Archive | March 2014

Learn to Love Your Food

Matt Wilson Personal Training

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You can quit smoking.

You can quit pharmaceuticals.

You can quit drinking alcohol.

You can quit being a couch potato.

You can quit not running.

You can quit not exercising.

***

Wanna know what you can’t quit?

Eating.

You can’t quit food.

All of the unhealthful habits above, you can quit.  In fact, you can quit them cold turkey.  Sure, there will be withdrawals and aches and pains, but stay the course and you come out on the other side.

What happens if you quit eating?

You die.

This is one of the reasons so many people have a hard time with their weight.  Their addiction is not something that they can just quit, cold turkey or otherwise.  Unfortunately, through a chain of events that may or may not be of their own making, poor eating habits have developed and the physiology, chemistry and physical make up of their bodies…

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On Writing, Life, and Margaret Atwood

The Paperbook Blog

University is a strange institution. Ever since I can remember it has been preached to me that it is a necessity in achieving life’s dreams, an establishment designed to enlighten and educate me. Without completing a university degree, I was told, I would end up going nowhere. I would be bound for failure, shunted off to one side in the employment game. A great Tertiary Entrance Exam score saw me enrol in Law, for no other reason than that I could. What followed was a year and a half of partying punctuated by the occasional lecture or exam, before I dropped out spectacularly in a haze of tears, recriminations and gin.

Now here I am, six years later, working my way through a different university degree. Does this mean that I finally bought into the concept of tertiary education, a convert to the institution? Not at all. Rather, and this is painful to…

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On NASA’s Discovery: Are They Really Planets?

Lost In Transits

TNG_LaPalmaFor 3 months a year, the TNG telescope on the island of La Palma turns its high-precision spectrometer (HARPS-N) towards the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra. This is the field of view that NASA’s Kepler space telescope stared at for more than 3 years, detecting thousands of potential new exoplanets using the transit method. There the TNG scans hundreds of Kepler’s potentially planet-holding stars looking for tiny changes in their radial velocity. If detected, this signal will indicate the presence of a real planet, confirming once and for all what Kepler first hinted at many months before. This is the process that, up until now, has been used to definitively find the majority of Kepler’s 211 planets.

exoplanetdiscoverieshistogram New ‘discoveries’ in context

That appeared to change in the blink of an eye this week with the confirmation of 715 new planets using a new catch-all statistical technique. But how did…

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Marlo Thomas: Free to Be… All These Years Later

TIME

It was only a giggle and five words, but it told us our work was cut out for us.

The year was 1974, and my friend, producer Carole Hart, and I were deep into creating a TV special based on our children’s LP that celebrated gender and racial equality. Filled with songs and stories and poems, the project encouraged kids to realize that their dreams were not only boundless, but achievable. Our title for the project: Free to Be…You and Me.

For one scene in the special, we’d decided to interview children about how they envisioned their lives one day. This segment, we felt, would underscore that people had to be taught to be sexist; and that little children had not yet been socialized with gender stereotypes.

“What would you like to be when you grow up?” we asked one precious, curly-headed preschooler, the tape rolling as we waited…

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The Value of the Blank Canvas

Principals in Training

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From the Brooklyn studio of artist Nathan Dilworth.

The title of this post isn’t meant to be symbolic – I literally mean the value of standing in front of a blank canvas, ready to be painted.  It is a wonderful feeling to sense the potential of the untouched space – the untrodden field of newly-fallen snow.

It is also a bit (quite?) scary to begin something from nothing.  Why?  Because the process that ensues from the first brushstroke (or the first sentence of a book, or…) can feel like walking over coals – or quicksand.  We can’t help but have a vision for what we want this blank space to look like, but we know from experience that what we envision in our heads is virtually never what results – it is simply a starting point.  Getting to the completed product takes work; it takes slogging through cruddy, muddled thinking and…

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