Carul rasturnat

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Cand eram mic, de fiecare data cand ma plangeam de o sarcina aparent imposibila, mi se spunea:
‘Nu sti? Te invatam! Nu poti? Te ajutam! Nu vrei? Te motivam!’
Citind povestea de mai jos mi-am reamintit de aceasta zicala si am realizat ca poate fi transformata usor intr-o reteta foarte buna pentru a-ti indeplini obiectivele.
‘Nu stiu? Voi invata! Nu pot? Voi cere ajutor! Nu vreau? Voi regasi motivatia! Si imi voi aminti mereu ca totul se intimpla cu un motiv.’

Martin Buber a istorisit, in Gog si Magog, povestea unui om care s-a pomenit, pe cand mergea undeva, in fata unui car rasturnat de-a curmezisul drumului. Taranul care mana calul l-a rugat sa-l ajute sa-l ridice.
Cum oare ar putea doi oameni sa ridice o greutate atat de mare? s-a intrebat calatorul. A raspuns, asadar:
-N-are nici un rost. Nu pot.
Taranul s-a maniat si i-a zis:
-Poti dar nu vrei! asta-i adevarul: nu vrei!
Miscat calatorul s-a pus pe treaba. A gasit niste scanduri si l-a ajutat pe carutas sa le vare sub roti. Apoi cei doi barbati au incropit o parghie si au impins cu toate puterile. Carul s-a clatinat, s-a miscat si, pina la urma, cei doi au izbutit sa il ridice.
Carul cu boi a pornit indata la drum.
Calatorul i-a spus taranului:
-Ingaduie-mi sa merg o bucata de drum alaturi de tine.
-Cu draga inima. Pofteste si ma insoteste.
Au pornit, unul linga altul. Dupa o clipa de tacere calatorul intreaba:
-Cum de te-ai putut gandi ca nu vreau sa te ajut?
-M-am gandit fiindca mi-ai spus ca nu poti. Nimeni nu stie ca nu poate sa faca ceva daca nu incearca.
-Dar cum te-ai gandit ca te pot ajuta?
-Uite-asa!
-Ce inseamna uite-asa?
-Ce pisalog esti! Vrei sa sti cu tot dinadinsul? Ei bine, mi-a trecut prin cap cand am vazut ca mi-ai fost trimis in intimpinare.
-Prin urmare, crezi ca ti s-a rasturnat carul tocmai pentru ca eu sa te pot ajuta?
-Dar pentru ce altceva, frate? a raspuns taranul.

Poveste e extrasa din cartea: ‘Cercul Mincinosilor’- de Jean-Claude Carriere
Daca povestea nu va motiveaza suficient sa renuntati la scuze, puteti incerca metoda promovata de Tim Ferris pe blog-ul personal: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2007/09/18/real-mind-control-the-21-day-no-complaint-experiment/

Imaginea: lindquist.cul.columbia.edu

Cultivate your mind

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I would add that we are what we repeatedly Think and Do…

“As you believe so shall it be done to you. If you have fait you can move mountains.”

It is said from ancient times that our mind contains riches beyond our wildest dreams and will return anything that we will plant in it. We can choose if we plant anxiety or courage, wealth or poverty, happiness or sadness, health or sickness. But it can’t be so easy. It has to be more complex. And even if that is true why don’t people just use their minds more?

Our mind is a standard equipment on birth and things that are given to us for nothing we place very little value on them, on the other hand things that we pay money for or have to work hard for we value more.
The paradox is that the opposite is true. Everything that is really worthwhile in life came to us free: our minds, our souls, our body, our hopes, our dreams, our intelligence, our love of friends, family and children all this priceless possessions are free. But the things that cost us money are cheap and can be replaced or lost at any time. A good man can become completely broke and regain his fortune several times. Even our home can be rebuilt if it burns down. But the things we got for nothing we can never replace. The human mind is not used because we take it for granted. We use our mind on little jobs instead of big ones because we take it for granted and we do not have goals that mean something for us. Not for someone else but for us.
A mind without goals is like a ship without a steer. It will drift endlessly without reaching anywhere.

Everyone is the sum total of his thoughts. He is where he is because this is where he really wants to be, even if he admits it or not. So before moving on ask yourself:

What do you value more?

What are you often thinking about?

What do you really want?

And what do you do to achieve it?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments bellow.

FMB
reconstructromania@gmail.com

And for some mind boggling thoughts check out the video bellow.

Global warning about climate change!

Global warning?

Dr Adam Scaife, head of long range forecasting at the Met Office, said: “The 3 leading global temperature datasets show that 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009. They also show that 2010 is the warmest or second warmest year on record as suggested in the Met Office’s annual forecast of global temperature issued in December 2009.” (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/2010-global-temperature)

If you are a green enthusiast and agree with the data from Met office, you are probably already taken steps to reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the planet for your children and grandchildren, convinced that we are part of the cause for the extreme climatic conditions we have seen in the last decade. Considering that more than 26% of total energy in the EU is consumed by private households it is easy to see that each of us must take action and become more careful on how we consume energy and how much CO2 we put in the atmosphere, in order to not melt in the future.

On the other hand you could be skeptical about global warming and find that scientific data is not conclusive. According to Nate Silver author of “The Signal and the Noise” : “statistical forecasting methods suggest that if you measure temperature trend one decade at a time in any given decade there is a warming trend 75% of the time since 1900 but a cooling trend the other 25% of the time”. On the other hand a steady increase in global temperature of about 1dg C has occurred over the last century. Also we can’t ignore the increase in extreme heat waves that we see and feel everywhere in the last years.

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https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainabledevelopment1

Although a large number of scientists believe that carbon dioxide is not the only major cause of global warming, in 2010, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 16 (COP 16) approved a non-legally binding commitment to cap global average temperature rises to 2°C. A 2°C rise is considered consistent with capping atmospheric CO2 equivalent (CO2-e) concentration levels to 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2050 (IPCC 2007). On current projections, by 2050 CO2 emissions must reduce significantly below not only ‘business as usual’ levels, but also current levels in order to reach the cap of 450ppm. This particularly applies to emissions of CO2 resulting from the use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas.http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/

Scientist have agreed that climate change is due to man made action and that we have already crossed many of the sustainability boundaries that keep our planet in balance. Some of these boundaries are shown in the infographic bellow by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs from a longer course, “The Age of Sustainable Development.” An introduction to this course can be found on Courserra. https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainabledevelopment1

Beyond the boundry

The decision about what to believe is only yours, but the evidence point in only one direction, and we have to start taking responsability for our actions and start working togheter on the solution.

Regardless of what you choose to believe it will not hurt you or anyone else if you reduce your carbon foot print.

If you need some easy to implement ideas on how to do that you can find a small list below.

Use your car less.

Our ancestors used to go everywhere by foot, now we do not even walk for 30 min. each day. Not only driving less will help the environment it will also help your health, posture, looks, self-esteem and wallet.

Don’t waste energy on unnecessary lights or idle appliances. 

You can install sensors that automatically close the light when you are not in a room or have a fancy smart-home system installed, if you are forgetful about this kind of things. Or just use a post-it note above your light switch. In the long term you would be helping the environment and saving also money on electricity bills.

Eat more local and BIO food.

This will reduce the pollution related to growing the plants, especially the release of nitrogen used as fertilizer in land and water, the use of pesticides, and the pollution related to transporting food on long distances.

Not only you will cut pollution but you will also improve your health since most of nutritionist agree that having a diversified diet, based on seasonal foods, can bring major improvements to your overall well-being. Except from making you beautiful eating only how much you need will also save you money and reduce the waste you produce, I think it is safe to say that this can also make you happier.

Michael Pollan tracked how much oil we use to produce a Hamburger. If this doesn’t change your mind about how much our eating habits affect us I do not know what will.

How food affects our environment

Use less water.

70% of our water is used for irrigations. If you have a lawn that requires allot of water for maintenance in the summer you should consider replacing it with small bushes that are fit for arid conditions. This will save water, be just as pretty and will also save you money. If you have a garden where you grow vegetables you could implement a drip irrigation system that uses significantly less water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_irrigation

If you do not have a garden you can reduce water and energy use by taking cold or colder showers. In my personal experience this has proved great for burning fat, increasing testosterone and adapting better to extreme temperature changes. Although we are not always fully aware of it our body has to deal with these changes every day- for example going from 20 degrees in a car or office to 40 degrees outside in the summer.

Another easy way to save some time, energy and water is by using a dish washer.

Plant more trees.

They do not produce WIFI but they produce Oxygen, fruits and a cool place for a swing if you have kids. Also when they are close to buildings they can reduce the energy loads by providing shadow in the summer, and protection against wind in the winter, meaning you will need less energy to heat your home.

As you can see sustainability is not hard, or expensive as many would want us to believe. It just needs a little will power applied in the right direction every day. And since will power is hard to find this days with so many choices around us take consume it, small reminders like post-its above the light switch, an inspirational quote or a picture with your baby, to remind you why this is important, or sharing this article can be good all good motivators for taking action now.

These are just few ideas so I would love to get allot more thoughts on how we can achieve sustainability from you. Share with us your ideas and also tell us what keeps you motivated to be sustainable?

FMB
reconstructromania@gmail.com

About People, Roads and SAFETY

It will take you 2 minutes to read the hole article but at the end it will change the way you look at everyday traffic.

Transfagarasan_twisty_road

 

Transfagarasan picture from Wikipedia

We have one of the most beautiful roads in the world (picture above) according to Jeremy Clarkson and everyone who has been there can probably confirm this.

We also have according to statistics from www.worldlifeexpectancy.com one of the highest death rates related to car accidents from the E.U. countries. From every 100 000  people approx. 13 die in car accidents every year in our country. That means that more than 2000 people die every year just because they took a chance to go somewhere, twice as much as the average in E.U. This number does not include the ones who are badly injured and have to suffer all their life the consequences of a terrible accident. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road traffic accidents kill more people around the world than malaria, and are the leading cause of death for young people aged five to 29 – especially in developing countries.

In order to better understand this worrying phenomenon, I would like to look a little bit about what seem to be the main causes of car accidents.

According to official reports excessive speeding or speed unsuited to road conditions (25 %) pedestrians crossing the street in unmarked places (18%) and vehicles hitting pedestrians on crossings (12 %) are the main factors that lead to accidents.

In my opinion speeding and speed unsuited to road conditions are 2 different things, because the first one is caused mainly by irresponsible people who either want to show off thinking they are Fernando Alonso driving at the Monaco Grand-Prix or by people who are late for something, most of the times because of poor infrastructure or because they left too late in the first place. Off course this 2 situations can easily be avoided if we know that we are not Fernando Alonso, Monaco is not in Romania and that in average we will get every morning to work in approximately the same time so if we include a 10 min buffer into our program we will be never be late.

However for the second category, speed unsuited to road conditions, the answer is not so simple because most of the times this conditions are not known by the drivers, yes we can see it is cold or raining outside, but we can’t see how big is a hole filled with water or the thin ice formed on the surface of the road at night. On the same note it is hard to say that pedestrians and drivers that hit them are the only ones responsible for these accidents if they do not have sufficient crossings or the ones that exist are not clearly marked. Off course they should have been more careful but maybe it is also our job to make them aware of the dangers they face.

So what actions are being taken around the world to reduce this number?

The UN launched in 2011 its “decade for action” on road safety to cut the 1.3 million deaths on the road each year. The European Commission lunched last year a public debate concerning the future strategy for road safety. The Romanian Government will also lunch this year new driving regulations with increased fines and penalties especially for speeding and not stopping at pedestrian crossings.

This are all good actions and I fully agree that penalties should be applied to those who drive irresponsibly and put their life an others at great risk. I am also confident that some improvement will come out of this actions however I don’t think that the improvement will be significant or sustainable.

The reason for my skepticism is the research in behavioral psychology. As Daniel Kahneman, winner of Nobel prize, said in his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, it has been proven in years of research that rewards for improved performance work better every time than punishment of mistake. The explanation why punishment SEEMS to get results it’s because, most of the times, when we punish someone the person who has been punished was already doing something very bad so whatever he does after that will seem like an improvement to us. In fact this improvement is not dew to the punishment but it is just a regression to the mean, a normal part of life that would have happened without our intervention.

Another statistic that supports my skepticism towards penalties is the correlation between the fines amount, speed limits and number of deaths per year.  As an example we can take Germany (5,7 Deaths/100k), Denmark (5,4 Deaths/100k) France (6,6 Deaths/100k) Holland (4 Deaths/100k) and Romania (13 Deaths/100k) (Data from 2011). The speed limits in this countries are almost the same with Germany as an exception because on many highways it has no speed limits. Since Germany is the only exception we cannot conclude with 100% certainty that in fact speed limits alone do not make the road safer and are required only in certain driving conditions but it sure seems that way.

So if speed limits are not the main reasons maybe the difference is in the amount of the fines: All countries have relatively high fines, compared to average income in that country, with Denmark and France fining more drastically speeding, however the difference in the fine amount is not reflected in the number of deaths as Germany has almost the same rate of mortality as Denmark. Also if we look at Netherlands, which has one of the busiest traffic networks in Europe and average fines, it’s one of the safest place to drive according to statistics, similar to Switzerland with (3,8 deaths/100k).

This long list of statistical data can give us a clue about the results of higher fines and increased punishment. But if punishment is not the main solution what other things are the West E.U. countries doing better than us to get almost 3 times less fatalities on their roads? While driving in many different countries across Europe I noticed 2 main differences and I would like, with your help, to raise awareness about this things so in the future we can all drive on SAFER roads. This differences are related in my opinion to infrastructure and public awareness about safety.

Road surface quality plays a big role in a safe driving environment but also the lack of road signs can have an equally important role. The missing road markings create so many near misses and dangerous situations which I am sure you are all familiar with. For instance when you try to avoid an obstacle on the road and almost hit the incoming traffic, because of a missing triangle to show the obstacle, when the lines on the road do not exist and you realize suddenly you are too close to the edge, when there is someone crossing the street on a place where used to be a road crossing but now the signs on the tarmac are not visible and you have to break suddenly forcing the cars behind you to do the same and the list can go on…All the West European countries have very good road markings especially on dangerous area because if nothing is there to warn us about an upcoming dangerous situation how can we prepare for it?

We don not have good road markings but we can look on the bright side and be happy that we have the chance to install the newest and safest technologies available.

1. Glow in the dark paint for the roads. In Britain Pro-Teq has developed Starpath which is a sprayable coating of light-absorbing particles that harvests ultra-violet rays from the sun during the day and dramatically lights up like a starry sky at night. The veneer is non-reflective, anti-slip and waterproof, and can be applied to cement, wood, tarmac or other solid surfaces. In Holland designers at the Dutch firm Studio Roosegaarde are the architects behind the country’s new transportation redesign. Their first measure is to paint roadway lines over with photo-luminescent powder, making lanes glow brightly in the dark.

2. Traffic signs that can absorb shock from a crash where developed in Britain and road signs for pedestrians crossing  powered by solar energy are already being installed in many parts of our country, signs that can be easily produced in Romania also and that make the crossing much more visible and safer.

This are just a few examples but the other part that needs to be improved in order to reduce the number of people dying is public awareness. We have deep in our culture routed the true belief that health is the most important asset we have however we seem to forget this every time we get behind the wheel of a car. We always wish someone for good health on special occasions and we always pray for it for our self and for our family but we still drive irresponsibly and we put in danger not only our health but also others people health. God can only help us to a certain extent.

So how can we be the change we want to see in the world, next time we drive?

1. Leave 10 min earlier so you don’t have to rush.

2. Remind your colleague who is running late, stuck in traffic, that the world will not end if he is 5 min late and he should take his time to get to you safe rather than fast.

3. Call 112 when we see a dangerous situation on the road with no marking, so that the road authorities can take action, even if it will take them months to do it think about how many people will avoid a crash because you placed a phone call.

4. Remind people that are driving irresponsibly they have someone waiting for them at home.

5. If you are receiving a fine remind yourself that if the fine is the only thing that makes you drive slower in a dangerous area, the fine is preferable instead of a large bill for an expensive car repair, or for hospital care.

We cannot build highways without the Government but we can make the roads a little safer for us, for our children and for others by being just a little more careful next time we drive.

Please help us raise awareness about this topic by sharing with us your suggestions on how can we increase safety on roads and by talking about it with friends, family and officials.

LIFE and HEALTH are the greatest gifts we have and it’s a shame to lose them on the road.

The choice is always yours.

Until next time drive safe,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

 

For interesting comparisons between countries you can check:

http://www.maki-car-rental.com/rent-a-car/international-car-fatality.html