Eating Radium

In the early 1900’s the radioactive element radium was all the rage.  Discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, it was soon found that by mixing small amounts of radium into paint the items could be made to glow in the dark.  This was extremely useful for cockpit instruments and soon found its way into the watches and clocks of people around the world. But, of course, someone had to actually paint all of those tiny clock hands and this task fell mostly to young female factory wo...
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Exploding Billiard Balls

In the 1860’s a man by the name of John Wesley Hyatt began experimenting with a chemical compound known as cellulose nitrate.  His goal was to come up with a substitute for the ivory that was used in billiard balls.  Not only would this save quite a few elephants, but there was a $10,000 prize on the table as well.  Hyatt succeeded (although he never did receive the prize money) and began producing a substance known as celluloid. You’ve probably heard of celluloid before if you ...
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The Common Journey

I usually try to avoid the heavy subjects, but they are always confronting us, and can’t be avoided, really. When you’re young you think you’ll live forever. Occasionally something will happen to jolt that unwarranted perspective, but for the most part, the thought of death is fleeting. It happens to other people, not to you. As your life marches on, however, that drumbeat gets louder and louder. I dated a girl in high school (just a couple times actually) who recently passed away, and...
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Capturing Opportunities

Anonymous I have found there are always opportunities in life, there for the taking.  The only difference is that in some time periods there are more opportunities than in others.  The question is, when opportunities come along, will I be able to recognize them, and take advantage of them?  Usually not, but I can change that. This is my fish story about the one that got away.  One fine afternoon I went to a rock show, looking for geodes my girls could crack open- black volcanic hollow ...
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Family Strengths: Adaptive Ability

Strong families develop predictable routines, roles, and rules that govern everyday life and provide for continuity and stability. Some of the more obvious patterns are who cooks, washes dishes, does the laundry, or fixes the car. Other less obvious patterns include: Who has the right to make what decisions? How do we handle differences of opinion? How do we express anger, affection, or other emotions? Reasonably stable patterns empower a family to deal with the many inevitable challenges...
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Making Wise Use of the Media at Home

It's a typical evening. After working all day you're exhausted. As soon as you get home and walk in the door, you plop on the couch and join your children in front of the television. Or maybe you flip on your PC and escape into surfing the Internet while your son or daughter is absorbed in Nintendo and your spouse listens to a favorite CD. Technology and the media are central to most American homes. More than 99% own at least one TV and 80% more than one. Most children watch at least two ...
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