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WITandWISDOM(tm) – November 1, 2007
ISSN 1538-8794

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution. - Wernher von Braun

Source: Quotes of the Day, http://www.quotationspage.com/qotd.html


Shopping-Cart Virtue
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (476.4)

According to a story in the book, "Hugs for Dad," by John William Smith, a father asked his son after grocery shopping to return their cart to the retrieval area. Although it would have taken only a minute, the son protested.

"C'mon, Dad," he said, "there are carts all over the lot. None of those people returned theirs. No one expects them to."

Then Mom chimed in. "For heaven's sake, they pay people to collect the carts. Returning one more won't change the history of the world. Let's just go."

Dad was about to surrender when he saw an elderly couple walking together to return their cart. After a moment, he said to his son, "We're not responsible for what other people do, but we are responsible for what we do. There are two kinds of people: those who put their carts away and those who don't. We put our carts away because that's the kind of people we are."

This story isn't just about grocery carts. It's about doing the right thing in a world that seems to promote rationalizations and excuses that demean or trivialize simple acts of virtue. There are two kinds of people: those who find the strength to do what they ought to and those who find excuses not to.

People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world.

I'm not saying people who don't return their shopping carts are moral felons, but there is a lot to admire in people who have such a strong sense of decency and responsibility that they put principles above convenience.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

© 2007 Josephson Institute of Ethics. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further information visit http://www.charactercounts.org

Hugs for Dad, by John William Smith, http://isbn.nu/9781878990709

Source: Weekend Encounter, by Dick Innes, Copyright (c) ACTS International, 2007, http://www.actsweb.org/subscribe.php

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

The following is from “Mark Mail,” October 26, 2007 by Mark Raymond

The 2007 "Ig Nobel" prizes were awarded just about three weeks ago so it's time for your annual update. I will simply list most of the winners and the reason they won, which is still pretty funny stuff.

The "Annals of Improbable Research" website’s motto is "Research that makes people laugh and then think." In fact, just reading that page brought several chuckles to my throat. I almost wish I could have been there.

What makes these funny, folks, is that “real” scientists spent precious time and grant money studying and/or creating this stuff. And many of them traveled to Harvard University for the presentation using their own money and resources.

The 2007 IG Nobel Prize Winners

MEDICINE: Awarded to Brian Witcombe of the United Kingdom and Dan Meyer in Tennessee for their penetrating report, "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects."

PHYSICS: Awarded to L. Mahadevan at Harvard and Enrique Villablanca at the University of Santiago in Chile for studying how sheets become wrinkled.

BIOLOGY: Awarded to Dr. Johanna van Bronswijk in the Netherlands for a patient census of all the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns, and fungi with whom we share our beds each night.

CHEMISTRY: Awarded to Mayu Yamamoto at the International Medical Center of Japan for developing a method of extracting vanilla fragrance and flavoring from cow dung. Note: Toscanini's Ice Cream in Cambridge dedicated a flavor to this achievement in honor of the award.

LINGUISTICS: Awarded to three scientists at the University of Barcelona for showing that rats can sometimes not tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.

LITERATURE: Awarded to Glenda Browne of Australia for her study of the word "The" and the many problems it causes for anyone trying to put things into alphabetical order.

NUTRITION: Awarded to Brian Wansink at Cornell University for exploring the boundless appetites of human beings by feeding them with a continually refilling "bottomless" bowl of soup.

- Selected from the Annals of Improbable Research’s website

Source: Mark Mail, http://mrhumor.net/


On my first day in basic training, we were lined up in a row, each of us in turn having to shout our last names.

After the guy next to me had yelled, "Florence," it was my turn.

I had no sooner called out my name when the training instructor was in my face, demanding to know if I was some kind of smart aleck. Satisfied that I wasn't, the red-faced TI told me never to stand next to that guy again.

By Charles W. Nightingale

Source: Laughter for a Saturday

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:

We don't need to look far to be amazed by the intricate designs of creation. Our very own bodies bear witness to the wonders of our Creator. Each of us contains around 1 trillion cells, of more than 100 types, knitted together in a very complex manner. Our hearts pump the equivalent of 1,800 gallons of blood a day. Our brains process roughly 100 million pieces of data each second yet use far less electricity than a light bulb to do so. We can hear over 300,000 different tones and see approximately 8 million color differences. As for our muscles, if all 600 pulled together in one direction, we would be able to lift around 25 tons of weight.

From Matt Redman's book, "Facedown." Regal Books, 2004, p. 73, http://isbn.nu/9780830732463

Source: Monday Fodder by Dave Aufrance, Missionary in Hongkong, http://www.fishermansnet.com/monday-fodder/

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