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It’s Kind of a Funny Story



Spoiler alert: There’s no gunfire, no emergencies, no big-time scary scenes in this movie, but you’ll like it.

I had a friend who I visited in a place like this. The guy worked in my bicycle shop. He had been evicted from three homes because he somehow figured that the furnaces in each place were putting out dangerous fumes. I asked him about that, and all he could tell me is that the fumes were bad and they weren’t carbon monoxide.

When he called the fire department in the middle of the last place, there was nowhere left that he could rent. He ended up homeless. This was winter on the east coast of the United States. He equipped his bicycle with full winter camping gear, and ended up living in the woods.

Then, one night, he got the notion that the local mental ward in the university hospital, where he had been a few times before, wasn’t feeding the patients right. He claimed, perhaps rightly, that the food did not have enough nutrition. As the night shift orderlies tried to calm him and assure him that they’d pass the message along to the doctors in the morning, he became upset because he knew they were just placating him. He became more and more upset, and of course they had to commit him again.

When he didn’t show up for work for a few days, I started asking around and discovered that he was committed. I did visit, and the place was quite like in the movie. However, during the time I was there, I did not see anyone who was catatonic, violent, or looking crazy in any way. There were just people playing chess, conversing, watching TV or reading books.

There’s more to this story. I recorded the whole thing in Five Years in the Bike Shop.

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The World’s Best Teacher

This teacher is Ron Clark. He was born in 1972 in Chocowinity, North Carolina where he was asked to fill in for an elementary school teacher who had passed away. Becoming an educator was not his original plan. Once he got a taste of changing kids’ lives, he decided that teaching in Harlem, New York might be a great challenge where his burgeoning skill might be more useful. He has since moved on to start his own academy in Atlanta, Georgia where he teachers children, but also teaches teachers on better techniques of educating. He has trained 108,000 teachers as of today (February 10, 2024). He has also become a television personality and has authored four books, at least one of which has reached the New York Times Bestseller list.

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10 Strange Facts About Psychology

The color red can increase a person’s appetite.

People who daydream more tend to have higher intelligence.

The average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day.

Music has been shown to reduce pain and anxiety, and improve mood.

People with higher levels of education are more likely to experience sleep paralysis.

The scent of lavender has been found to reduce stress and improve sleep quality.

Multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%.

The “bystander effect” refers to the tendency for individuals to be less likely to help someone in need when other people are present.

People who swear more tend to be more honest.

The brain’s hippocampus, responsible for memory, is larger in London taxi drivers due to their extensive knowledge of the city’s streets.

Smiling, even if forced, can actually improve your mood.

People are more likely to remember negative memories over positive ones, due to the brain’s negativity bias.

In order to help us successfully navigate life, the negativity bias keeps us aware of things that we may need to change or avoid. Positive events are unimportant in survival.

The “placebo effect” refers to the phenomenon where a person experiences a perceived improvement in symptoms after receiving a treatment with no therapeutic value.

Playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.

The fear of public speaking, known as glossophobia, affects about 75% of people.

Humans are hardwired to remember faces more easily than names.

People who sleep on their left side have more vivid dreams.

A study found that people are more likely to take risks in a casino if they have to walk past a person smoking, due to the association of smoking with risk-taking behavior.

The brain releases dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, when we receive social media notifications.

The “butterfly effect” suggests that small, seemingly insignificant events can have far-reaching consequences.

Listening to sad music can actually improve your mood by allowing you to process and regulate emotions.

People tend to overestimate their abilities in unfamiliar areas, a phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Nostalgia can counteract feelings of loneliness, boredom, and anxiety.

People are more likely to comply with a request if it is made in a quieter voice.

The smell of chocolate can increase theta brain waves, which are associated with relaxation.

People are more likely to remember information that is presented in a visually appealing format.

The “mere exposure effect” suggests that the more we are exposed to something, the more we tend to like it.

A study found that the anticipation of a vacation can bring more happiness than the vacation itself.

The brain can rewire itself through neuroplasticity, allowing for learning and adaptation throughout life.

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Fathers

The celebration of Father’s Day dates back to 1910 in the United States and is now celebrated in many countries worldwide.

The average age of first-time fathers is increasing. In the United States, it was around 27.4 years old in 2020.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives is associated with positive developmental outcomes, including improved cognitive development and higher academic achievement.

The world’s oldest known father was Nanu Ram Jogi, an Indian farmer who fathered his 21st child at the age of 90.

Fathers often experience hormonal changes after becoming dads. Testosterone levels decrease, while oxytocin and prolactin levels increase, promoting nurturing and bonding behaviors.

It has been noticed that men are generally better at focus and women are better at multitasking. The reason is likely to date back to when women had to spread their attention over several children at once to keep them all safe. Meanwhile the man had to bag that antelope no matter what if his family was going to eat. He couldn’t pay attention anything else.

For the same reason, women are also more empathetic while men may be more impervious to pain. The mother had to understand and figure out what was wrong when her pre-verbal children were hurting. The man couldn’t stop hunting just because he scratched his way past a sticker bush.

The average father spends about 7 hours per week on child care activities, compared to 10 hours per week for mothers, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Studies have shown that involved fathers can have a positive impact on their children’s emotional well-being and mental health.

The term “dad bod” was popularized in 2015, referring to a more relaxed and less muscular physique often associated with fathers.

“Mister Mom:” The United States has the highest number of stay-at-home dads in the world, with around 2 million fathers choosing to be the primary caregivers for their children.

Sperm banks have specific requirements for donors, including factors such as height, weight, education, and physical health.

In many species, including seahorses and some birds, fathers are responsible for incubating eggs and caring for the offspring.

A father’s age at the time of conception can impact a child’s health. Older fathers have a higher risk of passing on genetic mutations and may increase the chances of certain health conditions in their children.

In a study published in the journal “Developmental Psychology,” it was found that fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives tend to have kids with higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive abilities.

In some indigenous cultures, fathers may play a significant role in naming their children, often choosing names with special meanings or connections to their heritage.

A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found that children who have a close relationship with their fathers are less likely to experience behavioral problems and are more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior.

The world record for the most children fathered by a single man is believed to be held by a Moroccan emperor, Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, who is said to have had 888 children.

In the animal kingdom, male seahorses give birth to their offspring. They carry fertilized eggs in a special pouch until they hatch.

According to a study published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family,” fathers who actively participate in household chores tend to have daughters who aspire to higher-paying careers traditionally dominated by men.

A study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience” found that fathers’ brains undergo changes, including increased activity in areas associated with empathy and caregiving, when they become parents.

The concept of paternity leave is becoming more prevalent globally. Countries like Sweden, Norway, and Iceland offer generous paid paternity leave to fathers.

According to a study published in the journal “Pediatrics,” children who have involved fathers are have greater self-esteem and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as drug use and delinquency.

The “World’s Greatest Dad” trophy was created by the American Trophy Company in 1954 and has since become a popular gift for Father’s Day.

A father’s voice has a unique impact on children. Studies show that babies can recognize and prefer their father’s voice within days of birth.

In 2016, a study published in the journal “Psychology of Men & Masculinity” found that fathers who play an active role in caregiving experience higher levels of happiness and satisfaction with their lives.

In some cultures, such as in parts of India and Africa, fatherhood is celebrated with specific rituals and ceremonies, such as baby-naming ceremonies or initiation rites.

According to a study published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family,” fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives have healthier relationships with their partners.

Single fathers are a growing demographic. In the United States, the number of single fathers has increased from 300,000 in 1960 to over 2 million in 2020.

In the animal kingdom, male emperor penguins incubate the eggs and care for the chicks while the females go out to sea to hunt for food.

According to a study published in the journal “Evolution and Human Behavior,” expectant fathers experience hormonal changes, including increased levels of prolactin, a hormone associated with nurturing behavior.

The world’s shortest known father is Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal, who stood at a height of 54.6 centimeters (21.5 inches). That’s shorter than an average 2-year-old.

The tradition of giving Father’s Day gifts, such as ties or tools, originated from the desire to promote gender equity and encourage men to embrace their nurturing side.

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Catholic Church

The Vatican City, located within Rome, is the smallest independent state in the world and serves as the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican City has its own post office, radio station, and newspaper.

Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The Catholic Church operates the largest non-governmental network of education and healthcare institutions in the world.

The Holy See, the central governing body of the Catholic Church, is recognized as a sovereign entity by international law.

The Catholic Church has canonized over 10,000 saints throughout history.

The Vatican Secret Archives contain millions of historical documents, including papal bulls, letters, and manuscripts dating back centuries.

The Pope, as the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the Catholic Church, is considered the successor of Saint Peter, who was the first Pope.

The Vatican Observatory, founded in 1891, is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. This came 276 years after Galileo Galilei was brought before the Catholic inquisition and made to refute his findings that the Sun orbits the Earth.

The Catholic Church was a major patron of Renaissance art and commissioned works from renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

The Swiss Guard, a small force responsible for the security of the Pope, is the oldest active military unit in continuous operation, founded in 1506.

The Catholic Church has its own diplomatic corps, known as the Holy See Diplomatic Corps, which maintains diplomatic relations with countries around the world.

The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination, with over 1.3 billion members worldwide. One out of every six people is Catholic.

President John F. Kennedy was Catholic.

The Catholic Church played a significant role in the development of Western music, with composers like Palestrina, Mozart, and Bach creating sacred music for liturgical use.

The Code of Canon Law, the official set of laws governing the Catholic Church, contains over 1,700 canons.

The Catholic Church has its own legal system, known as Canon Law, which regulates various aspects of Church life, including sacraments, discipline, and governance. Code of Canon Law contains over 1,700 canons.

The Pope’s official title is “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State.”

The Vatican City has its own railway station, connected to the Italian railway system, but it is mainly used for freight and special occasions.

The Catholic Church operates numerous charitable organizations, providing aid and assistance to those in need worldwide.

The Catholic Church considers the Pope infallible in matters of faith and morals when speaking “ex cathedra” (from the chair of Peter) on matters of doctrine.

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Human Babies

Babies have more bones than adults. They are born with about 300 bones, while adults have 206 due to the fusion of some bones as they grow.

A baby’s taste buds are more sensitive than those of adults. They can taste a wider range of flavors, which may explain why they can be picky eaters.

Newborn babies can recognize their mother’s voice from birth. They are also able to recognize familiar sounds they heard while in the womb.

Babies have a strong sense of smell. They can differentiate between their mother’s breast milk and that of another woman.

On average, a baby will triple its birth weight within the first year of life.

Newborn babies are nearsighted and can see objects clearly only at a close distance. They can see best at a distance of 8-12 inches, which is roughly the distance between their face and their mother’s while breastfeeding.

Babies don’t have kneecaps at birth. Instead, they have soft cartilage that eventually hardens into kneecaps as they grow.

The brain of a baby doubles in size during the first year of life.

Babies have a natural instinct for swimming and can hold their breath automatically underwater until about six months old.

A newborn baby can cry as soon as they are born. This helps clear their lungs and open up their airways.

Babies have a strong grip reflex. They can hold onto an object placed in their hand and can even support their body weight for a short time.

Babies have a unique grasping reflex known as the “palmar reflex,” where they instinctively hold onto objects that touch their palms.

Babies have more taste buds on their tongues than adults. They have around 10,000 taste buds compared to adults’ 2,000-4,000.

A baby’s head is proportionally larger compared to the rest of their body compared to adults. This is because the brain develops rapidly during the early years.

Babies are born with the ability to mimic facial expressions. They often imitate the expressions they see their parents making.

A baby’s heart beats faster than an adult’s. The average heart rate for a newborn is around 120-160 beats per minute.

Babies have a higher body surface area-to-weight ratio than adults, which makes them more susceptible to changes in temperature.

Newborn babies have more bones in their skull than adults. This allows for flexibility during birth and helps the skull to mold and pass through the birth canal.

Babies have a stronger sense of hearing than adults. They can hear higher frequencies and are more sensitive to sounds in general.

Babies are born with a natural instinct to suck. This reflex helps them to feed and find comfort.

A baby’s first social smile typically appears between 6-8 weeks of age. This is when they start to recognize and respond to their caregivers.

Newborn babies have a heightened sense of touch. They can feel pain, temperature, and pressure more intensely than adults.

Babies have more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than adults. This is thought to contribute to their brain development.

A newborn baby has no control over their saliva and may drool frequently.

Babies have a natural preference for human faces and will often gaze longer at faces compared to other objects.

A baby’s immune system is not fully developed at birth. They receive antibodies from their mother through breast milk, which helps protect them against infections.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Ultimate Organizing Technique

Abe Lincoln did a very simple thing that you can do too. It helped him keep track of an entire country. It worked back in the 1800s, and it will work just as well today.

He had an envelope on his desk marked, “If you can’t find it anywhere else, look in here.” In a way, that’s kind of the motif of 500Ways.com also. If you can’t find it on the entire rest of the Internet, you may find it here.

The one change you might like to make is to use a folder on your computer rather than a physical envelope for all the miscellaneous files.

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Three Crazy Words

Three very common words do not usually have the effect you’d expect.

When you say “don’t,” you are setting up a situation that is the opposite of what you literally say. For instance, if I tell you, “Don’t think about dragons,” what happens? Right, you immediately think about dragons. It seems that on some level, the mind understands that whatever follows “don’t” is important, but the “don’t” part itself is not emphasized. It’s as if parents who tell their children, “don’t put your milk so close to the edge of the table,” are asking for trouble. Teachers who tell their students “don’t run” are almost commanding them to run.

In NLP, you can use this aspect of “don’t,” to help people focus on new thoughts or behaviors. One of the most powerful uses is at the end of a session when you can offer a hypnotic suggestion such as this: “And, don’t be surprised if in the next few days, you’ll have wonderful revelations born out of our conversation today.”

“But” is a word that also has a special effect. Any part of a sentence before the word “but” is pretty much wiped out by whatever follows. For instance, if I tell someone, “I like what you wrote, but the last paragraph confuses me,” guess what happens? Right again! All the person hears is the critique. The entire complimentary part of the sentence is lost.

Another such word is “why.” When you ask “why” you get ‘story.’ Asking “why” is like an invitation or a challenge to defense – it puts the person who is asked in a space where they have to try to tell you “why,” on a conscious level, and this is often counter-productive. A better question is “How,” or something like, “What let you know to…” or “When…”