Interesting Things to Know
Time to learn a second language? Bienvenido! Language apps await
Let’s be honest. Despite what online language apps tell you, a year of online learning won’t qualify you as fluent in a language.
But here is the good news: You could manage enough useful language for travel, business or visiting with people in different countries. But chances are that you won’t successfully converse about the philosophy of Kant.
Still, there are good choices out there for learning a second language.
One of the senior language resources is Rosetta Stone and it is well worth a first look. It offers a free three-day course with no credit card needed. Of all the online apps, Rosetta Stone seems best at starting you at the right level. If you have a passing familiarity with Spanish, for example, you probably don’t need to start at “hola.” And Rosetta Stone won’t put you there.
Like every online app, it isn’t obvious at first how to use the question-and-answer modules. That seems true for every app and you will get a few instructions in English. But users will quickly get the hang of the app’s interface.
Trending among language apps are Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel.
Duolingo and Memrise both work on the idea of spaced repetition for better memorization. Rosetta Stone and Babbel may seem more immersive–at least in the beginning.
All the apps have combinations of flashcards and listening exercises. Rosetta Stone features a listen-respond tableau with every lesson. Memrise offers its Learn With Locals videos that demonstrate a new phrase.
Babbel focuses on conversational examples to show the context of words and phrases. It also has a speech recognition feature designed to give you confidence in actually speaking the language.
Memrise is unique in that about 90 percent of its course offering is free. You can buy the pro package, which is supposed to be helpful, especially as you progress. It also has a social element with a leaderboard, which has actually been controversial since some people hacked their way up the board. This is why we can’t have anything nice.
Duolingo calculates your streak in coming back to the app and its little bird mascot regularly (and somewhat infamously) exhorts your participation.
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.
Interesting Things to Know
Why some educators embrace AI
More than 100 million people are already using ChatGPT, the popular AI bot disrupting a number of industries.
You can bet that some of those users are students looking for a helping hand while completing their homework. Now educators, employers, and many others are facing a dilemma: Could the work being turned in, say an essay or white paper, be the creation of AI rather than a student or employee? If so, what are the implications?
For many educators, the conclusion is obvious: Students who use AI are essentially committing plagiarism. Teachers may want to fail or even expel the students in question. Employees and employers face the same conundrum. But some proactive educators are calling for AI to be integrated into education rather than outright banned, according to PBS. By teaching people how to effectively use AI, it may be possible to improve their prospects in a world where AI is certain to play a crucial role.
Some experts argue that many of those millions of AI users are likely using the technology incorrectly, or at least sub-optimally, according to the New York Times. ChatGPT and similar programs already demonstrate a remarkable ability to answer questions and prompts, including complex ones like “What caused the Great Depression?” or “Please explain why the Soviet Union collapsed.”
If you want to get the most out of ChatGPT, however, it’s important to craft the right prompts.
Providing details and limiting the scope of your prompts often produces better results. The ability to shape and leverage AI now has some educators wondering if it’s more effective to teach students how to properly use the programs rather than trying to exile AI from academia in general. The question is whether students actually read the reports they create. Some educators say this might prompt more oral exams.
Interesting Things to Know
Swinging into the Golden Years: How seniors are finding joy on the golf course
If you thought picking up a new hobby was just for the young, think again! An increasing number of individuals in their 50s and 60s are proving that age is just a number as they take to the golf course. Yes, you heard it right, golf – that social, outdoor sport that combines the beauty of nature with the joy of camaraderie and, yes, a bit of friendly competition.
Many of these late bloomers didn’t grow up swinging golf clubs, but they’re showing us it’s never too late to start. Now, if you’re thinking of joining this club of older beginners, we’ve got some sage advice for you.
First up, make sure you buy golf clubs that are just right for you. It’s like Cinderella’s shoe; it has to fit just right. Get advice from a sporting goods store or club pro. Yes, a fitting might set you back by $100 or more, but trust us, it’s a worthy investment. Plus, this cost usually gets deducted from the price of the clubs you end up purchasing.
Don’t worry about being a beginner in the sport. The golfing world has evolved, and equipment changes have made it easier than ever for novices to tee off. Club head designs, weight changes, and even the flexibility of the club can make a big difference. We recommend trying clubs with graphite shafts.
Learning is key. Take lessons from club pros and get recommendations from your fellow golfers. The instructors at private clubs are usually thrilled to coach newbies, even if they’re not members of the club.
When it comes to playing on the course, get some advice from the course professional about when to play. They can tell you the less crowded hours so you won’t feel like you’re holding up the more seasoned players.
Being a later starter in golf has its advantages too. You’re likely to play a steady game without the pressure of trying to hit that 300-yard tee shot that the younger folks aim for. Plus, feel free to use the senior tees or ladies’ tees when you start. Heck, more people should be using them all the time, so there’s no need to be shy.
Remember, the golden rule of starting golf later in life is to forget the stroke rules at first. If you find yourself taking too many shots, just pick up your ball and proceed to the next 100-yard mark, or to the green or the next hole. It’s all about having fun, not getting bogged down by the rules.
And the best part? Golf isn’t just fun; it’s great cardiovascular exercise! So, here’s to enjoying the sport, the fresh air, the camaraderie, and the health benefits. Swing away, my friends!
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