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Everything you need to know about snowflakes



Ten facts about snowflakes

1. The word snowflake is often used to refer to what’s technically a snow crystal. Snowflakes can be made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of individual snow crystals.

2. Snow crystals grow fastest in temperatures around 5 °F, but no one knows why.

3. Almost all snowflakes are six-sided, or hexagonally symmetrical.

4. It’s virtually impossible for two naturally occurring snowflakes to be exactly alike.

5. The shape of a snowflake is determined by atmospheric factors such as temperature and humidity.

6. Sticking out your tongue to catch a few falling flakes is fine, but eating snow off the ground is a bad idea, as it may contain pathogenic substances.

7. In the 19th century, an American named Wilson Bentley developed a method for photographing snowflakes in great detail with the help of a microscope. He took more than 5,000 photos during his lifetime, many of which are now on display in various museums.

8. In 1951 the International Commission on Snow and Ice devised a system for categorizing snowflakes according to their shape. The seven main shapes according to this classification are plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms.

9. Individual snowflakes form when water vapor freezes around a tiny airborne particle (e.g. dust or pollen).

10. The largest individual snow crystal ever photographed was 10 millimeters (a little over 3/8 inch) wide.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Three things to consider when planning a destination wedding



Have you long dreamed about getting married on a tropical beach or at a countryside villa in Tuscany? Wherever you decide to tie the knot, here are a few things to consider when planning your destination wedding.

1. Hiring a coordinator will make things easier
Weddings require extensive planning and if yours is out of town, the details can become overwhelming. Hire someone local to the destination—or someone from home with experience coordinating events in your chosen location—to avoid unnecessary headaches.

2. Destination weddings are multi-day affairs
Be sure to show your guests you appreciate them traveling to be with you on your big day by organizing a few group activities for them, either before or after the wedding. You can plan a welcome breakfast, for example, or an excursion to take in the local sights.

3. Not everyone you invite will make it
Don’t be surprised if some of your loved ones can’t make it to your wedding. While it may not be a problem for all of your guests, it’s important to understand that a jaunt to Europe, a week-long all-inclusive trip to the tropics or even a weekend in the next town over isn’t in everyone’s budget.

In addition to the above, think about how you’ll transport wedding essentials to the destination. If you’re traveling by plane, it’s best to pack wedding attire, rings and gifts in your carry-on bag.

Think about throwing a party when you get back home. This way, you’ll still be able to celebrate with the people who weren’t able to make it to your destination wedding.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Retirement: Men suffer boredom,loss of identity, studies say



John is a successful family man: Married for 25 years, he supported his family as a truck driver, always on the road. In his last year before retirement, he dreamed of being at home, improving his guitar skills, jamming with his brother.

Then, a retired friend tells him: “Don’t be surprised that there is nothing to do. Winter is the worst. It is so boring.”

So this is how retirement is? Boring? Disappointing? Aimless?

For many men, boredom is first and depression is second. It may come as a surprise because they were looking forward to free time. According to a 2012 study by University of California, men experience satisfaction the first year followed by a steep decline. In fact, a 2013 study showed that retirement alone increased the probability of depression in men by 40 percent.

Lindsay Greene, author of “Ready to Retire? What You and Your Spouse Need to Know About the Reality of Retirement,” writes that the happiest retirees have multiple selves — hobbies and activities that keep them busy.

Some psychologists say the happiest retirees are those who spent the last three years before retirement hating their job. While they inevitably lose their identity as the breadwinner, at least they don’t go back to the hated grind. But, for those who love their job, it’s probably best to ease into retirement. Either work part time at your job before official retirement or take a part-time job.

Either way, in retirement men (and women) need social relationships, scheduled activities, and meaning.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Four great ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your kids



Looking for something fun to do with your kids for St. Patrick’s Day? Get into the spirit of the occasion with these four fun activities.

1. Adopt a green diet. Put green food dye in the pancake batter in the morning. For dinner, mix avocado in with your mac and cheese. And for dessert? Consider lime Jell-O or chocolate mint ice cream.

2. Explore Irish traditions. Listen to traditional Irish music, write your own limericks and read up on Irish folklore and legends, including those about leprechauns, banshees and giants. Get crafty by making a St. Brigid’s Cross, sate your appetite with a hearty bowl of Irish Stew or discover Irish dancing by taking a class or watching a performance.

3. Attend a parade. Gear up in green clothing then head to your local dollar store to buy St. Patrick’s Day themed accessories. Be sure to bring hot cocoa in a thermos to sip while you watch the floats go by.

4. Make a leprechaun trap. Leprechauns are said to hide pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Legend has it that if caught by a human, these trickster-like fairies must hand over their treasure. See if you can catch your own leprechaun by building a trap the night before St. Patrick’s Day.

The easiest way to make a leprechaun trap is to decorate an empty box and place it upside down. Use a stick to prop up one end and leave a few shiny coins as bait. Leprechauns can’t resist the lure of gold and, in their excitement, may knock down the stick and get caught in your family’s trap. If they’re quick, they might get away. But leprechauns are known to leave treats for crafty kids who make impressive traps.

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with your family — you just have to be willing to have a little fun.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Luck abounds if you do find a four-leaf clover



Like the discovery of a heads-up penny or the act of tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder, finding a four-leaf clover is considered good luck to those of us with a superstitious bent. But while your chances of stumbling upon the penny are 50-50 and you can toss that salt any old time, what are the odds of finding the four-leaf clover?

About 1 in 10,000.

Dr. John Frett, professor of Landscape Horticulture and Director of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens, was quoted on as saying the 1 in 10,000 chance is for a
typical group of plants that represents the statistical norm for the population. On the other hand, in 2014, a woman in Sydney, Australia, happened upon 21 of the lucky clovers in her front yard.

So there’s that.

One website devoted to clovers warns against buying imposters. The real deal, according to, comes from the White Clover plant, or the trifolium repens. The site even includes diagrams to educate the public on genuine versus fake four-leaf clovers.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Three ways to get more sleep



When determining quality of sleep, duration, continuity and depth are key. For adults to get a good night’s rest, they need deep and uninterrupted sleep that lasts seven to eight hours.

World Sleep Day, which takes place this year on March 15, was created over 10 years ago by the World Sleep Society (formerly, the World Association of Sleep Medicine) to promote the importance of sleep. Restorative sleep is essential for day-to-day functioning and after a good night’s rest, most individuals are more alert and energetic. On the other hand, a lack of quality shut-eye can cause irritability, memory problems and a variety of health issues. If you’re having trouble getting the restorative sleep you need, these three tips can help.

1. Take a nap. If you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, take a short nap. The best time of day for a siesta is the early afternoon. Try to not let your nap last for more than 20 minutes.

2. Get some sun. Going outside or sitting by a window in the morning helps in two ways: it sends signals to your body that it’s time to be alert and it sets your internal clock so you’re ready for bed 14 to 16 hours later.

3. Use white noise. Not only does white noise help you fall asleep but it also helps your brain filter out sudden sounds that can wake you up. Fans can provide white noise and are a great choice because they also keep your room cool.

Finally, if you find yourself unable to sleep at night because you can’t get comfortable, it may be time to change your mattress. Most mattresses have an average lifespan of about 10 years. Getting a new one may help you rest easy and get the restorative sleep you need to feel well rested.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Non-floral boutonnieres and corsages: reinventing tradition



Traditionally at weddings, women wear corsages while the groom and other men sport floral boutonnieres. The people wearing them often include the groomsmen, the couple’s parents and grandparents and any other family members that the bride and groom want to honor. If you’re not excited about pinning a flower to your lapel or wearing one on your wrist, here are some ways to put a fresh spin on the tradition.

• Herbs and fruit: berries and herbs look elegant while still being fresh and green.

• Colorful buttons: you can make unique boutonnieres and corsages with an assortment of buttons.

• Wooden tees: if the bride and groom are avid golfers, tie a few colorful tees together with a bow.

• Feathers: they can be as colorful as flowers but are unexpected and whimsical.

• Ornaments made of twigs: a shooting star, a heart or a simple wreath made of dried twigs would be eye-catching.

The best part about most of these options is that, unlike fresh flowers, they can be kept as souvenirs of your big day.

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