If you’re like most people, you have a New Year’s resolution in place and you may have even stuck to it so far this year. Good for you! Realistically though, you’re going to fail. How long have you said you really should get in shape, or lamented the need for more quality time with family and friends? The fact is, despite the most earnest commitment, resolutions just don’t work.
“People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It’s not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.” ― Milan Kundera
Something that has surprised me about getting old (not getting older... getting old) has been the transformation of the future into the past. Where life used to be dominated by hopes and dreams it is now (and this happened with awful speed) possessed by memories.
Especially certain powerful, yet unpredictable memories. Something I have not thought about in decades will bubble up from the vast ancient soupy mess of my mind and… there it will be.
Often this memory will be so unexpected and ancient I’m not sure if it is even real or not. And with a memory, what is real? If a memory is of an event, person or an item that never happened or never existed – is it still a real memory? All memories are at least somewhat inaccurate – if not a complete fiction. What difference does it make?
And, to complicate things now, there is the internet. If a memory is of something that can’t be located online – how can it be real?
Out of nowhere a couple of days ago a vivid memory came to me of a model rocket – a boost glider to be exact – that I think I made when I was in high school. Model Rocketry was a hobby of mine – as it was to many boys of my age. It was actually pretty cool – I’d order kits through the mail, build them, paint them, put a cartridge motor in them, launch them in the air – and finally watch as something went wrong. They would burn, or streamline straight in (called a Lawn Dart), or fly around in an uncontrollable tangle, or (if their parachute worked perfectly) drift away forever lost on high lofty Kansas winds.
Just kidding – often times… some times they would work – swoosh upward in a jet of smoke and the smell of black powder then have the ejection charge pop off the nosecone and deploy the plastic chute at the perfect apogee – a clot of kids would run after the slowing falling bits of paper tubing and balsa.
Now this memory was of a glider – a balsa airplane with a rocket attached to the nose. It was a difficult craft to build and fly – it was one of the last ones I built. My skills had improved over the precious few years of my youth.
The glider was unusual. It was tail-less with the wing an odd (and hard to make) swept inverted gull-wing – sort of an “M” shape. Gluing the wing panels in the proper angles and alignment with the correct balance and airfoil shape wasn’t easy. I was very proud of it.
But had I actually built it? I wasn’t sure. It was fifty years ago.
So it’s off to Google. I did a lot of searches on “tail less boost glider” and “model rocket glide recovery” and such without success. There were a lot of boost gliders out there but they all looked like regular airplanes – nothing with the strange shape I remembered.
I tried a different tack. I knew it was probably an Estes kit – I was an Estes rocket builder (as opposed to the Centuri models – which seemed flashy and unserious to me) and I figured that company might have it in its history. I found and downloaded PDF copies of their catalogs from 1970 through 1974. Then I went through the offerings (which brought the nostalgia tumbling back – either I or one of my friends had built and flown many of these kits).
I found it. It was an Estes Nighthawk.
The kits were discontinued in the mid 70’s. They cost two dollars at the time. There is an old kit for sale online for $140.
As an American, I’m convinced that the United States is the greatest nation on Earth. Obviously, I’m biased as hell and, frankly, I’m not interested in apologizing for it.
We’re not perfect, but I see remarkably little from other countries that look attractive enough to me to make me want to relocate. Especially when you understand what some of the ramifications are of certain policies.
If you’re someone who struggles with Sunday night anxiety, chances are you get a little restless as the weekend comes to a close. Indeed, with the weekends feeling that little bit shorter now the nights are drawing in, it can almost feel like the time is slipping away from you.
Tina was at a crossroads. Her daughter had recently left for college, and her husband had his own pursuits. And although she’d once enjoyed banking, she now bore little interest in her work. For some time, she had been asking herself whether she should quit. But what would her colleagues and bosses think of her?
Victimhood is defined in negative terms: “the condition of having been hurt, damaged, or made to suffer.” Yet humans have evolved to empathize with the suffering of others, and to provide assistance so as to eliminate or compensate for that suffering. Consequently, signaling suffering to others can be an effective strategy for attaining resources. Victims may receive attention, sympathy, and social status, as well as financial support and other benefits
With the quickening cascade of political, social, and natural crises in our country, the faith in progress—the belief that good will and steady work leads to a better world—is a difficult faith to maintain. There have been times when the arc of history seemed to bend toward justice. But lately it’s snapped back the other way. It’s as if we’ve heaved a great boulder toward the mountain top, and we’re now watching it, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, as it careens back to the ground below. It feels that there is something absurd, in fact literally Sisyphean, to our predicament.
Every day, the billions of bacteria that inhabit your digestive system change; the food you eat, medications you take, and germs you’re exposed to make some bacteria flourish more than others. Scientists know that this ever-shifting balance of gut microbes is linked to your health and disease, but have struggled to pin down what makes one microbial balance better than another.
Many people have experienced reductions in stress, pain, and anxiety, and sometimes even euphoria after exercise. What’s behind this so-called ‘runner’s high’? New research on the neuroscience of exercise may surprise you.
Perhaps it is the word distemper that causes the most confusion. Few are aware that this is a generic term encompassing several different coatings. There really is only one type that is of relevance to historical buildings – or any building for that matter.
Joan Didion, author, journalist, and style icon, died today after a prolonged illness. She was 87 years old. Here, in its original layout, is Didion’s seminal essay “Self-respect: Its Source, Its Power,” which was first published in Vogue in 1961, and which was republished as “On Self-Respect” in the author’s 1968 collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. She wrote it not to a word count or a line count, but to an exact character count.
Cycling definitely helps keep you in great physical shape, but that’s not the only benefit your favorite activity has on your body. According to new research out of Durham, North Carolina, aerobic exercise has some serious perks for your brain, too—like helping to reverse its age by almost nine years.
December 22nd will be the 50th anniversary of the release of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, a film so marked by violent killings and violent sex that, according to Peckinpah’s biographer, David Weddle, a third of the audience walked out of its premiere before the end.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of dread which creeps in on a Sunday evening, is there? Despite your best attempts to push away thoughts of the week ahead – to “make the most” of your time off and forget about work for a little while longer – they somehow find a way in.
Do you have anxiety? Have you tried just about everything to get over it, but it just keeps coming back? Perhaps you thought you had got over it, only for the symptoms to return with a vengeance? Whatever your circumstances, science can help you to beat anxiety for good.
Most people think being smart is about having more facts. Trivia-shows like Jeopardy! epitomize this view of knowledge. The smartest people are the people with the most names, dates and places stored away inside their mind.
This is probably the least important and useful part of learning though. Instead of facts, I’d prefer to focus on knowledge that acts as tools. The more you have, the more ways you can approach different problems.
If it wasn’t for an extinct relative of modern humans known as the Denisovans, some researchers suspect our own species might never have made their home on the highest and largest plateau in the world.
Mark Twain once said the two greatest days in a person’s life are the day they’re born and the day they discover why. Deep? Definitely. But let’s be honest: the first day is a somewhat passive experience. The second day, however, can feel like a lot of pressure. While some of us can quickly identify our purpose (in our careers, or otherwise), others may struggle to answer the question “Why am I here?”
Good workplace politics skills can help employees with toxic personalities rise to the top of an organization’s structure. There’s danger in that: Capable and valuable employees leave organizations because of bosses, or corporate fraud and accountancy scandals result in bankruptcies.
The theme is “Western civilization at the crossroads.” Far be it from me to doubt that the West is on the precipice of something enormous. But “crossroads” implies a map. Do we have one? Is a piece of paper showing the way forward—whether predictive or hopeful—even possible?
What do I mean by “literary fantasy”? …, I am using it to mean works of fantasy that prioritize sentence-level craft and/or complex thematic structures, and/or that play with expectations and fantasy tropes, and/or that focus on characters and interiority as primary goals of the work. I don’t just mean “well-written fantasy” or “literary novels that have magic in them,” though both kinds of books can be found here. What I mean is books that relate to and pull from the conventions of both genres: fantasy and literary fiction.
Over the past year I’ve been working hard on moving better. I’ve gone from having shin splints and sore ankles when I run to bashing out 10Ks happy as anything. It takes a bit of work, but there’s a lot you can do to improve. And it doesn’t matter where you’re starting out, either.
Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered that two intense periods of volcanism triggered a period of global cooling and falling oxygen levels in the oceans, which caused one of the most severe mass extinctions in Earth history.