Fact - Today is New Year's Eve!

wondered by Joana Galhardo 7 wonders Tags

Similar to my last post, and since today is the new year's eve, I'm gonna let you know some facts about it!

#1 The Date: If you had lived in Mesopotamia and Babylon 4000 years ago, you probably would have celebrated the new year in mid.March, at the time of the Spring Equinox, and apparently their party lasted for eleven days!...Undoubtedly putting modern day New Year's Eve parties to shame...Although, if you were an Egyptian, your new year began with the Autumnal Equinox and the flooding of the Nile. And, if you were Greek, the Winter Solstice began your new year celebrations!
Julius Caeser was the first to set January 1st as the New Year, since it celebrated the beginning of the civil year and the festival of the god of gates and, eventually, the god of all beginnings, Janus, after whom January was named.

#2 Resolution: As it seems, "losing weight" is the most common New Year's resolution!

#3 Superstitions: Many cultures prepare New Year's foods that are believed to influence good fortune, or avoid dishes that might cause misfortune; much like the choice of the outfit worn in this day, particular the color of underwear!

Some cliche picture for New Year's Eve!

That's it for today! I apologize but I'm not gonna prolong my stay here, and you shouldn't either! Go prepare yourself for the party!

Wonder about that! And party on!

Fact - Today is Christmas day!

wondered by Joana Galhardo 11 wonders Tags

Today is Christmas day. All around the world people will be sitting down to special meals, giving gifts, singing, drinking and stuff like that. In honor of this great holiday, i have a gift for you, some Christmas facts!

#1 The Date: In the early Church, Christmas was not celebrated as a major feast. The first evidence of the Church attempting to put a date on the day of Christ's birth comes from 200 AD, when theologians in Alexandria decided it was the 20th of May. By the 380's, the Church in Rome was attempting to unite the various regions in using December 25th as the universal feast day, and eventually that was the day that stuck. The influence of the pagan feasts of Rome is clear, because December 25th was the festival for the birth of the sun.

#2 Gifts and such: Many of the Christmas traditions (gifts, drinks, cards, etc.) are not modern gifts of capitalism! They actually come to us via the Ancient Romans who exchanged all of those things on New Year's Day. This was initially shunned by the Church, but old habits die hard and it eventually transferred to Christmas.

#3 Xmas: That one small word causes anger amongst many people. Many Christians consider it to be disrespectful to replace Christ's name with an 'X'. However, Xmas is almost as old as the feast it refers to, the 'X' is actually the Greek letter chi which is the first letter of Christ's name in Greek.

#4 Christmas Tree: The first association of tree with Christmas comes from Saint Boniface in the 7th century AD, when he chopped down a tree sacred to Thor to prove to the local villagers that the Norse gods were not legitimate. By the 15th century people were cutting down trees and putting them in their homes to decorate with sugared fruit, candy and candles.

#5 Santa Claus: Santa Claus is actually based on the early Church Bishop Saint Nicholas. He was born during the 3rd century, in the village in Turkey, and was known for secretly giving gifts of money to the poor. The modern image of him as a jolly man in red most likely comes from the 1823 poem "A visit from St Nicholas" also known as "The Night before Christmas".

#6 Candy Canes: In the late 1800s, a candy maker in Indiana wanted to express the meaning of Christmas through a symbol made of candy. He came up with the idea of bending one of his white candy sticks into the letter 'J', symbolizing the first letter in Jesus name. He incorporated several symbols of Christ's love and sacrifice through the Candy Cane. First, he used a plain whit peppermint stick, the color symbolizes the purity and sinless nature of Jesus. Next, he added three small stripes to symbolize the pain inflicted upon Jesus before his death on the cross - there are three of them to represent the Holy Trinity. He added a bold stripe to represent the blood Jesus shed for mankind. And finally, when looked at with the crook on top, it looks like a shepherd's staff because Jesus is the shepherd of man.

Wonder about that! And have jolly Christmas

Fact - Elephants are evolving to lose their tusks (and avoid poachers)

wondered by Joana Galhardo 14 wonders Tags

This one is an awesome example of Darwin's Evolutionary Theory.

You see, when the international ban on the trade of ivory took effect in 1989, there were about a million elephants in Africa and about 7.5% of those were getting poached to death every year. Today, less than half of them are left, and we're still losing about 8% of elephants to ivory poachers. Pretty much everything we've done to protect our wild pachyderm friends has failed.

So elephants have decided to take matters into their own hands...or trunks or weirdly rounded three-toed feet or whatever. To make themselves less appealing to their greatest enemies (poachers), elephants all over the world have begun selecting against having tusks at all! For example, it used to be that only 2 to 5 percent of Asian male elephants were born without tusks, and by 2005, it was estimated that the tuskless population had risen to between 5 to 10 percent. And it's not just happening in Asia, either. One African national park estimated their number of elephants born without tusks was as high as 38%. It's natural selection in action! Either lady elephants are deliberately choosing tuskless mates, or the only boy elephants surviving into breeding time are the ones born without tusks. Either way, that tusklessness is getting passed on.

This is so incredible because it's not like tusks are the elephant version of wisdom teeth. They're weapons and tools, and they are needed to dig for water and roots and to battle for the love of a lady! Which means nature decided poachers are a greater threat to the elephant's existence than its diminished ability to forage or to score!

Wonder about that!

Wonder #9

wondered by Joana Galhardo 9 wonders Tags ,

There's a deep black spot in my heart
So deep that my faith it's torn apart
It has a name… Or maybe two
But anyway I'll know it's you
It was you who made it deep
You, whom words made me weep
It was you who made it so dark
You, who broke my heart

The self-esteem glitch

wondered by Joana Galhardo 21 wonders Tags , ,

The self-esteem thing has been hammered into our brains for decades, based on the belief that high self-esteem types achieve more in school, make and keep more friends and, in general, function better as a member of society.

 Numerous training programs and self-help books take this idea and run like hell with it! They promise that building self-esteem is the key to overcoming obstacles and failure. I even seen somewhere that some elementary schools jumped on board and started giving self-esteem classes to kids, because, as we all know, the key to happiness is constant rewards for little to no actual accomplishments!

And why is this pure bullsh*t? Well, this seems to be one of those deals where they've confused correlation and causation.
So, rather than thinking "Maybe kids with high self-esteem feel good about themselves because they get good grades in school and have lots of friends", they decided to flip that thing around! For some reason, they think that they succeed because they have self-esteem. So they tried to teach people to feel good about themselves for no other reason than pure entitlement, figuring that the actual reasons for feeling good about themselves would follow at some point later.

This results in some kids having too much self-esteem, a breed of human that scientists classify as douchebags and bitches. Yes, for the purpose of this post, those are technical terms.

And stop laughing. Well, stop chuckling or sniggering then! I'm not kidding!
Research shows that kids who have an inflated sense of self-worth become aggressive when their sense of superiority is called into question, leading to a more damaging fall when they realize what a loser they are.

I'm certainly not an expert, but it would seem like the solution would be to teach the stuff that leads to success, you know, like social and communication skills, better strategies at dealing with stress, etc.; and just let that lead naturally to success and thus self-esteem, rather than just bypassing all that and going right for the self-esteem part.

Wonder about that!

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Wonderland 2011