April Fool’s Day, Its Origin and Why It’s Popular

April Fools

April Fools
April fools day is one famously known day of the year for playing pranks or getting people to believe absurd things. Even news outlets like using this day to spread fake news just for the fun of it (it’s not like some news outlets are already doing this 24/7 *cough cough* The Onion *cough cough*). Knowing that this day is so widely celebrated by so many people, it is crazy to think that we still don’t properly know when and how April Fools’ day became a thing. However, as the human beings that love to theorize we do in fact have some theories on how this happened.

Swapping New Year’s Day

As crazy as it may sound, mankind didn’t always celebrate New Year’s Day on the 1st of January. In medieval times, a big part of Europe celebrated the Feast of Annunciation (New Year’s Day) on the 25th of March. However, religion which played a huge role back then decided it was time for a change. In 1582, Pope Gregory XII ordered for a new calendar to be put into place to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new Gregorian Calendar, the one that we still use up to this day, had New Year’s Day on the 1st of January. Now put yourselves in the shoes of the people back then. It’d confuse many people to just have their calendars changed which of course caused some people to ignore the new calendar and stick with the old one. These people became a minority and in good old fashioned human society people started to make fun of them close to the day that we now know as April Fool’s Day by making believe things that were not true or by sending them on “fool’s errands”.

April Fools April Fools Theory

This theory was presented by a history professor at the University of Boston. He said that April Fools started in the Constantine era. It all started when a group of fools told Emporer Constantine that they could do a better job of running the empire than him. Constantine, being the Emporer that he was found this amusing decided to please them by letting them reign the empire for a day. The Emperor allowed a jester named Kugel to be emperor for a day. Kugel had his own agenda and thus passed an official decree baptizing that day to be a day of absurdity. Prof. Boskin’s story was so gullible that even AP News covered it and only realized weeks after that it’s just a prank that Prof. Boskin played on us. APRIL FOOLS AM I RITE!!

No matter how you celebrate this (or not) just try your best not to be one of those people that take April Fool’s Day too far. Like a good friend of mine told me once; “Grow big, don’t be a dick”.

Internet Privacy and Why It Doesn’t Exist

Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy

The society we live in at the moment feels like less of a private one as the time progresses. Privacy has become a very heated topic. All the technological advances that mankind have created to connect the world with each other have become vulnerable to anyone who knows how to manipulate them. Sadly for us, the people who know how to do this are the hackers that are up to no good, multinational companies and the government. However, the power the government has to stop this differs from one country to another. Recently there has been more legislation passed by the U.S. government to make it easier for our personal data to be available to different companies/organizations. What is different now is that the data will be accumulated without the public’s consent and this is, in my opinion, the biggest red flag.

Privacy has been a controversial issue for a very long time. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know more about how private (or not) our lives around technology can be. Snowden’s goal was to spark dialogue about this issue and it did for a moment but fast forward to today and people are barely even talking about it anymore. My issue isn’t about the government spying on me (or whatever they are actually doing). I can’t deny that it’s defintely scary. However, my issue is how the government pretty much gives companies and internet providers a free pass to access my information and to do whatever they please with it. What bothers me the most is that the reason why our data is so valuable is so that they can make more money.

Privacy Meme

We are just 1’s and 0’s to these people. They can know so much from our data. For example, they can make a profile of you which shows your gender, sexuality, income level, personality, whether your single or not. Hell they could even find out whether you’re cheating on your partner or not. With this information they will know which advertisements, videos, recommendations etc. to show you when you are online. This has been like this for some time and I hope you’ve already realized that. Lately it’s become very “in your face”. For example, I was researching for a desk I want to buy and immediately I started getting advertisements from different furniture stores and YouTube started recommending me to watch videos about “best desk setups”. I wouldn’t mind it if this process wasn’t that intrusive.

Honestly I shouldn’t be that outraged about this. Marketing companies have been doing this for years now, accumulating data from people so they know how to advertise to different target groups. The marketing companies adapted as time progressed and technological advances started taking over our daily lives. Anyone can argue that they are doing the same thing they’ve always done just that is happening online now. My question is, how much more do these companies want to know about us just so they can make more personalized advertisements and will we be informed of this? The U.S. government will decide this for you in the next few months so pick up your phone and call your reprentative. I guess it’s time to research VPN’s.

Boaty McBoatface will undergo first mission in Antartica

Boaty McBoatface

Remember last year when the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) decided it was a good idea to let members of the public suggest names for their new polar research ship? Maybe the name Boaty McBoatface will refresh your memory. We can put the blame on BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand and the lovely people surfing the internet. Some time has past and it’s finally the time for Boaty McBoatface to make its debut in Antartica. However, there should be one thing you should know, or if you already know then remember, about Boaty McBoatface. Boaty isn’t a boat.

After the online poll backfired, the NERC decided to play dictator and released a statement saying that they would have the say on the final name regardless of what the top name on the poll was. They used that power and decided to name the actual polar research ship after the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. I must admit that it’s not as exciting as Boaty McBoat face. However, this boat is a Sir, how cool is that. The NERC was not all too evil and decided to give the Boaty McBoatface name to a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (UAV).

RRS Sir David Attenborough
RRS Sir David Attenborough
Boaty McBoatface
Boaty McBoatface

The UAV will be able to travel under ice and reach depths of 6,000 meters (for the American folks that is about 19,500 feet). Boaty McBoatface will help researchers understand how the ocean is reacting towards global warming. A plus point for BoatyMcboat face is that the National Oceanography Center has created a cartoon of our yellow UAV friend to help teach children about ocean exploration.
You go Boaty McBoatface, make history my yellow friend!!

Boaty McBoatface Cartoon

The Doomsday Clock – Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight

Nuclear Bomb

Doomsday Clock 2017

The Doomsday Clock isn’t an actual clock as the name suggests it to be. It’s not a clock that will perfectly predict when humanity will face a global catastrophe. Instead, the Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a global catastrophe. There are many questions someone may have after finding out about this clock. Why do we have a Doomsday Clock and who created it? How does the Doomsday Clock work? Can we trust the Doomsday Clock?

Why do we have a Doomsday Clock?

The first appearance of the Doomsday Clock was on the cover of the first edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists magazine. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was developed in 1945 by concerned scientists that worked in the Manhattan Project which was the project that developed the first atomic bomb. The scientists developed this magazine because they felt morally responsible to inform and warn the public about the possible catastrophic consequences of their creations. Back then it was only about nuclear bombs and nuclear accidents but through the years the Bulletin has included other factors that could also cause a global catastrophe such as global warming, bio weapons or cyber security.

How does the Doomsday Clock work?

The symbol of the Doomsday Clock itself was created by Martyl Langsdorf, wife of Alexander Langsdorf Jr. which was one of the Manhattan Project scientists. The Doomsday Clock debuted at 7 minutes to midnight. There was no real reason why it was put at that time. Martyl Langsdorf herself said, “It seemed the right time”. However, the Doomsday Clock that we know today isn’t arbitrary. The clock will always show the hour hand at zero or twelve and the minute hand will always show the minutes to midnight. The closer the minute hand is to midnight the more likely it is that there will be a global catastrophe. The Bulleting announces the Doomsday Clock every year. This year they announced that it is two and a half minutes to midnight. This is the closest we’ve been to midnight since the year 1953 when the US and the Soviet Union started developing and testing hydrogen bombs.

Doomsday Clock Timeline

What does two and a half minutes to midnight mean?

This does not necessary mean that you should have your apocalypse kit ready at any moment or that you should go buy such kits. This means that the current situation the world is facing at the moment can have disastrous consequences, especially if we don’t try to do anything about it. The Doomsday Clock come together with a statement that shows why the clock is at a given time. What is interesting about this year’s statement is that they included the political situation in the United States of America, in other words President Trump and his cabinet. This doesn’t mean that the Bulletin is a bunch of liberals trying to “attack” Donald Trump’s presidency. The reason he is in the statement is because of the way he and his team talk about climate. As you may or may not know president Trump and his team haven’t officially recognized climate change caused by human activity and I don’t believe they will do anytime soon. This behavior towards climate change will most probably stop or slow down any progress we’ve made these past few years. The Bulletin also saw this behavior towards climate change coming from other international leaders which make the matter even more serious. In addition, reckless language by international leaders was also mentioned in the statement. This obviously makes sense, communication between countries is extremely important.

We are already our third month into the year so we can all hope this year goes by as quickly as possible. At the same time, we can also hope the international leaders open their eyes to what is climate change. This is the one thing that I’ll never understand, the 2017 Doomsday Clock Statement could not have said it better, “Climate change should not be a partisan political issue”.

Want to know more about the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?
Visit their website: http://thebulletin.org/

How to give a boost to your morning without coffee

Morning routin breakfast

Morning Breakfast Morning Coffee

Coffee is a beverage loved by many around the world thanks to three things. One, it’s addictive so in other words, it’s a legal drug. Two, it’s a delicious drink depending on who you talk to. Three, coffee contains a lot of caffeine which makes it a natural energy booster. There are people who avoid drinking coffee for either its addictiveness or its taste but end up not having the morning boost they need or want to start the day. Luckily, there are a few alternatives that one can take to replace the morning coffee.

You’ve heard it many times and you will hear it many more times, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As a person matures and is confronted with so many responsibilities (work, bills, your future) they will have less time to think about breakfast. That is why many people have a rather small breakfast or decided to skip breakfast altogether. This is a common mistake. Because breakfast is the most important meal you should also try your best to fit as much food as possible in your stomach.

Water

Drinking water in the morning has its benefits such as helping transport nutrients, balance your body temperature and help with digestion. It also makes sense since your body doesn’t receive water for about 6-8 hours. To make your water a bit more fun you can also squeeze some fresh lemon in it. Lemons help with cleansing the liver and are a great source of Vitamin C and calcium. This might be extra helpful for the people who had a night of drinking the day before.

Fresh juice/smoothies

Any fresh juice can make you feel full of energy in the morning. A personal favorite is fresh orange juice. Orange juice helps battle the “bad” cholesterol and of course is rich in Vitamin C. You can be creative with smoothies, almond milk, bananas, blueberries and chia seeds are known to be energy boosters. You can mix a match with a variety of fruits especially know that is a trend to get fruits at the farmers market.

Fruits

As already mentioned, bananas and blueberries are perfect fruits to eat in the morning. However, you can eat whatever fruit you want. Mix it up and have a fruit bowl party. Eating fruits on an empty stomach will cause the sugar from the fruits to break faster. Therefore, your body will enjoy more from the nutritional benefits of fruits. The fruits that can help you the most are berries.

Oatmeal

Most people already eat oatmeal in the morning so this an easy one. Oatmeal has high levels of fiber and can help regulate blood pressure. For the people who have a gluten allergy be careful with which brand you buy before you end up eating oatmeal. You should look for the more expensive organic gluten free brands. Yes it sucks to be you, I really don’t know how you guys manage your diet.

Tea

Tea is a perfect replacement for coffee because this delicious drink also contains caffeine. However, if you want to reach the same level of caffeine in the morning that a coffee gives you then you’ll have to drink about 3 cups of black tea. Tea is also great for the people who live in cold countries. I really started drinking tea constantly when I moved to a way colder environment that I was used to. Drinking tea in warm water doesn’t fit with me. That is why Caribbean islands sometimes serve beer with ice.

Mix all of them

The best breakfast to boost your energy in the morning would consist of a mix of these different products. For example, have tea, fresh orange juice and oatmeal mixed with different kinds of berries. That sound pretty good to me.

There are of course other food that you can eat that haven’t been mentioned in this post but if I list all of them it will be too much and this is what I can think of so far.

Take Life Purpose Quiz – Find Your Purpose

Life Purpose Quiz

A few days ago I stumbled upon a very simple article in The Guardian – Life Purpose Quiz. The article is named “Does your life have a purpose or are you just a drifter? Quiz”. The quiz part of the title was the reason why I decided to read it. I remember being slightly addicted to the useless quizzes that you can find on Facebook thus this kind of fed my former addiction. This is something worth sharing, especially in the present time where many people have doubts about their purpose in life. So let’s take this quiz together.

how-to-find-your-passion-life-purpose

This is a very simple quiz. To find out if your life has a purpose or not you have to answer the next three statements on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). After this, you add the score and then divide by three to get an average score.

The statements are:

  1. Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.
  2. I think about the future, rather than living one day at a time.
  3. I rarely experience the feeling that I’ve done all there is to do in life.

According to the study conducted by psychologist Patrick Hill, if your average is 5.5 or lower then you’re a drifter. If your average is between 5.5 and 7 then you have more purpose in life than the average American. What does this mean for you?

According to the study, people whose life has purpose live longer than the people who are drifters. The only problem with this is that the researcher didn’t give a clear explanation of this statement. What he mentioned was that in his 14 years after conducting his research, (the research was conducted in the year 2000) about 9% of the 7,000 people that did the test had died. The majority of the people in this group were, according to the test, drifters.

So now you know that if you want to live a long life then you have to make sure that that life has a purpose. This, of course, is easier said than done, aver after taking the Life Purpose Quiz…

[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je5uQ-92oxQ[/embedyt]

5 Steps To Beat Procrastination

Procrastination

Procrastination

Being a college student means I always complain about having so much to do (I actually have so much to do) but when it comes to actually doing college work I end up doing other unimportant things instead. The behavior I’m explaining is good old procrastination. This is definitely a familiar thing for many people in today’s society. The thing about procrastination is that it’s a vicious circle in which you keep finding more useless things to do and your actual task seems to be so far away from you, even when it’s laying right next to you. How do you escape the vicious circle? Here are five steps that helped me.

1. Recognize your procrastination behavior

In other words, treat procrastination as an addiction. So just like an addiction, your first step will have to be to accept the fact that you’re addicted, or in this case recognize that your procrastinating. This in turn will make the next steps you have to take a bit easier. On top of this, it might also make sure you don’t fall back to procrastination and make you feel even unproductive than you did before.

2. Write down all the important tasks you have to do

Grab a notebook or an agenda and write down what you have to do for that day. After you’re done with one task then cross it off your list. This will give you a sense of achievement and will motivate you to move on to the next task. What also helps is if you put the tasks in order of difficulty, from easy to difficult. First, because we get more frustrated when doing difficult tasks which can cause us to start procrastinating, which is not the desired outcome we’re looking for. Second, doing the easier tasks first means that you’ll have fewer tasks left to do. This tip can work the other way around for other people, doing the more difficult task first. Of course this will be different if all your tasks are difficult. In that case, I’m sorry, good luck and maybe look at the following step.

3. Divide the difficult/big tasks

This step is a logical one. Dividing tasks will make them more simple and it will feel more like an achievement when you finish the little tasks. On top of this, if the task you’re doing is study related then dividing what you’re studying can help you with your memory. In other words, try not overloading your brain with a lot of information all at once but this also means you have to make more time for studying. That’s another problem you’ll have to overcome. Regardless of that, dividing tasks is also the perfect study technique.

4. Find out what is distracting you from doing your task

We’re living in a world of distractions. It is no secret that our attention span has declined the last few decades. This step is difficult because most of the things that distract us are also things we might be slightly addicted to. Think about your phone, laptop, the internet as a whole. When you find out what is distracting you then keep those things away from you as you’re doing your task. Something that I personally find useful is to put my smartphone on silence and make sure it is not at arms reach from me.

5. Make your tasks more entertaining

On this step you can let your creativity decide on how you want to make your tasks more fun to do. There are many ways. For example, you can reward yourself after completing a task with food, a few minutes on social media, texting your friends, going on Reddit, a nap etc. The difficulty of this task is to make sure that you don’t spend too much time enjoying your reward because this in turn will cause you to procrastinate, which again is not the desired outcome. The bigger the task you complete the bigger the reward. For example, it is past twelve and I’m still writing this so my big reward will be a cup of tea and sleeping for a full 8 hours, as you can see I’m an interesting person (at least my parents can be proud that I’m getting enough sleep).

Stopping procrastination is mostly about self-control. Some people have more self-control than others. This means that going through these steps will be easier for some than for others. Procrastination also varies in age, the older you become the less you’re allowed the privilege of procrastination because this may cause somewhat serious consequences in your life as an employee or a college student that is about to get his/her degree. It also depends on whether you want to deal with the consequences or not but that’s a personality thing that I will talk about another day.

A Dog’s Purpose Cruelty Exposed by the Media

Fake News

It is interesting how we, as humans, react towards different news we see daily on the internet and on traditional media. Not sure if many of you have noticed lately but social media and news don’t really mix well. Why? There are two reasons. First, there’s a high probability it is fake news. Second, the news shared is most probably framed by the news/entertainment account that posted it to make you think the way they want you to think about the story. Let me show you an example and how is the best way to react to it.

Dog's Purpose

A Dog’s Purpose is a book turned into a movie about a dog that discovers the meaning of its own existence by living with different families through reincarnation. The main plot of this sounds interesting, but it also sounds like a movie that’d make you cry. Why am I mentioning this movie? Because many people started saying that they’d boycott this movie and encouraged many others to do so. The reason why this happened, was because a video was released by TMZ showing the filming of a German shepherd, that’s a breed of dog, being “forced” into what could be seen as a pool of rough water. The video also shows the dog being taken out of the pool. How did most people react to this? By screaming; “THIS IS DOG ABUSE!!”. This went so far that PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) also shared the story and the video thus further spreading the idea that this was animal abuse from the filmmakers of this movie.

Dog's Purpose TMZ video

The story doesn’t stop there. After the news came out, the filmmakers defended themselves by saying that the dog in the video wasn’t harmed and that they work with professional animal trainers to ensure the dog’s safety. Of course, this wasn’t enough for the outraged people screaming animal abuse. Now at this moment, there are clearly two sides, people who are saying it’s dog abuse and people who are saying it’s not dog abuse. As any human being in our society, you’ll feel the pressure to support one of the sides. However, what you should do is sit tight and wait for the story to further develop. This will save you from becoming the person that blindly shares everything he/she sees as being the one and only side to a story. Let’s finish this story.

The release of this story also mentioned that the American Humane Association was present on the film set when this was being filmed. This, of course, made many people, the people who are screaming dog abuse, question why they didn’t intervene when this was happening to ensure the dog’s safety. They pretty much gave the same statement of the filmmakers, which was that there were professionals to ensure the dog’s safety. However, the American Humane Association went a step further and conducted an investigation on this matter. In my eyes, this is a great way to say “god damn it let’s just make this official and shut everyone up”. Of course, this is my opinion, not the American Humane Association’s opinion. After the investigation, it was concluded that the video that TMZ posted to the internet “was deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage”.

Let this example be something that most people can learn from. We are living in a society where we are being bombarded with these kinds of stories. The controversial stories are the ones that produce more likes and shares which in turn produce more profit to the people posting this on the internet. There is so much fake news or framed news out there that jumping into conclusions is just the wrong thing to do. Then again it’s also interesting how this video was released right before the premiere of the movie. Interesting topic to investigate. Moving on. Will news/entertainment companies change their way of reporting to ensure they are informing us with the right content? Absolutely not! We all have to remember that yes, they are informing us on different stories as they develop but these companies know that the more controversial things are, the more we will click and share. This means that we as readers have to always double check everything and make these companies accountable for what they are doing. In other words, don’t fall in their trap and inform others about it.