7 Mistakes We Make When Raising Our Children

7 Mistakes We Make When Raising Our Children

Parenting is probably one of the most significant responsibilities you’ll have, yet there’s no manual to guide you. Every parent-child relationship is unique, so you walk on uncharted territory with every kid. While there aren’t any instructions for proper parenting, some mistakes are bound to impact the kids profoundly. Overcoming these seven mistakes will help you become a more effective parent.



1. Having Unrealistic Expectations

When you expect too much from your children, you might create problems. For instance, if you get frustrated with your 2-year-old because they aren’t interested in potty training, you’ll put too much pressure on them. Another example of an unrealistic expectation is assuming that your teenager shouldn’t be moody or losing your cool because your 6-year-old is wetting the bed. Take it a day at a time and consult the doctor when your child doesn’t meet the expected developmental milestone.


2. Not Allowing Your Child to Explore

7 Mistakes We Make When Raising Our Children

Since birth, you have been on a learning curve – and so is your little one. As children grow up, playing becomes an effective means of learning, leaving them hurt or bruised. However, the fear of getting hurt shouldn’t be a reason to stop them from exploring tukif. Allow your child to pursue their curiosity, try out new things and learn from their mistakes.


3. Always Saving Them from Failure

As a parent, watching your child struggle through challenges you can quickly fix is not easy. However, saving them all the time denies kids the opportunity to learn from failure. For instance, if your kid performs poorly in school, doing their homework does more harm than good. You’d better help them understand the concepts or talk to their teacher about the challenges.


4. Not Fixing Problems

Some parents endure months or years of frustration by not taking the proper steps towards solving issues. You may assume that some problems can’t be fixed or quickly accept them. Whether it’s bedtime battles, temper tantrums, or frequent night awakenings, finding solutions is better than putting up with the challenges. Although it requires extra effort, most problems you face as a parent can easily be worked through, fixed, or changed.

5. Not Setting Rules or Limits

It may seem like you love your kids more by letting them do whatever they want, but you are doing them a great injustice. Children need to differentiate good from bad, and only you can teach them. Create routines to help them know what to expect throughout the day. As they grow older, make sure to discipline them accordingly. That way, you will set them up for success


6. Not Empathizing with Your Child

When a challenging situation arises, the best thing to do is empathize before reacting. Put yourself in your kid’s shoes by understanding where they are coming from. If your child is angry, frustrated, upset, or crying, they don’t want to make your life harder. Understand that they are having a hard time and don’t know how to cope.


7. Preaching Without Practicing

Every parent has had that moment where they asked their kids to do one thing while doing the complete opposite. Children consider their parents to be role models, so they imitate you. For instance, if you warn your child against eating junk or excessive screen time, ensure you follow suit. While at it, take the time to explain why the foods are harmful instead of giving instructions only.

Childhood is a time for discovery, fun, and play – please don’t rush your little one. Stay calm and enjoy every moment because everything moves so fast. Now that you know the common parenting mistakes, you are all set for successful parenting!

How Couples Can Manage Their Money and Avoid Conflicts

couple leaning on wall

Whether you are newlyweds or married for 20 years, money problems can be a significant relationship killer. Having a prenuptial agreement is not a guarantee that you won’t have financial conflicts with your spouse. Luckily, conflict resolution in relationships is not complicated if both parties are willing to iron out their differences. Here’s what you can do to eliminate the financial crisis in your marriage.

1.     Talk about Money

According to a survey by Ramsey Solutions, couples who say they are happy in their marriage are twice as likely to discuss financial matters as those in crisis. That is why you should have weekly or monthly sit-downs with your partner to talk about budgeting, paying bills, and goals.

Establish ground rules so that your discussions don’t turn into fights or arguments. Check out these suggestions to guide your porno conversations:

·         Commit to working as a team

Even if you run separate accounts, remember that you are in a union, so you should have common interests and goals. Achieving your plans is easier when you cooperate.

·         Commit to listening

Instead of focusing on explaining your point, work on listening and understanding your partner’s concerns. When you listen to each other, you will communicate better.

·         Commit to transparency

Maintaining openness with your partner can be scary because of fearing what they will think of you. However, lies and omitting vital details will only erode trust and prevent you from growing.

2.     Appreciate Your Different Personalities

man in black shirt wearing silver ring

Everyone’s money mindset varies, and opposites usually attract. The chances are that one of you is a nerd and loves working with numbers, while the other is free-spirited and doesn’t like being tied down by numbers. If you are a saver, your partner might be a spender. Although personality differences often cause conflicts, it’s not the actual cause of money problems. Recognize your partner’s differences and then give feedback, encouragement, and positive criticism.

3.     Be Open About Your Earnings

Harboring secrets is a surefire way of creating financial conflicts in your marriage. Be open about how much you make, your savings, and your debts. If you are uncomfortable communicating verbally about this, you can write them a note. Don’t forget to talk about your history with money too.

4.     Share Your Dreams and Goals

If you want to have a successful financial plan as a couple, you should open up about your hopes, goals, and dreams. While you should have individual ambitions, having a shared goal makes your life a couple more interesting. An example of a personal plan is going back to school, while a shared one is buying a home or traveling together after retirement.  

5.     Choose a Fair Payment Plan

man and woman standing in front of sink

Now that you are an open book regarding your financial status and plans, you can now share roles. Not every strategy will be a 50/50 split because you don’t all have the same income. First, make a budget and then consider how much each partner earns. You can then decide who will take care of what bill. Remember to budget for your goals.

As your lives change, so does your financial situation. Always revisit your plan and make necessary adjustments—all the best and cheers to a happy relationship.

Is Living Together Before Marriage Linked to Divorce?

So, you met the love of your life – your soul mate. You are deeply in love and thinking about cohabiting before marriage. Is this a good idea? Let’s explore some facts.

man and woman kissing inside kitchen

Several decades ago, living together before getting hitched was a taboo. Nowadays, many couples are choosing to live with their significant other before committing. Between 1965 and 1974, only 11% of women cohabited with their partners before marriage. The number has risen significantly to 69% between 2010 and 2013.  However, recent studies are out to discourage this trend of porno.

Theories Associated With Living Together Before Marriage

There are 3 major theories explaining the impact of living together before getting hitched. Here is a summary of the theories.

1.      Inertia Effect

Engaged couples should beware of the inertia effect. In this case, couples who live together before engagement have a higher risk for divorce. On the other side, cohabiting after divorce doesn’t significantly impact the chances of separation.

The theory shows that couples who live together before their engagement might have entered a commitment level before ensuring that their goals align. Therefore, this puts them at a higher risk of divorce or marital dissatisfaction.

To establish this theory, a study was conducted in the US, involving 1,050 married women and men between 18 and 34. It established that:

  • 43% of the participants who lived together before their engagement had lower marital satisfaction and were likelier to get divorced than the 16% who cohabited after getting engaged.
  • 18.7% who cohabited before engagement suggested getting separated or divorced at some point in their marriage, compared to 10.2% who didn’t live together before getting hitched.
  • 12.3% of those who cohabited after engagement suggested divorce at some point in their union.  

2.      Sliding vs. Deciding

sitting woman leaning on man's shoulder facing lake during golden hour

The theory deals with how couples commit to the relationship. Some plan on being together after evaluating their compatibility. Others “slide” into the next stage because of the inconvenience of breaking up.

A study involving 1,300 people in opposite-sex relationships in the US concluded that:

  • 70% of the couples lived together before tying the knot.
  • 40% of the partners cohabited in their past relationships.
  • Those among the 40% who married the subsequent partners who they had lived with before marriage reported low levels of marital quality

Many of the couples who had cohabited before marriage said it just happened, thus indicating a “slide” into commitment. Couples who planned on moving in together after establishing that their future goals were aligning reported higher marital satisfaction levels.

3.      The Experience Of Cohabiting Changes Things

In an older study, the researchers concluded that living together before marriage changes marriage and divorce perspectives. It might even lower esteem for marriage, thus making divorce seem acceptable.

The findings are consistent with many psychology studies showing that attitudes are directly related to behavior. In other words, you might change your beliefs to suit your behavior.

adult and girl holding forever scrabble letters during daytime

Should You Live With Your Partner Before Marriage?

The answer is yes and no. Several factors can lead to divorce. However, the findings show that couples should have an honest and transparent conversation before cohabiting. Couples who live together seem to have a better outcome when they make a clear commitment to each other. So, the decision on whether to cohabit lies with you as a couple.

You Get What You Pay For: The Reality of Cohabitation and De Facto Unions

Relationships of cohabitation have soared over the past decade, not only in the US, but around the world. Today between, 50% to 80% of couples coming for marriage in first world countries are living together before marriage (Markey 1999:3). More and more frequently, cohabitation is becoming a permanent way of carrying on a relationship, as opposed to a prior step towards getting married. Many de facto unions are formed without either of the partners seeing marriage on the horizon. Alternatives to Marriage, a US based association which advocates social recognition of de facto unions and offers tips for happy cohabiting, sympathizes with those who “would rather walk off a cliff than walk down the aisle.”

Nowadays the distinction between de facto unions and married couples is becoming more and more blurred, especially in countries where “de factos” have been given civil status. However, for as similar as the two living arrangements may seem (bed and board included), there is one difference that sets them worlds apart: commitment. Marriage has it, cohabitation does not; it’s that clear and it’s that simple.

When a man and woman marry, they make a public contract to form a new society together. They are now Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and when they fill out the forms at the doctor’s office, they will have to put their check mark in a different box when asked for their civil status. To say that marriage is an “institution” may make a person cringe (because of the negative connotation associate with this word), but that doesn’t make it any less true. Marriage is a social entity which has certain properties, commitments and responsibilities that define it as such and which, after having been freely and publicly assumed by the spouses, have a juridical value. What before was a choice has now become an obligation.

Why is this important? Why does public commitment make any difference? Isn’t it love that matters? Absolutely, but marriage, simultaneously speaking has nothing to do with love and everything to do with love, that’s why without commitment neither marriage, nor true love are possible.

Running the risk of being misinterpreted, love is not an essential characteristic of marriage, nor is it a pre-requisite. The local Justice of the Peace does not ask the bride and groom if they love each other; he asks them if they want to marry each other. A man and a woman are fully capable of assuming the rights and responsibilities proper to sex videos marriage, and the commitments these imply on a social and individual level without “love” ever entering into the picture. Unlikely, but probable; sad, but in certain cases, true. On the contrary, two people may love each other with burning passion, yet if they don’t publicly commit themselves to a life of mutual, total and exclusive union (i.e. marriage), they will never be man and wife.

But commitment for commitment’s is neither attractive nor, in most situations, advisable. The marriage commitment has everything to do with love. The decision to marry is inspired by love, accepted in love, and lived out in love. The gifts we bestow on newlyweds are but a shadow of the gift they have given to each other: the gift of self. In marriage the spouses make an exchange of persons: I belong totally to you, you belong totally to me. The two become one entity: socially, physically and juridically. Being someone’s spouse as opposed to their friend or live-in partner gives exclusive privileges because of the exclusive commitment made. The intensity and the totality of this commitment explains why married couples enjoy certain rights not shared by singles, for example: the right to adopt, the right to take medical decisions for their spouse in event of an emergency. With every right comes a responsibility and with every privilege a duty. There are those who view marriage as a “class struggle” relationship—who will dominate and who will come out on top? But those who think this way are more, often than not, single. Perhaps they even tried marriage once, twice or six times—if in each attempt they fought for power, then it’s no wonder the marriage failed and they were left with a sour image of it. Marriage isn’t about fighting to retain the upper hand; it’s about mutually giving in, not wanting to fight and not wanting to retain anything. It’s about understanding that one’s spouse, just like the children you make with him, is a gift and a responsibility. In making the commitment to marry, a man and a woman promise to love and treat each other as such, even when they might prefer to do otherwise.

But what happens in a de facto union? No formal commitment has been made, not between the partners, not before the civil authority. There are no duties, there are no responsibilities, there are no commitments, at least none that are juridically binding. It is essentially a walk-in walk-out relationship, and there is no obligation that it be otherwise. Contrary to marriage, the “two remain two”, deciding if, when, and how much of their person and their goods they are willing to share (always with the possibility of taking them back should the relationship go bad). Contrary to marriage, upon which the spouses enter with the intention of “till death do us part,” the de facto union rests on the presupposition of “till I’m tired of the situation.” How romantic.

Love demands life long commitment because love demands a total and exclusive gift of self. Love needs commitment because sooner or later the temptation arises to take back the gift. In marriage, the spouses decide to commit to each other regardless of circumstances. In de facto unions, the partners decide to let circumstances determine their commitment. Conditioned love is no love at all, and it makes for a highly unstable union. Small wonder the average cohabiting couple lasts but two years, and only 4% make it past the ten year mark.

Stories of self image

I guess it all started when I looked in the mirror. I’d lift up my shirt and see how skinny and flat my stomach was. If I wasn’t satisfied, I’d cry myself to sleep or exercise for a while thereafter. Eventually I resorted to purging after each meal. It started once or twice a day, but eventually it grew to 20 times a day, or 3 sets of 20 purges a day. I would go to extreme measures to hide the fact, like turning on the shower or throwing up in the woods. I would exercise for hours on end, mercilessly running, hurling, jumping, punching, doing crunches, weight lifting, etc. It was an addiction of mine. I had to go to a shrink whom I really didn’t like. Then I had to go to a clinic for 3 nights a week, 4 hours each night for 3 or 4 months. Then I eventually resorted to not eating virtually at all and just watched my body shrink. My bones stuck out so much that I couldn’t even sit down in the bathtub. My family and friends were so concerned for me, but i didn’t care. Then I went to another counselor who betrayed me and eventually they put me on Prozac and Zoloft. I developed seizures from the Prozac shortly after I was hospitalized in Philadelphia. After 3 weeks there, I came home and was doing better. Every now and then I’d have a slip up. I ran away from home 2 times, cut myself and burned myself repeatedly. I withdrew socially and developed a shell around me. Through prayer, faith, endurance, hope, my religion, and a good attitude, I made it through and have never been happier than I am today. I weigh now almost 40 pounds heavier than I did at my lowest weight and people say that I’ve never looked better in a film porno.

I am a 18 year old girl…I have very many good friends, a loving big sister who’s 38 years old, a mom and a dad. I recently moved from a very bad part of Oakland to a nice, calm town here in California. I made a friend named Sam. She showed me around everywhere and introduced me to people…she’s such a great friend. Now she has moved but i saw her earlier today…we see each other a lot. The point is, I was doing very well as a 7th grader to a new school. But on November the 9th, 2001, my life was changed. My best friend in the world, Anna, was dead. I lost her to suicide. We had known each other since we were 2 and a half. I had earlier in my life been in a state of depression, and with her death it returned. First, I worried about my weight. I got lost in a world of thinness…I thought “just for a few days.” It hadn’t gotten too bad when my friend Tara realized what was going on. She went to a friend of hers, Elena, who she thought could help me. And she did. It worked for a fair amount of time…she gave a talk and helped me understand it was a bad thing. But I was stupid. I still wanted to loose weight, and the cycle repeated three times. Finally, it ended. Not for good, but long enough for something else to happen to me. With my depression…i found a way to, umm, “ease” the pain. Slitting my wrists and legs. My right leg is scarred pretty bad now, and my left wrist, too. I didn’t understand what I was doing to myself. Once again, Elena was there for me. She talked to me about it…and it worked. Not immediately, but after after a week or so her words came back to me. For weeks I was six feet from suicide. AGAIN, Elena was there. She told me that she would keep trying to help, but that in the end the only person who could really help me was me. And now her words make perfect sense, though back then they went into my head blurry and hidden. I was bulimic for a while. I am trying to end that now. I don’t do it anymore…i hadn’t for months when i did it the day before yesterday and yesterday. But i’m trying to stop.

The western world is a pro-Ana site

For those of you who don’t already know, “Pro-Anorexia” or “Pro-Ana” websites are designed to help people who already have disorders be able to continue with them. It is sick. They often include things like lists of “safe foods” that have the lowest possibly calorie content, and “thinspiration” which includes pictures of models and actresses to “trigger” people to continue on their quest to be thin.
It’s hard to imagine just how disturbing these sites really are unless one visits them.
However, as disturbing as this is, I believe I found something more disturbing, and here it is.

When I began to sort through this trough of hell known as pro-ana sites on the web, I was saddened to the point of tears and silmulteously so enraged by the thought that people are out there promoting the kind of horror that I endured that I wanted to get in my car, drive to each of their houses, throw them up against the wall by their collars and knock some damn sense into them. In fact the only thing holding me back from this is knowing that they’re mentally ill, not evil.
So, because I had found something that actually shocked me and disturbed me to this point, I felt it necessary to share it with everyone I could and it was reactions that disturbed me the most.

When most people see a pro-ana site, they are horrified and saddened and upset. They see the pictures of models and actresses that women and girls are using to prolong their illness and it makes them sick. But take those same models and actresses out of this context, and most of those same people sickened by it worship it as the perfect body type. For example: a couple of guy friends I know looked at pro-ana sites and were appalled, but I know very well that theres a copy of Playboy or Maxim or something sitting in their living rooms with women just like that in the pages and they don’t seem appalled by that!

Let’s be honest. It’s not like the people who put together pro-ana sites have to search hard to find pictures of starving women. Most models and actresses today in the west are significantly underweight. Not some, not a few, most. But apparently it takes a site advocating eating disorders for people to realize this??? That’s ridiculous! People need to become aware of this. It is a cultural disease! Pro-ana sites give people tips on how to become and stay ridiculously thin, they show them pictures of people who are already ridiculously thin, and they heavily enforce the idea that beauty is all and thin is all beauty. So I ask you, how is this different from everything the general media points to? It’s Not noticias.

If you think pro-ana sites are appalling, just turn on your TV, open a magazine or surf the net for a moment and you’ll see that what we live in is just one huge pro-ana society.

I’m from Minneapolis. Here a list of things you can do as a tourist

Fort Snelling: What was Minneapolis like around 200 years? You cannot go back in time, or can you? You can come close to going back in time by visiting Fort Snelling. There you can see what life was like in the early 1800’s. There are people dressed like soldiers and other people doing their jobs back then. If you get there at the right time, you can even hear them fire canons. Call 612-726-1171 for more information.

Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center: Want to see a 76 foot long replica of Viking ship made out of 100 oak trees? Come visit the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center. What is “Hjemkomst”? It is the Norwegian word for “homecoming”. The center also has a replica of a 12th-century Stave Church. Call 218-299-5511 or visit their website for more information.

James J. Hill Mansion: This place is a big red sandstone mansion in St. Paul that was built over a hundred years ago for the guy that built the Great Northern Railway. It was the biggest and most expensive house in Minnesota when it was built. If you lived there, you would never have to wait for the bathroom — it has 13 of them! You can find out about visiting this huge mansion at their website or by calling 651-296-8205.

Minnesota Historical Society: The Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting and telling Minnesota history for 150 years! The History Center was completed in 1992 for over $75 million dollars after 10 years of planning and construction. The society offers live performances, multimedia shows, and a chance to go inside a grain elevator. Visit their website or call 651-296-6126 for more information.

Minnesota State Capitol: Not only is this is where lots of important decisions are made in Minnesota, but it is where there are lots of cool things to see. You can get a tour of the State Capital from guides of the Minnesota Historical Society — including the famous gold statue of a chariot and four horses called the “Quadriga” if the weather allows it. Call 651-296-2881 for tour information.

Sod House: Mow the grass or fix the roof? How about both?! Visit this recreation of a house made out like the one’s in the 1880’s. For more information, call 507-723-5138.

Split Rock Lighthouse: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a lighthouse up on a cliff — helping to keep ships from crashing into the rocks below on foggy nights? You can get an idea by taking a tour of the Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior’s North Shore. Nearby, you can go for a hike and see some neat views of the lake and woods. To shed some light on more information, call 218-226-6372.

American Swedish Institute: Interested in learning about Swedish-American culture in a place that looks like a castle? You bet! The American Swedish Institute, located in the Turnblad family mansion, is at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. There is also a gift shop and bookstore. Call 612-871-4907 for information about tours.

Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts: This place has been around for over 150 years as a tavern, an inn, part of a dairy farm, and a post office. Now it is a place where you can see art by lots of Minnesota artists for free! It also has art classes for kids. You can call them to find out more at 763-574-1850.

Magic Brush Ceramics: Do you like art and painting things? Call Magic Brush Ceramics to find our more at 651-488-0548.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is one of North America’s finest public art museums, with more than 100,000 things to see from all around the world. They also have art activities in the Family Room where kids can get involved, a treasure hunt, and special programs for kids like “Art Adventure.” Kids can even create their own art at Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ family day. For more information about Art Adventure, call 612-870-3056 or 612- 870-3174. You can also visit their website online.

Minnesota Museum of American Art: The Minnesota Museum of American Art in downtown St. Paul has art by Evelyn Raymond, Robert Henri, Thomas Hart Benton, Jacob Lawrence and many other artists. Their general phone number is 651-292-4355 and their number for educational programs is 651-292-4395.

Paint Your Plate: Paint your own ceramic plate or mug masterpiece at Paint Your Plate! You can even have a “paint your plate” birthday party where everyone gets to be an artist. Visit their website or call 651-225-8034 or 612-925-2311 to find out more.

Walker Art Center: The Walker Art Center has all sorts of creative stuff — art, music, dance, film and more. It also has special programs for teens. Visit their creative website or call 612-375-7622 for more information.

Ironworld: It is not exactly like Indiana Jones going through a mine in a cart, but you can take a trolley ride along the Glen Mine pit lake in Ironworld in Chisholm, Minnesota. There is also a big outdoor park, an carousel, miniature golf, and a museum. You can dig up more information at their website or by calling 800-372-6437.

Niagara Cave: Niagara Cave is one of the largest caves in the Midwest whose formations are still getting growing! It has underground canyons, streams, waterfalls, rooms that are over 100 feet high, fossils, stalactites, and even a wedding chapel. You can see pictures and learn more at their website or by calling 800-837-6606.

Soudan Mine: What goes down, must come up. You hope! You can ride a cage down into Minnesota’s deepest iron ore mine. They now use it for physics experiments. On land above the mine, you can see the equipment they used to crush the iron ore from the mine. You can see more at their website or call 218-753-2245.

Wabasha Street Caves: Learn about history and geology during a tour of these caves under St. Paul. Call 651-292-1220 for more info.

Athletic Camps: Want to get better at soccer, basketball, or some other sport? The University of Minnesota sponsors a whole bunch of sports camps where you can get help from University coaching staff. Call the University of Minnesota for more information.

Bumper Bowling: Would you like to try bowling, but can’t stand it when your bowling ball goes in the gutter? Some bowling alleys fix that for kids by putting bumpers in the gutters so you ball goes all the way to the pins. Here are some bowling alleys that do this at special times — Lariat Lanes in Richfield at 612-866-5311, New Hope Bowl at 612-537-9376, and West Side Lanes in St. Paul at 651-451-6222. Call to find out when and how much it costs.

Minnesota Gophers: The Gophers are the sports teams at the University of Minnesota and they are pretty good, you betcha! For more information and tickets to Gophers games, call 800-U-GOPHER.

Minnesota Lynx: The Women’s National Basketball Association has 14 teams and the Minnesota Lynx is one of the most active. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 651-989-5151.

Minnesota Thunder: Like soccer? See the Minnesota Thunder, part of the United Soccer League’s A-League, play at the National Sports Center in Blaine. For ticket information, call 763-785-FOOT and dial extension 3668.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Minnesota Timberwolves, with Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Wally Szczerbiak and Troy Hudson, are a first class basketball team. Get more information on how to be part of the action by calling Ticketmaster at 651-989-5151.

Minnesota Twins: It can be exciting watching baseball, especially since the Minnesota Twins have been doing well. You can call 800-33-TWINS for information about tickets.

Minnesota Vikings: How about those Vikes? Call 612-33-VIKES for information about tickets.

Minnesota Wild: Like Hockey? See the NHL Minnesota Wild!
For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 651-989-5151.

Parade Ice Garden: The Parade Ice Garden, next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has three skating rinks. The Minnesota Wild use it for training. For information about skating there, visit their website porno.

Rollerdome: The Metrodome is not just for baseball and football, it is also a cool place for inline skating. Call 612-825-DOME for skating times and dates.

Roseville Skating Center: The Roseville Skating Center has two ice rinks. Call 651-415-2170 for more information.

Schwan’s Super Rink: Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine has four rinks. Call 612-785-3687 for more information.

St. Paul Saints: The Saints play outdoor baseball. Call 651-644-6659 for tickets.

A model of decay of student living standards

Abstract: We propose a new theory for the decay of student living standards and compare it with previous efforts in the field (namely, the theory of Linear Extinction). Our theoretical model, Serial Subtraction (SS), takes a new approach on the issue of standards’ degradation and appears successful in predicting most of the observed phenomena even in the vicinity of the human-to-animal crossover. A complete analysis of the principles of the theory is given for many components of student living, including clothes and dish washing, food preparation and flat maintenance.

I. Self-disorganised Criticality
Relaxation dynamics in student lifestyles has been a long standing problem in the field of self-disorganised criticality [1-3]. The main question that has concerned scientists for ages is the following. How can students regress to subhuman living standards yet avoid a catastrophic collapse by equilibrating around the minimum effort human-animal transition? That is to say, how does the system disorganise itself in such a manner as to sustain a subhuman existence up to the degree ceremony (and in many cases [4] even beyond that) without the living standards descending all the way to the pigsty singularity?

The main quantity of interest is the evolution of the degradation index, K, defined for any everyday process (such as cooking, washing clothes etc.) as the sum of the effort put in each individual component of the process:

K= (Σ wi2)1/2 (1)

where the sum runs over all n components and wi is the effort of the ith component, usually, a ridiculously complicated function of caloric consumption subject. For example, for a typical 4-dimensional activity such as the dish-washing process, the components would be soaking, scrubbing, drying and replacing-on-shelf, each component carrying an associated effort. It is often useful thinking of K as the magnitude of a vector K in n-dimensional effort-space (notice that higher values of K represent lower degradation degrees, a slightly misleading convention adopted by the pioneers of self-disorganised criticality and one which remains the norm to this day [5]).

So far, little understanding has been gained of the evolution of K throughout the relaxation process. The only theoretical attempt at tackling this puzzling issue, the Linear Extinction theory (LE) of Vindero et al [6], has been only partially successful, reproducing most of the decay patterns observed yet failing to account for a low-effort minimum at which the system appears to equilibrate. LE theory predicts that the efforts, and consequently K, go asymptotically to 0 (the pigsty singularity), in clear contradiction with empirical evidence which support a long-time freezing of K at a finite value Kc around the human-animal transition.

The structure of this paper has as follows. In the next chapter we introduce the general principles of both the LE and SS theories together with short discussion on their implications. In chapter III, we examine the predictions of SS in more detail and then conclude the paper with a summary of our main findings.

II. Serial Subtraction vs. Linear Extinction

Let us now examine the principles of each of the two theories starting with LE using the paradigm of clean clothes’ procurement. In the whole discussion we will assume a male Drama student living alone with no loss of generality and 5-dimensional washing comprising of: (i) white/coloured clothes segregation (ii) washing (iii) hanging (iv) ironing (v) folding.

As mentioned briefly in the Introduction, LE assumes that the decay of the degradation index (again, this means a relaxation through successively more decadent states) proceeds through the linear decrease of the efforts [6],[7]. So, if a student initially spends 1 hour, say, on the ironing stage, he will begin to spend less and less time until w4 goes to zero in a finite time (and correspondingly for the rest of the n-1 components). Unfortunately, whilst this way of thinking does follow the decay closely for large K, for small K the predictions of the theory are much worse and, most importantly, the eventual fate of K is the collapse to the K=0, pigsty state. This means, that LE suggests that the student eventually stops washing clothes altogether.

SS, on the other hand, assumes that the change in the various efforts is negligent during the decay and that the latter is effectively achieved through the incremental subtraction of particular components. It is the basic premise of SS theory that a test student instead of spending less time in each stage of the cycle, he or she just drop certain stages completely. Although the off-critical (high K) results of SS are not as good as those by LE, SS successfully predicts both the behaviour of the degradation index in the critical regime and the existence of a human-animal transition at finite K in the long-time limit. The exact value of Kc is then determined by the effort in the few or only component left with noteworthy accuracy.

So, the main difference between the two theories is one of incremental against linear decay. It appears that the former captures better the intricacies of student dynamics in the interesting critical limit though, understandably, an interpolation between the two may be required at higher values of K.

III. Incremental decay in a range of household activities

In this section we illuminate the workings of SS by touching upon incremental disintegration of student living standards in a variety of situations. Our schematic listing of the decay sequence can and has been reproduced by numerous experiments [8].

(a) Clothes’ washing

Dimensionality in ideal form: 5
Stages: (i) white/coloured clothes segregation (ii) washing (iii) hanging (iv) ironing (v) folding
Weakest link: Ironing
Decay sequence: Almost invariably, ironing is the first stage to be dropped from the process with folding following closely behind. The asymptotics of the degradation index is predominantly dictated by the washing process (zeroth mode) with hanging regulating the first higher-order correction, although this stage can also be dropped in favour of the much more effortless in-machine drying.

(b) Dishes’ washing

Dimensionality in ideal form: 4
Stages: (i) soaking (ii) scrubbing (iii) drying (iv) on-shelf replacement
Weakest link: On-shelf replacement
Decay sequence: A counter-intuitive outcome of studying this process is the vulnerability of the soaking stage. That is, although soaking involves a high gain-to-effort ratio it is usually set aside because of considerations of student memory spans and also the intricate discipline and synchronisation which is required in providing a proper soaking bath after late-night student meals. Again, the critical index Kc can be often calculated by including only the scrubbing stage with drying being sometimes significant but evidently not to the hungry student. Restoring dishes to the appropriate storing unit is also bypassed especially given the small number of cutlery and crockery a student would on average posses.

(c) Meal preparation

Dimensionality in ideal form: 4
Stages: (i) ingredient procurement (ii) pan and pot procurement (iii) cooking (iv) serving
Weakest link: Both procurement phases are equally susceptible
Decay sequence: Because of the position of the weak links in the process relative to the preparation algorithm and the abnormally low gain-to-effort ratios involved at all stages, traditional meal preparation is reserved for special events only and is swiftly scrapped in favour of frozen chicken burgers and Pot Noodles.

IV. Conclusion

We have been able to show that the relaxation of student standards when left to live on their own is characterised by the incremental removal of stages in all household tasks instead of the proposed linear degradation mechanism where all stages are affected simultaneously. This is particularly true of first year students, especially Mathematics and Drama undergraduates.

It was also demonstrated that the ground state reached through the relaxation mechanism (commonly known as human-to-animal transition) is not, as previously assumed, the K=0 pigsty singularity but rather one whose K value is dictated by the least-effort stage of the respective composite process. Although we found some exceptions to this rule, namely dish washing, the general principle of SS seemed to apply well for the majority of household operations studied.

A comprehensive approach to the 2+2 problem

Abstract: The problem 2+2=p where p is some non-trivial integer has long been the Holy Grail of integer sum mathematics. Well, we report the Grail seized. Working on a number of new analytical, experimental, numerical and quantum mechanical techniques we fix the value of p to 4 with higher accuracy than ever before. In the process, we set earlier conjectures that p=24,886 to rest.

I. Introduction
Integer number sums have been with us for a long time now. Two, three and even higher term sums have been observed and studied in the context of a plethora of every day phenomena with a great deal of approximate and exact results having been published [1]. Still, despite ongoing efforts from Mathematicians and Theoretical Physicists the vital question remains: What is the result of the 2+2 problem?

Many techniques have surfaced in the past for tackling this highly non-trivial sum, going back to arguments published on prehistoric caves [2] on what the actual outcome of adding a 2 to an existing 2 may be. In the 16th Century, a number of theories were put forward, but none was successful at providing a conclusive solution to the problem, followed by further approximate and hand-waving (as well as hand-counting) arguments in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Early in the 19th Century, modest progress was achieved by showing that the result of the sum must itself be an integer [3], but this is pretty much how things stand to this very day.

In this paper, we attempt to settle the question once and for all with a strategic attack on all aspects of the problem. We shall be presenting theoretical arguments, numerical simulations and experimental results by the end of which it shall become apparent that 2+2 equals 4 as previously suspected with a high degree of confidence.

II. The Hoicin transformation

It has been noted by many researchers on the field, that the theoretical methods employed in the very similar 1+1 sum can not be applied to the 2+2 sum [4] hence it must be through the development of new tools that a successful theory of the 2+2 sum may emerge. One such tool is the Hoicin transformation [5], a little known technique which, although limited in its power, can at least constraint the number of possible answers.

The clever trick is to appreciate the symmetry of the sum. One can convince oneself that both terms in the sum – namely the left 2 and the right 2 – are the same number. This is extremely important for the Hoicin transformation to work since, after some tedious algebraic manipulations and topological arguments that are beyond the scope of this paper, one can show that the sum can be transformed to a product thus:

2+2 = 2*2 (1)

Now, it is widely acknowledged that products are, in general, much more complicated than sums but in this particular case the reformulation of the problem as a product is highly advantageous for the following reason. Since the product is one of 2 with another integer (and, in fact, this is a doubly robust statement due to the presence of not one but two 2s), it naturally follows that the answer must not only be an integer but an even integer. Consequently, an answer such as 2+2=5 can be discarded as ludicrous, although another like 2+2=24,886 is, in principle, entirely consistent with our conclusions thus far. After the examination of further evidence in the chapters to follow, it shall also be shown that 24,886 is, however appealing at this stage, entirely ludicrous as well.

III. Quantum mechanical analysis

We also attempted the construction of the wavefunction of the result in two ways. Initially, we operated with the summation operator on two distinct 2s and, then, operated twice on a third 2 with the ladder operator.

In this latter instance, we got a result 4 when we transformed back to ordinary space but we are not entirely convinced that our operation (essentially, 2+1+1) is formally equivalent in quantum arithmetic to the original problem. This result, although tempting, will require more work which we have already undertaken.

In the original summation operation, we got the result 6+f(2)*i where f(2) is a hideously complicated function of 2 and i is as usual (-1)1/2. Although there is no reason to discard this result, we believe that the outcome of the summation must be a pure, real number. Since the calculation, numerous colleagues have pointed out to me in private communications that the discrepancy may arise for one of two reasons: either the identical nature of the two 2s leads to some yet undiscovered quantum mechanical effect or one or both of the 2s were not prepared in the state 2 at all.

IV. Numerical simulations

We have performed extensive simulations of the 2+2 sum in a variety of Operation Systems and with a number of programming languages, since, by its very nature, this problem probes the very fundamental computational operations of any given programming environment. Our simulations consisted of 105 samples where for each sample the 2+2 sum was calculated over 1017 realisations and are, to the best of our knowledge, the most thorough simulations of the sum in the scientific literature.

In the first case, we used a C++ code running on Linux to get the result of the sum to 3.998+/-0.005, which for all practical purposes must be taken as a very accurate measurement. The most unreliable results came from running the same algorithm on Windows XP were a range of results was obtained. 71% of the simulations produced a value very similar to the one quoted above, 16% of the samples observed came up with a different numeric result � namely 2+2=779 � whilst the rest 13% of the data seem to suggest that 2+2=Crash. Unfortunately, the two latter answers can not be trusted since, by the Hoicin argument of the previous chapter, 779 is not an even number and Crash is inconsistent with the Van Graat [6] principle which states that the sum of two integers can never be a letter, phrase, small vegetable or miniature fire engine.

V. Experimental results

Experimentation on sums being as complicated as it usually is, we chose to set up several distinct experiments by which to test the 2+2 sum.

Firstly, 19 postgraduate students from our group were instructed to raise two fingers from the five in their right hand. Then, a further two fingers were raised from the left hand (although the same hand can be used without compromising the outcome of the experiment) and the total number of raised fingers was recorded. The procedure was repeated again and again over a 72 hour period with very interesting results.

In the first couple of hours of readings, the overwhelming majority of data seemed to converge to 2+2=4. However, as the experiment went on some discrepancies were recorded. Periodic fluctuations were observed by all experimenters at or around pub closing times and some alphanumeric results (most, of a rather explicit nature) were also recorded as physical exhaustion begun to set in. When the experimenters were approached towards the end of the 72 hour period, most experiments had collapsed with the postgraduates raising only one of the two sets of fingers and waving them menacingly against members of staff whilst repeating a two-word mantra.

In subsequent spectroscopic, chromatographic and telefluromatic experiments, a value of 4 was reached in good agreement with numerical results.

VI. Conclusion

We have used several alternative approaches to resolve once and for all a fundamental mathematical problem. Our data seem to suggest that 2+2=4 and it would be tempting to assume at this stage that this may indeed be the case.

It would be interesting to see how the techniques we developed for the 2+2 case can be used in tackling higher order sums. Currently, we are already working on the 3+3 sum as well as asymmetric sums, for which the Hoicin principle does not apply, but it is difficult to see how more complex sums could be calculated. Some topological techniques are being developed by various research groups, however it is the authors view that an exact solution to higher-than-4 sums is still beyond the grasp of current mathematical understanding. It could be the case that the new supercomputer under construction in Cambridge may just about have enough power to also brake into three-term sums of the lowest order.

Fascinating tetrahedron

What is tetrahedron?

I am tetrahedron. I have many facets. Four to be exact…
So you’re a four sided shape?
There are four sides…internally. And another four externally, of course. To achieve that I have six edges and four vertices, which makes me a three-dimensional object with a vertex configuration {3, 3, 3} so I have all the symmetry elements required to be a member of the tetrahedral symmetry group.
Are you real?
Tetrahedron exists in a realm of geometric space not normally perceived by humans. For obvious reasons communication is by means other than social.
Are there others like you?
Tetrahedron is a Fellow of the Society of Four-sided Objects, so there must be.
Are you the only pyramid?
No. But there are a few members who are indeed not pyramidal. Several open-ended objects, for instance.
Do you have a front and a back? Or top and bottom?
Obviously, being a regular three-dimensional object, it doesn’t matter which way up I am.
So, how do you see, for instance?
I can see from any of my four faces. This of course, gives me a unique perspective on things.
Do all your faces look the same? Are they the same colour?
My faces phase, as it were, into different colours, depending on my position relative to any electromagnetic radiation that should happen to be present.
You must be very beautiful?
Ah yes, if only you could see me…
How big are you, exactly?
Exactly, I’m not sure. It’s difficult to compare yourself to anything when your existence is somewhat tenuous. But I would say that I am not overly large. Quite small in fact.
If you’re that tenuous, does gravity have any effect on you?
I don’t have any need to be at rest on any surface, if that’s what you mean.
So, does that mean you can fly?
Perhaps fly is the wrong word. I tend to float about a lot, that’s for sure.
Where do you live?
I have no specific place of rest, though I tend to frequent certain areas within space-time which are familiar to me.
How do you type?
I roll around the keyboard. This is where being pointy has its advantages.
So you must be quite small then?
Yes, if by small you mean small enough to roll around on a keyboard.

So, what can you do with a tetrahedron, you may ask?

You can elongate tetrahedron, stretching me (a bit of a strain though).
You can stand me on edge or balance me on a vertex (or point, as prefer to call it).
You can join two tetrahedra together to form a tetrahemihexahedron (mmm must try that!).Tetrahedron can join with another this way too, forming a stella octangula, really a stellation of an octahedron (in fact, the only stellation). The tetrahedron is the only simple polyhedron with no polyhedron diagonals and it cannot be stellated, which is a bit annoying as I’ve heard it’s good exercise.

You can stack a few of my colleagues to form a tetrix.
You can slice tetrahedron so I’m truncated (though this would be rather cruel).
Open me out. Look I’m sunbathing!
You can squeeze tetrahedron for a hyperbolic version of my usual Euclidean self. I’d get rather puffed out though.
A number of compound tetrahedrons can be constructed by rotating tetrahedron about the centre of each face. Feel a bit dizzy.
You can stick an even number of tetrahedrons together to form a ring. The centre of the ring wiggles in or out showing different sides (sounds like a party!).
Inflated tetrahedron to form curved edges (I’d be inflate-a-hedron or tetraflate).
You can divide me into two trapezoid thingies (ouch!).
The tetrahedral way
A polyhedron is a three-dimensional figure bound by polygons. A polygon is a two-dimensional shape bound by straight lines. It is said to be regular if the edges are of equal length and meet at equal angles.
The simplest regular polygon is the triangle, therefore the simplest possible regular polyhedron is – you’ve guessed it – me!
You might consider the tetrahedron a humble polyhedron. Only four points in space mark the corners of four triangles. The triangles in turn are the faces of a tetrahedron. It’s the simplest of all solids. If each face is an equilateral triangle, the result is a regular tetrahedron.
This is a good diagram of a tetrahedron. You can see my four faces, four vertices and six edges that puts me in a special group called Td. I’m the prototype of the tetrahedral group, of course.
There are only five regular polyhedrons known collectively as the Platonic Solids. Of course, some of my closest friends are in this little select group. Let me see, there’s Cube or Hexahedron as they sometimes prefer. Then there’s Octahedron, Dodecahedron & Icosahedron who always hang around together. I’m a loner myself…

The tetrahedrite series
Much to my delight, I have discovered that there is a group of minerals that have a similar profile to my own; geometrically speaking of course. The general formula for this group is A12X4B13 and substitution is widespread, forming an extensive solid solution series. The ‘A’ can be silver, copper, zinc, mercury or iron, the ‘X’ can be arsenic, tellurium or antimony and the ‘B’ can be sulphur, selenium or tellurium. The most common of these is tetrahedrite – copper antimony sulphide or Cu12Sb4S13.

Tetrahedrite forms a solid solution series with the rather rare mineral tennantite – copper arsenic sulphide. The two share the same crystal structure but they differ in the percentage of arsenic and antimony.

In case you hadn’t guessed, tetrahedrite is named for its common crystal form, the tetrahedron. Tetrahedrite forms interesting (rather like me) mineral specimens. The crystals are opaque and can be black through steel grey or silver with a metallic lustre. They have an average specific gravity for metallic minerals. Crystal habits of course include the tetrahedron but sometimes modified by the dodecahedron and tristetrahedron, giving the crystals multiple facets while still retaining the basic tetrahedral shape.

Twinning is occasionally seen, as are massive and granular habits. The crystals don’t cleave but they fracture conchoidally, that is leaving a curved dent, like glass. Unfortunately they are not very hard and they tarnish to a greenish shade. I’m glad that doesn’t happen to me. The multi-faceted tetrahedral crystals as well as the flat faced simple tetrahedral crystals can be very striking, naturally, just like me.

It is an ore of copper and a minor ore of silver as it can contain a small percentage of silver. Thankfully I’m not a minor ore for anything.
They can be found in Peru, Australia and Mexico and are associated with other minerals such as quartz, pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite and other sulphides. I must make a point of visiting these places…

A tetrahedral life
Recently, I found myself inside a cylindrical chamber. It was metallic and had many perforations. It had a glass door, which was promptly shut after some fabric had been stuffed inside. I decided it was an excellent opportunity to see what precisely occurs inside this machine; I had seen the white cuboid shake about violently many times before, but its true purpose was not clear to me.

Water began to rush in, and the cylinder proceeded to spin from side to side, tossing the fabric pieces about in the water. It was then that my vision was affected by a mass of foam quickly filling the cylinder. The foam was fragrant and I concluded that it was soap powder that was responsible. After much swishing and spinning in this foam the cylinder finally emptied its last load of water, rinsing away the remnants of foam.

For a while, the cylinder lay dormant, occasionally doing a slow turn. I realized that this was the end of the process, where the fabric is gently flipped in what is termed the ‘anticrease’. I wondered if this was some subatomic particle I hadn’t heard of since there is also a ‘crease’. They seem to annihilate each other inside this machine…

On another close encounter with water, tetrahedron has observed the human ritual of bathing and I have tried it for myself. I assumed that this was also for the purposes of washing. Of course, tetrahedron doesn’t require any washing but it appeared as though it might be a more pleasant experience than the white cuboid so I quickly dived in before the bather. There was some foam here but not nearly as much, though I did notice that my presence caused a strange rippling effect. I’m not sure if this is normal or if it was just me…

In the interests of science I threw myself into a glass full of this yellow substance and saw the rising bubbles forming a frothy off-white head which rapidly diminished. I closely examined this foam.

Unlike other foam, which seemed to me to be many semi-coalesced bubbles of different sizes, the champagne foam was mainly uniformly sized spherical bubbles of less than 0.1 millimetres in diameter, suspended in the fluid itself.

By viewing objects that were behind these, it was clear that they were acting as tiny lenses. Their spherical shape presumably diverge light because the gas they contained has a lower refractive index than the surrounding fluid. As a result, the light entering the surface of the foam scattered in different directions by multiple encounters with the bubbles. Reflections from the bubbles’ surfaces also contribute to this scattering, some of the light finding its way back to the surface. This must be why the foam looks off-white even though the fluid is yellow.

Underneath this disappearing layer I found isolated bubbles, still rising. Curiously they appeared to rise in an ordered fashion in a column from the bottom of the glass. I quickly left as the glass was about to be utilized and I was starting to feel a little light headed…