A high school freshman won first prize at a science fair for his experiment demonstrating people’s gullibility. He was attempting to show how conditioned we’ve become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project, the student urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical dihydrogen monoxide for the following good reasons:
1. It is a major component in acid rain.
2. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
3. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
4. It contributes to erosion.
5. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical: 43 said yes, 6 were undecided, and 1 knew Dihydrogen Monoxide is another name for … water.
Fathers play a special, irreplaceable role in our lives, and Father’s Day is a great time to let them know that. On June 17, skip the tie and tell all the special, irreplaceable dads in your life what they mean to you from the bottom of your heart. Some suggestions:
Write a letter thanking your father/uncle/grandfather/ brother/son for all he’s done and all he means to you. Read it in front of him and the whole family. You can frame it and even add photos or other mementos.
Create a thank-you book. Buy a small book of blank pages. On each page, write why you’re thankful for him. For example, “Thanks, Dad, for all the help you provided on my algebra homework when I was a kid.” Send it around to family members and invite them to contribute the reasons they’re grateful.
Create a review of the dad’s life. Get family members and friends to write down their memories, then assemble all the stories in a binder or scrapbook and present it to him.
Make a date. The most precious gift you can give or receive is time. Schedule some uninterrupted, relaxing, one-on-one time together to go for a walk, share a meal, catch a movie, or do whatever he’d most like to do.
Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was possibly the greatest inventor who ever lived. He received more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime, many for items we take for granted today: the alkaline battery, the motion picture camera, the phonograph and, of course, the light bulb. There’s a story that it took Edison more than 2,000 experiments before he got his light bulb to work. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times, Edison said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.”
Edison opened his most famous laboratory in 1876 in Menlo Park, New Jersey. In December, 1914, the laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof.
Much of Edison’s life’s work went up in spectacular flames that December night.
At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 – no longer a young man – and everything was going up in flames.” The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. We can start anew.”
Three weeks after the fire, Edison completed his first phonograph.
Edison also said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. —Ralph Waldo Emerson