Saturday, June 7, 2008

Swimming with Komodo Dragons

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Five Europeans rescued Saturday after an Indonesia diving trip went wrong had to fight off a Komodo dragon while they were waiting to be found, according to reports.


The divers had to scare off a Komodo dragon while they were waiting to be found.

1 of 3 The group was found at Mantaolan, which is on the island of Rinca off the Komodo National Park, after going missing on Thursday.

The divers -- three Britons, a Frenchman and a Swede -- spent two nights on the deserted island which is home to the large Komodo dragon before rangers found them Saturday.

Frenchman Laurent Pinel, 31, said the group had to fight off one dragon with rocks and scavenged for shellfish as they waited to be rescued, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

"On the beach a Komodo dragon came amongst us yesterday [Friday] afternoon," Pinel said, describing how the group had to pelt the dangerous reptile with rocks to scare it away.

"We had nothing to eat. We ate some kind of mussels scraped from the rocks," Pinel told the newspaper.

The husband of one of the other divers said he was told they were in good condition, although dehydrated.

"I'm just so relieved," said Mats Kohler, whose wife is Helena Neva Lainen. They are both from Sweden.

An official said they were being taken to a hospital for examination.

Searchers using boats located the missing divers at 11 a.m. Saturday (11 p.m. ET Friday), the official said.

They arrived at a hospital in Labuan Bajo, on the western tip of the island of Flores, about two hours later, an official said. Watch a report on the discovery of the missing group »

They were one of two groups of divers who entered the water off Komodo National Park Thursday and were supposed to be gone for an hour, said an employee of the dive company, Reef Seekers. The second group came back after the hour passed but the first group failed to resurface, she said.

Earlier, an official with the Komodo Divers Association said the group that returned comprised six snorkelers.

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Ten minutes of terror in diving paradise

Among those who went missing was one of the owners of the dive company, Kathleen Mitchinson, the employee said.

The seas that the divers were in are known to be dangerous because of their strong tides, and that's one theory being investigated in the divers' disappearance, the employee said.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Ultimate Guide to Motivation - How to Achieve Any Goal

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” - Henry Ford

One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a habit, exercising, or just becoming happier, is finding the motivation to stick with it.

If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation.

Motivation is the key, but it’s not always easy, day in and day out, to find that motivation.

What follows is a guide to motivation using what I’ve learned over the last few years in a series of successful accomplishments, goals and habit changes. I’ve had many failures, but also many successes, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. Motivation has been a particularly important topic of exploration for me.

What Motivation Can Achieve
What have I accomplished using these motivation methods? Too much to mention, just in the last 3 years: running two marathons, learning to become an early riser, losing 40 pounds, completing a triathlon, becoming vegetarian, becoming more productive, starting a successful blog, writing a book, becoming organized, simplifying my life, quitting my day job, tripling my income, eliminating my debt, and much more.

That’s not intended to sound like bragging, but to show you what can be accomplished (just to start) if you find the right motivation.

How Does Motivation Work?
Before we get into specific methods, it’s useful to examine what motivation is, what it does, and how it works.

Motivation is what drives you toward a goal, what keeps you going when things get tough, the reason you get up early to exercise or work late to finish a project. There are all kinds of motivations, of course, from positive to negative. Having a boss threaten to fire you is motivation — you’ll likely work harder to complete a project with that kind of pressure. But I find that positive motivation works better — if it’s something you really want to do, you’ll do a much better job than to avoid something you don’t want (such as being fired).

So motivation, in its best form, is a way for you to want to do something. There may be times, for example, when you don’t feel like getting up early, and in those times you may seriously just want to sleep in (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But if you have a reason to want to get up early, something you really really want to do, you’ll jump up out of bed with excitement.

The best motivation, then, is a way for you to really want something, to get excited about it, to be passionate about it. Remember that, as there are many other types of motivation (especially negative), but in my experience, this is the kind that works the best.

There is only so long that you can go trying to motivate yourself to do something you don’t like to do, something you don’t want to do. But if you find ways to really want to do something, you can sustain your effort for much, much longer.

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself From the Beginning
I’ve found that it’s important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Here are some tips for starting out:

Start small. I’ve said this before, but that’s because it’s one of the most important tips in motivating yourself toward a goal. Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
Examine your motivation. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
Really, really want it. This is essentially the same as the above tip, but I want to emphasize it: it’s not enough to think it would be cool to achieve something. It has to be something you’re passionate about, something you’re super excited about, something you want deeply. Make sure that your goal meets these criteria, or you won’t stick with it for long.
Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.

Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
Print it out, post it up. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (”Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.
20 Ways to Sustain Motivation When You’re Struggling
The second half of motivation is to keep yourself going when you don’t feel the same excitement as you did in the beginning. Perhaps something new has come into your life and your old goal isn’t as much of a priority anymore. Perhaps you skipped a day or two and now you can’t get back into it. Perhaps you screwed up and got discouraged.

If you can get yourself excited again, and keep going, you’ll get there eventually. But if you give up, you won’t. It’s your choice — accomplish the goal, or quit. Here’s how you can stop from quitting, and get to your goal:

Hold yourself back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane. Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.
Just start. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start. I have a rule that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.
Stay accountable. If you committed yourself publicly, through an online forum, on a blog, in email, or in person … stay accountable to that group of people. Commit to report back to them daily, or something like that, and stick to it! That accountability will help you to want to do well, because you don’t want to report that you’ve failed.
Squash negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This is one of the most important motivation skills, and I suggest you practice it daily. It’s important to start monitoring your thoughts, and to recognize negative self-talk. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.
Think about the benefits. Thinking about how hard something is is a big problem for most people. Waking early sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how hard it is to wake early, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how your day will be so much better. The benefits of something will help energize you.
Get excited again! Think about why you lost your excitement … then think about why you were excited in the first place. Can you get that back? What made you want to do the goal? What made you passionate about it? Try to build that up again, refocus yourself, get energized.
Read about it. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
Find like-minded friends. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed. Other good options are groups in your area (I’m part of a running club, for example) or online forums where you can find people to talk to about your goals.
Read inspiring stories. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things. I love, love, love reading success stories too.
Build on your successes. Every little step along the way is a success — celebrate the fact that you even started! And then did it for two days! Celebrate every little milestone. Then take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
Just get through the low points. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal, ask for help, and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
Get help. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.
Chart your progress. This can be as simple as marking an X on your calendar, or creating a simple spreadsheet, or logging your goal using online software. But it can be vastly rewarding to look back on your progress and to see how far you’ve come, and it can help you to keep going — you don’t want to have too many days without an X! Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.
Reward yourself often. For every little step along the way, celebrate your success, and give yourself a reward. It helps to write down appropriate rewards for each step, so that you can look forward to those rewards. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.
Go for mini-goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.
Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.
Never skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row!
Use visualization. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.
Be aware of your urges to quit, and overcome them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.
Find pleasure again. No one can stick to something for long if they find it unpleasant, and are only rewarded after months of toil. There has to be fun, pleasure, joy in it, every day, or you won’t want to do it. Find those pleasurable things — the beauty of a morning run, for example, or the satisfaction in reporting to people that you finished another step along the way, or the deliciousness of a healthy meal.
“Never, never, never, never give up.” - Winston Churchill

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” - Henry Ford

One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a habit, exercising, or just becoming happier, is finding the motivation to stick with it.

If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation.

Motivation is the key, but it’s not always easy, day in and day out, to find that motivation.

What follows is a guide to motivation using what I’ve learned over the last few years in a series of successful accomplishments, goals and habit changes. I’ve had many failures, but also many successes, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. Motivation has been a particularly important topic of exploration for me.

What Motivation Can Achieve
What have I accomplished using these motivation methods? Too much to mention, just in the last 3 years: running two marathons, learning to become an early riser, losing 40 pounds, completing a triathlon, becoming vegetarian, becoming more productive, starting a successful blog, writing a book, becoming organized, simplifying my life, quitting my day job, tripling my income, eliminating my debt, and much more.

That’s not intended to sound like bragging, but to show you what can be accomplished (just to start) if you find the right motivation.

How Does Motivation Work?
Before we get into specific methods, it’s useful to examine what motivation is, what it does, and how it works.

Motivation is what drives you toward a goal, what keeps you going when things get tough, the reason you get up early to exercise or work late to finish a project. There are all kinds of motivations, of course, from positive to negative. Having a boss threaten to fire you is motivation — you’ll likely work harder to complete a project with that kind of pressure. But I find that positive motivation works better — if it’s something you really want to do, you’ll do a much better job than to avoid something you don’t want (such as being fired).

So motivation, in its best form, is a way for you to want to do something. There may be times, for example, when you don’t feel like getting up early, and in those times you may seriously just want to sleep in (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But if you have a reason to want to get up early, something you really really want to do, you’ll jump up out of bed with excitement.

The best motivation, then, is a way for you to really want something, to get excited about it, to be passionate about it. Remember that, as there are many other types of motivation (especially negative), but in my experience, this is the kind that works the best.

There is only so long that you can go trying to motivate yourself to do something you don’t like to do, something you don’t want to do. But if you find ways to really want to do something, you can sustain your effort for much, much longer.

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself From the Beginning
I’ve found that it’s important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Here are some tips for starting out:

Start small. I’ve said this before, but that’s because it’s one of the most important tips in motivating yourself toward a goal. Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
Examine your motivation. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
Really, really want it. This is essentially the same as the above tip, but I want to emphasize it: it’s not enough to think it would be cool to achieve something. It has to be something you’re passionate about, something you’re super excited about, something you want deeply. Make sure that your goal meets these criteria, or you won’t stick with it for long.
Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.

Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
Print it out, post it up. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (”Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.
20 Ways to Sustain Motivation When You’re Struggling
The second half of motivation is to keep yourself going when you don’t feel the same excitement as you did in the beginning. Perhaps something new has come into your life and your old goal isn’t as much of a priority anymore. Perhaps you skipped a day or two and now you can’t get back into it. Perhaps you screwed up and got discouraged.

If you can get yourself excited again, and keep going, you’ll get there eventually. But if you give up, you won’t. It’s your choice — accomplish the goal, or quit. Here’s how you can stop from quitting, and get to your goal:

Hold yourself back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane. Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.
Just start. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start. I have a rule that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.
Stay accountable. If you committed yourself publicly, through an online forum, on a blog, in email, or in person … stay accountable to that group of people. Commit to report back to them daily, or something like that, and stick to it! That accountability will help you to want to do well, because you don’t want to report that you’ve failed.
Squash negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This is one of the most important motivation skills, and I suggest you practice it daily. It’s important to start monitoring your thoughts, and to recognize negative self-talk. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.
Think about the benefits. Thinking about how hard something is is a big problem for most people. Waking early sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how hard it is to wake early, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how your day will be so much better. The benefits of something will help energize you.
Get excited again! Think about why you lost your excitement … then think about why you were excited in the first place. Can you get that back? What made you want to do the goal? What made you passionate about it? Try to build that up again, refocus yourself, get energized.
Read about it. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
Find like-minded friends. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed. Other good options are groups in your area (I’m part of a running club, for example) or online forums where you can find people to talk to about your goals.
Read inspiring stories. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things. I love, love, love reading success stories too.
Build on your successes. Every little step along the way is a success — celebrate the fact that you even started! And then did it for two days! Celebrate every little milestone. Then take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
Just get through the low points. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal, ask for help, and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
Get help. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.
Chart your progress. This can be as simple as marking an X on your calendar, or creating a simple spreadsheet, or logging your goal using online software. But it can be vastly rewarding to look back on your progress and to see how far you’ve come, and it can help you to keep going — you don’t want to have too many days without an X! Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.
Reward yourself often. For every little step along the way, celebrate your success, and give yourself a reward. It helps to write down appropriate rewards for each step, so that you can look forward to those rewards. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.
Go for mini-goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.
Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.
Never skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row!
Use visualization. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.
Be aware of your urges to quit, and overcome them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.
Find pleasure again. No one can stick to something for long if they find it unpleasant, and are only rewarded after months of toil. There has to be fun, pleasure, joy in it, every day, or you won’t want to do it. Find those pleasurable things — the beauty of a morning run, for example, or the satisfaction in reporting to people that you finished another step along the way, or the deliciousness of a healthy meal.
“Never, never, never, never give up.” - Winston Churchill
Actions
Reduce the Harmful Materials in Electronic Devices
Please help us support requiring manufacturers to phase out the use of hazardous materials in all consumer electronics sold in California. This would model a directive currently in place in the European Union, that requires manufacturers of all electrical and electronic equipment to phase out the use of known toxic and carcinogenic elements from the design of their products.


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Help Bring Recycling To All Californians
Most of California's communities have operating curbside recycling programs, but not all have these recycling programs available in apartments or multifamily dwellings. All the while, not all of the state's communities have reached the 50% diversion rate from landfills established by the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

326th Medivac, Vietnam 1971

Robert Fritz Speer
Specialist Five
HHC, 326TH MED BN, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
09 June 1948 - 24 April 1971
Dallas, Texas




I never met Robert myself but all of my life I knew exactly who he was and what he did for his country and fellow soldiers. I salute all Vietnam's victims whether claimed during the war or not. I could never imagine being faced with such an uncertain event. I look at my husband (who is a U.S. Marine) and wonder what I would feel if I had to send him off to a war like Vietnam. I can only wish I will never know.

I pray each day for the ones who fought and died during this war.



13 June 2003
REMEMBERED BY HIS FAMILY
WASHINGTON
17 May 1971

Dear Mr. Speer:

It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of your son, Specialist Five Robert F. Speer, in Vietnam.

I know that the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person has to face, but perhaps you may find some measure of comfort in knowing he served his Nation with courage and honor at a time of gret need.

The memory of his service will be treasured by a grateful Nation because he has joined the long line of American soldiers who in times on national peril have given their lives for freedom and peace. In Vietnam today, as on other fields in earlier days, we are defending the right of men to live in dignity and freedom.

On behalf of the United States Army, I express heartfelt sympathy to you.

Sincerely,
/s/

W. C. WESTMORELAND
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff




DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20314

DAAG-PSA-BP Speer, Robert F.
SSAN 456-84-6957 (24 Apr 71)
4 JAN 1972

Mr. Fritz Speer
Terofalstrasse 5
Munich, Germany

Dear Mr. Speer:

This is in response to an inquiry on your behalf concerning awards for your late son.

I have the honor to inform you that Robert has been awarded posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, Purple Heart, and the Combat Medical Badge. Arrangements have been made to provide you with a duplicate set of these awards.

Prior to death, Robert had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Sharpshooter Badge with automatic rifle bar.

The Commanding Officer, United States Army Support Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been instructed to send these awards to you in the near future.

I am inclosing certificates, citation, and general orders announcing the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, and the Purple Heart.

I trust my action fulfills your wishes in this matter. Again, my continued sympathy is with you.

Sincerely,
/s/

VERNE L. BOWERS
Major General, USA
The Adjutant General











Army unit gives medic's brother overdue salute
By Jack Dorsey

HAMPTON - More than 30 years after being saved by an Army medic who was later killed by a Viet Cong sniper, retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens finally got a chance to publicly thank the medic's family Thursday.
He had been looking for the family, split by divorce and living between Texas and Germany, ever since that day in Vietnam.

Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, of Dallas, died April 24, 1971, as part of an air ambulance platoon trying to evacuate wounded from the rugged A Shau Valley.

Behrens was flying their helicopter as the five-man squad rescued the crew of another downed helicopter, but then his chopper was shot down as well. One member died in the second crash. Others were wounded. "I already had been shot four times in the leg, unable to do anything, but Fritz worked his way down to get the two pilots out, then returned to me," Behrens, of Powhatan County, said at the 101st Airborne's 59th reunion, held this week at the Holiday Inn-Hampton Coliseum.

Speer, who was 22, moved the wounded to a safer defensive position, treating those around him throughout the night and into the next day while they waited for other Rangers to save them.

Behrens was then shot again, in the foot, by friendly fire.

When Speer went to his aid, a sniper shot the medic in the chest, killing him instantly.

Behrens located the sniper and took him out.

Ever since, following his medical retirement from the Army after a year in the hospital and all through his long-term work with the 101st Airborne Association, Behrens has tried to find Speer's family. Speer was born in Germany but was reared in Dallas by his mother after his parents divorced. His other brothers remained in Germany with the father.

One brother, German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer, of Wiesbaden, younger by five years, had been looking for information too. He learned of his brother's death six months after the fact. He could find out little more. Their mother had died, and by the 1980s, so had their father.

"But a year ago, I went on the Internet with a message on the Vietnam War Memorial and was able to locate Frederic. We have been in communications since," Speer said. Behrens is now president of the Hampton Roads chapter of the 101st Airborne Association, and at the ceremony Thursday, the 101st surprised Speer by presenting him with his brother's burial flag.

It is because of Fritz Speer's "selflessness and his fellow medics, we do not have more names on that somber Vietnam memorial wall," U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott said as he presented the flag to Bruno Speer.

"And it is with gratitude to - Speer and other medics like him - that some of your are here today," he told the 101st Airborne veterans.

For Bruno Speer, who has since gathered his brother's medals - the Distinguished Flying Cross (second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism; a Bronze Star Medal with "V" for heroism with first Oak Leaf Cluster; an Air Medal (second through fourth awards); a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge - there is a special place for the American flag as well.

"I have a room in my home where I have put them, and this flag will go there," he said. "This is so wonderful. It touches my heart every time."




Retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens meets
German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer,
more than 30 years after Speer's brother,
U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, saved Behrens'
life during the Vietnam War.
Written by Jack Dorsey
Photo by Stephen M. Katz, The Virginian-Pilot
© August 6, 2004 by the
The Virginian-Pilot
Reprinted with permission.


From his brother,
Bruno Speer
Sergeant Major, German Air Force
bruno.speer@web.de

Geo-Engineering for a Tailor-Made Planet

Written by Michelle Bennett

Geo-Engineering is “the deliberate modification of Earth’s environment on a large scale “to suit human needs and promote habitability”‘ (via Wikipedia). Until recently it was the stuff of science fiction, a god-like power regulated to unseen aliens or super-futuristic societies. Occasionally planetary catastrophe also ensued.

Yet with climate change and global warming sparking alarm across the globe, some scientists have started to explore the possibility of altering the natural environment on a global scale. Several strategies are outlined below:

There are other proposed methods, of course, so consider these as an introduction only. It’s important to note that geo-engineering scientists do not propose this as solutions to global warming, but as emergency measures to avert large-scale human suffering. The only reason it has been suggested that we consider implementing these strategies in the near future is because, in the view of Dr. Paul Crutzen, “there is little reason to be optimistic.” He was referring to current international political efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Of course there is controversy and plenty of people who disagree with implementing geo-engineering. Scientifically, there’s the problem of data; we simply don’t know enough about these huge natural systems to safely manipulate them. There’s also the consequences we are certain about: in most cases, the benefits and detrimental effects will be unevenly distributed across the planet. While one part of the world prospers under cooler climes, another would have their problems compounded.

Who can make that decision? What are the ethics? What would be the social, economic, and cultural implications of upheaval, conflict, and/or refugees in the areas that benefit? Even if we do manage to (partially) improve the weather, the social impact across the globe could negate the benefits. Geo-engineering (but not necessarily geo-engineers) assumes that humans being can and should manipulate the planet to improve their lot, but many people have pointed out that we must still change our habits and lifestyles regardless. Whether we attempt geo-engineering or not, we must still invest in renewable resources.

Geo-engineers propose this as an “emergency only” measure, but in my opinion, using it with even the best intentions could set a dangerous precedent. Global warming is an unintended form of geo-engineering; is it wise to fight fire with fire? Is it ethical to combat one “evil” with something slightly “less evil”? Could any nation, organization, or individual with enough money hijack the globe by using, or threatening to use, geo-engineering against the populous?

Technology will play a critical role in combating and adapting to climate change, but at some point we will have to limit ourselves. Where should we draw the line, and who will decide? Many critics of geo-engineering agree that we should spend our energy and resources on a solution to the problem, not just to treat the symptoms. There is no fast or simple fix; if we intend to live well for the long haul, we’ll just have to adapt to the limitation of our planet - or expand onto another.

What do you think? Take part in a discussion on our Green Options forum
(Tropical Storm Nargis courtesy of NASA)
« Earth Day Msg on EPR

Are EWaste practices Environmentalism?
How does Industrial Ecology [ Google - Wikipedia ] compare to Environmentalism [ Wikipedia ]?
Do we need a broader vocabulary to talk about these things together?
In the face of looming political and policy struggles, the public will need to have an understanding of what is being talked about when stakeholders use words like these.
As the EWaste issue becomes more pressing, and decisions on how systems are being managed, what the goals and expectations are, and how to pay for them are being made, these terms and others like them will become even more important.
For further reading, here is how Wikipedia is organizing things.

Monday, June 2, 2008

eWaste and Best Buy

Best Buy Launches E-Waste Recycling Program
June 2, 2008 · Print This Article

Announced today Best Buy is testing a free program that will offer consumers a convenient way to recycle their obsolescent TVs, computers and other gadgets. This is the most extensive free electronics recycling program offered by a large retailer. This is in response to all the E-Waste Best Buy has helped create over the years.

The test will inlclude 117 stores in eight states, and depending on the success of the program it may be expanded to all 922 stores nationwide. You can read further on about Best Buy and their recycling program and states involved here.

It is initiatives like above that are going to play a major role in diverting all the harmful substances in electronics from our landfills. Computer companies are also making efforts through offering services to help ensure E-waste does not make it to the dumps. Knowing that computer companies are making a conscious effort and now with the major retailers getting involved you get a feeling things are starting to head in the right direction. You can check out our page on how to recycle your electronics and the benefits involved below.

E-waste and Recycling

The Climate Security Bill .....

will be debated in the U.S. Senate this week. The oil lobby is pushing the story that the bill will result in higher gas prices -- a piece of misinformation that we can strongly refute.

Deron Lovass, a senior energy analyst and the vehicles campaign director for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is available to speak with you and will specifically contradict the oil lobby's assertion as well as back his statements up with facts from a recent MARKAL study.

Please reply and I will put you in contact with him at your earliest convenience.

Regards,

Rob Davis
robdavis2008@gmail.com
612-246-4696




NRDC Energy Expert: Climate Security Act Will Cut Oil Imports and Benefit Drivers Through Higher Fuel Efficiency, More Choices at the Pump

Now Available for Interviews

Washington, DC - The Climate Security Act of 2008 (S. 2191 Lieberman-Warner), set to come to the Senate floor on June 2nd, will lead to a drop in oil imports and a rise in renewable energy production according to the recent MARKAL analysis ( http://www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080513.asp ). According to Deron Lovaas, Vehicles Campaign Director with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner climate bill is a key step to solving global warming and slashing our oil dependency. While the oil industry is lobbying hard to scuttle the bill and protect their windfall profits, Lovaas points out that the time is now for a dramatic national policy to simultaneously tackle global warming and oil security.

"We can't drill our way out of the oil crisis," Deron Lovaas says. "And we can't solve global warming without breaking our dependency on oil. For too long oil companies have been part of the problem; the Climate Security Act will force them to be part of the solution."

The MARKAL analysis demonstrates that meeting global warming pollution reduction targets in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act will lead to dramatically more fuel-efficient vehicles which will reduce oil imports. MARKAL also found that the bill would produce jobs, provide manufacturing opportunities and spark innovation. The analysis, conducted by the International Resources Group for NRDC, also found that reaching the targets can be done with minimal cost to our energy system, less than one half of one percent.

NRDC analysts have also estimated what the change in transportation fuel bills would be with the Climate Security Act.

IRG used a model of the U.S. energy economy developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to examine how the emission limits specified by the Lieberman-Warner bill can be achieved. NRDC analysts extended the analysis by estimating what the change in transportation fuel bills would be with the Climate Security Act.

"This analysis confirms that passing the Climate Security Act will lead to increased fuel efficiency and more alternatives to gasoline. Improving how far our vehicles can travel on a gallon of gas will dramatically reduce oil imports," Lovaas says.

In addition to the MARKAL analysis, Tufts University Report that NRDC commissioned finds the cost of inaction on climate change will be staggering to all levels of the US economy. A comprehensive estimate, based on state-of-the-art computer modeling, finds that doing nothing on global warming will cost the United States economy more than 3.6 percent of GDP - or $3.8 trillion annually (in today's dollars) - by 2100. On the other hand, a detailed, bottom-up analysis finds that just four categories of global warming impacts -- hurricane damage, real estate losses, increased energy costs and water costs -- will add up to a price tag of 1.8 percent of U.S. GDP, or almost $1.9 trillion annually (in today's dollars) by 2100.

For more information, go here: http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/cost/fcost.pdf

About Deron Lovaas
Deron Lovaas has worked at the intersection of transportation, energy and environmental policy for fifteen years. He is currently a senior energy analyst and the vehicles campaign director for NRDC. He recently served as the chief strategist for major bipartisan oil savings policy and the 2005 federal transportation bill. Previous to his seven years at NRDC, Deron worked among other places with the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club and Maryland's Department of Environment. His blog can be found here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlovaas/

Why we should love logarithms

The tendency of 'uneducated' people to compress the number scale for big numbers is actually an admirable way of measuring the world, says Philip Ball.

Philip Ball


Do kids instinctively think logarithmically - and is this the smartest way to look at numbers after all?PunchstockI'd never have guessed, in the days when I used to paw through my grubby book of logarithms in maths classes, that I'd come to look back with fondness on these tables of cryptic decimals. In those days the most basic of electronic calculators was the size of a laptop and about as expensive in real terms, so books of logarithms were the quickest way to multiply large numbers (see 'What are logarithms'.

Of course, logarithms remain central to any advanced study of mathematics. But as they are no longer a practical arithmetic tool, one can’t now assume general familiarity with them. And so, countless popular science books contain potted guides to using exponential notation and interpreting logarithmic axes on graphs. Why do they need to do this? Because logarithmic scaling is the natural system for magnitudes of quantities in the sciences.

That's why a new claim that logarithmic mapping of numbers is the natural, intuitive scheme for humans rings true. Stanislas Dehaene of the Federative Institute of Research in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, and his co-workers report in Science 1 that both adults and children of an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu, who have had almost no exposure to the linear counting scale of the industrialized world, judge magnitudes on a logarithmic basis.

Down the line
The researchers presented their subjects with a computerized task in which they were asked to locate on a line the points that best signified the number of various stimuli (dots, sequences of tones or spoken words) in the ranges from 1 to 10 and from 10 to 100. One end of the line corresponded to 1, say, and the other to 10; where on this line should 6 sit? The results showed that the Amazonians had a clear tendency to apportion the divisions logarithmically, which means that successive numbers get progressively closer together as they get bigger.

The same behaviour has previously been seen in young children from the West2. But adults instead use a linear scaling, in which the distance between each number is the same irrespective of their magnitude. This could be because adults are taught that is how numbers are 'really' distributed, or it could be that some intrinsic aspect of brain development creates a greater predisposition to linear scaling as we mature. To distinguish between these possibilities, Dehaene and his colleagues tested an adult population that was 'uncontaminated' by schooling.

The implication of their finding, they say, is that "the concept of a linear number line seems to be a cultural invention that fails to develop in the absence of formal education". If this study were done in the nineteenth century (and aside from the computerized methodology, it could just as easily have been), we can feel pretty sure that it would have been accompanied by some patronizing comment about how 'primitive' people have failed to acquire the requisite mathematical sophistication.

Today's anthropology is more enlightened, and indeed Dehaene and his team have previously revealed the impressive subtlety of Mundurucu concepts of number and space, despite the culture having no words for numbers greater than five3,4.

Everything in perspective
But in any event, the proper conclusion is surely that it is our own intuitive sense of number that is somehow awry. The notion of a decreasing distance between numbers makes perfect sense once we think about that difference in proportionate terms: 1,001 is clearly more akin to 1,000 than 2 is to 1. We can even quantify those degrees of likeness. If we space numbers along a scale such that the distances between them reflect the proportion by which they increment the previous number, then the distance of a number n from 1 is given by the harmonic series, the sum of 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 and so on up to 1/n. This distance is roughly proportional to the logarithm of n.

This, it is often said, is why life seems to speed up as we get older: each passing year is a smaller proportion of our whole life. In perceptual terms, the clock ticks with an ever faster beat.

But wait, you might say – surely 'real' quantities are linear? A kilometre is a kilometre whether we have travelled 1 or 100 already, and it takes us the same time to traverse at constant speed. Well, yes and no. Many creatures, execute random walks or the curious punctuated random walks called Lévy flights, in which migrations over a fixed increment in distance takes an ever longer time. Besides, we can usually assume that an animal capable of covering 100 kilometres could manage 101, but not necessarily that one capable of 1 kilometre could manage 2 kilometres (try the latter case with a young child).

Yet the logarithmic character of nature goes deeper than that. For scientists, just about all magnitude scales are most meaningful when expressed logarithmically, a fact memorably demonstrated in the vision of the Universe depicted in the celebrated 1977 film Powers of Ten The femtometre (10-15 metres) is the scale of the atomic nucleus, the nanometre (10-9 metres) that of molecular systems, the micrometre (10-6 metres) the scale of the living cell, and so on. Cosmological eras demand logarithmically-fine time divisions as we move closer back towards the Big Bang. The immense variation in the size of earthquakes is tamed by the logarithmic magnitude scale, in which (roughly speaking) an increase of one degree of magnitude corresponds to a tenfold increase in energy. The same is true of the decibel scale for sound intensity, and the pH scale of acidity.

Law of the land
Indeed, the relationship between earthquake magnitude and frequency is one of the best known of the ubiquitous natural power laws, in which some quantity is proportional to the n th power of another. These relationships are best depicted with logarithmic scaling: on logarithmic axes, they look linear. Power laws have been discovered not only for landslides and solar flares but for many aspects of human culture: word-use frequency, say, or size-frequency relationships of wars, towns and website connections.

All these things could be understood much more readily if we could continue to use the logarithmic number scaling with which we are apparently endowed intuitively. So why do we devote so much energy to replacing it with linear scaling?

Linearity betrays an obsession with precision. That might incline us to expect an origin in engineering or surveying, but actually it isn't clear that this is true. The greater the number of units in a structure's dimension, the less that small errors matter: a temple intended to be 100 cubits long could probably accommodate 101 cubits, and in fact often did, because early surveying methods were far from perfect. And in any event, such dimensions were often determined by relative proportions rather than by absolute numbers. It seems more conceivable that a linear mentality stemmed from trade: if you're paying for 100 sheep, you don't want to be given 99, and the seller wants to make sure he doesn't give you 101. And if traders want to balance their books, these exact numbers matter.

Yet logarithmic thinking doesn't go away entirely. Dehaene and his colleagues show that it remains even in Westerners for very large numbers, and it is implicit in the skill of numerical approximation. Counting that uses a base system, such as our base 10, also demands a kind of logarithmic terminology: you need a new word or symbol only for successive powers of ten (as found both in ancient Egypt and China).

All in all, there are good arguments why an ability to think logarithmically is valuable. Does a conventional education perhaps suppress it more than it should?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

8 Ways to Green Your Home

8 Ways to Green Your Home


1. Clean Out Your Storage
We all have a closet or garage full of items that aren’t used anymore. An easy way to organize these areas is to group the products and decide what to do with them accordingly. Some sample groups could include electronics, household waste (paint, pesticides, motor oil) and scrap metal.

2. Recycle Smarter
Once you’ve grouped out what you want to get rid of, figure out how and where to recycle these products or donate them for reuse. Earth 911’s recycling locator at the top of this page can help. Another way to recycle smart is by closing the loop; buy items made from recycled content and with limited packaging.


3. Use Energy More Wisely
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use 20 percent of the energy of incandescent bulb, and they also last 10 times as long. Keeping your thermostat at reasonable temperatures in both the winter and the summer is also a good energy saver. Finally, read your energy bill and check for trends from month to month, and ask your energy company about renewable alternatives.

4. Use Less Water
Whether it’s taking shorter showers or putting a bottle in your toilet tank, saving water is important because it is a limited resource. You can also reuse water around the house, such as using cooking water for plants (the nutrients from the food will benefit the plant).

5. Start Composting
Composting is hip again, and it’s a great way to reduce your waste and help your garden at the same time. You can include most food scraps and material like cardboard, which will biodegrade in your yard and produce nutrient-rich fertilizer. A cubic yard of compost is worth $80 in dirt costs.

6. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you can afford it, start replacing older appliances in your home with more energy-efficient ones. These products will reduce your energy output and save money on your electricity bill. Buying a hybrid car is also an eco-friendly investment.

Start a Green Group
Plenty of green activities are meant to be a shared experience, such as carpooling. Talk to your friends about the importance of conserving, and develop programs and activities in your neighborhood for others to get involved. Students can also start a Club Earth 911 at their school.

Plant a Tree
It may seem cliché, but planting trees was the original carbon offset. Not only do they reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, but they can provide shade for your home (reducing energy costs) and produce fruits that you won’t have to buy at the store.

Share your own green tips with others by commenting below. Print the list to post on your refrigerator!

This story is part of Earth 911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas. Click here to see Earth 911’s “Green Eight” archive.

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net