Emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures. Unlike diamonds, where the loupe standard, i.e. 10× magnification, is used to grade clarity, emeralds are graded by eye. Thus, if an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye (assuming normal visual acuity) it is considered flawless. Stones that lack surface breaking fissures are extremely rare and therefore almost all emeralds are treated (“oiled”, see below) to enhance the apparent clarity. The inclusions and fissures within an emerald are sometime described as jardin (French for garden), because of their mossy appearance. Imperfections are unique for each emerald and can be used to identify a particular stone. Eye-clean stones of a vivid primary green hue (as described in Part 1), with no more than 15% of any secondary hue or combination (either blue or yellow) of a medium-dark tone, command the highest prices. The relative non-uniformity motivates the cutting of emeralds in cabochon form, rather than faceted shapes. Faceted emeralds are most commonly given an oval cut, or the signature emerald cut, a rectangular cut with facets around the top edge.


Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post-lapidary process, in order to fill in surface-reaching cracks so that clarity and stability are improved. Cedar oil, having a similar refractive index, is often used in this widely adopted practice. Other liquids, including synthetic oils and polymers with refractive indexes close to that of emeralds, such as Opticon, are also used. These treatments are typically applied in a vacuum chamber under mild heat, to open the pores of the stone and allow the fracture-filling agent to be absorbed more effectively. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires the disclosure of this treatment when an oil treated emerald is sold. The use of oil is traditional and largely accepted by the gem trade, although oil treated emeralds are worth much less than un-treated emeralds of similar quality. Other treatments, for example the use of green-tinted oil, are not acceptable in the trade. Gems are graded on a four-step scale; noneminormoderate and highly enhanced. These categories reflect levels of enhancement, not clarity. A gem graded none on the enhancement scale may still exhibit visible inclusions. Laboratories apply these criteria differently. Some gemologists consider the mere presence of oil or polymers to constitute enhancement. Others may ignore traces of oil if the presence of the material does not improve the look of the gemstone.[

Emerald mines

A Colombian trapiche emerald

Emeralds in antiquity were mined in Egypt at locations on Mount Smaragdus since 1500 BCE, and India, and Austria since at least the 14th century CE. The Egyptian mines were exploited on an industrial scale by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and later by Islamic conquerors. Mining ceased with the discovery of the Colombian deposits; only ruins remain.[

Colombia is by far the world’s largest producer of emeralds, constituting 50–95% of the world production, with the number depending on the year, source and grade. Emerald production in Colombia has increased drastically in the last decade, increasing by 78% from 2000 to 2010. The three main emerald mining areas in Colombia are Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor. Rare “trapiche” emeralds are found in Colombia, distinguished by ray-like spokes of dark impurities.

Zambia is the world’s second biggest producer, with its Kafubu River area deposits (Kagem Mines) about 45 km (28 mi) southwest of Kitwe responsible for 20% of the world’s production of gem-quality stones in 2004.[ In the first half of 2011, the Kagem Mines produced 3.74 tons of emeralds.

Emeralds are found all over the world in countries such as Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the US, emeralds have been found in Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In Canada, in 1997 emeralds were discovered in the Yukon.

(Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Riddles You Can Use to Impress Your Friends

19 Mind-Bending Riddles You Can Use to Impress Your Friends

Riddle me that, riddle me this…How many of these answers did you really miss?

That’s right. It’s time to warm up your brain and check out some of the best offerings from Propensity for Curiosity, gathered by Bored Panda, guaranteed to make you think, probably get frustrated when you see the answer, and then think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

If nothing else, they’re great to share with your friends so you can sound super smart.

Ready? Let’s begin.


How to Make Slime

Did you know you can make your own slime or “goop” for a fun learning and play activity? Non-Newtonian liquids are fascinating for all ages and provide a great learning opportunity about chemistry.

Find four popular slime recipes below.

Simple Slime Recipe

This version of slime (or Gak) is made of glue and Borax.

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. In one bowl mix 1 oz. glue (about ¼ of the glue bottle) and ¼ cup water. If you want colored slime, add food coloring to the glue and water mixture. Lift some of the solution out of the container with the stir stick and note what happens.
  2. Add ¼ cup of Sodium Tetraborate (Borax) Solution to the glue and water mixture and stir slowly.
  3. The slime will begin to form immediately. Lift some of the solution with the stir stick and observe how the consistency has changed from Step 1.
  4. Stir as much as you can, then dig in and knead it with your hands until it gets less sticky. This is a messy experience but is necessary because it
    allows the two compounds to bond completely. Don’t worry about any
    leftover water in the bowl; just pour it out.
  5. When not in use, store the slime in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep it
    from growing mold.

What Happened:

The glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate, which is a liquid polymer. The borax links the polyvinyl acetate molecules to each other, creating one large, flexible polymer. This kind of slime will get stiffer and more like putty the more you play with it. Experiment with different glues to see if they create slime (e.g., carpenter glue, tacky glue, etc.).

Super Slime

The second type of slime is the same clear gooey kind that you see in the
movies. This is the real gooey deal! (This slime is non-toxic, but still keep these chemicals away from unsupervised children and wash your hands after playing with the slime.)

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. Pour ½ cup of the polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solution into a beaker, jar, or bowl. If you want colored slime, add food coloring to the PVA solution and stir with a stir stick.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of the Sodium Tetraborate (Borax) Solution into the PVA solution
    and stir slowly.
  3. Try lifting some of the solution with the stir stick and note what happens.
    Once the slime has formed, you can play with it. Just don’t eat it!
  4. Your slime will last longer if you seal it in a plastic bag and keep it in the
    fridge, otherwise it will dry out or mold.

What Happened:

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a liquid polymer and is therefore formed from long chains of connected molecules. The sodium tetraborate forms hydrogen bonds with oxygen present in the PVA chains. Hydrogen bonds occur when the positive charge of the hydrogen atoms attracts the negative charge of the oxygen atoms within the compound. The hydrogen bonds link the individual PVA strands to each other, creating a “blob” of slime. Since hydrogen bonds are weak, they will break and reform as you hold the slime or let it ooze onto a flat surface.

Glooze Slime

This slimy substance is made from milk.

What You Need:

  • Skim milk
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A coffee filter

What You Do:

  1. Add 7 tablespoons of skim milk to a cup and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar
    to the milk. Gently stir the mixture until solids have formed.
  2. Let the solids sink to the bottom of the mixture and then drain off the
    liquid using a filter (a coffee filter works best). Let the solids drain for a few minutes.
  3. Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the solids and knead together to form a slimy mixture from milk.

What Happened:

When you added the vinegar to the milk, it caused the milk’s protein, casein, which is also a polymer, to separate from the liquid part of the milk and clump together to form solids. Casein is used in adhesives, paints, and even plastics. The baking soda neutralizes the acid added, which allows the casein to go back to its liquid form.

Oobleck or Quicksand Slime

Make a non-Newtonian fluid that resembles quicksand using cornstarch.

What You Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • A big bowl

What You Do:

  1. In the plastic mixing bowl, combine small amounts of water and cornstarch together to form a mixture that looks like heavy whipping cream and has the consistency of honey. The approximate ratio of the cornstarch to water mixture is 2 cups of cornstarch to 1 cup of water. So if you use all of a regular-sized box of cornstarch (about 16 oz.), you will use about 1½ cups of water. It is best to start with less water and slowly add it until the desired consistency is reached.
  2. After making your mixture, gently lay your hand on the surface of the cornstarch-water mixture. You should notice that your hand sinks in the mixture like you would expect it to do. Move your hand through the mixture, slowly first and then trying to move it really fast. Was it easier to move your hand slowly or quickly through it?
  3. If your mixture is deep enough to submerge your entire hand in it, try grabbing a handful of the mixture and pulling your hand out quickly. Then try again, this time relaxing your hand and pulling it out slowly. Did you notice a difference?
  4. Try punching the cornstarch-water mixture. (Be careful not to hurt yourself on the bowl!) Make sure to hit the substance hard and pull your fist back quickly. Did the substance splatter everywhere or did it remain in the bowl? (If it splattered, add more cornstarch.)

Whenever you gently and slowly move your hand through the cornstarch-water mixture, it behaves like a liquid. But when you try to move your hand through it quickly or forcefully hit the substance, it behaves like a solid. This cornstarch-water mixture behaves similarly to quicksand.

What Happened:

The flow and movement of a fluid is affected by its viscosity, or how sticky and thick it is. Quicksand and the cornstarch-water mixture are both non-Newtonian fluids. Non-Newtonian viscosity changes with the type of force applied to it. The viscosity of Newtonian fluids (such as water and honey, which follow Sir Isaac Newton’s law of viscosity) is dependent only on the temperature and pressure of the fluid, not the force applied to it. For instance, warm honey (less viscous) flows much more freely than cold honey (more viscous).

Since the ability of a non-Newtonian fluid to move depends on the force or stress applied to it, these fluids do not act like ones we are more familiar with (e.g., honey or water). A light pressure, such as pouring or gently pressing the cornstarch-water mixture, allows it to move like a liquid.

Other fun home recipes:

Use glue and borax to make a colorful bouncy ball

Sodium Tetraborate (Borax) Solution Recipe

  1. Label an 8 oz. plastic bottle “Sodium Tetraborate (Borax) Solution” with a permanent marker.
  2. Fill the bottle about ¾ full with water.
  3. Add 4 teaspoons of sodium tetraborate to the water and shake until mostly dissolved.
  4. Fill the bottle to the top with water and shake again to completely dissolve the sodium tetraborate solids.

More Information about non-Newtonian Liquid

A non-Newtonian liquid is a substance that acts like a liquid in some situations but as a solid in others. Quicksand is an example of a non-Newtonian liquid. It appears to be solid, but if you stand on it, you slowly start sinking as if it were a liquid.

Polymers are what make non-Newtonian liquids unique. A polymer is a long string of molecules which can exist as a liquid or a solid. The
term polymer comes from the Greek words for “many parts.” Liquid polymers act as a liquid until particular chemicals are added, which create links between the molecules. These links transform the compound into a hybrid between liquid and solid. Since the molecules are now connected, they cannot move as freely, which gives them the strange properties found in slime. The new compound is called a non-Newtonian liquid.


Getting your garden ready….

This checklist will help you get a good start on a new season

A new growing season is under way. Are you ready? Here’s a to-do list to get you started:

Pulling a winter weed
Pull weeds when they’re young and when the ground is soft.© George Weigel
  1. Pull those weeds. Whether you’re seeing left-over weeds from last year or new ones that sprouted in cool weather, eliminate them now when the ground’s still soft from winter. They’ll come out easier than in hard, dry summer soil. Especially remove them before they have a chance to grow and deeply root, and especially pull them before they have a chance to go to seed.
  2. Prune the summer-blooming flowering shrubs.End of winter to early spring is prime time to prune shrubs that flower from late June through fall. This includes abelia, butterfly bush, beautyberry, caryopteris, clethra (summersweet), smooth hydrangea, panicle hydrangea, rose-of-sharon, St. Johnswort, crape myrtle, summer-blooming spirea and vitex. All of these bloom on wood that grows in the current season, so there’s no danger of cutting off flower buds that formed last year. Wait until right after flowering to prune spring-blooming shrubs, such as azalea, rhododendron, weigela, lilac, forsythia and viburnum.
  3. Fertilize the beds. Once the ground thaws, apply granular fertilizer around the trees, shrubs and perennials. Match the particular product to the plant type and to any particular nutrient needs spelled out by a soil test. Natural Start by GreenView All Purpose Plant Food is rich in natural and organic nutrients and will help your plants get the most out of your soil. It is great for your annuals, perennials, roses, and bulbs whether they are in the ground or in containers.
  4. Inspect trees and shrubs for winter damage. Prune off any broken, dead or storm-damaged branches. Also snip the tips off of any evergreens that have suffered tip diebacks from winter’s cold.
  5. Rake off or trim any winter-killed, brown leaves from last year’s perennial flowers.© George WeigelGet rid of dead perennial leaves. If you didn’t already cut back your frost-killed perennial flowers last fall, rake or clip off that browned foliage now. It’ll clear the way for this year’s new growth, which will be pushing up shortly. If you notice that any perennials have worked their way partly out of the ground due to winter freezing and thawing, tamp them back down so the roots aren’t exposed. Water them and add an inch or two of mulch around them.
  6. Divide perennials. Right before new growth begins is an ideal time to dig and divide most perennial flowers that are growing beyond where you’d like them. Replant divided clumps ASAP, and water them well in their new home. Or give away pieces or compost any excess. The exception is early-season perennials that already are blooming – or that are in bud and ready to bloom soon. These are best divided after bloom or in early fall.
  7. Rake matted or excessive leaves off the lawn and out of groundcover beds.© George WeigelRake matted leaves. Leaves that have blown under and around trees, shrubs and perennials can be left in place and mulched over, assuming they’re in modest quantities. No need to remove those. However, matted leaves should be raked or blown off of the lawn and out of evergreen groundcover beds so these green plants can take in sunlight. Patch any bare spots in the lawn with one of three different GreenView Grass Seedmixes.
  8. Remove winter protection. As the threat of frost wanes, remove burlap barriers, wraps and other protective material from around landscape plants that needed the extra winter protection. Also remove any staking from new trees if they’ve been in the ground for more than a year.
  9. Problem prevention. Apply GreenView Crabgrass Control Plus Lawn Food on the lawn (if you’ve had a crabgrass problem in the past) and a granular weed preventer such as Preen® Garden Weed Preventer on the garden beds. A good cue for the former is when the dandelions are blooming, and a good cue for the latter is when forsythia bushes are in full bloom. GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed and Feed and Crabgrass Preventer is a great option to kill existing weeds in the lawn, fertilize it, and prevent new weeds all in one easy application.
  10. Edge beds. Whether you use a long-handled, people-powered edging tool or power edger, end of winter is a good time to cut sharp edges along all garden beds. This not only neatens the landscape, it creates a “lip” to contain mulch that can be applied once the soil warms consistently for the season.


Colors Of The Rainbow

Colors Of The Rainbow In Order

Rainbow colors Image source: Wikipedia

The colors of the rainbow in order are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You can remember them with the acronym Roy G Biv!

At one point or another, we have all seen a rainbow. But, although they are fairly common occurrences, it is remarkable how little most people actually know about rainbows.

In fact, most people couldn’t even name the 7 colors of the rainbow in order. If you’ve ever tried closing your eyes and name those colors in the right order, you’d have found that it’s a lot harder than it may seem to get it right.

The most common mnemonic techniques are to either memorize the initials for each color in order (VIBGYOR) or turn it into a name by reversing the order (ROY G BIV).

Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second. – Mattie Stepanek

What Are The 7 Colors of The Rainbow in Order?

The white light that emits from the sun can be broken down into the colors of the rainbow in order:

  • Violet
  • Indigo
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red

So, just memorizing the first letter of each color is perhaps the best way to remember them.

There is, however, not a universal agreement of this. Most notably, science and science fiction writer and thinking Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) said the following about it:

It is customary to list indigo as a color lying between blue and violet, but it has never seemed to me that indigo is worth the dignity of being considered a separate color. – Isaac Asimov.

Despite what Asimov said, it seems to have become generally accepted that the colors of the rainbow are seven and that they indeed include the color indigo. This is probably because more ordinary people who look at a rainbow (both directly or a photograph or video recording of one) will be able to see and identify the seven colors.

Color Of The RainbowColor Wavelength (nm)
Violet455 – 390
Blue492 – 455
Green577 – 492
Yellow597 – 577
Orange622 – 597
Red780 – 622

But there’s a lot more to know about the colors of the rainbow other than just the order.

What Is The Origin Of The 7 Colors of the Rainbow?

17th Century English theologian, astronomer, and mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1726 or 1627), was the first person to realize that it was possible to see the view all the full-color spectrum by breaking apart white light.

The most natural way to create a prism would be to use raindrops. That is why a great way to observe the visual spectrum is by looking at a rainbow.

Even a quick look at the full-color spectrum makes it evident that the colors are not discrete categories. Looking closely at it, you will notice that each color bleeds into the one next to it.

Image source: Wikipedia

So, the color violet bleeds into the color indigo, the color indigo bleeds into the color blue, the color blue bleeds into the color green, the color green bleeds into the color yellow, the color yellow bleeds into the color orange, and the color orange bleeds into the color red.

What what’s on either side of the spectrum? Ultraviolet or UV is violet’s neighbor and infrared or IR is red’s neighbor.

Because all the colors bleed into each other, settling for seven colors may seem a bit arbitrary. Contemporary observers may not question this, though, because we have accepted that there are seven colors. That’s what we’ve been told so it can be hard to see anything else. But, deciding that there were only seven colors and, therefore, ignoring everything that is “between” each of these colors has very deep historical roots.

What’s The History Behind The 7 Colors of the Rainbow?

The fact that we have settled for 7 colors is no accident. The number 7 has a long history in Western culture.

It all began in Ancient Greece. Back in the 6th century BCE, a mathematician called Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 BCE) believed that numbers were intricately linked to the real world. For him, numbers weren’t just abstractions but had almost magical qualities.

Image source: Wikipedia

It was Pythagoras the first one to apply numbers to pretty much everything that happens in real life. For example, he discovered that the seven musical notes could also render as mathematical equations (or at least he gets the credit for it).

He observed that most phenomena in nature or, more broadly, in the real world had something to do with the number seven. In Pythagoras’s thought, mathematics and mysticism are combined. Pythagoras’s thought was hugely influential in the Classical world among philosophers.

If you are not sure if any of this is still relevant in the 21st century, just consider how many different concepts are ordered using the number seven, many of which go as far back as the Ancient world.

For example, we still talk about the Seven Wonders of the World, Christians believe in the Seven Daily sins, there were seven dwarfs in the Snow White fairy tale, etc. But not only that, there are also seven days of the week. Everywhere you look, you will see the number seven.

Why Are There 7 Rainbow Colors?

The key fact here is that Isaac Newton was an admirer of not only Pythagoras but also of anyone who was influenced by his thought throughout the years, particularly the likes as Philolaus (c. 470 – c. 385) and, particularly, Copernicus (1473 – 1543).

This influence can be seen in how Newton’s thinking on the full-color spectrum evolved. Initially, the English thinker only saw five colors in the spectrum in the following order: red, yellow, green, blue and purple. He only added orange (between yellow and red) and indigo (between violet and blue) after he considered Pythagoras’s link between music and color.

Because, as Pythagoras thought and has been accepted ever since, there are seven music notes, then there should be seven colors. Obviously, there are more colors than those seven but they are all the result of combining two or more of those main seven colors.

So, as you can see the history why there are seven colors in the rainbow is very complex, very long, and very old. But it is also surprising because it includes elements of math, numerology, and, even, music. Although most people have accepted the seven colors as fact, in Isaac Asimov’s estimation, indigo should be removed and the rainbow should just have six colors. So, can you name the 7 colors of the rainbow in order now?


The world’s safest (and least safe) countries

Revealed: The world’s safest (and least safe) countries – Zimbabwe and Nicaragua beat the UK

This is the safest country on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum
This is the safest country on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum CREDIT: VITALYTITOV – FOTOLIA

Are you a nervous traveller? Then you might want to consider a trip to Finland, the safest country on Earth according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Those countries shown in lighter colours on the map above rated highest for “safety and security” in the foundation’s latest biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, published last week; those in darker colours recorded the lowest scores. 

The presence of the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the top five, and Qatar in the top 10, will no doubt surprise many given their location in the troubled Middle East. Rwanda, in ninth, ahead of countries such as Portugal and New Zealand, to name just two, will also raise eyebrows. 

Oman (pictured) and the UAE were also among the five safest
Oman (pictured) and the UAE were also among the five safest CREDIT: CRISTIAN ANDRIANA/CRISTIAN ANDRIANA

The world’s 20 safest countries, according to the WEF

  1. Finland – rating: 6.65
  2. UAE – 6.6
  3. Iceland – 6.57
  4. Oman – 6.49
  5. Hong Kong – 6.47
  6. Singapore – 6.45
  7. Norway – 6.41
  8. Switzerland – 6.41
  9. Rwanda – 6.39
  10. Qatar – 6.33
  11. Luxembourg – 6.32
  12. Portugal – 6.32
  13. New Zealand – 6.31
  14. Austria – 6.28
  15. Estonia – 6.26
  16. Sweden – 6.22
  17. Slovenia – 6.2
  18. Spain – 6.16
  19. Netherlands – 6.14
  20. Morocco – 6.14

Equally remarkable is the UK’s lowly position. It’s down in 78th, below the likes of Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia and Nicaragua, among others. 

Zimabwe: safer than Britain, reckons the WEF

15 countries that are safer than the UK, according to the WEF

  1. Rwanda
  2. Qatar
  3. Morocco
  4. Bhutan
  5. Armenia
  6. Azerbaijan
  7. Jordan
  8. Tajikistan
  9. Mongolia
  10. The Gambia
  11. Kazakhstan
  12. Zimbabwe
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Nicaragua
  15. Malawi

The US fares even worse, lagging behind in 84th, just below Gabon, Algeria and Benin. 

The rankings take into account “the costliness of common crime and violence as well as terrorism, and the extent to which police services can be relied upon to provide protection from crime,” the report states. 

Colombia propped up the table
Colombia propped up the table CREDIT: JOHN COLETTI

Bottom of its survey is Colombia, followed by Yemen, El Salvador and Pakistan. A handful of countries do not feature in the 2017 report, in which case we have taken their rating from 2015 to populate the map above, or else they are shown in grey if no rating has been given in either of the last two World Economic Forum reports.

Previously, Telegraph Travel has mapped those countries where the threat of a terror attack is highest, according to the Foreign Office: 

We’ve also looked at where a natural disaster is most likely to strike, according to the United Nations University for Environment and Human Security: 


7 Ways to Stay Positive Even During the Toughest Times

A lot of people pride themselves on being optimists, and TBH, if you can stay positive with everything that’s going on in the world today, major props to you. For most people who consider themselves the glass-half-full type, it’s a lifestyle. They try to look at everything that comes their way, from relationship troubles to work mistakes, with a positive spin. But a recent study investigated whether optimists still stay more positive than pessimists when things get really tough, and what they found was pretty surprising.

smiling positive happy radiant black woman

Scientists analyzed nine previous studies to see how both optimists and pessimists brace themselves for receiving important and potentially negative news, like medical test results. They found that even though people who identify as optimists tend to be more positive in general, they too start assuming the worst as the moment of truth about something important nears. It’s easy to understand this instinct, since some people tend to believe that preparing yourself for the worst will ultimately make it less shocking if it happens. On the other hand, some people would rather stay positive whenever possible, since it’s easier to fight off stress and anxiety when you have a sunny outlook. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite expert tips for staying optimistic when you’re dealing with some super hard stuff.

Smiling woman enjoying coffee


1. Learn to reframe negativity. “The trick to positivity is not avoiding pessimism,” says Elaine Taylor-Klaus, a certified professional coach. “It’s really about how quickly you can redirect your focus from negative to positive. Critical thinkers are going to see problems to be solved, but the ability to ‘reframe’ the conversation is the really important skill for people to practice.” She recommends getting into the habit of acknowledging negative thoughts and then asking, “What else is possible here?” This can guide you back into a positive mindset more quickly.

“Bottom line: Negativity happens,” she says. “Positivity is a choice, and the quicker you learn to reframe, the more time you’ll spend in a positive space. Then, over time, the more likely you are to turn directly to a positive interpretation of events.”

2. Ask yourself if this will matter a month or year from now. Sometimes things seem crucial AF in the moment, but might be inconsequential even just a few days after that. Just think about high school drama. “When we can leave the past behind and even know in the present moment that this feeling won’t last, it can help to remind us that time heals and life goes on,” explains Sharon Stokes, life-fulfillment coach.

Smiling volunteers lifting construction frame

3. Give back. Volunteering is an amazing way to change your entire perspective, says Lyssa Menard, a clinical health psychologist, founder of Strategies for Change and assistant professor at Northwestern University’s medical school. “There are many organizations that don’t require an ongoing commitment, so sign up for an event that’s meaningful. Research shows that giving to others is one of the quickest routes toward happiness. While happiness and positivity are different, they’re correlated,” Lyssa says.

4. Role play to be more objective. Playing a little mind trick on yourself can work wonders, says Lori Scherwin of Strategize That, a career coaching service. “We’re often better at helping others than ourselves,” she notes. “Make the situation more objective and less personal to you. For example, consider if it were anyone else in the situation (like your best friend, partner or colleague). How would you see the same ‘problem?’ What advice might you give them to get out of it?” she asks. This will help you shift from being super hard on yourself to more objective, and most likely, more positive.

Smiling architect using digital tablet career work office

5. Make changes to things that are within your control. Spending time worrying about something that you can’t change isn’t really worth the effort. Instead, “Focus on areas where you have agency,” suggests Holly Burton, a career coach for women in male-dominated industries. “You may be stuck in a role you don’t love at work, but you could probably work a few extra hours a week and take on a project that interests you. You could also schedule some proactive meetings with your boss to make an action plan to develop the skills you need to make a lateral move,” she says. In most situations, whether they’re career-related or not, it’s possible to take actions to make things better for yourself.

6. Practice radical acceptance.Jasmine Powers, business and goal coach, suggests trying out the idea of radical acceptance, which is basically accepting the things you cannot change, even if they’re not right or you don’t agree with them. She explains: “If you’re looking to buy a white sedan, you start to notice all the white sedans on the road because your mind is focused on that. In the same way, we often affect our experience because of focusing on good or bad. By working to be mindful of positive things and being extremely grateful for even seemingly insignificant things, we’ll notice even more things to be grateful for.” Another mind trick for the win!

7. Try this gratitude challenge.Adwoa Dadzie, a career strategist and HR executive, has a seven-day happiness challenge that’s definitely worth a try. First, journal about one event each day for seven days that made you feel happy and/or thankful and include the specifics of why it made you feel that way, going deep into the details. Second, send one random thank you email or text to someone each day, either personally or professionally. This message should include what they did and why it’s worthy of the shout out. Detailed gratitude journals are proven to improve your life satisfaction, so try to stick to a gratitude practice, even in the good times!


Understanding 21-gun salute

21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor.

The custom stems from naval tradition, where a warship would fire its cannons harmlessly out to sea, until all ammunition was spent, to show that it was disarmed, signifying the lack of hostile intent. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, or in exceptional circumstances for head of government, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honor.

While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of service, and rank (or office) of the person to whom honors are being rendered.

The tradition of saluting can be traced to the Late Middle Ages practice of placing oneself in an unarmed position and, therefore, in the power of those being honored. This may be noted in the dropping of the point of the sword, presenting arms, discharging cannon and small arms by firing them, lowering sails, manning the yards, removing the headdress or laying on oars.

A Dutch man-of-war firing a salute. The Cannon Shot, painting by Willem van de Velde the Younger.

The gun salute might have originated in the 17th century with the maritime practice of demanding that a defeated enemy expend its ammunition and render itself helpless until reloaded, a time-consuming operation. The gun salute had been established as a naval tradition by the late sixteenth century. A man-of-war which visited a foreign port would discharge all its guns to show that its guns were empty. Since the ship would not have enough time to reload before it was within range of the shore batteries, it was clearly demonstrating its friendly intentions by going in with empty guns.

Salute by gunfire is an ancient ceremony. For years, the British compelled weaker nations to render the first salute; but in time, international practice compelled “gun for gun” on the principle of equality of nations. In the earliest days, seven guns was the recognized British national salute because seven was the standard number of weapons on a vessel. In that day, gunpowder made from sodium nitrate was easier to keep on dry land than at sea. Thus those early regulations stated that although a ship would fire only seven guns, the forts ashore would fire three shots to each one shot afloat, hence the number 21.[

The system of firing an odd number of rounds is said[b to have been originated by Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Navy in the Restoration, as a way of economizing on the use of powder, the rule until that time having been that all guns had to be fired. Odd numbers were chosen, as even numbers indicated a death. With the increase in quality of naval gunpowder by the use of potassium nitrate, honours rendered at sea were increased to the shore salute. 21 guns became the highest national honor.

There was much confusion because of the varying customs of maritime states, but finally the British government proposed to the United States a regulation that provided for “salutes to be returned gun for gun”. The British at that time officially considered the international salute to sovereign states to be 21 guns, and the United States adopted the 21 guns and “gun for gun” return on 18 August 1875.

United States

On 16 November 1776, the West Indian port of St. Eustatius returned a 9-gun salute for the 13-gun salute given by the U.S. brigantine Andrew Doria. At the time, nine guns was the customary salute to an independent republic. This First Salute was specifically ordered by the Dutch governor of the island, and marks the first formal international recognition of the United States as an independent republic. The flag flown by the Andrew Doria was the Grand Union Flag, 13 alternating red and white stripes with the British Flag in the union. The Stars and Stripes received its first salute when John Paul Jones saluted France with 13 guns at Quiberon Bay in 1778 (the Stars and Stripes was not adopted as the national flag until 14 June 1777).

The practice of firing one gun for each state in the union was not officially authorized until 1810, when the United States Department of War declared the number of rounds fired in the “National Salute” to be equivalent to the number of states—which, at the time was 17. The tradition continued until 1841 when it was reduced from 26 to 21.[c

USS Constitution renders a 21-gun salute to Fort Independence during her Independence Dayturnaround cruise

In 1842, the United States declared the 21-gun salute as its “Presidential Salute”. While the “National Salute” had been formally established as the 21-gun salute, the current tradition holds the salute on Independence Day to be a 50 rounds—one round for each state in the union. This ‘Salute to the Nation’ is fired at noon on 4 July, on U.S. military installations, while the U.S. Navy full-dresses ships and fires 21 guns at noon on 4 July, as well as on Presidents’ Day.[c

In April 1914, during the Mexican Revolution, the Tampico Affair occurred, and escalated as a result of a twenty-one gun salute (or more specifically, the lack of one). Nine unarmed U.S. sailors were arrested in TampicoTamaulipasMexico, for entering an off-limit area at a fuel loading station. Despite being released, the U.S. Naval commander demanded an apology and a twenty-one gun salute. The apology was provided, but not the salute, giving President Woodrow Wilson reason to order the U.S. occupation of the port of Veracruz.[Due to an arms embargo from the United States, issued to try to lessen the bloodshed of the revolution at its border, Mexico was forced to seek arms from European, and to a lesser extent Asian countries. During the occupation, a large German arms shipment aboard the SS Ypiranga was illegally seized, before being released and turned away by the U.S. occupation force. These events ultimately drove a wedge between Mexican-U.S. and German-U.S. relations, and after the start of World War I on 28 July 1914, would cause Germany to seek to influence Mexico into declaring war on the United States, in order to halt U.S. arms shipments to the Allies, and attempt to prevent the then isolationist United States from joining the Allies.This effort ultimately backfired, after culminating in the sending of the Zimmermann Telegram from Germany to Mexico, which urged Mexico to declare war on the United States, promising support and the return of much of the territory lost during the Mexican–American War, which, after being intercepted, caused the U.S. to enter the war on the side of the Allies on 6 April 1917, and due in large part to the arrival of fresh U.S. troops into the war, largely a stalemate in its first years, would lead to the surrender of Germany on 11 November 1918, after helping to overpower the German Army, already fatigued from a long and costly war.

On Memorial Day, batteries on military installations fire a 21-gun salute to the nation’s fallen. As well, batteries at Naval stations and on ships, fire a salute of 21-minute guns and display the ensign at half-mast from 8 a.m. until completion of the salute.[c

Today, a 21-gun salute is rendered on the arrival and departure of the President of the United States; it is fired in concordance with four ruffles and flourishes, which are immediately followed by “Hail to the Chief“—the actual gun salute begins with the first ruffle and flourish, and ‘run long’ (i.e. the salute concludes after “Hail to the Chief” has ended). A 21-gun salute is also rendered to former U.S. Presidents, foreign Heads of State (or members of a reigning royal family), as well as to Presidents-elect. In such a ceremony, the national anthem of the visiting dignitary’s country is played, following the salute.[c

In accordance with the ceremonial standard operating procedure (SOP) of the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) the various gun salutes are assigned as follows: each round in a given salute is fired one at a time. The number of cannon used in a battery depends upon the intervals between each round fired. This includes, for example, a three-gun battery firing two of its guns with five-second intervals between rounds and one gun remaining at the ready in case of a misfire; such a battery would be used at an Armed Forces Full Honors Funeral, or for State Arrival Ceremony of a foreign dignitary at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. A four-gun battery has its first three guns firing rounds at three-second intervals, with the fourth gun (again) at the ready in case of misfire.[c

The SOP also provides each gun salute a two-man gun crew (one loader, one gunner) for each cannon, as well as a five-man “staff” of soldiers to give the fire commands. The staff includes an Officer in Charge, a watchman (who marks the intervals and signals each gun to fire), an assistant watchman (as a backup), a counter (who keeps track of the number of rounds fired and signals the last round to the Officer in Charge), and a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (who marches the battery into place as well as signals the backup cannon to fire in case another gun misfires).[c

Naval vessels now have saluting guns installed which are used solely for such purpose.

Nineteen-gun salutes are reserved for the Vice President of the United States, foreign deputy heads of state, cabinet members, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate, Chief Justice of the United States, state Governors, foreign heads of government (such as Prime Ministers), chiefs of staff and general officers in the U.S. military of five-star rank. For each flag rank junior to a five-star officer, two guns are subtracted (e.g., for a four-star admiral, a 17-gun salute is prescribed; a three-star general would rate a 15-gun salute; a two-star, 13 guns, and a one-star, 11 guns).

A gun salute is not to be confused with the three-volley salute often rendered at military funerals.

Deaths of Presidents:

U.S. presidential death also involves 21-gun salutes and other military traditions. On the day after the death of the president, a former president or president-elect—unless this day falls on a Sunday or holiday, in which case the honor will be rendered the following day—the commanders of Army installations with the necessary personnel and material traditionally order that one gun be fired every half-hour, beginning at reveille and ending at retreat.

On the day of burial, a 21-minute gun salute traditionally is fired starting at noon at all military installations with the necessary personnel and material. Guns will be fired at one-minute intervals. Also on the day of burial, those installations will fire a 50-gun salute—one round for each state—at five-second intervals immediately following lowering of the flag.


Thanksgiving – Part 1

Thanksgiving – Part 1


Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.


Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.  An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day on November 5.

United States

Thanksgiving, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving has traditionally been a celebration of the blessings of the year, including the harvest. What Americans call the “Holiday Season” generally begins with Thanksgiving.

One visit to Goldwiser and you will make it your favorite place to buy and sell your precious metals!!!

More about Thanksgiving Holiday in Part 2 of this series.

(Information obtained from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


World faces weather CHAOS

World faces weather CHAOS as climate change threatens to shut down Atlantic Ocean’s flow, warn scientists

Scientists are warning of extreme weather patterns in Europe, the US and Africa as global warming wreaks havoc on the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation

A CATASTROPHIC slow-down of the Altantic Ocean could plunge the world into climate chaos – sparking freak weather events, scientists warn.

The Atlantic’s flow – which helps control the Earth’s climate – has dropped in strength by 15 per cent since the mid-20th century, experts have concluded in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature.

 The global circulation system, pictured, is weakening and could lead to extreme weather across the globe, warn boffs

The global circulation system, pictured, is weakening and could lead to extreme weather across the globe, warn boffs

That’s a decrease of 3million cubic meters of water per second, the equivalent of nearly 15 Amazon rivers.

The current is partly why Western Europe enjoys mild temperatures, and meteorologists are linking changes in North Atlantic ocean temperatures to recent summer heat waves.

But its slowdown could kickstart severe weather cycles in Europe and across the world, and cause a rapid increase in sea levels on the US East Coast.

And if it continues at this rate, it may result in a complete circulation shutdown, which would be a catastrophic “tipping point”, warn researchers.

Such a scenario was the premise of the 2004 disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.

“We know somewhere out there is a tipping point where this current system is likely to break down,” said study co-author Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

“We still don’t know how far away or close to this tipping point we might be… this is uncharted territory.”

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is a critical conveyor belt for the earth’s climate.

It shifts warm, salty water from the tropics along the Gulf Stream off the US East Coast to the North Atlantic, where it cools, sinks and heads south.

 A climate tipping point was central to the film The Day After Tomorrow

A climate tipping point was central to the film The Day After Tomorrow

The faster it moves, the more water is turned over from warm surface to cool depths.

But the melting of Arctic sea ice and Greenland’s ice sheet due to global warming can interfere with this sinking process.

Recent research has confirmed that melted ice water is lingering on the ocean surface, where it could be disrupting the AMOC system.

The latest study highlights a curious pattern of ocean temperatures that match the impacts of weakening Atlantic currents – specifically a strong warming off the US East Coast paired with a cooling south of Greenland, which is sometimes dubbed the cold “blob”.

Boffins found that the odd alignment, which has resulted in regions of both record cold and warmth next to one another, has been developing since the 1950s, and matches what a high-resolution climate model predicted would take place.

 Scientists believe the shift in the Atlantic's circulation may already be causing rising sea levels along the East Coast of the US

Scientists believe the shift in the Atlantic’s circulation may already be causing rising sea levels along the East Coast of the US

Another study in the same issue of Nature also found that the AMOC has slowed and is now weaker than at any time in more than a millennium.

This study meanwhile draws from sediment grains deposited by the deep-sea currents; the larger the grains, the stronger the current.

The researchers then used a range of methods to reconstruct near-surface ocean temperatures in regions where temperatures are impacted by AMOC strength.

That way they were able to determine that the weakening began around 160 or 170 years ago when the “Little Ice Age” in the Northern Hemisphere ended.

And that trend is thought to have continued to the present day.

“In terms of this initial drop in the AMOC, it’s very likely that’s a kind of natural process,” said Jon Robson, a researcher at the University of Reading and one of the study’s co-authors.

“It’s very likely, based on other evidence, that human activities may have continued to suppress the AMOC, or maybe led to further weakening.”

To avert a climate calamity, scientists are urging for an immediate reduction in the emissions of carbon dioxide.