Google has launched a new app designed to help teach kids how to read. Called Read Along, the app gives children both visual and verbal feedback as they read stories out loud. Helping them to develop their literacy skills independently.
Giving Kids a Lifelong Love of Reading
Helping kids to learn how to read and write is probably the most important skill a parent can teach a child. Without basic literacy skills, the world is a challenging place to navigate. And if kids take to reading when young, they’ll have a lifelong love for it.
To help improve kids’ reading skills, Google has launched an app called Read Aloud. As detailed on The Keyword, this Android-exclusive app uses Google’s text-to-speech and speech recognition technologies to ascertain how well each student is doing.
How Read Aloud Can Teach Kids How to Read
This feedback is all delivered by an in-app reading buddy named Diya. Who gives positive feedback in the same way a (good) parent or teacher would do. Diya can also help children pronounce any tricky words or phrases they may be struggling with.
Read Aloud offers a range of diverse and interesting stories, with games sprinkled in to add some fun to proceedings. There’s also some gamification involved, with kids able to collect stars and badges as they learn, helping them to focus on the next goal.
Google has built Read Aloud with safety and privacy in mind, so there are no ads or in-app purchases. And apart from the initial download, Read Aloud works offline, with even the voice data analyzed on the device rather than being sent to Google’s servers.
Read Along has been available (as Bolo) in India since 2019. However, it’s now available in more than 180 countries and nine languages, including English, Spanish, and Hindi. Read Along is a free download for Android, but there’s no mention of an iOS version.
Yes, you can learn how to dance online for free. From party moves and trending TikTok dances to classic ballroom steps, try these free websites for beginner and experienced dancers.
Online lessons are obviously not going to be as good as going to a professional dance studio. But they are effective nonetheless. Through a series of steps (no pun intended), anyone can learn how to dance online for free. And if you like the basics, many of those in this list offer paid packages for a professional online live dance class.
Social media loves dancing. Gamers love dancing. The internet loves dancing. And Bao from Learn How to Dance is here to teach you how to do the latest viral and trending dances in simple and free YouTube videos.
You can check the most popular videos, but Bao has also divided the channel into a few helpful playlists. There’s a Fortnite playlist for all the dances in the popular game. He updates the TikTok playlist most frequently so you can rock those moves on your social media. And there are tutorials for popular dance moves, hip-hop steps, and other assorted items.
The most common compliment subscribers give Bao is how much time he gives to breaking down the steps. Beginners will find it easy to learn moves from him because of how he demonstrates all angles of the body for each step and suggests easier and harder versions.
Also, like most active YouTubers, he reads the comments regularly. So if you want to learn a step he hasn’t featured yet, write a request and you might soon get a tutorial along with a shout-out.
Tap dancing is all about rhythm. It takes practice, but it’s much more accessible than others for beginners and those who consider themselves to have two left feet. Tap dancer Kathie Walling compiled some of the essential things you will need in one place at Tap Dancing Resources.
Start with the list of tap dancing lessons for all levels. Here, you will find links to several free tutorials online. Walling provides YouTube links to lessons by United Taps, as well as Shelby Kauffman’s excellent series where she breaks down each step. In fact, you can also learn about all the steps at the A-Z of tap dancing steps.
These online videos are the first stage of your tap dancing journey. You’ll also need the right music to tap along to, find surfaces and shoes that can work, warm-ups, and so on. Tap Dancing Resources has it all, along with links to instructors and schools around the world for you to tap the next step.
Ballroom Dancers looks and feels a little old, as do the videos in it. But when it comes to the classics of dancing, you don’t really need to jazz it up. When the content is top-notch, the design doesn’t matter.
The website teaches all the major steps involved in ballroom and latin dances like waltz, salsa, samba, foxtrot, rumba, cha cha, etc. Each dance and step offers a video as well a write-up.
The written part dives into the history of the moves, elaborates on the man’s part and woman’s part, and offers tips and tricks on how to gracefully execute the steps. As useful as the videos are, don’t forget to read the text.
Do you feel like you have no rhythm and two left feet? Dancer Nathan Short simplifies the whole idea of finding rhythms and grooving to them by making it a visual learning experience. He calls it Colourform, and it’s meant for absolute beginners to learn how to dance.
Here’s how it works. Short divides sound into six frequencies, from low to high. He then assigns them six colors of the spectrum. He also divides the human body into six sections: feet, knees, hips, torso, arms, and hands.
Each frequency, color, and body party forms a group, from lowest to highest. It’s really easy to follow in the video. This simple visualization will help you find the beat and rhythm of any song and dance appropriately to it.
If you’re confident with the basics of dance, try Short’s free 10-minute dance masterclass routines on YouTube. They’re beautifully shot as he teaches a group of students a few moves. You can see the variations people bring, and how a non-perfect dancer performs the same move as Short, which can be a confidence booster if you’re struggling. Plus, they also serve as free live workout classes at home to get fit.
5. Teach Kids to Dance Online for Free (and Learn Yourself Too) at Dance Parent 101
Adults get conscious about how to dance correctly. But kids? Man, kids are uninhibited and joyful when they get to shake a leg. You can actually start them off at an early age, build up their confidence and skills.
Dance Parent 101 is all about teaching children the basics of dancing through online resources and maybe learning a thing or two along the way.
Blogger Samantha was a professional dancer and tutor. As a mom to two dancer kids, she put together this website that will help children learn dancing even in your home.
You’ll find how to build locomotive skills in toddlers, the basics of dancing for children, ballet tutorials, dancing for teens, fitness workouts for kids, and a whole lot more.
Dance Parent 101 is a repository of useful information for parents of dancers. And you know what? If your child is learning at home, why don’t you join them to pick up a few steps, get fitter, and most importantly, bond with your kid.
Learned to Dance? Learn Music
Dancing and music go hand in hand. Just like you can learn to dance online for free, you can also learn to play music online for free. This includes instruments like the guitar or harmonica, or you can work without equipment to learn to beatbox or sing with the help of online classes. It’s all among the musical skills you can learn online with or without instruments.
by Riley MacLeod on Jezebel, shared by Joel Cunningham to Lifehacker
In March, the week America first started taking coronavirus seriously, a 2017 CDC guide about pandemic-appropriate facial hair resurfaced. Initially, I brushed off the graphic, which advised shaving my beard because it could interfere with the proper fit of a face mask—at the time, we weren’t supposed to be wearing…
Hines has collected a list of authors providing their work online for free.
Naturally, your public library is a great resource and the Libby app is my best friend for e-books. We will also find that the public library gives incredible access to movies, music, and periodicals via the series of tubes we all know and love.
Bad news: Your brain reaches its peak performance sometime before you turn 26, and it's all downhill from there. Good news: At any age, training with brain exercises has big-time benefits. Better news? The Ultimate Memory Mastery Bundle hooks you up with 20 hours of proven psychology and neuroscience techniques to boost your brain and improve memory.
Not impressed? Know this: Improving your memory can improve multiple aspects of your life, both right now and into your senior years. Having a good memory will help you...
improve focus, decrease laziness, and free up brainpower
pass down information that can only be found inside your head
maintain or increase creativity
boost meaningful learning
network like a champ, thanks to all those names and details you recall
gain authority on the topics of your choosing
lead presentations at work or give a toast at your BFF's wedding
change a tire in the middle of a road with no cell service
make your brain more quick and agile
With the Ultimate Memory Mastery Bundle, you'll get 7 courses teaching simple yet powerful techniques to strengthen your memory, effortlessly recall information, and reduce the amount of time it takes to memorize something. You'll find actionable, easy-to-apply concepts and activities that can be used immediately—methods that are tested and used by memory experts, including basic mnemonic systems.
Including 7 hours of content from the psychologist who founded the Brain Academy, you'll learn dual brain theory, brain systems and neurochemicals, the psychology of memory, the history of memory training, and the memory formation process. There's even a course dedicated to how to rewire your brain via neuroplasticity and one focused on how to apply the Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach to your everyday life.
Great for beginners but also featuring advanced topics, the 222 lessons in the Ultimate Memory Mastery Bundle are available for a mere $19.99. It seems like a no-brainer.
President Donald Trump presented a bill to his Cabinet on Tuesday aimed at boosting border security and overhauling the current immigration system to make it more merit-based, a senior administration official said.
I first came across the concept of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) about 15 years ago. It takes a block of text and presents it one word at a time in a rapid sequence in a fixed location on the screen. Since I don’t have to scan the text back and forth across the screen, I can read faster without sacrificing comprehension. Spreed is my RSVP Chrome Extension of choice. I’ve been using for the past 6+ years. I normally have my rate set to 550 WPM, but it’s easy (and sometimes necessary) to change depending on the complexity of the text. I also use the Paste Text into Spreed function to read content from PDFs and other documents on my computer. You can, of course, customize the font, color, speed… to suit your own taste.
“A federal grand jury in New Mexico has indicted five Muslims who allegedly trained children to carry out school massacres on terrorism-related offenses, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping.” The children also lived under abusive conditions. The leader of the group is Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, “the son of Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a former board member […]
“You said that Mohammed was married to an eight-year-old girl, and that in the Netherlands a grown man who marries a girl of eight is seen as a pedophile.” Strictly speaking, the teacher was wrong: Muhammad married Aisha when she was six, and consummated the marriage (i.e., raped her) when she was nine. Hassan’s admission […]
If you sign all or most of your emails the same way, you can create an email signature. It shows professionalism in business communications and acts as a digital business card. A well-designed email signature can also serve as a promotional tool for just about anything, like a business, website, blog, or a book.
We’ve discussed how to add an email signature in Outlook for the desktop. But what if you use the Microsoft Outlook Web App in Office 365? In this article, we’ll show you how to add, insert, and change your signature in the Outlook Web App in Office 365.
Click the Settings gear icon in the upper-right corner of the window.
Then, click View all Outlook settings at the bottom of the Settings pane.
Step 3: Access the Email Signature in Settings
On the Settings screen, click Mail in the left pane. Then, click Compose and reply in the middle pane.
Step 4: Format Your Email Signature
The Email signature box has a toolbar at the top that allows you to format your signature. You can make the text bold, italic, or underlined, and also change the size and alignment of the text.
When we tested the formatting toolbar, it applied the formatting we selected at the beginning of the signature, no matter where the cursor was. So you may have to put your formatted text at the beginning of your signature and then copy and paste it to where you want it.
Step 5: Add an Office 365 Email Signature
Enter the text you want in your signature in the Email signature box.
The Outlook Web App does not allow you to insert an image file in your signature. But you can copy an image from another program and paste it into your signature. Any text or images you paste are inserted at the cursor, not at the beginning of the signature, like with the formatting we discussed in the previous step.
Alternatively, you can use a free email generator app to design one and paste it here.
There are two options for automatically including your signature in emails:
To include your signature automatically on all new messages, check the Automatically include my signature on new messages that I compose box.
To automatically include your signature when you reply to messages or forward messages, check the Automatically include my signature on messages I forward or reply to box.
Because there’s only one signature allowed in the Outlook Web App, the signature is the same for new emails and for replies and forwarded messages. The Outlook desktop app allows you to have different signatures for replies and new emails.
Click Save and click the X in the upper-right corner to close the Compose and reply dialog box.
If you use both the Outlook Web App and the Outlook desktop app, a signature created in one will not be available in the other. You must create a signature separately in each app. The web app only allows you to create one signature. But you can create one default signature and multiple alternative signatures in the Outlook desktop app.
Step 6: Automatically Insert Your Email Signature
If you selected to automatically insert your signature into all new emails, you’ll see your signature in the message body when you click New message.
Step 7: Manually Insert Your Email Signature
If you chose not to automatically add your signature to all your email messages in the Outlook Web App, you can manually add it by clicking the menu button at the top of an email and selecting Insert Signature.
The signature is inserted into the email message and the cursor is placed at the beginning of the message body. Just don’t forget to add the recipient(s) and a subject line.
Step 8: Change Outlook Email Signature in Office 365
To change your signature in the Outlook Web App in Office 365, simply go back to the Compose and reply screen in the Settings and change the content in the Email signature box.
Your revised signature will be inserted in all new emails, replies, and forwards from this point on.
Communicate Professionally With an Email Signature
Los Angeles Unified School District has lost 245,000 students over the last 15 years. Officials frequently claim charter schools are taking students and causing LAUSD's budget crisis in the process. But a new report shows the district's spending, including its hiring of more administrators as enrollment drops, is to blame.
A new Reason Foundation study finds only 35 percent of LAUSD's enrollment decline over the past 15 years is due to students going to charter schools. In fact, as the district continues to lose students—losing 55,000 since 2013—a smaller percentage of the loss can be attributed to charter school students. Only 13 percent of the district's enrollment loss for 2017-18 stemmed from students choosing charters.
In the last five years, LAUSD's K-12 student enrollment dropped by nearly 10 percent and the number of teachers decreased by more than 5 percent. According to the California Department of Education, LAUSD's per-student revenue went up 33 percent between FY 2012 and FY 2016 so LAUSD should have had more revenue to spend on fewer students.
But, even as it was losing students, the number of total LAUSD employees grew by 5 percent over the last five years, primarily thanks to a nearly 16 percent increase in administrators.
Additionally, the costs of the district's employee benefits have increased 44 percent since 2014. And its spending on outside consulting services rose by 110 percent since 2014. As a result of these decisions, LAUSD's long-term debt liability, which was $8 billion in 2007, tripled to $25 billion by 2017.
Just as troubling, the new Reason study finds that just four years from now, in 2022, the district's spending on pensions, health care, and special education programs will be eating up over 57 percent LAUSD's main operational funding before a single dollar is spent on a regular school program.
A growing number of families across Southern California rightly view charter schools as a high-quality option. They should not be scapegoated for LAUSD's financial troubles because they sought-out high-performing schools for their children. Los Angeles' public charter school students are outperforming students in LAUSD's traditional schools. For example, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, 8th-grade students in public charter schools outscored LAUSD students in traditional public schools by 26 points in reading and 28 points in math.
Southern California charter schools are also putting their students on a significantly better path to pursue college. Whereas less than half of LAUSD's traditional public-school students in the class of 2015 had passed their A–G requirements—the courses needed to enroll in University of California and California State University system schools—85 percent of Los Angeles charter students completed these courses. Just 13 percent of LAUSD students were accepted to the UC system in 2013 compared to the 20 percent of Los Angeles charter students who earned admission to UC schools.
It makes sense for parents and students to choose charter schools that are outperforming LAUSD in almost every measure, and it won't be surprising if more and more parents select charter schools in years to come. Additionally, the state's Department of Finance projects that over the next decade Los Angeles County will lose another 119,000 K-12 students, more than any other county in California.
LAUSD is going to have to stop blaming its fiscal situation on charter schools and start addressing the root causes of its own financial woes: spending more than it takes in, in large part due to long-term pension and health care costs, and its insistence on increasing staffing levels even though there are fewer students to serve.
LAUSD is going to have to right-size itself—closing some schools and reducing administrative positions to align with falling enrollment. The fiscal crisis will also force it to implement reforms that reduce long-term pension and health care costs Ultimately, the district will have to prioritize and focus on its core mission: educating kids, not providing jobs and retirement income to administrators.
Lisa Snell is director of education policy at Reason Foundation and co-author of the new study "A 2018 Evaluation of LAUSD's Fiscal Outlook."
The federal government's latest financial statements came out last week and they paint a dire picture of our nation's fiscal health. It's not just the annual deficit, which is too large and growing. The new report shows trillions in long-term liabilities that could burden the country for years to come. And it suggests that financial management in large government agencies, like the Department of Defense, is appallingly poor.
The federal government reports assets of $3.5 trillion and liabilities of $23.9 trillion yielding a negative net position of $20.4 trillion. Although this last amount is similar in size to the national debt, net worth is conceptually different.
Federal audited financial statements use accrual accounting, which means that obligations are recognized as they are incurred. For example, the $23.9 trillion in liabilities includes $7.7 trillion in veterans benefits and retirement benefits earned by federal civilian employees. Another $200 trillion in liabilities arise from various guarantees the government has made, including its commitment to backstop private pension plans—many of which are becoming insolvent.
But the biggest federal liabilities of all do not appear on the government's balance sheet. According to a supplemental schedule, the federal government has $49 trillion in Social Security and Medicare liabilities. Although these retirement obligations are just as politically sacrosanct as federal employee pensions and federal guarantees for private pension systems, they receive very different accounting treatment. If these obligations were placed on balance sheet where they belong, the government's negative net position (i.e., its unfunded debt) would balloon to $69 trillion—well over triple the nation's $19 trillion gross domestic product.
As the accompanying chart shows, the federal government's net position has been deteriorating throughout the 21st century. The only apparent bright spot occurred in 2010 when actuaries bumped down Medicare liabilities amidst optimism about Obamacare's prospects for reining in medical costs—a hope that has not fully panned out. The big spike between 2003 and 2004 was largely the result of George W. Bush's unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Although the government's fiscal year 2017 deficit was an already alarming $666 billion, its balance sheet net position worsened by over $1.1 trillion. Social insurance obligations increased a further $2.3 trillion. So, while the government added less than $700 billion in red ink during fiscal year 2017 on a cash basis, the total bleeding in accrual terms was closer to $3.4 trillion. Just as accountants and regulators insist that corporations use accrual accounting to properly inform investors about their financial condition, we should have similar expectations for sovereigns such as the federal government.
Even worse, the chart doesn't include all federal liabilities. Government financial statements exclude $5 trillion in outstanding mortgage backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) were placed under federal conservatorship during the financial crisis. Although the federal government owns 79.9% of each of these entities and would undoubtedly cover any shortfalls they experience with taxpayer money (as they did in 2008), their liabilities are not consolidated onto the federal government's balance sheet.
Finally, it is worth noting that the 2017 federal financial statements—incomplete as they are—received a negative audit opinion, as they do every year. Specifically, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) acting in its role as the federal government's CPA concluded:
The federal government is not able to demonstrate the reliability of significant portions of the accompanying accrual-based consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2017, and 2016, principally resulting from limitations related to certain material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations affecting the reliability of these financial statements.
The GAO reported favorable opinions for most of the federal departments it reviewed, but the Department of Defense (DOD) remains problematic. The GAO found weaknesses in the DOD's cost reporting and its accounting for plant, property and equipment.
These findings invite the question of whether the DOD can effectively manage all the new money Congress and the Administration are giving it. If Pentagon accountants don't really know what the department owns and can't document what the military establishment is spending, what assurance do we have that all the extra tax money it is about to receive won't be wasted?
It is unfortunate that each year's federal financial statements do not receive more attention. Any company reporting results like those the government reported last week would face liquidation. Any state or local government reporting such a lopsided balance sheet would lose access to the municipal bond market. While the federal government enjoys a special status because it can lean on the Federal Reserve to buy its bonds with newly created money, that money printing capability can only go so far.
If the bleeding doesn't stop, we should expect investors in Tresasury securities to demand higher rates as the perceived risk of not being paid on time, in full and with uninflated dollars increases. With over $14 trillion in publicly held debt already on the books and trillions more being added in the coming years, federal interest costs will mount placing added pressure on the budget. At some point, the nation could face a sovereign debt crisis with serious global consequences.
This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs,the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.
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This podcast is also brought to you by Shopify. With the help of Shopify, many readers of my blog — first-time business owners — have ended up making millions of dollars each with their side gigs. Back in 2009, I helped create Shopify’s Build a Business, which is now the world’s largest entrepreneurship competition.
The goal of this competition is to entice would-be entrepreneurs to get off the couch and make things happen, and all you have to do to qualify is open a store on Shopify and start selling. Top sellers in each category then have the exclusive opportunity to learn from mentors and experts like Tony Robbins, Daymond John, Seth Godin, Sir Richard Branson, and me a location like Oheka (aka Gatsby’s) Castle or Necker Island.
We have hired an editor to edit the Cool Tools podcast. It costs us $300 a month. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $288 a month to the podcast. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have nice rewards for people who contribute! – MF
Our guest this week is Rebecca Romney. Rebecca is a rare book dealer at Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn. She got her start with Bauman Rare Books, managing their Las Vegas gallery. She is known for her appearances on the HISTORY Channel’s show Pawn Stars, where she evaluates books as the show’s only female expert. She recently published a book on books called Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History with HarperCollins.
Mylar Film Rolls
“This is an archival uncoated polyester film used by antiquarian book dealers, librarians, and archivists to add a layer of protection to an object for storage or handling. It’s added to dust jackets, cut into sleeves to tuck in individual sheets of paper, etc. “Archival” is a key word here — you have to watch where you’re storing items long term, as high acid content will deteriorate the item over time. This is why taping your books with standard Scotch tape or whatever is so bad — the acid content will eat away at the paper!”
Cliplight (both LED and UV)
“In order to see clearly the watermarks and chain lines of a book printed on handmade paper (generally before 1800CE), you need to backlight the paper. Watermarks and chain lines are important evidence of how to identify a book — its format, any repairs, when it was printed, whether it has been messed with by an unscrupulous seller, etc. I use the UV light for things like offsetting of ink that’s normally invisible to our eyes.”
“A good old jeweler’s loupe is great, and I will occasionally use a microscope. But I also use a tool called the Optic given to me by a friend whose business solely relates to autograph authentication. According to him (frankly, I have no idea if this is true), it was developed by the military and used in tanks in Desert Storm, meant to enhance their infrared. What’s cool about the Optic is that it brightens the picture, which offers added clarity.”
White Gloves — The “Anti” Cool Tool
“I would love to take a moment to debunk the myth that I should be wearing white gloves when I handle printed books. From the British Library to the Houghton, none of the major conservators and rare book curators recommend these. And for good reason: with gloves, you lose your tactile sensitivity and are much more likely to damage the book while handling it. Just wash your hands first and you’re fine.”
National Geographic's Travel Photographer of the Year Contest has announced the 2017 winner, and the grand prize went to Sergio Tapiro Velasco for this otherworldly shot of Mexico's Colima volcano erupting at night. (more…)
He read everything he could. He changed his diet. His doctors told him don’t bother. He exercised. His doctors said it won’t help.
“You’re going to die of this.”
When he came on my podcast, he looked like a man in perfect health. He was muscular, glowed with health, had energy. He was something maybe I will never say.
“I’m feeling great every day,” he told me.
And then he started dropping the most amazing health tips on me. I felt overwhelmed. Do I have the discipline to do all of this?
I’ve had many health experts on my podcast. If you don’t have physical health, it’s 1000 times harder to be a success.
The body feeds the mind and the heart. The body reduces stress. The body contains the basics for everything you want to do in life.
You are alive in your whole body. Not just your brain. Not just in your bank account. The entire body has to be nourished and loved.
For some strange reason he asked me to be on his show as well. I was really grateful he wanted to talk to me about how my own lifestyle improved my health.
But more importantly, he came on my show and I was able to drill HIM with questions.
Not that all doctors are bad. But I couldn’t believe some of the things Shawn had to tell me.
I list some of them on this infographic. I already thought I knew things about sleep, water, movement, exercise.
I thought I already knew things about how health worked. About how health led to success.
But he broke it down one step further.
I needed that. I now live by it (we actually recorded this podcast about two months ago) and the results have given me enough energy to create new opportunities in my life that I would not have been able to do before.
I have a formula now: 1% more health equals 100 more possible opportunities.
Shawn! I’m grateful you broke your stupid hip when you were 20 and got Spinal Degenerative Whatever and gained 5000 pounds.
I’m grateful the doctors told you you were going to rot and die. I’m so happy you collapsed, half dead, under the weight of your own bloated body.
We talked about drinking water and how to find the freshest, uncontaminated water and Shawn said you can find a natural spring near you at findaspring.com
BPA Free Mountain Spring water (that’s what Shawn was drinking while we did the podcast). He says the minimum requirement is to drink half of your bodyweight in water
Sleep is more important than food and movement combined. Shawn has the research to back it up. He told me about a study done at the University of Chicago. They took people and put them on a calorie restricted diet. They monitored their fat loss. The first phase of the study they allow them all to get 8 hours of sleep. The next phase is when they start sleep depriving them. At the end of the study they lost 55% more body fat when they were well rested.
Shawn told me about his insomnia. It turned out it was caused by the medication he was prescribed for his back pain (celebrex). It was causing him restless leg syndrome
Shawn recommends using a shower filter to remove toxins and heavy metals. “Your skin consumes more than your drinking,” he said.
One of Shawn’s top recommendations for using your phone at night (although he recommends you stop using technology at least 30 minutes before bed) is the “night shift” tool. He showed me his iPhone (I have an android). He said if you just swipe up, it’s there. “It pulls out the most troublesome streams of light from your screen. Harvard researchers have confirmed that bluelight from our devices suppresses melatonin and elevates cortisol. Those two things screw up our sleep,” he said. You can also use sunglasses that block blue light.
Face masks can be expensive, but the experience of putting something on your face that will (hopefully) change the texture of your skin—and make you feel like a fancy spa patron—is incredibly satisfying. Luckily, there are DIY versions of most masks that can be made with household items, for a whole lot less cash.…
The XXL Shower Speaker sticks to your bathroom wall with a sturdy suction cup, and it promises to be the best accompanist you've ever had in the shower.
Aside from hearing your own singing voice, how often do you really get to enjoy the excellent acoustics of the bathtub? This Bluetooth speaker is totally waterproof, so you can bring your music, podcasts, and audiobooks with you into the shower. It puts playback controls front and center, with raised rubber texture so you can always find the play button when your eyes are full of soap. And you can easily answer or decline calls, depending on how hectic your morning is.
The XXL Shower Speaker comes in several bright colors, or flat black if that fits better with your bath decor. You can get it here for $19.99.
Colorful charts and graphs are excellent visual aids in understanding where your money is coming from — and going.
Clarity Money offers just that. But it also goes beyond those charts; it informs you how to make better financial choices.
For example, Clarity will show you a rundown of your monthly recurring charges. Think: Netflix, gym memberships, rent and that magazine you subscribed to years ago. Rather than just saying, “Oh, I’ll cancel that… soon,” Clarity lets you cancel it right then and there with one tap.
The app will also help you negotiate your existing bills, too — so you don’t have to deal with any annoying hold music on customer service lines.
Knowing how much you can spare can be a challenge to figure out, but you also need to determine where you’re going to stash it — because keeping it in your checking account is too tempting and isn’t earning you any interest or rewards.
Also, seeing a chunk of your money disappear into a far-off account isn’t fun. But Chime, an online-only, fee-free bank account has gamified the savings challenge — and rewards you for it, too.
Here’s how it works: Open a Chime account, and set up automatic savings. Each time you swipe your Chime Visa Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra cents trickle into your savings.
It’s like your own automated piggy bank (without the germy coins and annoying drugstore change machines).
Even better, each Friday, Chime grants you a 10% bonus on your round-ups — up to $500 a year.
Here’s an example of how much you could earn back in just one day:
Grocery store: $30.08
Gas station: $42.92
Coffee shop: $2.38
With these three transactions, you’ll bank $1.38. Plus you’ll earn 10% back, making that $1.50 in one day. If you keep this up for a year… that adds up to over $500.
And you don’t even have to think about it — just go about your daily transactions.
Another plus: If you sign up for direct deposit, Chime gives you access to your money immediately. So you don’t have to wait an extra day, like many other traditional banks.
4. Start Investing — Even With as Little as $5
Now that you’ve got all of that taken care of, here’s a little bonus for the brave.
No, we’re not crazy. Start by downloading a micro-investing app like Acorns or Stash.
You can set it up with as little as $5. Then, just like your savings account, automate it. Let even just $5 go into that account each month.
You’re letting your money build and grow without even thinking about it.
Now, managing your money isn’t that miserable, is it?
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“A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.”
“If during the next million generations there is but one human being born in every generation who will not cease to inquire into the nature of his fate, even while it strips and bludgeons him, some day we shall read the riddle of our universe,” Rebecca West wrote in her extraordinary 1941 treatise on survival and the redemption of suffering. One such unrelenting inquirer into the nature of his barely survivable fate was the great Italian Jewish chemist and writer Primo Levi (July 31, 1919–April 11, 1987), who was thrown into a Nazi death camp shortly after West set her timeless words to paper. Arrested as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944, Levi lived through the Holocaust and transmuted his horrifying confrontation with death into a humanistic force of justice and empathy under the lifelong conviction that “no human experience is without meaning or unworthy of analysis.”
In Survival in Auschwitz (public library), originally published as If This Is a Man, Levi wrests from what he witnessed and endured profound insight into some of the most elemental questions of human existence: what it means to be happy, why we habitually self-inflict unhappiness, how to fathom unfathomable suffering, where the seedbed of meaning resides.
Of the forty-five people crammed into the train car that took Levi to Auschwitz, which he notes was “by far the most fortunate wagon,” only four survived. Toward the end of his memoir, in diaristic form, he offers a harrowing perspective barely imaginable to any free person:
This time last year I was a free man: an outlaw but free, I had a name and a family, I had an eager and restless mind, an agile and healthy body. I used to think of many, far-away things: of my work, of the end of the war, of good and evil, of the nature of things and of the laws which govern human actions; and also of the mountains, of singing and loving, of music, of poetry. I had an enormous, deep-rooted foolish faith in the benevolence of fate; to kill and to die seemed extraneous literary things to me. My days were both cheerful and sad, but I regretted them equally, they were all full and positive; the future stood before me as a great treasure. Today the only thing left of the life of those days is what one needs to suffer hunger and cold; I am not even alive enough to know how to kill myself.
It takes an extraordinary person to not only survive such a devastating extreme of inhumanity but to emerge from it with the awareness that existence always leans toward equilibrium. Reflecting on his experience in the camp, Levi writes:
Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.
With an eye to his own experience in the camp, he adds:
It was the very discomfort, the blows, the cold, the thirst that kept us aloft in the void of bottomless despair, both during the journey and after. It was not the will to live, nor a conscious resignation; for few are the men capable of such resolution, and we were but a common sample of humanity.
Mining once again the reality of the camp for universal human truth regarding the larger reality of life, Levi considers the root of our self-generated unhappiness — a kind of habitual infinite regress of discontentment:
Human nature is such that grief and pain — even simultaneously suffered — do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective… This is the reason why … man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another one lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others.
Levi contemplates how a particular dichotomy of human nature revealed itself in the camp:
There comes to light the existence of two particularly well differentiated categories among men — the saved and the drowned. Other pairs of opposites (the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish, the cowards and the courageous, the unlucky and the fortunate) are considerably less distinct, they seem less essential, and above all they allow for more numerous and complex intermediary gradations.
This division is much less evident in ordinary life; for there it rarely happens that a man loses himself. A man is normally not alone, and in his rise or fail is tied to the destinies of his neighbors; so that it is exceptional for anyone to acquire unlimited power, or to fall by a succession of defeats into utter ruin. Moreover, everyone is normally in possession of such spiritual, physical and even financial resources that the probabilities of a shipwreck, of total inadequacy in the face of life, are relatively small. And one must take into account a definite cushioning effect exercised both by the law, and by the moral sense which constitutes a self-imposed law; for a country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.
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