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· @hanshotfirst ·
Soccer Pool (Football Pool): Every Bar Should Have This!

I'm not sure if this is big in other countries, but until yesterday, I had never seen it in the U.S.

I had planned on writing about the last of the bad Star Wars side projects, but my wife just showed me this video and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I don't know about you, but I really don't like simply hanging out at bars very much. I hate just sitting around. Because it was far more active, I used to go to clubs all the time. But I'm old now. The club scene passed me by 10 years ago so I find myself hanging out at bars just talking with friends. I do have a good time, but I prefer to actually do something. I suck at pool. I'm even terrible at bags. I can bowl a couple of game but then I get bored. Me throwing darts is dangerous... after a few drinks it's down right criminal.
Terrible idea... or natural selection at work?

But this new idea is awesome. I don't even like soccer and I think its amazing. I actually feel stupid for not thinking of it while sitting on a boring bar stool one night.

Even though I'm not a soccer fan, I do recognize that one of the most beautiful things about it is its simplicity. Anyone in the world can play it. All you need is a ball and some people. Goals are nice but you can get creative and make those if needed. Obviously in this case you need a little more (like a giant crazy pool table on the floor) but it is still very simple. Even a drunk person can kick a ball.
This would also be another cool variation on soccer...
but I don't think I'd participate in this one. Just watch.

The one downside I thought of is safety. In this video, there is nothing to prevent a drunk idiot (like me) from just kicking the balls as hard as possible all around the bar. I envision several broken glasses... and noses on day one.

But this is easily fixed. I would simply build a fence around the table. People could still watch others playing without having to worry about flying balls (oh boy let the balls comments begin). I used to go to clubs with cages around the dance floor, so this seems like an easy fix. Or maybe they could just use some chicken wire like in the Blues Brothers.

The spectator aspect of this activity is another draw. I think it would be a ton of watch others play as well. I think lowering the table as much as possible would make it easier for people to watch... and safer for the more balance challenged.

Alright I have to run out and buy a bar now so I can introduce this in my neighbor hood. I wonder if they will take Steem...

Have you been to a bar that has soccer pool?

Image Credits 1, 2, 3, 4

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@the-alien · (edited)
Everything Starts With "Why"

Alt Text

“If more information was the answer, we'd all be billionaires with perfect abs” ― Derek Sivers.

One of my best friends is an information addict, he reads tons and tons of books, watches video after video, listens to podcast after podcast…

It seems like he knows every single podcaster on the planet, and I’m not even joking.

But he never, ever takes any sort of action.

He’s a great guy, and I love him to death, but it’s just too hard for him to take action.

He knows it, in fact we talk about that all the time as he always says: “I’m an information addict, I always get stuck in analysis-paralysis.”.

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But let’s not be too judgmental here. I mean who of us hasn’t forgot to apply some great ideas and insight they learned from somewhere?

I know I have.

You know how it is, you come across a great tool or idea to increase efficiency, it feels great. But then you forget to apply it when the day comes.

This curious little thing made me wonder if there are ways to make certain information stick more than others.

Because let’s face it, our brain processes a massive amount of information throughout the day.

You would think that the most important ones that stick but sadly there are so many cognitive biases embedded in all of us that makes it hard to prioritize information.

What would be the most direct way to make a certain information float above all the other competing information we see every day?

To hack our brains, so to speak

Short answer, I don’t know.

I started thinking about that and I remembered, I remembered how I used to react to information when I was a kid.

Back then if my parents warned me against doing something and I would always ask “why”.

Somehow a warning was never enough.

Even to this day they keep reminding me that back then unless they gave me an explanation, I would never listen.

Apparently, they’ve explained electricity to me, otherwise I would’ve been stabbing that plug with a fork until my hair looked like the kid version of Hellraiser.

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The question remains:

How to make your brain prioritize certain information without succumbing to all sorts re-affirmation and confirmation biases we picked up along the way?

First of all, the hell do I know? Secondly, I’m just gonna invent a new technique, so…

Don’t do this at home!

What’s the most immediate way to bypass the 12 years of Pavlovian doctrine?

I don't know, maybe go back before those bad habits were installed?

You laugh now, but what if one of the main purposes of modern education was to create selective responses and selective outrage?

It sounds hard to believe, I know. But ask yourself this:

You can send people to jail for victim-less crimes where sexual assault is national sport and claim it's rehabilitating and therapeutic and no one blinks an eye.

You can bomb innocent people like there is no tomorrow, you can take people’s freedoms away, screw the economy and cause poverty… But nobody cares.

No one gives a fuck.

If you were to pronounce a word that starts with the letter ‘F’.. It’s whole new story.

Their faces go red, their chests are heavy, shirt-buttons popping everywhere!

The outrage is uncontrollable.

The same of course goes for Christmas-less coffee cups, or any other irrelevant issue that people perceive it’s acceptable for them to get riled up about.

Why does this phenomena keep occurring?

It because someone had the brilliant idea to attempt to neutralize curiosity and critical thinking and train little kids to produce selective responses and selective outrage.

So what if we train out brains to lose all the baggage and prioritize what’s important based on the “why”.

Crazy, am I right?

You know what’s crazier? Hiring a freakin’ dog trainer to base your education system upon.

Alt text

Jokes aside, the ‘why’ is what shows you if you’re on the right track, it’s what keeps you going and prevents you from burnout.

Start with Why

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.

Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” ― Simon Sinek.

If you can influence other people’s behavior using certain tools, then why can’t we use the same ones to influence our own?

Image sources: 1234

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@sauravrungta ·
Important Things NOT Taught In School

Looking back at life and remembering your school days can bring back some fond memories. It’s a nostalgic trip that takes you way back into the midst of foggy flashbacks and the words escape your mouth, “Ahh…the days.”

We spend almost all of our childhood in school and come to experience a lot of things for the first time during that period. We make friends, we learn things, we laugh, we cry, we grow. 

Image Credits

School, as they say, is a really important part of our lives that prepares us for the next phase. Although a lot of the things learned in school might not really be helpful in your life, it still serves as a foundation of higher studies and ultimately what you become in life.

But, even though it is a ‘place for learning important things’, school really fails to teach a plethora of highly important (and very useful and routine) things of life. That, is one of the many failures of the education system. 

1. Thinking

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Much of the studying that we do at school is really swallowing up of facts and regurgitating them later during exams. Yes, there are certain subjects where you actually have to think, like in Mathematics, which just so happens to be one of the toughest subjects for a lot of students. Coincidence?

We do not train people to think, we train them to be human pen drives which is completely not necessary since we are living in the age of computers and all and that sort of thing can be easily handled for us.

It is the actual use of mind that is really valuable these days to come up with new ideas, innovations and solutions for difficult problems and it is exactly this that the schools do not teach their students.

2. Basic Money Management

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We were all aware that money is a vital part of life since our childhood but we were oblivious to how it is earned, how to manage it, where it is stored and lots of other things relating to money management.

I didn’t know how to balance my check book until I graduated college, believe it or not! Most of us have a really tough time paying our taxes which still confused me till this day.

And yet, somehow we are all supposed to know these things when we are grown up. If we were taught some basic money management in school, transition into the adult life would be much more easier.

3. Time Management Skills

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When we are at school, there is not much too do. Yes, we might have thought that we were buried in homework and study all the time, but in hindsight, those were simpler times.

When we are suddenly thrown into adulthood, we realise that there is so much stuff to do. Life somehow becomes a game of tug of war between work and personal life. Most adults still don’t know how to balance these.

If we had learnt some basic time management and productivity techniques in school or we had the remotest idea of things awaiting you in adulthood, we would be better prepared. 

4. Mental Health

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We learn many things about our physical body and health. We learn about all the organs in the body, their functions, how to keep our bodies healthy, etc.

But we seldom learn about our mental health. Nobody ever teaches in school what the mind suffers through in life. Things like depression, anxiety, stress, addiction are all common not only in adults but in children too. 

So, it would be wise if students are made aware of these issues and are given guidance on how they could go about coping with them because at one point or the other, we all face mental health issues and it would be really nice knowing what to do.

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· @sirwinchester ·
The Science of Touch: How Human Touch Can Make Us More Healthy, Happy And Successful

The skin is our body's largest organ.
We have hundreds of thousands of touch receptors all over our skin, and a touch can imply so much - it can be friendly, encouraging, violent, sexual, comforting and much more.
But touch is actually a form of social interaction without words as well!
And it's beneficial to our body and overall health.
Touch is the very first of our senses that develops within a baby, and a universal language that every human can understand without ever learning about it.


Touch and its effect on our health

Scientists have proven that physical touch, especially from a loved one, can really have an impact on our physical health and mental well-being.
Hugs for example trigger the release of a neurochemical called Oxytocin, which promotes trust and compassion.
Also, human touch reduces stress!
It has been shown that only holding the hand of a loved one for a few minutes can already decrease someone's stress level, blood pressure and heart rate.

Experiments with Babies have shown that their heart rate was much lower when they were being held skin-to-skin with their mother, compared to being wrapped up in their crib.
Plus, the babies cried 82% less when they were held by their mother!


Touch as a part of social bonding

Touch may seem like a very straightforward reaction in our body - the signal gets picked up by the receptors on our skin and then travels up to the brain.
But actually, the human brain can distinguish very well between the kind of touch, and it also makes a big difference from whom it comes.
Studies have shown that humans can even interpret small differentiations between the emotions linked to a touching sensation - for example, if this contact implies love or gratitude.

Researchers suggest that touch has always been a crucial part of human social interaction - for primates, it was especially the grooming of one another.
Experiments have shown that primates tend to share their food with members of their group that they groom, which leads to the conclusion that the grooming is an act of kindness and trust.

Studies that analyzed touch amongst sports teams have found out that it makes a team more successful!
Teams that had more physical contact in terms of high fives, celebratory hugs, fist bumps, chest bumps etc. helped each other out more and even performed a little better than other teams throughout the season.


Other connections between physical touch and health

  • Less violence:
    Children that experienced much love and physical bonding with their parents are much less likely to become violent as adults.

  • Healthy for our immune system:
    Studies have shown that women who received frequent hugs from their partners had lower blood pressure and heart rates than control groups.
    Hugs stimulate the thymus gland, which is needed to produce white blood cells and reduces the risk for diseases.

  • Positive outcome for social interactions:
    Studies have shown that friendly, encouraging touches were beneficial in many different social situations.
    For example, when teachers encourangingly patted students on the back or the arm, the student was more confident to speak up in class.
    When a salesperson touches the customer on the arm during his pitch, the customer tends to trust him more and when a waitress touched a guest's hand, the guest was more likely to give a largr tip.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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@kevinwong · (edited)
My Thoughts About In-Flight Pesticide Sprays (and a bit about vaccines and "chemtrails")

Here's something that I find pretty alarming, having experienced a mandatory in-flight (pesticide) spray, recently being my flight from Thailand to Malaysia. Here's why it's alarming - there were ZERO notifications about it until about 20 minutes before landing, in which they pull up the loudspeaker, saying there's a spray that they must administer in the plane.

To be fair, there are notices about flight routes mandating such pesticide sprays. But the fact that it has completely gone over my knowledge that such a thing exists until the point where I had no choice but to accept the situation that the spray must be carried away, is in itself quite a legit cause of alarm. I wish that the airline company went out of their way to inform of such a thing. It did not happen (or it must have been as insignificant as those fine-print T&Cs).

In a twisted way that the procedure is actually meant to safeguard the health of passengers, it almost felt like an assault to me for a couple of reasons:-

  • There was an article back in 2015 titled Should fliers worry about pesticide spraying on planes? I think it would make better sense to replace the word fliers with outliers. Like fatal peanut allergies, I certainly think there would be outliers, people with the very rare chance of reacting negatively to such sprays. One death is probably too many, for an event that could be prevented.

  • The cabin itself is a social situation in which I felt obligated not to cause a scene by starting to question the flight crews over something that must absolutely be administered. So I just accepted the spray and I count myself lucky that it doesn't have any adverse effects on me.

I think from this little experience, I might've learned about the concerns of anti-vaxxers and anti-chemtrailers (maybe). Although I've yet to study their claims comprehensively, I think the situation may be fundamentally the same as the mental process that I went through with the in-flight sprays. Perhaps the worry is simply about the outlier / rare chance and its negative effects. It's a tricky situation since most health-related solutions are just statistically effective, without the guarantee that effects are the same for everybody.

In my opinion, it's not so much that certain people may have diabolical plans, hellbent on harming others. It's about the possibility that most people involved in the process - from researchers, manufacturers, legislators, and in the end, solution administrators (in my case, the flight-attendant) may be discounting the harms that such solutions may cause to a select group of people. Systemic errors may spiral out of control upon hitting a certain threshold.

My job requires me to spray this, so I just do it.

You may try analogise this in other situations, and it's actually one of the most dangerous habits anyone can develop. Basically following instructions / fulfilling duty without taking responsibility of the consequences. It's the easiest thing to do, yet potentially destructive. After spraying, I asked the flight attendant about the spray.. and the answer wasn't very satisfactory for the potential damage that such a thing may cause.

So here's something to learn (for all parties):-

  • If you're on duty, know what you're actually doing to others. Maybe it's impossible for everybody learn and understand the possible effects of whatever they're executing, and instead rely more to expert opinion in order to be able to just do it (which is a fairly reasonable thing to do, although admittedly ignorant), but what remains here is that we should recognise the possible systemic dangers that arise out of our assumptions and dependence of experts (they aren't infallible).

  • Maybe it should be made known to everybody in this world to take up the task of learning everything that has to do with airplanes and its flight protocols. That is, take up the responsibility to completely understand what one is getting into. Yes, that's meant to sound a bit silly.. and that's the point here: it may be silly to explain everything about airplanes to flight customers, but what's not silly is to prioritise informing people about in-flight sprays way beforehand, and try to make sure that the message has been received!

  • It's okay if an information sounds conspiracy-ish. There's nothing wrong with information and there may be some truth to it. It's simply a better option not to completely discount something just because it doesn't feel right. Personally, I've always likened conspiracy theorists to people who are simply trying to remind others to be vigilant.

  • A related note: Until genome sequencing and individually-tailored medical solutions become possible and affordable, there's really no good choice but to accept a solution that has been proven to be effective for the greater good - I'm looking at vaccines. And for the case of chemtrails, it's just so high up in the atmosphere, and not a very smart way to do it, if indeed such trails are by design. However in these cases, I'm willing to concede that systemic hazards may have crept in from a messy combination of experts being mistaken and people just doing their job without questioning.

Before ending my piece here, please check out the following links so you can find out about these in-flight sprays, study the information and learn about it. It's okay to question the parties involved, if not to remind them to be vigilant too:-

All images for open-use, attribution free.

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@cheah ·
Get Up and Ruck

Life is not lived sitting down behind a screen. Life is lived outside at the edge of your comfort zone, at the borders of your day-to-day experience. When everyday life grinds down your soul, when you weary of staying indoors and experiencing the same routine over and over again, there is a simple solution.

Get up and ruck.

Rucking is simple. Carry weight on your back and go out for a walk. Go solo or go with friends. Go as far and as fast as you can. The important thing is to get moving and keep moving.

To go rucking, you just need two things: a ruck and a destination. When preparing for a ruck, you need to manage your weight and bulk. Pack everything you will need first, followed by everything you may have to use in an emergency, and lastly things that are nice to have but not necessary. In the above photograph, my ruck was packed with the following:

  1. 40 oz / 1.18 litre Hydroflask
  2. Necessities pouch containing flashlight, spare batteries, medicine, stationery, packets of tissue and band-aids
  3. Umbrella
  4. 2 granola bars
  5. Coin pouch
  6. Kindle

These were packed in order of importance. Water is critical, followed by medicine and hygiene. Should an emergency strike, you need to be able to deal with it there and then with the tools you have on hand. While illumination, shelter and food are also important, in urban environments they can be found nearly everywhere. The coin pouch and the Kindle are the nice-to-haves, so light and small they go with me wherever I go.

There's so little packed in the ruck that it makes the bag look floppy. That's deliberate. Pack light, go fast. The less you carry, the more agile and mobile you are, and the more things you can do when you get to wherever you are going.

The point of rucking isn't just to go from point A to point B. It's to experience life. Keep your head up, your phone down and your legs moving. If you see something interesting, go explore. See someone interesting, go talk. Going light lets you do all this without losing your breath or acting awkward around strangers. And if you find yourself picking up or buying stuff, you have plenty of empty space inside your ruck to keep them, leaving your hands free.

This is not to say you shouldn't carry heavy stuff. If I have to get work done on my computer, I bring it with me. If you want to challenge yourself by carrying more weight, go right ahead. But everything you carry in your ruck should serve a purpose. The heavier something is, the more the weight has to be justified. If that weight is not used somehow, it has to go.

Once you have your ruck, you need somewhere to go. Both a starting point and an endpoint. There are many areas of attraction everywhere in the world. The trick is to find them.

Many locals consider Singapore to be the most boring place in the world. In a sense, that is true. Everywhere you go you see the same thing: high-rise flats (apartment blocks to Americans) clustered next to private estates, a shopping centre at every major train station, offices and industrial buildings at designated business zones.

But life is lived outside day-to-day experience.

Rucking in the big city is simple. Pick a neighbourhood, preferably someplace you haven't been before. Study a map of the area. Plot your route if you want, or not at all if you prefer to go rambling. Call up friends if they're interested, or go solo.

That's it. Head up, phone down, go ruck.

Here are some photos from my latest ruck:

Shophouses from the colonial era.

This side of the Singapore River, you'll find fancy restaurants, pubs and massage parlours.

It's quiet now, but come nightfall, this place will be packed.

Skyscrapers by the water. The building in the distance is the Fullerton Hotel.

The most important bar in Singapore's modern history. Here, sociopolitical activists, bloggers, lawyers and politicians used to meet, discuss their latest plans, and carry out events.

Hotel Park Royal at Upper Pickering Street.

Lime restaurant inside the Hotel Park Royal.

The signature red truck of the Police Special Operations Command.

East and West: Green tea chiffon cake, paired with warm kaya dip.

Rucking is simple, yet challenging. It's an opportunity for exploration and adventure. It's a chance to go see what is in your patch of Earth. Immerse yourself in what you find, and share them with the world.

The next time you feel that you need to do something new, the prescription is simple.

Get up and ruck.


For more information on, check out GoRuck's page on rucking and Packlite's blog.

If you enjoyed this post, please upvote and resteem it. If you would like more posts and photos about rucking and everyday carry, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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· @bigyellow ·
This is also a kind of hobby?

  There is a young man, his father was a lover of collection of rocks, a lot of time is spent in the process of picking up stones, he said this is a kind of interest, so it is irresistible, finally leading to the house filled with all kinds of stone.Once, when he was cleaning his house, he found some very delicate stones in the box.

This stone is small, but its shape and pattern is very strange, than the usual stone look a lot, and the stone above patterns like a Chinese painting, addictive.

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@danigirl ·
The "Almost"

Hey Steem!
I want to be honest with you. I've been struggling as of late, due to very standard circumstances for a 22 year old recent college grad. Just wanting to share in case these feelings resonate with others. I am someone who needs to externalize my feelings in order to understand them.

Lately I have been having a hard time enjoying the journey, the almost if you will. This is because my current projects all involve applications. It feels like I am constantly trying to prove myself and ask for things. This process also takes takes TIME. There is no immediate answer to this most vulnerable question: Am I good enough?

I want to put forth these applications with passionate energy and a willingness to see them through. They are like horcruxes, like pieces of my soul dancing naked and exposed out in the world. I need to remember that this is okay. That moments of vulnerability demand loving kindness towards oneself. I wouldn't be striving for these jobs and schools and scholarships if I didn't believe that I could do it. I had the confidence to initiate, now I want to complete. That satisfaction will come and it will be worth all the anxiety.

Humans tend to respond best to immediate gratification. By this I mean that we remain more motivated when we see the results of our efforts right away. It is a massive challenge to continuously strive without any reassurance from the universe that we're on the right course. However, I believe that it is good for us to be made to wait. Times of almost help cultivate patience, discipline, and release.

I know that once I reach any of these goals, my life will change significantly. Many of these changes will be those of the rigorous, time- consuming sort. They will challenge me to reshape days and adjust priorities. While I cannot wait for that (trust me, I'm fiendishly impatient) I am trying to recognize the beauty of my present tense state. A few things I am grateful for...
~ Being able to wake up early and slowly. I love writing before the sun comes up and face planting into mugs of rich coffee.
~ Spending social time with others during the day. I have more energy and I love to be outdoors in the sunlight.
~ Long workouts. I can spend time moving my body vigorously, followed by stretching, yoga, restoration...
These are a few of my favorite things. They are a part of my almost and I love them so. Once I begin working, I will be doing so- hopefully in a variety of roles- for the rest of my life.

So I challenge myself to breath and to SAVOR the gifts of this phase.

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· @cryptofreedom ·
The extradition of Joaquin Guzman, also known as "El Chapo", from Mexico to the US Re-enforces America's Mission to become "The Police of the World"

A man who has never stepped foot within the US, is going to be facing trial among "peers" of a country other than his own.

The American government overstepping its power is by no means anything new, but it's still as dangerous as it ever has been. If America feels as though it has the right to prosecute of a citizen other than their own, who has never even been within the US, no one is safe. The principle that America has the right to overpower the Mexican government in prosecution of Mexican criminals. Joaquin Guzman arrived in New York last night and is expected to face trial today. The charges he is facing within the US include drug trafficking, running a criminal organization, and murder. The prosecution also apparently has numerous witnesses set to testify against Guzman as well as physical evidence including drug seizures.

This isn't the first time that the US has fought for extradition of foreign citizens to face charges and "justice" within the US.

If you have watched the series Narcos on Netflix, then you are probably familiar with the manner in which the US fought for the extradition of numerous narco traffickers within South America from the 1980's up until the mid-1990's. It's irrelevant what crimes the actor has committed, and  I am in no way saying that these individuals shouldn't face justice. But, forcing these individuals to face "justice" in a country other than their own and by people who are not their peers is simply an unethical and unfair to those individuals. America has interjected its beliefs and power into countless different countries around the globe, but a show of power like this is so dangerous when it is combined with the Mexican government's willingness to turn over their own citizens. 

America loves to find a scapegoat for its own internal issues.

During the 80's rather than trying to halt US drug consumption, the US government attempted to focus their efforts on the drug kingpins within south America. Here's the thing that the US doesn't seem to like to talk about, 85% of the drugs produced by the kingpins in South America were consumed within America! Without the US consumption of drugs, the South American producers would not have had the ability to rise to the level in which they did. The same facts still hold true today. Without the consumption of drugs within the US, people like "El Chapo" would not have the ability to rise to the same power and influence that he was.

If someone remains objective and just looks at the facts, it's evident that the US drug war has failed. 

One of the best examples of the failure of the US drug war is the consumption and production of cocaine during the 80's and 90's. After Pablo Escobar's death in 1993, the amount of cocaine that enters the United States actually increased by 15%. This shows that trying to police your way out of this problem will never be the solution, if there is a demand to be met the supply will be there. The idea of using methods of force to curb drug condumtion have been proven to be ineffective. 

I plan to write a follow up later this week and will elaborate more on the consequences and failures of the US drug war. Thanks for reading!

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· @eroche · (edited)
Life After Graduation... Experiences in The UAE

Join me for some experiences on a trip from from the UAE to Syria. There were highlights in each place that will stay with my forever. I am writing now many years later but I would like to share some of the memories that have stayed with me. Travel is so much fun, if you get the chance, get out and explore this great world.

Life after Graduation...

This is the third post in this series.

The first post give some background to the trip

The second post focuses on the UAE and what the country is like.

Dubai Majnoon

Memories of the UAE

In this post I am going to share some of my memorable experiences for the UAE. This was the beginning of my Journey.

Camping in Fujairah

Shortly after we arrived in the UAE a group of the other teachers in our school organised a night camping in Fujairah, a short drive away from Sharjah. Great plan we are in. My housemate, two neighbours and myself arranged to rent a car, get some booze and meet the others at the campsite, a beach to the east of the country on the Gulf of Oman.

What could go wrong.....

I arranged to rent a car (a small Toyota Echo) from a dealer near our school. I was a bit worried as he took my passport as security, but he assured me this was normal. It seemed legit so I thought I would go with it. I got the car and went back to our house to pick up the guys and our stuff

Do we need a tent?

Ah this wouldn't be a problem. It was early September and even at night the temperature would be in the 30s. We would be fine :) We packed what we had in the boot and headed to Ajman, a nearby Emirate, to get some booze.

A Bad Omen

I wasn't used to driving automatic cars and on the other side of the road. After about 20 minutes into the trip I realised I still had the handbrake on. A sign of things to come...

The Hole in The Wall

In the UAE at the time if you were a tourist you could get served alcohol in hotel bars but if you were a UAE resident or a local you needed a licence to purchase alcohol. It wasn't that strictly enforced but you had to be careful not to get into trouble or they could throw the book at you. Particular times to be careful was during the holy month of Ramadan when the police were extra vigilant and looking for examples of westerners to parade in front of the media. Part of this strict control of booze meant that you could only purchase alcohol in certain places. In Ajman, a nearby Emirate, there was a shady warehouse in the dockland area with literally a hole in a wall. This place was actually the official place where you could purchase alcohol. You could purchase booze which they would give to you out through the hole in the wall in black plastic bags.
I had found the handbrake, we had the booze, we didn't have a tent but that was ok so it was time to go to meet the others at the campsite.

How do you get out of Ajman?

For some reason we got to the hole in the wall without much trouble. Maybe all roads in Ajman lead there, but we couldn't find the road out of this infernal city. To make matters worse the city was full of these ridiculous speed ramps and due to the heavy load in our car each time we got to one the guys had to get out of the car for us to make it over the ramp due to the low suspension in the small car. In the baking heat and with 4 frustrated guys this was quite an ordeal. We eventually got on the road and we saw a signpost for Fujairah, but alas I missed the turn.

Never mind we can just take the next right...

Top Travel Tip: If your ever driving in a desert and you miss a turn, stop, turn around and go back. There wasn't a right turn for about 80km. I had learned my lesson thought and it served me well on a later trip in Jordan.

Eventually we reached Ras Al Khaimah (another Emirate) where we were able to turn right. On the bright side this was my only trip in the 10 months to Ras Al Khaimah. There isn't a lot there to do and its quite a journey from Sharjah and Dubai.

I think it's this way....

Before GPS you had to follow maps and sign posts. Sometimes there would be disagreement especially when your in a country that is constantly under construction. We found a road which had a sign post that said Fujairah but the road was eerily quite for some reason.

Literally The End of the Road

We came to the end of the road after about 20 minutes. The fully built dual carriage way stopped abruptly and there was a hill in the way which had not yet been removed. The road hadn't been finished and the last 10km or so to Fujairah was just a dirt track over the mountain. A great short cut if you had a 4x4, not a Toyota Echo. After the speed bumps and with 4 rather large guys in the small car I was afraid I wouldn't get my passport back if we risked it. We had to turn around and go the long route which added about another hour and a half to the journey.
I wasn't too popular, lets just say that decision **not* to go over the mountain pass wasn't unanimous.*

Mounted Cannons and Humvees

In late 2003 the Iraq war was still fresh in many peoples minds. I was just after arriving in the UAE and I still was ignorant of where I was, what the people were like and all of that. As darkness fell on our trip we were now in a mountainous part of the UAE and we came upon a checkpoint with soldiers and Humvees like in the movies.
I was driving and I wasn't too scared but as I rolled down the window I realised we had a boot full of alcohol without a licence. I hoped they wouldn't search the car but even if they asked us to pop the trunk it was hidden under clothes and bags so they were unlikely to find it unless...

The officer that stopped us was polite and he asked me what we were doing, where we were going. I said Salam Alai Kum in my best attempt at the greeting which I had just read in my guide book. I told him we were going to Fujairah to go camping and that we were teachers. Everyone trusts teachers. I was expecting him to wave us on but ...

Pop the Trunk

The dreaded words, but I was still confident he wouldn't find the booze until I heard an expletive come out of one of my passengers mouths, FXXK!. The Officer also heard this but he went back to the boot, looked in and I will never know if he waved us on because I had greeted him in Arabic, because we were teachers or if he was just being nice.

The Prize

We finally got to the camp site. They girls had made a fire and were preparing a barbque. We had Camel burgers for food and settled down for the evening drinking cans of beer overlooking the Gulf of Oman. I was so beautiful even in the dark.

Sparkling Pristine Waters

Probably not a good idea but after our day nothing else could go wrong so we went swimming in the water. I will never forget it. Everytime you moved in the water it lit up with plankton. It was mesmerising.

Sleeping under the Stars

After a great end to a trying day where we had gotten to 5 of the 7 Emirates, we settled down in sleeping bags under the beautiful crystal clear sky and stars to sleep. It was so hot the guys in the tents ended up sleeping outside too so we felt rather smug that we hadn't forked out for a tent.

Football in 50 Degrees

At he beginning of the trip when I arrived to Dubai Airport I met my housemate for the next 10 months for the first time, a Kerry man. No surprise he was linked into the GAA scene in Dubai before we arrived. I wasn't big into Irish football but there was also hurling (which was my sport) so I thought I would give it a try.

Before purchasing boots and kit I wanted to see what it would be like and sit out a training session. One August evening after work (and after sunset) we headed to an outdoor pitch in Dubai where the Dubai Celts trained. I sat in the stands during the session to see if I would like give it a go.

Unbearable Heat

At 10.30 at night, dressed in tshirt and shorts I was not expecting beads of sweat running down my legs. As the training session progressed, which I was only watching, the heat seemed to build. The heat and the fact that there was going to be very little hurling didn't deter me. It looked like fun, the people seemed nice so I decided to give it a go. On the way home we stopped at the City Center Shopping Mall to buy boots and gear for next weeks training session.

We had regular training and I don't think I was ever in better shape in my life. The players were lads and ladies from all over the world. Football was more popular as it was easier for people to pick up. I think hurling is something you have to be born into :) There were lots of South Africans, English, Kiwis and Irish.

Serious Training

It quickly became clear that these guys were serious. Our sessions were very professionally run by some former inter-county players. Added with the natural outdoor Sauna we got in great shape. Dubai Celts were miles ahead of the other teams in the UAE (i.e. Abu Dhabi). There were also teams in Oman, Bahrain and Saudi which travelled to play us from time to time but mostly the fitness, the comradery and the banter were the reasons for participating.

No Need to Warm up

Training was mainly at night but occasionally we had to play during the day. This was absolute madness. The games were shortened to 15 minutes a side but half an hour in the baking sun melted your brain.

Even at night sessions we would lose litres in perspiration. It was all a bit crazy but you became used to it after a while and we had great fun.

GAA and the Dubai Celts was as much a networking and social club as anything else.

GAA trip to Bahrain

This was a great experience. The whole of the Dubai Celts travelled to Bahrain for a weekend to play teams from elsewhere in the Middle East in a series, both football and hurling.

The Flight

The experience started on the plane over which was operated by Gulf Air. I had ordered dinner in the airport but for some reason it got really delayed and we ended up getting it in take away plates which we planned to eat on the plane.

Bangers and Mash

Little did I know that Gulf Air was quite a conservative choice of airline. The screens didn't show the altitude or aircraft speed but rather the distance to Mecca. Surrounded by Burka clad women I dug into my takeaway bangers and mash but I felt very uneasy for the short trip as I was acutely aware of the smell of the pork sausages emanating form my lap which was quite rude.

Oh Jesus never again

I wasn't much of a footballer so I wasn't expecting to be on the team. Hurling wasn't that popular so there would be only one game and that wouldn't be till Sunday so I thought I would be able to stay up late drinking on the Friday night. We had great fun and I got to know some very nice (but retired) expats until 5 in the morning over a bottle of Jameson.
To my shock and horror I was named on the squad to play Saudi Arabia the next morning. I was in no fit shape but the heat quickly sobered me up and I made an appearance in the Celts Colours in my first match in an International Series.

The Crazy Irish

We had a clean sweep in Bahrain, the ladies, the guys both football and hurling. We didn't get to do much sightseeing but we had a great party. It continued to the airport where our flight got delayed. No problem we found the bar and continued our party. The group from Dubai was a talented bunch, there were singers, musicians and dancers. Someone pulled out a tin whistle and we got a sing song going in the airport pub which we had to ourselves. In fact most of the people there sipping tea and the like actually left when we started sining.
We were in flying form after our wins. At one point a guy in full Disdasha stuck his head in the door to see what all the commotion was about. I will never forget his face.

Arab taking Selfie
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Football Trip during Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. Nothing must pass their lips.
As with most customs in the UAE I didn't get much of an appreciation of this custom. The local people can be quite extreme and your kept outside the loop. I didn't get a full understanding of this practice until later countries on my trip where I came to respect it and what it represented. I recognised that Ramadan is actually a joyous time in the Muslim world which culminates in the Eid al Fitr celebration. In the UAE all I remember of it is a trip we made during Ramadan with the Dubai Celts to Abu Dhabi to play a football match in the scorching heat. I scored a point in this match which I was happy about but the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was quite an experience.

Near Death Experience

We were driving in convoy on the motorway when a lorry in front decided to Shed its load on the Motorway. This type of event is typical in the UAE. There are no standards for anything. If something bad happens in a normal country those responsible would be sent to jail. In the UAE people just leave the country so there are little building standards, regulations, human rights conditions. I was a few cars back and I managed to swerve and avoid the corrugated roofing that littered the highway.

Time for a Smoke

After this shock one of the passengers in our car decided to light up a cigarette. We quickly got a phone call from one of the other cars who had some Dubai Celt veterans warning us to put out the cigarette. You cant smoke in public during Ramadan in the UAE. You might get away with it in Dubai but we were now in the more devout Abu Dhabi where you were liable to get arrested.

Sneaking a Drink of Water

We played the match but an added bonus of playing Football in 50 degree heat was that we had to hide behind a shed to drink water during Ramadan.

Altogether it was a rather eventful day, but we all made it back to Sharjah in one piece. I do rather regret that this was the only time I was in Abu Dhabi. I didn't get to see much of the City. On another road trip we did go to Al Ain which is a desert city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi but we never visited the capital again.

Weekends in Dubai

The address of our school and compound where we lived was Industrial Area 6. It was about as appealing as it sounds and little to do nearby. Sharjah is famous for a cricket stadium but none of us were much into cricket. It was a short trip to Dubai however were we spend most Friday nights. After a long week at school we would travel to one of the 5 star hotels in Bur Dubai or Deira to one of the all you can eat and drink buffets. They were amazing value and provided a great start to a night out on the town. The nights would regularly continue until the wee hours of the morning in the Pubs or Clubs in Dubai.

Slow Cooking Irish Man

One evening I realised that I was actually (me not food) cooking in my apartment.
I had ordered take away one Friday evening when the air conditioning in my house happened to be broken. When I opened the door for the delivery driver I was taken back by the look he gave me. A blast of hot air hit him when I opened the door. That is the moment when I realised, I was literally sitting in an oven, the walls were actually hot to the touch and I was slowly roasting like a slow cooked piece of beef. Luckily the air con was still working in my bedroom.

Meeting Oliver Cromwell's great great great .... Daddy

Sharjah has a much stricter Muslim ethos and laws than neighbouring liberal Dubai.
The UAE is a federal system made up of 7 Emirates. Each has its own laws and is ruled by its Emir. Sharjah, where I lived, was a dry state except for a small piece of land The English Club which was a private members club for expats living in the area.
When the British left in the 70s part of the condition was that this club would remain. As this club was near where we lived we spent many evenings there in the swimming pool or eating and drinking in the bar. There was one memorable evening when all the Irish teachers from our school were there celebrating and we got into conversation with an English guy out in the pool area. I don't know what this guy was hoping for, but to say to a bunch of Irish people that your great great great ... daddy was Oliver Cromwell is not going going to get a great response. He made no friends that night. Apart from that night we had many fun nights in the English Club in Sharjah.

The Irish Village

This is a pub and venue in Dubai on the Deira side of the creek. Many nights began or finished here but my second trip here was the funniest.
A few friends and I got a taxi to the place. We were new in the UAE and we didn't know exactly where the entrance was. We ended up getting out of the taxi about a block away form the main door which meant we had to walk in the August heat. By the time we got to the pub (literally two minutes later) one of our group was bathed in sweat to such an extent that when we entered the sanctuary of the wonderfully air conditioned pub people turned around and laughed. He had to buy a t-shirt in the gift shop and change, he was that bad.

The heat and humidity in the Summer time was unforgettable.

Where did the Scream Mask come from?

There were so many parties during the year. One that sticks out was Halloween in 2003. A friend from the GAA was throwing a big bash at their villa in the Jumairah Beach area of the city. The fact that Halloween that year fell during Ramadan meant everyone stocked up on booze well in advance to make sure we would not run out. The party was a blast. Everyone also made great shapes for the costumes.

How did I get home

Now this party was at least an hours drive from our compound in Sharjah. I left the party a bit early but the last thing I remember was noticing I had no money in my pocket...

The next morning I woke up in my apartment.

  • The first thing I noticed besides my thumping headache was that the window was wide open. In the UAE you live in an airconditioned bubble, you never leave the window open!
  • The Second thing was there was a Scream Mask on the floor of my room.

I didn't find out till much later the full story. I had left the party and two other teachers, who I didnt really know well, had seen me leave and was also heading home so we shared a taxi. I feel asleep on the way home, my house mate had come home some time later but he couldn't find his key so he knocked on my window. I was sound asleep so I didn't hear and the knocking turned into breaking the window open and jumping in through it losing his costume in the process. Mystery Solved.

My One Big Regret

I never got around to frying eggs on the pavement. For some reason I have always wanted to do this. I hope to get back some day and give this a try to see how they taste :)

Thank you for reading this. I write on Steemit about Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Travel and lots of random topics.
All Images are from my personal library.

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@qezzit ·
Where Does the Pendulum Swing Part 2

As I have brought up in my last post, there are seven pillars for society. Every news story you hear (true or not) effects one or more of those pillars. When the influence of politics becomes corrupted or unbalanced that is when the pillars weaken.

Again, I am not here to tell you what is happening to them. You want to know, ask in the comments. The reality is that the political affiliation you hold may make you see the corruption or strengthening of the pillars whereas someone of the opposite affiliation may see something completely different. The fact is, we really will not know what the future holds. But, be aware, someone is right. If I believe that the pillars are weakening and you believe they are strengthening because you hold different political beliefs, one of us is right.

Also, issues that arise may effect multiple pillars, not just one. For example, the separation of church and state (one of the most misread quotes in history. It is not in the Constitution) effects multiple pillars.

So here we go.


Government is also known as the Law. Government is commonly used because it creates the law. Our government is easy. According to the Constitution, states have precedence over federal law. The only time federal law overrides is in times of war and interstate disputes. Law should not be confused with morality. The law states what is acceptable for our society, not what is moral. The big questions when it comes to government is the amount of participation (or interference) the federal government should have over state rights? Also, who should create law or regulation (congress or bureaucratic agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency)? The Affordable Care Act and Common Core are typically seen as governmental issues.


Family is defined as a group consisting of parent(s) and children living together in a household (Google dictionary). The family's main purpose is to have children and raise them to be able to fit in to society. The family is also a moral compass. It is suppose to teach the children how, not only to live according to society's rules, but also to learn right from wrong. Political issues effecting the family would be crime, abortion, drug abuse, child abuse and gay marriage.


Business is also known as the economy. Economy is defined as the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents in a given geographical location (Google dictionary). This determines how much money we earn and from where (work or social programs) and where our jobs come from (service or manufacturing). Issues regarding business include environmental protection and regulation, tax reform, welfare reform, trade deals, the decline of the middle class, unemployment, the Affordable Care Act and illegal immigration.


Media has become far more complicated. It used to be where we got our news. In the old days, this came from television and radio news, newspapers and magazines. But now it comes from social media sites, cable news, main stream web sites and fringe websites. In the old days, news was neutral (this happen to who and when). Not so much anymore. News of both sides has become very partisan and is used to bring people to a particular political conclusion (MSNBC and Fox News are examples). The media effects all of the pillars depending on that source's political agenda. I feel this is a scary pillar.


Education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university (Google dictionary). When we send our kids to school, we expect our kids to learn the basics (at least I do) such as math, reading and science. But we also expect our children to develop their belief systems and. preferably, with their own thoughts through the process of reasoning. Education is also suppose to make our children productive members of society who also understand how to meld into society. Issues Common Core, Charter Schools, voucher programs, crime, drug use, race, poverty and partisan (union or tenured) teachers.


Karl Marx said of religion:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people

But, in society, it is the moral compass. Murder is wrong. Adultery is wrong. Children are the reason of marriage and they must be raised with the same belief system. Law is what is socially acceptable in society. Religion is what is morally acceptable to be a human being. Religion touches all the pillars. Issues involving religion include separation of church and state, abortion and gay marriage.

Arts & Entertainment

Arts and entertainment is also known as the culture of the society. That includes art, literature, music, stage, movies and television shows. Though most stories you may hear do not involve the Arts and Entertainment pillar, this pillar has become very influential and there are not many actors that so not use their celebrity to express their opinions. With a lot of the population embracing Pop Culture (especially in the cities), this pillar has become very influential (and you really see that during the elections). This pillar can effect all of the other pillars through influence.

When watching the news or thinking about the direction of our civilization, think about these pillars. News stories can can confusing and random and their effects may not be clear. That goes also for the true state of our society. With this model, one can actually see how and what part of society is effected and reason can be used to come up with a conclusion.

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@deadspace ·
Overview of the ESEE Izula II Knife.

The ESEE Izula II is one of the best fixed blades you can buy right now for under $100, in my opinion at the very least. It is a lightweight, smaller sized knife weighing in at 3.3 ounces that packs quite the punch in performance. The brand (ESEE) that makes this knife is owned by a company named Randall's Adventure and Training (Aka, RAT). They make other knife designs that they have mass produced by the Ontario Knife Company, but with this design they wanted a higher quality that just wasn't possible with their manufacturing capabilities. There are two models of the Izula available, the Izula II is the newer model and is mostly the same as the original Izula. The only differences between the two are that the Izula II's handle is half an inch longer than the original, and it comes with a full set of micarta handles straight from the factory. The original Izula came with paracord wrap instead which I personally haven't ever been much of a fan of on knives.

I purchased this knife from Amazon for the price of $71 at the time. Mine came with the sand colored micarta scales like it normally does, but I swapped them out shortly after receiving it. I personally was just not a huge fan of them and the way they felt in my hand. I decided to get some G10 scales that were pre-made for this knife instead from knifeconnections website for around $45 shipped. I went with the blue and black G10 scales, mostly because I was not a fan of the other models they had in stock at the time. They installed quite easily with the hex head screws and fit perfectly and felt/looked much better to me. They do come in a variety of colors for anyone interested, they have orange, green, blue, red, camo, lavender, earth and a few others. The knife is extremely ergonomic in my opinion. I can get a full four finger grip even with it being a shorter blade, and no part of the steel or knife feels aggressive or unpolished. 

The knife comes with 1095 carbon steel drop point styled blade, though it is very reminiscent of a clip point in my opinion. The blade out of the box was quite sharp, I would say shaving sharp at the very least. I was pretty surprised considering the price point. The entire thing besides the scales comes powder coated from the factory. They sell a semi large variety of different powder coated finishes for the knife, I just chose to go with the classic black since that's what I find attractive. The blade is 0.16" thick and the blade is 2.875" long, although the sharpened edge is only 2.625". The overall length of the knife is 6.75" long. The jimping on the spine of the knife is quite even and comfortable to hold against your hand, and I haven't found any faults with it on mine. With it being such a lightweight and shorter knife, most people suggest using them for a back up knife for camping/survival. I've carried mine for EDC and really enjoyed it though so I can say it's much more useful than just a back up knife. It seems to be able to handle just about any task you can throw at it, honestly. I've used mine for food prep in the kitchen, some mild wood working, and to shred some cardboard boxes with ease. 

I purchased a Tek-lok for the sheathe I got for the knife as well so I can carry it on my belt. It carries very well on the belt and is much more comfortable than trying to slide it in your pocket with the sheathe. I am carrying horizontally with the clip plate installed which is what I found works best for me overall, YMMV. I do think if you're planning on carrying this knife intensively or in a survival/outdoor situation for a long time that you'd be better off getting a custom sheathe made for the knife, since the basic kydex one you get isn't terrible but isn't that great at the same time. It's really just acceptable at best in my opinion. 

Overall, I am happy with this knife. It has performed extremely well for me and seems to be up to the task to handle any and all abuse. This is more of an outdoorsman style knife, but will do anything and everything a typical EDC knife will do as well. It's great for whittling wood and I had an easy time chopping up food with it in the kitchen. I would highly recommend this for anyone needing a camping knife, though if you're going to be chopping up some large pieces of wood or something more demanding then perhaps a larger knife would suit your needs better. I personally feel this would make for a great skinner/gut knife and is a great addition to any survival/camping gear. The coating on the knife will probably wear away after awhile, but that's to be expected. Should anything happen to the knife however, they offer a lifetime warranty which from what I hear is excellent ;) 

Thanks for taking a look at my post! If you enjoyed this post feel free to give me a follow for more gun and knife related content in the future! 

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@metalman ·
A main rule: Don't do it mediocre!

It always happens that we want to do something new, but if that something big, this thing requires sacrifice and dedication on our part to do it well in the best way. But we as human beings always want things to be as easy as possible.

Whenever a person tries to do something without sacrificing enough, this thing ends up going wrong. The key is to be aware of this and give one hundred percent of the effort to make it happen, whatever the goal is.

I remember once grandfather told me that if there was anything he regretted in his life, it was that he hadn't done better things that could have taken him to better living conditions in a time of more youth for him.

Many people may think the same way, in the case of my grandfather is that he wanted to be a footballer, football has always been a profession quite lucrative, today more than ever but years ago it was as well.

My grandfather told me that when he was young, the national teams of the first division in the country were quite interested in getting his services because he had real talent, the point is that (said by himself) his attitude wasn't the most mature to face this challenge through.

He told me that several times after practice, when he wasn't absent, he used to go with his other friends to drink beers and another alcoholic drinks, ignoring the advice given by nutritionists to perform better on the field.

My grandfather was never signed by any football team because of his lack of discipline and dedication, according to himself, he had the necessary talent but not the mentality to do so. It was quite difficult to do it without this last one.

Certainly today you could see high-level football players on television, but what many people don't see is the thousands of hours of training that these athletes spend in order to improve their technique and become better players.

And the same thing happens with many other things in life, really with all of them.

If you want to be a musician, the best thing to do is to make the decision to be an excellent musician and practice for it, once you are so talented with whatever you choose, the world will have it impossible to ignore you, which will clearly take you to success.

Many people want to have the best things in life, I have no doubt that each person on this planet are looking for a better life than they currently have, but the dilemma is that not many people are willing to assume the sacrifices so as to make the things happen.

It is not about something easy, in fact that is the reason why there are more poor people than rich people, there are few people who decide not to do it mediocre (whatever they are going to do).

Once a math teacher told me: It doesn't matter if you're going to be an orange seller, but try to be the best seller of oranges.

How much truth in this sentence that my math teacher told me many years ago. It is too much about trying to be the best in whatever you choose in life.

That is the philosophy of Cristiano Ronaldo, once a journalist asked the Portuguese how he did to keep himself in shape during all seasons without lowering performances and he replied that what moved him forward constantly was his desire to always be the best in the world.

The philosophy of Portuguese is an example to follow for anyone who wants to succeed, even if people call him arrogant time after time.

So you know that when you want to achieve something, keep in mind that there will be several obstacles, but if you decide to do it the best possible way by putting aside mediocrity, it will be very difficult to fail on your way to whatever you want to do.

Once aware of this, you have half the way gained, the other half is on you if you decide to apply it or decide to ignore this concept.


@metalman Follow me for more!

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@dragosroua · (edited)
The Baffling World of Women and Men Colors

Part of @raluca Christmas present was a white hat. Or, to be more precise, a bit of cash to buy a white hat that she’ll like. It’s brutally cold in Bucharest these days and a hat is mandatory. She gladly embarked on this journey but, since she is so minimalistic and stuff, she managed to get 3 clothing items for the price of a white hat. Which, I want to say, is a remarkable feast in itself.

One of the items she bought is a grey blouse. As a matter of fact, is more like grey-ish. Or white with a dash of grey. But not grey. Definitely not grey. More like ecru. Something like that.

As we talked about the actual color of the blouse, we realized again how different the world of colors is for men and women.

When they see green, women will distinguish at least: lime, fresh grass, grass, green, dark green, moss, green yellow and, beware, don’t ever trespass into the controversy of sea-green. That may actually be a shade of blue. Don’t go there. You have been warned.

In a 2012 study published in National Geographic, a few researchers came to the conclusion that this difference is the result of evolutionary adaptation.

Noting that men in the study showed significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli, the researchers write that their hunter forebears would have to detect possible predators or prey from afar and also identify and categorize these objects more easily.

On the other side, women seem to be more sensitive to static objects, necessary for their gatherers role.

Meanwhile, the vision of female gatherers may have become better adapted recognizing close-at-hand, static objects such as wild berries.

I don’t know how this will play out in a world where hunting and gathering are not as necessary as they used to be. Our functional roles evolved a lot. But I can clearly see how the instinct of hunters and gatherers is still playing a big role in every small community, including steemit.

Recently, there were flames between a few high-profile members of the community, which happens to be men. Beyond the factual support for the claims, over which I have no knowledge or interest, it’s fascinating to see their hunting-prey approach. Most of the time, the dialogue and actions were aiming for a symbolic capture of the perceived opponent or some sort of leverage. I’m not saying this is good or bad. I’m just saying that it’s obvious.

And if you look at the occasional comments of women in this dispute, you’ll see not only a finer decomposition of the topics at hand (more shades of the same color), but also an approach towards maintaining some sort of safety, if not a status-quo. Again, I’m not saying this is inherently good or bad. It’s just obvious.

A world in which there will be only hunters would be a freaking hostile one. While a world in which there will be only status-quo enforcers will be an incredibly static one.

So, instead of making value judgements about which approach is “better”, being a hunter, or a gatherer, I would very much advocate for a deeper cooperation of both parts.

If we already have these instincts in us let’s not mock hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and throw it all away.

There’s scientific proof that the world will actually have more colors in this scenario.

image source - Pixabay

I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.

Dragos Roua

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· @strangerarray ·
Erosion of an Empire: Part 3

“State your first and last name to the board of elders,” commanded a solid steady voice.

Image Credit

“Hasim Patel.”

This was anticipated Hasim reflected.



So far, so good.

“Birth date?”

“11 of September 1994.”

“Country of origin?”



Hasim paused.

“Lineage,” the voice boomed again with more force.

Hasim took a deep breath.

His objective was to be accepted, but he hadn't prepared for this question.

Hasim cleared his throat and began confidently, “I am Hasim Patel, son of Abram Patel, son of Shem Ali, son of Edom Paran, son of Elam Patel, son of Nahash…”

“That’s far enough,” the voice interrupted.

Hasim let out a sigh of relief.

“Jeffery says that you demonstrated an ability to fight,” the stern voiced questioner, Tectamus, added more as a statement than a question.

Hasim nodded. “Sir, I’ve had my share of fights. There is nothing more I would like to avoid, but when push comes to shove, there is only one thing to do.”

“Well, what do you see your role here being?”

“This is something I’ve given much thought to and depending on your needs, I am sure I can fit in where you need me.” Hasim answered evasively.

“Look, we know more about you than you may realize,” Tectamus said with a hint of threat in his voice.

Hasim had done his homework, but he only knew what he was able to find. He was not able to know what he didn’t know he needed to know.

“Tectamus, right? Can I call you Mr. T? I am going to put it on the line here and tell you I am here to help and think I can provide you with some real assets in my ability to gather information for you from sources you may not normally be able to reach.”

“Undoubtedly, and **no* Mr. T is not okay*, but my friends can me Chief. That’s all for now, Hasim, we will talk more later.”

Hasim left the building alone with a nagging thought that he left knowing only a little more than before and that he gave up more information than maybe he should have.

Banksy Gaza

Image Source

● ● ●

Hsiao Hsi cupped his hand to keep the flame long enough to light the cigarette that dangled from his lower lip.

He plopped down on his worn futon. He interlaced his fingers and cradled the back his head spreading his elbows out wide.

So this is how it ends?, he contemplated.

The pending oil depletion had been in the news everyday for the last decade, but it had been kept at bay due to constant innovation in the industry. It began with Fracking and changed over the decade in as many ways as the mega-corporations squeezed every last cent from the earth.

Hsiao, was from the Shandong province which had experienced a boom in economic prosperity because of its proximity to South Korea and Japan which provided commercial investments and tourism to the area.

Hsi could be described as a textbook slacker. He had an intellect and wit smart enough to skate by in school without much strenuous efforts and he rarely challenged himself to become something greater.

He liked thinking and didn’t think much for working too hard.

Now that the world was rioting and fretting over food, Hsi felt like his life choices served him well.

If it was all going down the tubes anyways, why strive for what is certain to quickly be no more?

It was thinking like this that often kept Hsiao from taking action.

So this is it, he kept coming back to.

Should I try to go out in a blaze of glory? Should I try to piece together some sorta coalition and build a tribe to support and supply me and each other?

What about being a lone wolf type?

The dystopian fiction and television shows had peppered his mind with many options and opportunities.

Whatever happens, this is gonna be fun.

● ● ●

Part 4 of *Erosion of an Empire* coming soon!


Written by Michael Paine

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because Hasim and Hsiao would.

Please check out my other recent post:

P.S. Before you go, do you have Student Loans and are looking for ways to save money by restructuring the loans to reduce your monthly payments ?

I recommend Credible.

If you use my link now you will get $500 to spend how you want where you want on whatever you want!

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· @generikat ·
Tales From The Tomerosa: A Mystery Squash Review

A Semi-In-depth Examination Of A Very Benevolent Seed Gift
You will need a much bigger vessel than the above cup to hold the amount of squash that is produced from just one of these seeds, like, at least a dump truck.

A few years ago, a very dear family friend gave me a manila envelope full of seeds. When I asked him what they were, he replied, Squash.

Always loquacious that one is. So, I prodded further, What cultivar of squash is it?

It is a Hubbard, Pumpkin cross. he delivered this news in his stoic manner.

Egads! Was this a cross pollination, hybridization envelope of disaster? Was I going to risk growing a bunch of the gazillion seeds that he gave me, only to have some nice squash-like foliage and some weird, tough mutants?

Try them, you'll like them. Was the only words that I got in return as I badgered him with my flurry of queries.

So try them I did. The seeds sprouted within a week to ten days, grew like most of my weeds tend to do, and boy did they have a sprawling habitat. By late summer I had a plethora of oblong-looking football shaped squash that weighed anywhere from fifteen to twenty pounds. Their color began to concern me, as this particular friend spends some time down on the Columbia River Gorge, near the Hanford Nuclear Site. So bright a red-orange were these squash that I was kind of thinking, Hello Radioactivity. Okay, not really, but in all seriousness, these squash have a very vibrant color. You will not miss them when you peruse your garden!

To say that these plants are prolific would be to offer a gross understatement of their fecundity. I only put in a few plants in the corner of my squash patch, but there were mutant looking footballs everywhere!

Taste. The most important factor. After the first frost I went out and selected the largest (naturally) of the Orange Beasties. Whomever bred this variety knew what they were doing, because this squash is my go to pie plant. Creamy, orange flesh in abundance is the rule when it comes to this vegetable. I only wish that I knew it's name.

I see that there are Golden Hubbard Squash varieties out there, but as beautiful as those cultivars are, they have some features that aren't the same as whatever the thing is that I am growing. Mine are more oblate in shape and slightly more smooth on the surface. I also think the flesh tends to taste more pumpkin than Hubbard, but I am no palate-princess.
The only picture that I have of the Orange Beasties. Bask in their almost-radioactive color splendor!

It occurred to me today as I wrote this post that I have never saved seed from any of the Orange Beasties. This was in a large part due to the fact that my friend gave me enough seed to last me for a few hundred years. That said, this year I am going to do a little experiment. I am going to save some seed from the best of the pack, and plant it next year. Nothing like a little homespun seed trial for a scant bit of amusement. If they yield like I think they could, I would love to share the seed with any interested Steemian gardeners, so here's to the future!

As always, all of the pictures in this post were taken on the author's squash-intestine bedecked iPhone.

Written with StackEdit.

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@ardyach · (edited)
Thousands of sticky rice handed out at maulid celebrations


Have you ever heard a story of a bygone era? When the first celebration of the birth prophet once celebrated around the world? We, in Aceh, has the tradition and celebration of the Prophet's birth is celebrated during the hundred days, in different places and at different time. What is unique about this tradition is, the community provides a variety of snacks and meals which are then distributed to all guests.

The guests who attended were orphans, and people from all over the region. One characteristic is the presence of sticky rice, which is made from glutinous rice then mix them with grated coconut and sugar, which in turn in the dressing with banana leaves. This is interesting, as is typical of such traditions is rarely found in other places, all over the world.

Thousands of sticky rice made by the community, (each community to donate one hundred rice sticky) have been stacked in the area of distribution of food, to be distributed to the guests, after the show is finished

In addition to the menu, sticky that many of these will be collaborated with bananas, all those people who eat it will take a banana to a sticky. So when people receive 100 sticky, which means people will also receive 100 bananas

Orphans and the poor provide entertainment to the visitors who come, the entertainment is a song that glorifies the prophet, and give awards to the religious leaders, as well as gratitude to God

And this is called dolang, a kind of tool is a big basket that can contain all the food in it, there are a variety of foods, each dolang is derived from the head of the family. And, in the village there are usually hundreds of households. They, native did not eat here, because they give special for every guest who attended the celebration of the birth of the prophet.

Guests are hearing the chanting of hymns sung by the participantmaulid celebration, they did not just wait for the food, but also sang religious songs

Well, this is one of respect, everyone stood and listened to the songs sung by the orphans and the poor before, standing committee immediately provide plastic bag for each guest, placed in front of the personal and individual gain a pack of bananas and sticky rice.

Sticky rice, in addition to shared at the celebration of the birth of this prophet is also frequently used as a regular meal snacks at the coffee shop and other food stalls. The difference, sticky rice sold in the market is not in eating the bananas, but only plain grilled sticky rice. Then become a friend good coffee.

Follow Me: @ardyach

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@awakealiveaware ·
How Stepping Into A Sensory Deprivation Tank Made Me Look At All My Thoughts

I had the chance to finally go to a Sensory Deprivation Tank while I was in Oregon. My experience is nothing like I have heard about in documentaries or from Joe Rogan lol. I have heard you have to do it multiple times to get the full effects. Just going to share my process through it, but to get your own experience I definitely suggest checking it out.

I thought I was going to be hallucinating, maybe seeing images, not feeling my body or in a sense my body evaporating. I thought maybe it would be like a mild dose of a shrooms trip. Nope not me one bit.

My session was 90 minutes in complete darkness lying in a tank full of water and 900 pounds of Epson salt, so I was floating the entire time. I get in and I'm basically meditating for the first 30 minutes. My mind was very restless. I couldn't get my thoughts quiet, which didn't feel normal to me. I had on going thoughts of the same exact thing on repeat over and over again. My head started to hurt, I felt like I was receiving a headache.

40 minutes in to my session and I wanted to get out. I felt a tension in my neck and a muscle build up where it seemed all my thoughts had been going throughout my life. I started visualizing healing energy going into my neck and I was visually wiping clean the back of my neck with my eyes in a way where all the pain was. I gradually started feeling the pain be lifted off of me.

My thoughts had still been on going on one thought on a constant loop. A feeling of Love. A love that I hadn't been giving myself. This little girl inside myself was sharing with me that I need to get back in touch with my heart and to give myself this love. I started hearing my heartbeat for the first time in the tub. My mind went blank. just Boom Boom for the next 15 mins. It was a sense of being alive, how out of touch I had been with that aliveness inside my chest.

Once I started bringing my awareness to the aliveness that I was, is when the thoughts came swarming back in my head. I felt like a hammer or a screwdriver was being rammed inside my skull and pressure was being applied. My mind is very active is the message I was receiving. I got out of the tub and took a 30 second shower so I could cleanse off those thoughts and then I got back in for the remaining 20 minutes and sorta fell asleep listening to my heart beat.

After my session is when my loopy/high effects hit. I was eating and all of sudden this gush of laughter and energy came through me for about 5-10 minutes. Uncontrollable. Couldn't really stop it. It felt amazing. I felt like a fuzzy energy ball and my abs started to hurt because of how much I was laughing.

It wasn't my cup of tea, but I definitely hear some incredible experiences about it, so I still would recommend it if you have not had your journey with the tank. :)

Instagram Twitter- @AwakeAliveAware
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