Click on WORD or PDF for full content
Canada’s MacLeans Magazine says habits are a key to a life of happiness.
After every trip to the bathroom when he’s at home or in a hotel room, BJ Fogg will get down on the ground and do two push-ups. Then he’ll wash his hands. It sounds kind of weird, if you stop to think about it, but Fogg doesn’t think about it anymore. It’s a habit he has worked to develop over the past two years to help get in shape. Now, the push-ups come automatically and he gets a surge of energy each time. Often he doesn’t stop at two. On some trips, he might do 10 or 25. “I probably did 50 or 60 push-ups yesterday,” he says.
Fogg is perfectly placed to train himself into a healthy habit. He is an expert on the subject, having studied human behaviour for 20 years, mostly at StanfordUniversity, where he’s the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab. From his research, he’s learned that the best way to automate a new habit is to set the bar incredibly low. Ergo, just two pushups. “You pick something so small, it’s easy to do. Motivation isn’t required to do it,” he says. Even though he’s become much stronger, he says, he’ll never raise the minimum. The goal remains two push-ups, and anything more is a bonus. “If you want to maintain the habit, you will always be okay with just doing the tiny version of it,” he says.
Habits are important because, as Gretchen Rubin puts it, “what we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.” When Rubin published the massively bestselling The Happiness Project, she laid out personal commandments and explored the overarching principles in her year-long journey to enjoy life to the fullest. In her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Rubin narrows her view dramatically, turning to the daily routine actions that make up our days. “Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives,” Rubin says in an interview. …
Jay Leno wrote a column for Autoweek on the problems with ethanol. Most of ethanol can be blamed on the W Bush administration so this post can be considered non-political. Both sides, GOP and Dems suck on this issue.
There have been a lot of old-car fires lately. I went through the ’70s, the ’80s and most of the ’90s without ever having read much about car fires. Suddenly, they are happening all over the place. Here’s one reason: The ethanol in modern gasoline—about 10 percent in many states—is so corrosive, it eats through either the fuel-pump diaphragm, old rubber fuel lines or a pot metal part, then leaks out on a hot engine … and ka-bloooooie!!!
As someone who collects old cars, and keeps them up religiously, I am now replacing fuel-pressure regulators every 12 to 18 months. New cars are equipped with fuel lines that are resistant to ethanol damage, but with older cars, the worst can happen—you’re going down the road, and suddenly your car is on fire.
There’s more. I find that gasoline, which used to last about a year and a half or two years, is pretty much done after a month or so these days. If I run a car from the teens or ’20s and fill it up with modern fuel, then it sits for more than two months, I often can’t get it to start.
Ethanol will absorb water from ambient air. In a modern vehicle, with a sealed fuel system, ethanol fuel has a harder time picking up water from the air. But in a vintage car, the water content of fuel can rise, causing corrosion and inhibiting combustion.
It gets worse. Ethanol is a solvent that can loosen the sludge, varnish and dirt that accumulate in a fuel tank. That mixture can clog fuel lines and block carburetor jets. …
Scientific American has a report on the solar powered airplane that is in the process of circumnavigating the globe.
A pioneering flight around the world will use nothing but sunshine for fuel. In the dusty peach dawn of a desert day the Solar Impulse 2 airplane took flight at 11:12 PM Eastern time on March 8 from the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi on the first leg of a bid to fly around the world exclusively powered by electricity generated from sunlight.
At a top speed of 45 kilometers-per-hour the single-seat airplane flew to Muscat in neighboring Oman over roughly 10 hours, touching down at roughly 2:13 PM Eastern time, after a few hours spent circling and waiting for the right weather conditions to land. The plane is an upgraded version of the original Solar Impulse, which flew across the U.S. in 2013; both planes were built by the Solar Impulse group, led by Swiss adventurers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. …
Sail in the America’s Cup for Larry Ellison and make $300,000 per year. Wall Street Journal reports on filings in a lawsuit that point to those numbers.
A lawsuit against Larry Ellison ’s sailing squad, which has led to the seizure of one of his million-dollar boats, is also revealing how much the Oracle Corp. founder is willing to spend to win the America’s Cup: $300,000 a year for a rank-and-file sailor.
The litigation is the latest in a series of legal battles that have surrounded the billionaire’s sailing successes.
On Monday morning, two federal marshals walked into the San Francisco waterfront base of the sailing squad, Oracle Team USA, and seized three gray, whale-size containers holding the disassembled parts of a 45-foot-long, seven-story-tall yacht called an AC45, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer and a U.S. Marshals spokesman.
The marshals tagged the three containers, which can’t be moved until a judge issues a ruling on the seizure or allows the team to post a bond on the boat. The vessel, a smaller version of Oracle’s victorious 72-foot-long boat in the 2013 America’s Cup, is being held as a lien, or collateral, in the case. The plaintiff asked for the seizure.
The plaintiff is Joe Spooner, who spent a decade as an Oracle sailor until the team dismissed him in January. A 41-year-old New Zealand native, Spooner in February sued the team for $725,000 in wages over a 2½-year span, as well as double-wage penalties, punitive damages and legal fees, alleging the squad wrongfully discharged him without cause.
Australian Geographic reports on the 10 most destructive tsunamis in history.
Tsunamis have occurred often throughout history. So frequently in Japan, in fact, that they invented the word specifically for the phenomenon: ‘tsu’ meaning harbour and ‘nami’ meaning wave.
“It’s actually quite frightening to think that this [Japanese tsunami] event is smaller than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, smaller even than the 1960 Chilean tsunami, yet the damage to Japan’s people and economy is still profound,” says Professor James Goff, co-director of the Australian Tsunami Research Centre and Natural Hazards Research Lab at the University of New South Wales. “It’s a horrendous tragedy, caused by a completely unpredictable event.”
Because little historical data exist on the size of tsunami waves, how many occur in one event, or how far they advance on shore, scientists rank them according to how much damage they wreak. However, assessing just how much damage a single tsunami event causes may take many months to years; and it may be some time before the Japan earthquake and tsunami can be truly rated on a historical scale. …
BBC News reports coffee may be good for your heart.
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may help people avoid clogged arteries – a known risk factor for heart disease – Korean researchers believe.
They studied more than 25,000 male and female employees who underwent routine health checks at their workplace.
Employees who drank a moderate amount of coffee – three to five cups a day – were less likely to have early signs of heart disease on their medical scans.
The findings reopen the debate about whether coffee is good for the heart. …
Machines Like Us says you can have too much of a good thing like vitamin D.
In terms of public health, a lack of vitamin D has long been a focal point. Several studies have shown that too low levels can prove detrimental to our health. However, new research from the University of Copenhagen reveals, for the first time, that also too high levels of vitamin D in our blood is connected to an increased risk of dying from a stroke or a coronary.
The results have just been published in the world-renowned Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
“We have studied the level of vitamin D in 247,574 Danes, and so far, it constitutes the world’s largest basis for this type of study. We have also analysed their mortality rate over a seven-year period after taking the initial blood sample, and in that time 16,645 patients had died. Furthermore, we have looked at the connection between their deaths and their levels of vitamin D”, Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Peter Schwarz explains. …