Archive for July, 2009

A doctor and 3 patients

 One morning at a doctor’s surgery a patient arrives complaining of serious back-pain. The doctor examines him and asks him “OK, what happened to your back?” The patient replies “You know that I work for a local night club? This morning I got home to my apartment early and heard a noise in my bedroom. On entering I knew someone had been with my wife and the balcony door was open. I rushed out the balcony door and did not find anyone. As I looked down from the balcony I saw a man running out and he was dressing himself. I grabbed the fridge and threw it at him, that’s how I strained my back”

The 2nd patient arrives looking as if he has been in a car wreck. The doctor said “My previous patient looked bad, but you look terrible. What the hell happened to you?” He replied, “You know I have been unemployed for a while now .Today was the first day at my new job. I forgot to set my alarm and was running late. I was running out of the building, getting dressed at the same time, and you won’t believe it but I was hit by a fridge.”

The 3rd patient arrives; he looks even worse than the other two patients do. The doctor is shocked. Again asks, “What the hell happened to you…. .?” “Well I was sitting in a fridge & someone threw it from the 3rd floor”

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How to find a good guy?

 

Find a guy, who calls you beautiful instead of hot.
Who calls you back when you hang up on him.

 Who will stay awake just to watch you sleep.
 Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead..
 Who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats.
 Who holds your hand in front of his friends.
 Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you.
 Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, “

…that’s her.”

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Best Divorce Letter

 Best Divorce Letter

 

Dear wife:

I’m writing you this letter to tell you that I’m leaving you forever. I’ve been a good man to you for 7 years & I have nothing to show for it. These last 2 weeks have been hell.

Your boss called to tell me that you quit your job today & that was the last straw. Last week, you came home & didn’t even notice I had a new haircut, had cooked your favorite meal & even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers. You ate in 2 minutes, & went straight to sleep after watching all of your soaps. You don’t tell me you love me anymore; you don’t want sex or anything that connects us as husband & wife. Either you are cheating on me or you don’t love me anymore; whatever the case, I’m gone.

Your EX-Husband

P.S. don’t try to find me. Your SISTER & I are moving away to West Virginia together! Have a great life!

Dear Ex-Husband

Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter.

It’s true you & I have been married for 7 years, although a good man is a far cry from what you’ve been. I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining & griping. Too bad that doesn’t work. I DID notice when you got a hair cut last week, but the 1st thing that came to mind was ‘You look just like a girl!’ Since my mother raised me not to say anything if you can’t say something nice, I didn’t comment. And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY SISTER, because I stopped eating pork 7 years ago. About those new silk boxers: I turned away from you because the $49.99 price tag was still on them, & I prayed it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed $50 from me that morning.

After all of this, I still loved you & felt we could work it out. So when I hit the lotto for 10 million dollars, I quit my job & bought us 2 tickets to Jamaica But when I got home you were gone. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.

I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that the letter you wrote ensures you won’t get a dime from me.

So take care.

Signed,

Your Ex-Wife, Rich As Hell & Free!

P.S. I don’t know if I ever told you this, but my sister Carla was born Carl.

I hope that’s not a problem!

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Outside the box: Singapore’s formula for maths success

702_maths

This article is an extract for teachers on teaching methods.

LONDON, July 2 — One country teaches children to recite their times tables and drills them in mental arithmetic. The other bans rote learning and encourages pupils to manipulate real objects and share ideas as they work in groups.

 Which one is Singapore, which consistently comes first or second in the international league tables for mathematics, and which is England? The answer may come as a surprise.

For despite the reputation of Pacific Rim countries for traditional chalk and talk, it is Singapore that uses the so-called trendy modern methods whereby children learn by doing in noisy classrooms. Times tables are frowned upon, just as they once were in England before the advent of the national curriculum.

Singaporean classrooms are noisy places where children learn maths by folding paper, constructing models and re-arranging pieces of fruit or lollipop sticks. And it is this method devised by the ministry of education that the city-state says has led to its rapid rise up the international tables.

 In the last Timms survey of maths and science standards in 49 countries, Singapore came first for science and second for maths. Since the scheme known as Singapore Maths was introduced in the 1990s, the nation has not only moved to the top but no longer has a tail of low achievers. It was also ranked first for the quality of its education system by the Global Competitiveness Report 2007–2008.

As Singapore moved away from traditional methods to Western-style creativity and discovery learning, England moved in the opposite direction, bringing back compulsory times tables and tests for mental arithmetic. England, too, has improved its standing from 25th place in 1995 to seventh in the 2008 Timms survey published last December, but still more than one-fifth of children fail to pass the national curriculum maths tests. Last year, only 78 per cent of 11-year-olds and 77 per cent of 14-year-olds reached the standard expected for their age.

Now the Singapore system is being brought to Britain by the publisher Marshall Cavendish and Maths – No Problem, an organisation promoting good materials for home and school. But is it the method which makes the difference, or are children in Singapore more diligent and better supported at home?

Ling Yuan, head of maths at the Catholic High School in Singapore, was in Britain last week conducting seminars for home educators and maths teachers and visiting schools. She says the content of what is taught in primary maths differs very little to what is in the national curriculum in England, except that children in this country are expected to learn some areas of geometry that are taught to secondary-age children in Singapore.

There is more emphasis in Singapore maths, however, on gaining a good understanding of the basics before moving on, she says. This provides a strong foundation. Key to the programme is the insistence that children learn by sequence, first by manipulating objects in the real world, then by drawing pictorial representations before using the mathematical symbols.

“The concrete, pictorial, abstract method is very powerful because it helps children to visualise number and proportion. There is a huge emphasis on problem solving,” she told a seminar in London. “The children form a mental picture and a deeper understanding using beans or pieces of pasta and then they might draw a box with green beans in it and for every 10 green beans you get a red one.”

The simple task of folding paper can help children visualise division, she said, adding: “We don’t get our children to memorise times tables. We are not into rote learning. We get the children to calculate 12 times six by breaking it into two times six and 10 times six and they soon get the answer into their brains.”

Children in Singapore start school later, at the age of seven, and classes are larger – about 40 pupils. Whereas many maths classes are set by ability in England, Singaporean primary schools have mixed ability classes and rely on scaffolded questions to provide more challenging work for the most able. There is also an emphasis on children learning from each other.

“You would be shocked if you walked into one of our classrooms. Where is the teacher? He or she will not be at the front but working with one of the groups and there will be a lot of noise, we encourage children to work out the problems together,” explains Ling. “Sometimes parents come to us worried because their children say they have been playing in maths, but when they see the mid-year test scores, they are satisfied.”

Teachers are provided with examples of practical exercises and ways of illustrating mathematical concepts through pictures, using rectangles divided into parts or with blocks in which the children draw different numbers of objects. This helps primary teachers in Singapore who, like those in England, teach across the curriculum and are not usually maths specialists, adds Ling. The system has already been adopted at schools serving disadvantaged pupils in parts of America and a study by the US Department of Education found they had made very significant progress.

“Singaporean students are more successful in mathematics than their US counterparts because Singapore has a world-class mathematics system with quality components aligned to produce students who learn mathematics to mastery,” the researchers concluded.

Some UK schools are adopting the scheme, among them Northwood Preparatory School in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. Bernie Westacott, its head of maths, says pupils were already doing well but after just a year of Singapore Maths are a year ahead of where they would have been.

 “I have been teaching since 1973 and have never been happy with UK textbooks nor the way we have taught maths,” he says. “I have continually searched for something that would be closer to what I felt was a better way so that this could be given to teachers as a ready-made resource, along with a reasonable amount of training. A few years ago I came across Singapore Maths which seemed a perfect fit.

“Pupils focus intensely on a handful of ‘real maths’ topics, whereas in the UK the maths curriculum is a mile wide and an inch deep, making it difficult for students to master the most important skills. Rather than teaching pupils to memorise facts and routines, the focus is on maths concepts which are born out of practical experience. We have seen a large improvement in their problem-solving ability because they are manipulating objects as opposed to learning routines.”

Stephan Cook, the head of St Faith’s CofE school in Wandsworth, south-west London, says aspects of the Singapore method are already in place in Britain, but less systematically. He says: “The books for teachers giving examples of how maths problems can be portrayed pictorially would be useful, but the most important thing in any method is that the teacher understands the concepts before trying to pass them on.” — The Independent

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Deadly Flowers

The 7 Most Beautiful-But-Deadly Flowers in the World

Beautiful as they may be, some flowers are much more than they appear to be. Believe it or not, these seemingly harmless plants can really ruin your vacation. To help you know what flowers to stay away from on your trips, with a list of the worlds most attractive but dangerous flowers:

 

7. Daphne

 daphne

Also known as lady laurel or paradise plant, Daphne is a 1-1.5 meters tall shrub, usually grown for its scented flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the greatest concentrations are in the sap and berries.

 daphne2

 

Daphne contains mezerine and daphnin, two powerful toxins that cause stomach aches, headaches, diarrhea, delirium and convulsions. If Daphne berries are consumed, the victim might fall into a coma and even die.

 

6. Lily of the Valley

 

 lily-of-the-valley

Just like the Daphne, Lily of the Valley may look beautiful and harmless, but it is entirely poisonous. Eating one or two of the plants bell-shaped flowers wont hurt you very much, especially if youre an adult.

 lily-of-the-valley2

 

Eaten in large quantities, Lily of the Valley causes pain in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. People with heart conditions should be most careful since the toxins cause the heartbeats to slow down or become irregular.

 

5. Belladonna

 deadly-nightshade

Known as one of the most poisonous plants in the Western hemisphere, Belladonna contains potentially lethal tropane alkaloids. The entire plant is harmful, but its good-looking berries pose the most danger, especially to kids.

 deadly-nightshade2

 

The symptoms of Belladona, or Deadly Nightshade poisoning are dilated pupils, blurred vision, headaches, hallucinations, delirium and convulsions. Atropine, the toxin contained by Belladona, can kill a person by disrupting the nervous systems ability to regulate breathing, sweating and heart rate.

 

4. Angels Trumpet

 angel-trumpet

Despite its name, theres something very evil about this plant. The toxins it contains can be fatal to humans and a number of animals. Known as a powerful hallucinogen, Angels Trumpet should not be used for recreational purposes, since the risk of an overdose is very high.

 angel-trumpet2

Angels Trumpet plants contain a variable amount of tropane alkaloids, like atropine and scopolamine, and it is used in shamanic rituals by indigenous tribes in western Amazonia.

 

3. Rhododendron

 rhododendron

This popular evergreen shrub, featuring large, beautiful blooms, has been known for its toxicity since ancient times. Xenophon recorded the odd behavior of a group of Greek soldiers who had eaten honey from rhododendron flowers.

 rhododendron2

 

Rhododendron contains andromedatoxin which causes nausea, severe pains, paralysis and even death. Azaleas, members of the same plant-family as rhododendron, are also poisonous.

 

2. Oleander

oleander 

Oleander is known as one of the most poisonous plants on Earth, often used in suicidal cases around southern India. The numerous toxic compounds contained in the entire Oleander plant, including oleandrin and neriine, affect the nervous, digestive and cardiovascular systems, all at the same time.

 oleander2

 

Oleander poisoning leads to drowsiness, tremors, seizures, coma and even death. The plants sap causes skin irritation and severe eye inflammation.

 

1. Autumn crocus

 autumn-crocus

One of the most endangered plants in the world, Autumn crocus is also probably the most poisonous. It contains colchicine, a deadly drug used effectively in the treatment for gout. Unlike other toxins found in the flowers above, colchicine, an arsenic-like poison has no antidote.

 autumn-crocus2

Autumn crocus poisoning leads to reduced blood pressure and cardiac arrest.

 

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Eat Less Rice ? Why??

 

Eat Less Rice!
The human body was never meant to consume rice! You see, our genes have hardly changed in more than 30,000 years. However, our food choices and lifestyle have changed dramatically. The caveman would hardly recognise our food or way of life.

Caveman food was never cooked as fire was not yet tamed. Thus, he ate only those foods that you can eat without treatment with or by fire. He ate fruits, vegetables, fish (sushi anyone?), eggs, nuts and meat. Yes, even meat! You can even eat meat raw if you were starving in the forest. You have the necessary enzymes to digest meat.

However, rice, like wheat and corn, cannot be eaten raw. It must be cooked. Even if you were starving in the desert, you cannot eat rice in the raw form. This is because we do not have the system of enzymes to break rice down. You were never meant to eat rice. To make matters worse, you not only eat rice, but also make it the bulk of your food.

In some parts of Asia , rice forms up to 85% of the plate. Even if you take rice, keep it to a minimum. Remember, it is only for your tongue – not your body. Actually, rice and other grains like wheat and corn are actually worse than sugar. There are many reasons:

Rice becomes sugar – lots of it!
This is a fact that no nutritionist can deny: rice is chemically no different from sugar. One bowl of cooked rice is the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This does not matter whether it is white, brown or herbal rice. Brown rice is richer in fibre, some B vitamins and minerals but it is still the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. To get the same 10 teaspoons of sugar, you need to consume lots of kangkong-10 bowls of it.

Rice is digested to become sugar.
Rice cannot be digested before it is thoroughly cooked. However, when thoroughly cooked, it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour-almost as quickly as it would if you took a sugar candy. Rice is very low in the ‘rainbow of anti-oxidants. ‘

This complete anti-oxidant rainbow is necessary for the effective and safe utilisation of sugar. Fruits come with a sugar called fructose. However, they are not empty calories as the fruit is packed with a whole host of other nutrients that help its proper assimilation and digestion.

Rice has no fibre.

The fibre of the kangkong fills you up long before your blood sugar spikes. This is because the fibre bulks and fills up your stomach. Since white rice has no fibre, you end up eating lots of ‘calorie dense’ food before you get filled up. Brown rice has more fibre but still the same amount of sugar.

Rice is tasteless-sugar is sweet.
There is only so much that you can eat at one sitting. How many teaspoons of sugar can you eat before you feel like throwing up? Could you imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one seating?

Rice is always the main part of the meal.
While sugar may fill your dessert or sweeten your coffee, it will never be the main part of any meal. You could eat maybe two to three teaspoons of sugar at one meal. However, you could easily eat the equal value of two to three bowls (20-30 teaspoons) of sugar in one meal. I am always amused when I see someone eat sometimes five bowls of rice (equals 50 teaspoons of sugar) and then asks for tea tarik kurang manis!

There is no real ‘built in’ mechanism for us to prevent overeating of rice:
How much kangkong can you eat?
How much fried chicken can you eat?
How much steamed fish can you eat?
Think about that!

In one seating, you cannot take lots of chicken, fish or cucumber, but you can take lots of rice. Eating rice causes you to eat more salt. As rice is tasteless, you tend to consume more salt-another villain when it comes to high blood pressure. You tend to take more curry that has salt to help flavor rice. We also tend to consume more ketchup and soy sauce which are also rich in salt.

Eating rice causes you to drink less water.
The more rice you eat, the less water you will drink as there is no mechanism to prevent the overeating of rice. Rice, wheat and corn come hidden in our daily food. As rice is tasteless, it tends to end up in other foods that substitute rice like rice flour, noodles and bread. We tend to eat the hidden forms which still get digested into sugar.
 
Rice, even when cooked, is difficult to digest.

Can’t eat raw rice? Try eating rice half cooked. Contrary to popular belief, rice is very difficult to digest. It is ‘heavy stuff’. If you have problems with digestion, try skipping
rice for a few days. You will be amazed at how the problem will just go away.

Rice prevents the absorption of several vitamins and minerals.

Rice when taken in bulk will reduce the absorption of vital nutrients like zinc, iron and the B vitamins.

Are you a rice addict? Going rice-less may not be easy but you can go rice-less. Eating less rice could be lot easier than you think. Here are some strategies that you can pursue in your quest to eat less rice:

                                                               Eat less rice-cut your rice by half.

Barry Sears, author of the Zone Diet, advises ‘eating rice like spice’. Instead, increase your fruits and vegetables. Take more lean meats and fish. You can even take more eggs and nuts.

Have ‘riceless’ meals.
Take no rice or wheat at say, breakfast. Go for eggs instead.

Go on ‘riceless’ days.
Go ‘western’ once a week.

Take no rice and breads for one day every week.
That can’t be too difficult. Appreciate the richness of your food. Go for taste, colours and smells. Make eating a culinary delight. Enjoy your food in the original flavours.

Avoid the salt shaker or ketchup.
You will automatically eat less rice.

Eat your fruit dessert before (Yes! No printing error) your meals.
The fibre rich fruits will ‘bulk up’ in your stomach. Thus, you will eat less rice and more fruits.

It’s your life. Decide what you want to eat! But eat less rice!

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