched the matter and met with relevant parties to gain a better understanding of the problem.  Again, there were much recrimination from within the organization about how the regulators were “morons”, “idiots”, etc., which made the problem personal and was not useful to the resolution of the problem.  Over the years, instead of focusing on the problem, each party had turned its attention to criticizing the other, which then caused each party to become more entrenched in its position.  The organization behaved as if the “problem” was a fixed entity and it would succeed in its objective if only the regulators were more enlightened: the regulators thought the opposite — that the interpretation of the law was established and the organization would be successful if only it were more enlightened in its understanding of the law.   They failed to recognize that each parties had its mandate, and the path forward was to find a way where both parties were able to meet their objectives.  By reviewing documentation, business practices, and stakeholders’ perceptions, I was able to take apart that problem and find a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Don’t underestimate the power of deconstruction.  When faced with a challenging sentence, paragraph, math assignment, physics problem, a challenging essay, etc., break it down and look at it from different angles and perspectives.  If a solution doesn’t work, try approaching it from a different angle.  Don’t keep butting your head against the same wall.  Try different.

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All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 10 months, and 26 days. The art of deconstruction and college admission.

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Read the essay about pizza that got this student into Yale

 

Carolina Williams, who graduated high school in Tennessee recently, has been accepted into Yale University with the help of an amusing essay.

Williams says her Yale application included an essay prompt asking her what she enjoys doing. The first idea that came to her was her love of ordering pizza, especially from Papa Johns, so that’s what she wrote about. Here’s the full text of her essay, which was published in the Washington Post:

“The sound of my doorbell starts off high, then the pitch mellows out, and the whole effect mimics an instrumental interpretation of rain finally finding a steady pace at which to fall. I have spent several minutes analyzing its tone because I have had many opportunities to do so, as one thing I love to do is order pizza and have it delivered to my house. When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food. It tastes like comfort, since having pizza delivered to my quiet home is a way for me to unwind. It looks like self-sufficiency, because when I was young, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. Accepting those warm cardboard boxes is second nature to me, but I will always love ordering pizza because of the way eight slices of something so ordinary are able to evoke feelings of independence, consolation, and joy.”

It worked.

Soon, Williams received a letter in the mail extending her an offer of admission to the Ivy League institution. The admissions counselor who reviewed her application even included a handwritten note. “I laughed so hard on your pizza essay,” the admission counselor wrote, adding, “I kept thinking that you were the kind of person that I would love to be best friends with. I want you to know that every part of your application stood out in our process and we are thrilled to be able to offer you a spot at Yale.”

Pizza wasn’t the only thing that helped Williams get into Yale. She had a high GPA after taking rigorous courses, was very active in volunteer work, and participated in several prestigious academic and leadership organizations.

Williams tweeted a photo of her acceptance letter to Papa Johns’ twitter account, and they later give her a few gift certificates.

But Williams has decided not to attend Yale. Instead she plans to attend Auburn University, which she says felt like a stronger fit. “I’ve never met a person who went to Auburn that didn’t like it there and I thought that spoke a lot about it,” Williams said. She plans on majoring in business with a minor in economics—and is excited to have plenty of Papa John’s pizza at the restaurant’s location on Auburn’s campus (Balakit , The Tennessean,  5/26; Henderson, AL.com, 5/31; Wong, Washington Post, 6/4).

https://www.eab.com/daily-briefing/2017/06/05/pizza-essay-got-student-into-yale (emphasis added)

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I miss you, and I worry about you boys.  I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for you boys to grow up without me, especially given how close we were.

I still remember that day in third grade when you had the school concert, Shosh.  This was after your mother and I had split up, and you boys were starting to  spend every other week with me.  The concert was during one of the weeks when you were at your mother’s.  After the show, when I knelt down to give you a big hug for the wonderful job you had done, you simply leaned into me, put your head on my shoulder, and cried.  You must have stood there and cried in the middle of the crowded school gym for a good 3 – 5 minutes.  It broke my heart.

I worry about you, Shosh, because you are the sensitive one.  You wear your heart on your sleeve … and, boy, is it a big heart!  It is good to have a big heart and it is okay to wear your heart on your sleeve.  That is who you are!  But, that wonderful character trait of your may predispose you to getting your heart bruised more often.

I am so sorry that we have to be apart for this period, and I cannot bear to think how this separation must affect you.  But, we must deal with the vagaries of life as we encounter them.  This circumstance was not of our choosing.  Evil and lies may assert themselves, but truth and justice will prevail.  We shall be reunited.

For now, I want you to focus on doing your best in school and in life.  Be the best young men you can be.  Live honorably.  You have but your name and your reputation.  You come a from a long line of great and honorable people on my side of the family.  Don’t sully their names.

Shosh, I need you to start thinking about college admission and how best to get into top colleges.   Remember, good grades and high test scores aren’t enough.  Almost everyone who applies to top Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc., have high GPAs and high SAT scores.  You must find ways to stand out in that august crowd.

Differentiate yourself by the contributions you make to your community and to the world.  Find meaningful ways to help those around you.  Be not takers, but find ways to give back, to make the most of the talents you have been given.  Don’t just follow the crowd and volunteer as everyone else does because it’s the path of least resistance.  Find your own way.  Create your own path.

Additionally, remember that America is about popularity contests.  (Whether we like that or not is irrelevant: it is.)  Unless you  are a genius like Steve Job, it is difficult to succeed in America without being likeable.  In HR, for example, one of the critical tests for being hired is being able to fit in with the organization.  No matter your brilliance and accomplishments, most organizations will not ask you to join them if they think you wouldn’t get along with the people within the organization.  Thus, you must work on improving your social skills and your soft skills (e.g., collaboration, communication, and critical thinking).

When applying to college, make the best use of the personal essays and letters of recommendation to tell your story, share your contributions, and  show your likeability.  Your GPAs and test scores present but the side of you that’s most easily quantifiable.  That’s only part of your story.  It is your privilege to share more intangible — and more interesting — side of you.  Thus, when working on letters of recommendations, talk to your teachers and make sure each teacher would tell different parts of your story — the intangible parts beyond the grades and test scores.  Together, the personal essay and letters of recommendation should paint for the admissions committee a better picture of who you are and why they would be at a loss to not invite you to join their school.

Regarding your essay, brainstorm the heck out of it and find the best story, incident, item, etc., that represents you best and the best you.  Make it interesting.  Be likeable.  It is your marketing piece and not simply another writing assignment.  Thus, treat it accordingly.

Now, look at the pizza essay again, and deconstruct it to see its beauty and brilliance.

“The sound of my doorbell starts off high, then the pitch mellows out, and the whole effect mimics an instrumental interpretation of rain finally finding a steady pace at which to fall. I have spent several minutes analyzing its tone because I have had many opportunities to do so, as one thing I love to do is order pizza and have it delivered to my house. When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food. It tastes like comfort, since having pizza delivered to my quiet home is a way for me to unwind. It looks like self-sufficiency, because when I was young, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. Accepting those warm cardboard boxes is second nature to me, but I will always love ordering pizza because of the way eight slices of something so ordinary are able to evoke feelings of independence, consolation, and joy.”

Note how each sentence is built and the sentences connect logically to each other to form the essay.  Note the word choices and how the theme is interwoven into each sentence.  For example, instead of saying “it feels like celebration” and “it feels like comfort”, in keeping with the pizza theme, she said, “It smells like celebration” and “It tastes lie comfort.”  How brilliant!

(Now, if you break down each sentence and read each closely, you will find a grammatical error.  Do you see it?)

Do likewise when you read and write for school, for the SAT, and for your college applications.  Break down each idea, each sentence, each paragraph, each section, etc., to make sure it is concise, internally consistent, well-organized, and coherent as a whole.  Take the time to deconstruct your readings and writings in order to maximize your efforts.  Reading is an exercise of the mind more than of the eyes.  Likewise, writing is more of a mental exercise than a mechanical one.  Take the time to read and write well.

I leave you with a quote I love by Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors.

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All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 10 months, and 21 days. Stop reading like a baby. Reading for high school and college uses different strategies.

 

Harvard Report

As an experiment, Dr. Perry (psychologist), Director of the Harvard Reading-Study Center gave 1500 first year students a thirty-page chapter from a history book to read, with the explanation that in about twenty minutes they would be stopped and asked to identify the
important details and to write an essay on what they had read.
The class scored well on a multiple-choice test on detail, but only
fifteen students of 1500 were able to write a short statement on what the chapter was all about in terms of its basic theme. Only fifteen of 1500 top first year college students had thought of reading the
paragraph marked “Summary”, or of skimming down the descriptive flags in the margin.
This demonstration of “obedient purposelessness” is evidence of “an enormous amount of wasted effort” in the study skills of first year students. Some regard it almost as cheating to look ahead or skip around. To most students, the way they study expresses “their
relationship to the pressures and conventional rituals of safe passage to the next grade”.
Students must be jarred out of this approach. The exercise of  judgment in reading requires self-confidence, even courage, on the part of the student who must decide for himself what to read or skip. Dr. Perry suggested that students ask themselves what it is they want to get out of a reading assignment, then look around for those points.  Instructors can help them see the major forms in which expository material is cast. Students should also “talk to themselves” while reading, asking “is this the point I’m looking for?”
My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
I miss you.  The past several nights have been burdened with restless and dream-filled slumber.  As typical of my dreams, I fight evil during the night and wake up exhausted.  Worst, I’ve been waking up overwhelmingly sad.  I hope everything is okay with you guys.
Remember, this too shall pass.  Keep breathing in and out.  Put one foot in front of the other, and marshal on.  We will make it through this trial.

Until we reunite, I want you boys to continue working towards success.  For now, it means forming good reading, note-taking, studying, and critical thinking habits.

Today, let’s talk about reading.  When you, you were taught to read each and every word.  That was then.  You are no longer an early reader.  Now, you must learn how to read as a young adult.  Unfortunately, as evident from the Harvard Report quoted above, school does a poor job of teaching you how to read as an adult.  Think about it, before diving into the reading, only 15 out of 1500 Harvard freshmen knew to skim the summary, headings, and other information flagged by the author as being important.  15 out of 1500.  That’s one percent!!!

Studies show that readers can improve their reading comprehension by 10-20 percent by skimming the title; headings; subheadings; charts and graphics; and, words that are called out as being important by the author by being italicized, bolded, underlined, capitalized, placed in quotation marks, etc.  It takes minutes to skim the structure and highlighted portions of the reading to understand how the material is organized and gain a significant boost in your understanding of the reading.  Why wouldn’t you do that?

 

For example, if you’re visiting Paris for the first time, wouldn’t you want to know the lay of the land in order to figure out where you need to go to see each of the famous sites?  Is that not a better strategy than to simply walk out into the street and bump into what you may?  By glancing at which district each major site is located, where the districts are in relations to each other, the major roads that cut through the city and take you to each district, you gain a better understanding of the city and how best to conquer it.

It is the same with reading.  Before you read, skim the headings and highlights to get a sense of the skeleton of the arguments presented therein.  Once you have a sense of what the reading and its arguments are about, call on what you know about the subject to help guide you through the intricate arguments and assess their veracity.

Next, as you read, use the conventions of writing to help guide you and identify the important points the author is trying to communicate to you, the reader.  For example, if you are struggling to understand a sentence, break it down into its component parts: subject, verb, object, etc.  Once you pull away all of the ornaments, you lay bare the meaning of the sentence.  Likewise, to help you decipher a paragraph and find its main point (remember, if it’s well-written, each paragraph should have but one main point), use textual clues such as topic sentence, concluding sentence, the repetition of key words or ideas, the author’s highlight of key words or ideas by underlying or italicizing them, etc.

As you read, ask yourself the following:

  • “What is the main point the author is trying to tell me in this paragraph?”
  • “How does it relate to the thesis of the writing and the points presented in the preceding paragraphs?”
  • “So what?”

Make annotations in the margins to capture your thoughts and understanding.

Reading is not just a visual exercise:  it is primarily an analytical one.  Think.  Engage the author.  The more you engage yourself in the reading, the more you will understand it, and the easier it will be for you to remember it and explain it on tests and in your papers.  Your grades will improve, as will your body of knowledge.

Education is less about grades (that’s just one indicia of how well you learned something), than it is about building a useful body of knowledge that will serve you well in life.

I leave you with my favorite quote from the Jefferson Memorial, one of my favorite places in Washington, D.C.

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Do not continue to wear the coat of a child.  Learn and grow into the great men I know you can be, my sons.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 10 months, and 19 days. Don’t be faddish and blindlessly embrace the new or reject the old. Think.

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The bacteria-fighting super element that’s making a comeback in hospitals: copper

Ancient Egyptians used copper to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water. Greeks, Romans and Aztecs relied on copper compounds to treat burns, headaches and ear infections. Thousands of years later, the ancient therapeutic is being embraced by some hospitals because of its ability to kill bacteria and other microbes on contact, which can help reduce deadly infections.

At least 15 hospitals across the country have installed, or are considering installing, copper components on “high-touch” surfaces easily contaminated with microbes — faucet handles on sinks, cabinet pulls, toilet levers, call buttons and IV poles.

“We’ve known for a long time that copper and other metals are effective in killing microbes, so it wasn’t a great leap to incorporate copper surfaces into hospitals,” said John Lynch, medical director of infection control at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, which is redesigning a waste-disposal room to incorporate copper on light switches and door handles.

For many hospitals, the death of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan last year at a Dallas hospital heightened concerns — two nurses caring for him caught the virus because of poor infection control. And even before that, public health officials had identified nearly two dozen dangerous pathogens — many of them resistant to virtually all antibiotics — whose spread in health facilities and elsewhere could result in potentially catastrophic consequences.

They include MRSA, a potentially deadly infection that is increasing in community settings; VRE, which can cause a variety of infections; and C. diff, which causes life-threatening diarrhea and sends 250,000 people to the hospital every year.

On any given day, about 1 in 25 patients in acute-care hospitals has at least one health-care-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumonia and surgical-site infections are among the most common. In 2011, about 75,000 patients with health-care-associated infections died in the hospital.

Hospital officials aren’t the only ones interested in copper. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport installed drinking fountains retrofitted with antimicrobial copper surfaces. In Colorado Springs, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s flagship training center uses custom dumbbells with antimicrobial copper grips. So do two professional hockey teams, the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. Even a Chick-fil-A in Morganton, N.C., installed antimicrobial copper on restroom door handles.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-bacteria-fighting-super-element-making-a-return-to-hospitals-copper/2015/09/20/19251704-5beb-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html?utm_term=.4fd4c2fe2627 (emphasis added)

My most dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Can you believe I still wake up most mornings at 2:00 or 3:00 A.M.?  It sucks.  On rare occasions, I do sleep through the night.  But, I still don’t most nights.  On a more positive note, at least these days, sleep returns without too much delay.  In the old days, given all the work and all the stuff on my mind, sleep rarely returned, and I usually got up to start my day at that ungodly hour.

Habits die hard.  So, try to create good habits for yourselves.

Manners and hygiene are of utmost important.  It still grosses me out when I see the number of people who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, blowing their noses, etc.  Remember,

https://www.askideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Good-manners-reflect-something-from-inside-an-innate-sense-of-consideration-for-others-and-respect-for-self.-respect-self-good-manners-sense.-Emily-Post.jpg

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I digressed.  Manners are important habits to cultivate, but, today, I want to talk about another habit I want you to cultivate: the refusal to blindly follow the latest fads in all things.  Our forebears have much wisdom from which we can learn.  It is important to give their lessons credence because those lessons have withstood the test of time whereas what’s fashionable today rarely holds true tomorrow.

Marketers, celebrities, and talking heads these days are paid to pitch their wares.  Some of the latest discoveries are head and shoulder above what came before, but this is not always true.  Caveat emptor .  Buyers beware.

It behooves you to do your research and analysis of the new to determine whether it is actually better than the old, and in what circumstances.  Because of time constraints and the volume of new stuff we are bombarded with each and every day, a reasonable strategy is to stay with what’s tried and true until the new item has proven itself safe in the crucible of time.  Aspirin, for example, is a tried and true pain reliever that presents few negative effects.  On the other, new research continue to discover new dangers relating to newer pain relievers, like Tylenol.  For example,

Acetaminophen in Pregnancy Tied to ADHD Risk in Kids

Acetaminophen is considered the go-to pain medication during pregnancy. But a new study adds to evidence linking the drug to an increased risk of behavioral issues in kids.

Researchers in Norway found that among nearly 113,000 children, those whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were slightly more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The link was, however, confined to longer-term use — particularly a month or longer.

When moms used acetaminophen for 29 days or more during pregnancy, their kids were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, versus women who did not use the drug.

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-10-30/acetaminophen-in-pregnancy-tied-to-adhd-risk-in-kids.

 

Drugmaker set to profit from an opioid it said was unsafe

It’s not uncommon for drug companies to try to keep generic versions of their best-selling drugs off the market. But this is a story about a drug company that went to extraordinary lengths to do so, calling into question the safety of a drug it had sold for years. When its plan didn’t work, the company made an unusual decision.

As the opioid epidemic grew, Endo Pharmaceuticals took the extraordinary step in 2012 of pulling a version of one of its best-selling painkillers off the market, saying that the narcotic was susceptible to abuse.
Endo even unsuccessfully sued the US Food and Drug Administration that year to prevent the approval of any generic version of its drug, called Opana ER. The drugmaker argued that given a chance, drug abusers would crush and snort the generic pills, just as they had with the brand-name drug. Snorting intensifies the high but heightens the chance of overdosing.
It seemed as though a drug maker was taking selfless action to try to curb the growing opioid epidemic. But some industry observers say the story of Opana ER may better illustrate the lengths a drug company would go to in order to protect its profits.
Endo introduced a new formulation of Opana ER before phasing out the old one, selling two versions of the drug at the same time. Both drugs had the same active ingredient, oxymorphone. Both were extended-release pills for long-lasting effects. Both were called Opana ER.
The difference was that the new version had a few different inactive ingredients, including a hard coating that made the pills harder to pulverize. Even so, addicts quickly learned how to cook the new painkiller and inject the liquid with a syringe.
Endo contended that the new Opana ER and its hard coating deterred abuse, but this summer, the FDA disagreed. In June, the regulatory agency concluded that the risks of new crush-resistant Opana ER outweighed its benefits and pressured Endo to stop selling it. It was the first time the FDA had taken steps to stop sales of a currently marketed opioid because of the consequences of abuse.
President Trump alluded to the drug last week when declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. “We’re requiring that a specific opioid, which is truly evil, be taken off the market immediately,” he said.
Endo agreed to halt shipments of Opana ER starting September 1. But that’s not the end of the drug’s story.
Endo still has the patent on the original version of the drug, the one it fought to keep off the market. The FDA’s action this summer didn’t impact the crushable version Endo stopped selling in 2012.
So on August 8, Endo cut a deal with Impax Laboratories to split the profits of a generic version of its original drug. Endo is now poised to make money from a drug that it said shouldn’t be on the market.

 

Take the Generic, Patients Are Told. Until They Are Not.

It’s standard advice for consumers: If you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic.

Nathan Taylor, a 3-D animator who lives outside Houston, has tried to do that with all his medications. But when he fills his monthly prescription for Adderall XR to treat his attention-deficit disorder, his insurance company refuses to cover the generic. Instead, he must make a co-payment of $90 a month for the brand-name version. By comparison, he pays $10 or less each month for the five generic medications he also takes.

“It just befuddles me that they would do that,” said Mr. Taylor, 41.

A spokesman for his insurer, Humana, did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls requesting comment.

With each visit to the pharmacy, Mr. Taylor enters the upside-down world of prescription drugs, where conventional wisdom about how to lower drug costs is often wrong.

Consumers have grown accustomed to being told by insurers — and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers — that they must give up their brand-name drugs in favor of cheaper generics. But some are finding the opposite is true, as pharmaceutical companies squeeze the last profits from products that are facing cheaper generic competition.

Out of public view, corporations are cutting deals that give consumers little choice but to buy brand-name drugs — and sometimes pay more at the pharmacy counter than they would for generics.

The practice is not easy to track, and has been going on sporadically for years. But several clues suggest it is becoming more common.

In recent months, some insurers and benefit managers have insisted that patients forgo generics and buy brand-name drugs such as the cholesterol treatment Zetia, the stroke-prevention drug Aggrenox and the pain-relieving gel Voltaren, along with about a dozen others, according to memos and prescription drug claims that pharmacies shared with ProPublica and The New York Times. At the same time, consumers are sounding off on social media.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/health/prescription-drugs-brand-name-generic.html

Fools rush in.  Don’t follow them.  Don’t cede control to marketers and talking heads.  As you can see from the above public exposure, they do not have your best interests at heart.

Always act with purpose.  You have control over you, not anyone else.  Think.  Stay safe.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., I leave you with the following tried and true home remedies.

Kitchen cures doctors swear by

Whether you have a head cold, an upset stomach, or an itchy rash, fast (cheap!) relief may be sitting on your kitchen shelf.
True, some home remedies are simply old wives’ tales, but others have stuck around for generations because they actually work, says Philip Hagen, M.D., preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic. Try grabbing one of these healing ingredients to ease that minor ailment.
Honey
Use it for: Minor cuts and burns, cough or sore throat
How it works: Most of us have tried honey in tea to soothe a scratchy throat, but it’s also been used to treat wounds for thousands of years. Last year, a review of research found that honey is helpful in healing minor to moderate burns, and a recent Dutch study identified a protein called defensin-1 that gives the goo its antibacterial action.
Try this: Apply warm honey to a minor cut (one without a lot of bleeding) or mild burn, then put a gauze bandage on top; change the dressing daily. However, if you have a burn or wound that’s accompanied by swelling, fever, or pain, or if the wound is deep, check with a doctor instead; it may require oral antibiotics.
Nick yourself a lot? Pick up raw manuka honey at the health-food store. Research shows this type has particularly potent antibacterial properties, says Robin Schaffran, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California.
Salt
Use it for: Sinus congestion, sore throat
How it works: “When you mix salt into water at a stronger concentration than the salt water in our bodies, it helps draw fluids out of tissues,” explains Hagen. You can use this “hypertonic” solution to clear up stuffy sinuses and ease a sore throat.
Try this: To make a hypertonic solution, dissolve half a teaspoon of non-iodized salt in an 8-ounce glass of water. For a sore throat, simply gargle the water. To flush out your sinuses, fill a clean, dry squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or neti pot with the salt water, lean over a sink, and squeeze or pour it into your nostril.
Hagen cautions that you should use only sterile bottled or distilled water in your nose, or tap water that has been boiled and then cooled. (Reportedly at least two people died last year after clearing their sinuses with neti pots using unfiltered tap water that contained a dangerous microbe.)
Peppermint tea
Use it for: Indigestion, stomachache
How it works: The oil found in the peppermint leaf and its stems calms the muscles of the digestive tract, allowing gas to pass more easily and relieving indigestion, Hagen says. Steer clear of peppermint tea, though, if your pain is caused by reflux — you’ll know from the acidic, burning feeling in your chest. (It can actually aggravate this problem by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which lets stomach acids flow back into the esophagus.)
Try this: Brew a cup of peppermint-leaf tea and drink up.
Meat tenderizer
Use it for: Bee stings, nonpoisonous spider bites
How it works: Meat tenderizer contains papain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins (like the ones in your T-bone steak). But papain can also break down toxins from bug bites and cut back on itching, Schaffran says.
Note: Use tenderizer only on mosquito bites, bee stings, and nonpoisonous spider bites. If you experience symptoms such as nausea, difficulty breathing, or cramping in your abs or lower back, seek medical help immediately.
Try this: Mix a small amount of meat tenderizer with water to make a paste and apply to the bite. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Oatmeal

Use it for: Eczema, sunburn, hives
How it works: Oats pack phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties that soothe itchy and inflamed skin, a study in the Archives of Dermatological Research shows. Most M.D.’s recommend using the finely ground colloidal type sold in drugstores, but any unflavored oatmeal will help.

Try this: If you’re using regular oatmeal, grind it into a fine powder, Schaffran says. Put a cup of oats through a food processor until they dissolve easily into a glass of water. Pour the solution into a bathtub full of warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Using colloidal oats? Just sprinkle them into the tub and say ahhh.

 

 

Despite dubious claims, manuka honey may be antibiotic powerhouse

Manuka honey is often touted as a “superfood” that treats many ailments, including allergies, colds and flus, gingivitis, sore throats, staph infections, and numerous types of wounds.

Manuka can apparently also boost energy, “detox” your system, lower cholesterol, stave off diabetes, improve sleep, increase skin tone, reduce hair loss and even prevent frizz and split ends.
Some of these claims are nonsense, but some have good evidence behind them.
Honey has been used therapeutically throughout history, with records of its cultural, religious and medicinal importance shown in rock paintings, carvings and sacred texts from many diverse ancient cultures.
Honey was used to treat a wide range of ailments from eye and throat infections to gastroenteritis and respiratory ailments, but it was persistently popular as a treatment for numerous types of wounds and skin infections.
Medicinal honey largely fell from favour with the advent of modern antibiotics in the mid-20th century. Western medicine largely dismissed it as a “worthless but harmless substance“. But the emergence of superbugs (pathogens resistant to some, many or even all of our antibiotics) means alternative approaches to dealing with pathogens are being scientifically investigated.
We now understand the traditional popularity of honey as a wound dressing is almost certainly due to its antimicrobial properties. High sugar content and low pH mean honey inhibits microbial growth, but certain honeys still retain their antimicrobial activity when these are diluted to negligible levels.
Many different types of honey also produce microbe-killing levels of hydrogen peroxide when glucose oxidase (an enzyme incorporated into honey by bees) reacts with glucose and oxygen molecules in water. So, when honey is used as a wound dressing it draws moisture from the tissues, and this reacts to produce hydrogen peroxide, clearing the wound of infection.
The antimicrobial activity of different honeys varies greatly, depending on which flowers the bees visit to collect the nectar they turn into honey. While all honeys possess some level of antimicrobial activity, certain ones are up to 100 times more active than others.

How is manuka different to other honey?

Manuka honey is derived from the nectar of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) trees, and it has an additional component to its potent antimicrobial activity. This unusual activity was discovered by Professor Peter Molan, in New Zealand in the 1980s, when he realised the action of manuka honey remained even after hydrogen peroxide was removed.

 

4 years, 10 months, and 17 days. Behave well, pursue your passions and ignore the ankle-biters.

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Someone who cannot rise to your level, and who can only bite your ankles instead of being able to really bite your head off.

Folks of lower altitude.

My boss is an ankle biter and he’s doing well as such
by Scotty Breauxman January 20, 2008

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Beware the ankle-biters.  They’re ubiquitous.  There is no escaping them.

In fact, insecurity can even reduce family members to being ankle-biters at times.  For example, because I matriculated at significantly more famous and reputable graduate school than he, my brother — your uncle — once had the temerity to suggest that just because I got in does not mean I could obtain an advance degree from said school.  Of course, I completed my doctorate and went on to achieve and earn more than he professionally.

Ankle biters are like zombies.  They never die, and they keep coming.

The best you can do is to protect yourselves against their ankle bites, and ignore them as you pursue bigger and better.  Eventually, as you rise, your world will be populated by fewer and fewer of them, and you could better enjoy the fruits of your labor.  (This assumes, of course, that you choose your social circles with care and not frequent haunts where ankle biters roam.)

Remember our days at the OG and on the Hill?  Most of our neighbors were nice, weren’t they?  We had no trouble with them.  That’s because I chose those neighborhoods with care.  Most of our neighbors on the Hill were retirees, consultants, and educators.  We had one neighbor behind and down the hill from us who repaid our kindness of giving him the key to our house when power was out so that he could use the gas oven and heater as necessary to care for his family by having his dog shit in our yard.  His actions bespoke his upbringing, did they not?

As we say, “Didn’t your parents teach you manners, or were you raised in a barn?”  Apparently, he was raised in a barn.  You weren’t.  Act accordingly.

http://www.businessinsider.com/manners-to-teach-kids-2017-8/#standing-when-youre-introduced-to-someone-5

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As Jesus reduced the Ten Commandments to two — (1) love God with all your heart and soul, and (2) love your neighbors as yourself — Emily Post reduced the book of manners down its essence:  be mindful of the feelings of others around you, and act to not offend.  If you do that, it doesn’t really matter if you were using the wrong fork.

I leave you with the biography of Kilian Hennessy, heir to that famous  and delicious brand of cognac.  Despite being born into wealth and fame, he didn’t just sit on his butt, but worked hard to pursue his passion for “angels’ share” and to develop his own perfumerie.  Be like him.  Don’t be like the countless progenies whose only legacy is that they burnt through all that was left for them and built nothing of their own.  .

Biography

Heir to a long line of cognac-makers who were pioneers in luxury, Kilian decided to take up the torch of family tradition. Creating a new luxury brand was definitely a challenge worthy of his predecessors.

His childhood haunts included the family cellars in Cognac. Before graduating from CELSA, he wrote a thesis on the semantics of scent, in search of a ‘language’ common to gods and mortals. Remembering the «angels’ share» as part of his heritage, he was led into the world of perfumery. The «angels’ share» is what the House of Hennessy calls the percentage that – inexplicably – evaporates from cognac cellars, like an offering to the gods.
Many of Kilian’s fragrances today carry this childhood memory as they are reminiscent of the sugar in the alcohol and the wood of the cognac barrels.

After graduating, he then went on to train with the greatest noses in perfumery and worked for the most prestigious perfume houses such as Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani.

In 2007, Kilian launched his own namesake brand with the ambition of reflecting not only his distinct personality, but also to achieve a perfect alliance between elegance and uncompromising luxury. His “eco-luxe” philosophy that each bottle can be refilled and kept for a lifetime catapulted the brand to the top of the fragrance market and into a niche of its very own.

In 2017 and ten years since its launch, the world of Kilian includes more than 35 scents, spanning across different fragrance collections including: “L’Oeuvre Noire”, “Arabian Nights”, “Asian Tales”, “In the Garden of Good & Evil” and “Addictive State of Mind“.

Kilian continues to create unexpected products that embody ultimate sophistication and timeless luxury with a collection of wearable scented jewelry and decorative objects for the home.

As the Kilian brand evolves and matures, the one aspect which remains consistent is that each and every product created embodies ultimate sophistication and timeless luxury.

https://www.bykilian.com/us/biography.php

Live right, pursue your passions, and ignore the ankle biters.

All my love, always,

Dad