Sunday, March 27, 2005

Good News - #8

Here is another round of three news stories with a positive focus. Sometimes the hardest part is chosing which of the few to link to from the many good news stories available. So, here goes. (Due to the dynamic nature of news I do not know how long any of the links will remain active).

Albania has been a country of deep political unrest, and its capital probably has not been high on the list of vacation choices. The mayor of Tirana refuses to let his city die, and instead has taken charge to improve the once ravaged capital in many ways

a new form of lighting drastically increases the energy efficiency and increases light output at the same time. It uses the Sun, but is not solar power in the traditional sense, it's a clever solution that holds much promise.

In Afghanistan two prominent warloads have laid down their weapons. In a show of support, and a desire for inclusion, in up coming parliamentary elections in that country. Two thumbs up to anyone who chooses political discourse over violence.

Thanks and may you keep finding good news when it happens:)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Fear Of Open-Mindedness (A bit of a rant)

Some people lean more toward being open-minded, and others lean toward being close-minded. Then there are those people who seem to do more than just lean toward one or the other, they actually cling to their choice of close-mindedness.

The problem arises when you introduce any idea that runs counter to their beliefs. I have seen the effects firsthand, and they can be quite explosive. Yelling, name calling, huffing, puffing, blowing the house down, are all par for the course. Intelligent dialogue is not. I truly think that this type of close-mindedness derives from an insecurity in their own beliefs.

One time I was asked for my opinion on a politically charged issue, and I shared it tactfully (I thought so anyway). Wow! That really set them off. I do not think they really wanted my opinion, but an argument. They got my opinion, but not an argument. I stuck to my point, but did not let my viewpoint devolve into some babbling rhetoric.

I have strongly held beliefs, but do not fear new ideas. I either accept them, deny them, or assimilate them where possible. I strive for objectivity, but can admit when it is time to rethink an idea, if new, and credible information has surfaced.

How do you rank yourself on being open or close minded? Where do you think otehrs rank you? Why?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Taking Charge (In A Nutshell)

I am keeping this one short and sweet.

Success is really about taking charge of your life and its potentials. That is probably why people who are success oriented, positive thinkers often get ridiculed. It is easier to ridicule than it is to admit a lack of responsibility for their own shortcomings. I have shortcomings, and plenty of them, but choosing to focus on strengths is always more rewarding.

You first have to decide what it is you want, with clarity. Then keep in mind this quote from Alan Kay - The best way to predict the future is to invent it. I think that sums it up quite nicely, how about you?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Good News - #7

Well, it has been another week of negative news being pushed by the media. I understand the need for reporting on such things, and my take on bad news is that it is a good thing if it spurs people to action against it. Here are three stories from the past week with a more positive outlook. (Due to the dynamic nature of news I do not know how long any of the links will remain active).

Researchers have just released a report that shows learning as preventitive medicine. The study shows the correlation between education and the development of a more effective brain. Very interesting.

Egypt freed a prisoner who oppses the current single-candidate election system. Under pressure, current president Mubarak allowed the release of Ayman Nour, who plans on running against Mubarak in September.

I think this will turn out to be one of the most important breakthroughs in the fight against cancer. This newly discovered method has great potential as it does not target healthy cells.

The good news is always out there. Sometimes it seems the bad news takes over, but I refuse to let that be the case.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Superior Alternative To Teasing

Talking on the phone today, I was told how stupid my friends' co-worker is. The comments were quite demeaning, and revolved around her inability to spell. She had the nerve to spell, on a sign, the word sandwich as sanwitch, and fries as frys. Now, these spellings might be somewhat humorous, but at least they are phonetic. Also, her lack of spelling ability did not keep her from what she was assigned to do.

When my friend saw that the words were misspelled on the sign he did not say anything to her about it. He just went about his work. Of course, as soon as he got on the subject with me it was the funniest thing in the world (apparently). After he went on for some time, I mentioned that I consider myself a good speller, he also said the same about himself. He took this to mean that I agreed with his approach, I did not. My only point about his and my good spelling was that there were still words I do not know how to spell.

After the phone conversation ended I began thinking about an alternative to teasing in general. It can be summed up in one word - teach. My friend could have just as easily took the time to teach this vile misspeller the correct way to spell the words sandwich and fries. Whether or not she remembers them, does not matter. What matters is that a better working relationship good have been started. What matters is that the next time she may ask my friend how something is spelled. What really matters is doing the right thing by helping someone when the opportunity arises.

There are things which people get teased about, which they cannot change (height, looks, and background for example). In these instances teaching is still the superior alternative to teasing. The only thing that changes is who is doing the teaching.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Good News - #6

I was out having dinner (Reuben sandwiches, yummm...) with my dad last night, and stayed out later than expected. I started writing this about 10 minutes after I woke up. The more I do these good news stories, the more I enjoy it. (Due to the dynamic nature of news I do not know how long any of the links will remain active).

Young burn patients now have an effective and fun way to alleviate pain. The study reveals how virtual reality reduces pain .

Hidden junk fees on cell phone bills may become a thing of the past. This is good news, because it will allow the consumer to make more informed choices when selecting cell phone plans. Of course the cell phone industry does not want this to happen, so they put their own spin on it.

Here is an inspiring story about five people and how they have changed their lives for the better. I only wish I would have been following their stories from the beginning. This story really shows how anybody can achieve better things in life.

There is good news out there, and I will keep seeking it out. For your benefit as well as mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Quick Thought

The opposite of happiness is not sadness, it is anger.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

How Am I GOING TO LOSE 20 POUNDS First? - Update

Here is a quick update for those of you who are keeping track of the weight loss contest. (The first one to lose 20 pounds wins the cash). I will refer to the other people by first initial. So far...

Mr. S. has lost 5 pounds
Mrs. W. has lost 3 pounds
I have lost 1 pound

Looks like I have a way to go. I am not discouraged at all, because I actually started the contest 4 days later than the other two. This has become an extra source of motivation.

Thanks for the weight loss tips, I appreciate every one of them, keep them coming.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Good News - #5

This is now the fifth week of my looking for the good news that is out there. To be sure, there are good news stories presented in the media. One of the problems is that bad news can tend to dominate a broadcast, front page or conversation. The last item is where we can all step in and share what is good with the world. When someone is sharing bad news, you can counteract it by sharing good news. Just a thought. (Due to the dynamic nature of news I do not know how long any of the links will remain active).

The peace process can be hard work, and rebuilding infrastructure is a part of that process. India and Pakistan are making tremendous strides towards peace. Here is an interesting article about how a new bus route is helping connect these two countries.

From the world of medicine it was announced that a 2001 initiative against measles is reaping substantial benefits. Even in the typically worst places the results have been dramatic.

The war on drugs has been an ongoing battle for generations. Now from Laos comes a new weapon that is winning the fight against opium. Personally, I think some would call it the lesser of two evils :o)

That's a few of the many positive news stories from the past week. I hope you get a chance to share these (or any positive news) with someone soon.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How Am I GOING TO LOSE 20 POUNDS First?

Losing weight is something I have been meaning to do for quite some time. I am just over six feet tall and weigh 241 pounds. Well, today at work I entered into a contest for losing weight. The rules are simple - the first person to lose 20 pounds wins cold hard cash from the remaining contestants.

It is not a question of winning, it is just a question of how fast. I am confident I will win, but any suggestions that you have are greatly appreciated.

The first weigh-in point is this Thursday. I will post the current standings then. Many, many thanks in advance.