Interesting Things to Know
Micro-volunteering: quick bursts of benevolence
Are you looking for a way to give back to your community while also juggling a hectic schedule? If so, then micro-volunteering might be right for you. Here’s what you should know about this approach to community action, which has been growing in popularity over the last decade or so.
What is it?
Micro-volunteering is based on the notion that people are more likely to volunteer their time in short, convenient bursts. It refers to volunteer tasks that take no more than an hour or two to complete and can be done whenever they fit into the person’s schedule. Importantly, micro-volunteering doesn’t require an application, training process, or any ongoing commitment.
What are the advantages?
The main benefit of micro-volunteering is that it’s flexible. This makes it a great option for those who have a busy schedule and would otherwise forgo volunteering because of a lack of time. And since the majority of micro-volunteering happens online, people can have an impact from virtually anywhere.
How can you help?
Micro-volunteering can take on various forms, and many tasks become contributions to a larger project. For example, you can:
• Sign a petition or participate in a letter-writing campaign
• Pick up garbage in your neighborhood while on a walk
• Participate in a research project or survey
• Help a senior with their groceries or yard work
• Share donation opportunities on social media
• Bake cupcakes for a charity fundraiser sale
• Knit a hat for a shelter or worthy cause in your area
To find out more about short- and long-term volunteer opportunities in your community, reach out to a local volunteer center or consult the Points of Light Engage volunteer database at engage.pointsoflight.org.
Interesting Things to Know
The silent struggle: Understanding the signs of drowning
As we embrace the summer season and enjoy the reopening of local swimming pools and beaches, it is paramount to revisit the fundamentals of water safety. While popular media often portrays drowning as a dramatic, thrashing struggle, the reality is far more insidious. The Journal of Safety Research highlights that drowning victims, regardless of age, rarely exhibit frantic movements or cries for help, making it crucial to recognize the subtle signs of distress in the water.
In this context, children aged four and under emerge as a particularly vulnerable group. Startlingly, according to the Divers Alert Network, in 10 percent of child drownings, an adult will be present and remain oblivious to the child’s dire situation. A drowning child may show no signs of struggle, merely sinking to the bottom of a pool with arms outstretched to the sides. It is estimated that around 750 children drown each year, with nearly half of these tragic incidents occurring within 25 yards of an adult.
Contrary to common perception, noisy swimmers are not typically in immediate peril. However, there exists a critical pre-drowning phase during which victims may have a brief opportunity to scream, wave, and reach for life-saving equipment. It is imperative to never disregard thrashing or splashing in the water, as it may serve as a distress signal.
Understanding the instinctive drowning response is paramount to recognizing a potential drowning situation. It exhibits five distinct qualities that can help identify those in danger:
- Silence: Drowning victims are unable to call for help, as breathing becomes their primary focus.
- Submergence: Their mouths sink below the surface and then resurface as they frantically try to inhale and exhale, leaving no time for verbal cries for assistance.
- Arm Extension: Victims extend their arms to the sides, attempting to push down on the surface to raise their mouths out of the water. However, they lack the ability to wave for help.
- Lack of Movement: Drowning victims cannot reach for rescue equipment or move toward a rescuer. They are unable to make voluntary movements.
- Upright Body Posture: A drowning person’s body remains vertical, with no visible signs of kicking. They may struggle on the surface for 20 to 60 seconds before eventually submerging completely.
In boating scenarios, individuals in the water may appear to be treading water. To determine if they are in distress, the best course of action is to simply ask if they are okay. If they are unable to respond, it is a clear indication that they require immediate assistance. Experts emphasize that rescuers have a narrow window of around 30 seconds to reach individuals in distress.
Additional signs to watch for include a drowning person’s head positioned low with water at mouth level or tilted back with the mouth open. Their eyes may be closed, and hair could obstruct their vision. They may remain vertical in the water without using their legs or exhibit slow, futile attempts to swim without making progress. Some may try to roll over onto their backs. Silence in the water should always be regarded as a potential warning sign.
It is crucial to dispel the misconception that drowning victims exhibit obvious signs of distress. Recognizing the subtle indicators of drowning, such as the absence of vocalization, submerging mouths, outstretched arms, immobility, and upright body posture, is essential in ensuring water safety. By staying vigilant and educated about these often-overlooked signs, we can help prevent tragic water-related incidents and protect the lives of those around us.
Interesting Things to Know
Academic says beliefs are now status symbols
Status symbols do change and have changed.
In the past, wealthy gentlemen wore top hats and fancy clothes. Today, you might not recognize a wealthy person by their clothing.
At one time, the Twitter blue check was a symbol of being well-known. Now the check is a sign that you are a paid user. The former status symbol users don’t like it, and they don’t want to pay. No status there.
So, what status symbols still exist?
Rob Henderson, a doctoral candidate in psychology, thinks status symbols are now opinions — “luxury beliefs” — that “confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes.”
Henderson has been in a position to observe both the upper and lower classes. Born into poverty and raised in the foster care system, he used the GI Bill to attend the prestigious universities Yale and Cambridge.
There, he saw people who held trendy beliefs that they rarely had to question since they were largely unaffected by them. A case in point is the idea of defunding the police.
“They can afford to hold this position because they already live in safe, often gated communities. And they can afford to hire private security,” Henderson writes on his Substack page.
But, he writes when those beliefs filter down to lower classes, the results can be devastating. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poorest Americans are seven times more likely to be victims of robbery and aggravated assault and 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault. When lower socioeconomic classes adopt anti-policing beliefs, they are likely to be the ones suffering.
Henderson’s thesis has been roundly challenged as lacking statistical data and research. In addition, critics say, his ideas are mostly applicable to left-leaning college students and are not nearly so relevant for more affluent adults.
Interesting Things to Know
Mastering the Art of Sandcastles: From child’s play to beachside architecture
Think back to your childhood summers. Did you ever yearn to rule a kingdom of sand, building majestic castles along the shore only for the sea to reclaim it? Maybe you want to relive those fond memories or entertain the young ones with this timeless beachside activity. Either way, here’s a foolproof guide to creating your own beachside castle, a masterpiece to catch the eye of every passerby.
First, let’s talk about tools. Pros use specialized tool kits, but guess what? You can put together a pretty competent set from everyday household items! All you’ll need is a shovel, a funnel, a putty knife, a butter knife, and a couple of 5-gallon buckets – one regular and one with the bottom cut out.
Picture this: A regal castle with two majestic towers, united by a ‘stone’ wall. Now, let’s make that vision a reality.
Start by building a sturdy platform for your sandy kingdom. Create six-inch segments of mounded and packed-down sand. Then, douse it with half a bucket of water. You’ve now laid the foundation!
For the towers, Justin Gordon, a professional sand sculptor, suggests a technique that’s less ‘build-up’ and more ‘shave-down.’ Begin by creating mounds of sand and then shave away thin layers until your towers emerge.
Next, take your bottomless bucket. Fill it a quarter full with sand, add half a bucket of water, and keep packing until it’s full. Position this towards one side of your platform. Gentle rotation will release your sand to form the body of your first tower. Crown this with a funnel filled with packed sand for a pointed roof. Shave the tower body so it angles downward from the roof. Repeat this for the second tower, and voila!
Now, build a wall between your towers. Carve ‘stone’ shapes into it to give it a true castle-like feel. For added flair, carve doors and windows into the castle walls.
Building a sandcastle is not just an activity; it’s a journey back in time, a chance to relive childhood wonder and create new memories. So, get out there and build your beachside kingdom. Who knows? You might just feel like royalty!
Interesting Things to Know
Tornado Season: A friendly reminder to revisit your safety procedures
With the tornado season well underway, it’s crucial to remind ourselves that the risk of twisters is still very much on the horizon. While we might be tempted to let our guard down as we move past the historically most active tornado months, Mother Nature, as we know, doesn’t adhere to our calendars.
Between 1991 and 2020, the United States recorded an average of 1,333 tornadoes each year, according to Fox Weather. An astounding 54% of these tornadoes occurred between April and June, with May clocking in as the most active month averaging 294 tornadoes annually. But let’s not be complacent, folks, as June isn’t far behind, tying with April at an average of 212 twisters.
The southern states often experience peak tornado activity from March or April through June. As for the northern states, these whirling weather phenomena most often occur from June through August. But remember, tornadoes can actually form at any time of the year. Even November, which may seem like an odd month for tornadoes, has seen some severe outbreaks, with counts exceeding 100 tornadoes.
This leads us to the all-important question – are you prepared if a twister were to strike? Having a tornado plan in place is absolutely essential. The ideal safe space is underground, perhaps a basement. But if that’s not an option, a windowless hallway or bathroom could work, too.
But what if you’re caught outside or driving when a tornado is approaching? Remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe space’ outside during a tornado. Take tornado watches and warnings seriously and avoid driving or venturing outdoors under risky conditions. If you are caught in your car, get as far away from it as possible and seek shelter immediately.
Some suggest lying in a dry ditch or culvert if you’re outside during a tornado, but let’s be clear – these are last resort measures and not very safe ones at that. If you find yourself in a car with no shelter in sight, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advises staying in the vehicle with your seat belt on, head lowered below the windows, and covering yourself with a blanket or coat. Still, this is far from an ideal safety strategy.
The worst thing you can do is to shelter under an overpass. Those who have done so and survived have often sustained severe injuries. There’s no protection from the flying debris or the relentless winds.
As we continue navigating through this tornado season, stay vigilant, keep yourselves informed, and above all, stay safe.
Interesting Things to Know
Achieve Greatness using the Power of Gratitude
We live in a world where people are constantly bombarded by negativity. When we are faced with problems, we often turn to others for help.
But is it possible to go against the grain and focus on positivity?
In our world today, we have to be constantly on guard against negativity. So, when is it okay to just let go of the negativity and focus on the good?
I believe it’s when we recognize that every day brings us new opportunities for growth and opportunities to see the silver lining in everything we encounter.
When you become grateful, your life changes. Your outlook on life is much different. You no longer see yourself as a victim of whatever circumstances may come your way. You instead see yourself as a participant in the amazing journey that life has in store for you.
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
You may be wondering why you should practice gratitude and how exactly does it benefit you?
It’s hard to believe that simply being grateful could make you happy. After all, we live in a world where many people are constantly complaining, not doing anything for themselves, and constantly blaming everything that’s happening around them.
On the other hand, there are those people who are constantly being grateful for everything that’s happening around them. They are constantly being thankful for the gifts that life has given them and are happy every day.
Being happy is a choice. It’s something that we’re able to do, and it’s one of the most important things we should focus on. If we aren’t happy, then we can’t enjoy the gifts that life has given us, and we can’t enjoy our lives.
We can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be unhappy. This is a choice that each one of us gets to make, and we have to decide whether we want to be happy or if we want to remain ungrateful.
How do you know that you’re being grateful? How can you tell when you’re being thankful and when you’re just feeling good about life in general? You have to have a sense of gratitude for life to be able to feel that way.
You should be thankful for the food that you eat and the shelter you have. You should be thankful for the fact that you’re able to have a roof over your head and a comfortable place to live. You should also be thankful for the water you drink and the air that you breathe.
All of these things are gifts that you get to have in your life, and they should all be used and enjoyed, and you should always give thanks for them. You should also be thankful for the people that you love and the good health that you have.
Being grateful will not only make you happier, it will also make you more attractive to the people around you. Being a person who’s grateful can actually make you more attractive, and it can even make you feel better about yourself, which means that you’re more likely to get invited to parties and be more likely to get asked out on dates.
Why not choose to be a person who’s happy, and is grateful, and more attractive to people around you, as well as having a happier, healthier, and more enjoyable life?
When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you’re able to experience a whole different side of life. It’s actually easy to become overwhelmed by the things you don’t have and forget to take time to appreciate the things that you do have in your life.
By taking the time to practice gratitude each and every day, you’ll be able to notice and feel the difference. You’ll start to notice the things in your life that you’re already grateful for and start to appreciate them instead of focusing on the things you’re missing.
It’s a great way to start and finish the day. You’ll be able to look at your life as it is and as it’s been and start to appreciate all of the things that are important to you. You’ll also be able to be more positive and happy about your life because of it.
As you’re able to be more grateful for the things you have, it’s easy to become much more appreciative of the things that you don’t have as well. While this is great, it’s important that you don’t go overboard.
You shouldn’t be focusing on your lack of things. Instead, you should be focusing on the things you do have and the things that make your life happy and worthwhile.
Make Gratitude a Habit
You should have gratitude in your heart from the beginning of the day. That’s not a bad place to start, and it’s easy to get to that point if you’re in a positive mood.
But it’s also important that you build up that feeling of gratitude from the moment that you wake up to the moment that you go to sleep. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you should try to get yourself to a state of gratitude, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
It’s also important that you do this even when you’re having a bad day when you’re struggling with a difficult task, or when you’re dealing with problems in your life. Even if you’re angry about what you’re dealing with or frustrated about how your day went, you can still find ways to give yourself thanks.
What’s most important is to start making gratitude a habit, and you’ll start to notice a big difference in how you’re feeling and thinking. This is because you’re in a positive mindset more often than not, and that’s not a bad thing.
It will also start to show in the way you interact with other people. You’ll be more friendly, open, and happy because you’re in a good mood. This is one of the best ways to boost your overall self-esteem, and it’s an easy way to change your life and the way you think.
Believe in The Power Of Gratitude
It’s easy to become cynical and lose sight of gratitude. When life gets tough, it’s important to remember all of the good things that have happened.
I believe in the power of gratitude. I also believe in the power of being grateful. I’m not suggesting that you never feel sad or angry. Feel those emotions. Embrace them. But when you do, make sure you are also grateful for all the things that have happened.
When you feel gratitude, you will be more optimistic, patient, and positive. These three traits will help you reach your goals, whether they are professional, personal, or financial.
Interesting Things to Know
The world’s most expensive weddings
You can probably guess which lavish weddings of our era were high-dollar affairs.
If you guessed Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles, you’d be right. That cost a tidy $110 million and was dubbed the wedding of the century in July 1981. In comparison, the 2011 wedding of Princess Diana’s son William and Kate Middleton, cost $34 million, with $32 million allocated for security. His brother Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2018 wedding cost $40 million.
Nonetheless, if anyone can beat British royalty for big price tags, it’s billionaires from India, a country already known for its lavish weddings.
In 2018, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani spent a cool $86 million on the wedding of his daughter Isha to Anand Piramal, entrepreneur and son of Mumbai businessman Ajay Piramal — also a billionaire. Wedding festivities were held in Italy and India. As a wedding gift, the couple received a $54 million seaside mansion. Beyonce did a private performance for an estimated 2,000 guests that, included Hillary Clinton.
Then there is the wedding of Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia. Those names probably don’t ring any bells for most Westerners, but their 2004 nuptials set records. Bhatia, a British businessman, tied the knot with Vanisha Mittal, daughter of an Indian steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal, one of the richest men in the world, in a week-long event in France that cost about $60 million. Although the 1,000 wedding guests visited several locations in France, the actual wedding was at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, a 17th-century castle located just outside Paris.
The most extravagant wedding of the 20th century was probably the 1981 wedding of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to Princess Salama. The cost of the wedding would exceed $100 million today. The family built a stadium to hold 20,000 people for the weeklong event.
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