40. Lend an Ear

Noise is ear pollution. It is often called “unwanted sound.” If a sound is something you like, a song or a call from a friend, it is just a sound. But if you are trying to sleep or study, then this sound becomes a noise.

This “unwanted sound” has an effect upon our bodies. For example, loud noises can cause a loss of hearing. Even wanted sound, such as amplified rock-and-roll music, can hurt your hearing, though you may not think of it as noise. The first warning that a sound may be loud enough to hurt is called “ear distress.” This would be felt as a pain or heard as a ringing noise in the ear. People who have this complaint should be examined by a doctor.

Noise of any kind may make you nervous or affect your sleep. Noise can also affect your speech and your ability to think. Noise has been linked to cases of heart disease, ulcers, mental illness, and other sicknesses.

Noise, of course, is not always bad. It does have a place in our lives. You may not like to hear car horns, but they do warn you of oncoming cars when you cross a street. A thumping noise from a bicycle tire tells you that the tire may be flat. Also, one noise can help block out another unwanted noise. An example is when loud music in an office drowns out the sounds of typewriters.

Sound is made by air pressure on your eardrums. When you clap your hands, for example, listen to the sound. Air was pushed out from between your hands when you brought them together. At almost the same time, air in your ears pushed your eardrums inward. Your ears signaled your brain to give you the feeling of a clap sound.

The number of sound waves hitting your eardrums each second controls the highness or lowness of the sound you hear. the strength of sound waves is measured by a sound level meter. The meter uses units called decibels. A whisper amounts to about 20 decibels. A jet plane 100 feet away is about 140 decibels. A sound of about 120 decibels can hurt the ears. Eventually, the ear becomes damaged from such loud noises. It’s a good thing that the average speaking voice reaches only 60 decibels. Otherwise, we might all be a little deaf.

39. Cozy Covers

There is a short supply of oil in the world today. this shortage has caused changes in the way we all live. For example, over 45 million American homes now use electric blankets for sleeping at night. The cost of using an electric blanket is small. On a medium setting the cost is no more than half a cent for all night.

Few people know that an electric blanket does not heat you up at night. The truth is that the blanket stops the loss of body heat. The blanket provides a warm layer of air which keeps the heat in. The body itself does most of the work.

However, life was not always so cozy beneath the covers. People once shivered as they slept. To keep warm, early man used animal hides and campfires. Later on, fireplaces and wool blankets were used. Around 1600 another improvement came onto the scene. This aid was the warming pan. Hot coals were put into a shallow pan, and the pan was moved around under the covers to warm the bed. Still later someone invented the feather-filled comforter. This new kind of blanket used the body heat to warm the bed.

But the first real breakthrough came when boilers were brought into the home in the 19th century. Radiators were used to heat each room. This also meant that the heat for the entire home could be controlled. Quite a welcomed improvement.

Then, in the late 1800s, electric blankets came on the scene. They arrived just after the boilers. But these early blankets were not meant to give comfort to the user. Rather, they were part of medical treatment. At that time, doctors felt that the more painful the cure, the better it was for the patient. Electric blankets were used to make the patient sweat. Sweating rid the body of germs.

Hospitals, then were among the first to use the new blankets. Sometimes patients had to sleep outdoors on porches. The blankets were used to protect them from cold and snow. There is no record of the number of patients who survived this treatment. But in this case the cure was probably more uncomfortable than the illness.

Electric blankets now come in all sizes. They are light, warm and easy to keep clean. Today they are sold in large quantities. It seems we’ve come a long way since buffalo hides and warming pans. So, let’s hear it for modern inventions that make life more comfortable.

38. Let’s Solve that Problem Together.

When a youngster is faced with a problem, he may not be able to deal with it. He needs help to learn how. When a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, or when an ice cream cone falls onto the ground, he turns to someone older for help. If you want to help someone learn problem-solving skills, you should take the time to talk about problems as they happen. Of course, this is not always easy to do. Problems have a way of popping up at the worst times. Even if the time is not the best, you should try to help.

One thing you can do to help a youngster develop problem-solving skills is to find out what caused the problem. This is a skill that youngsters do not learn without help. For example, a youngster may knock over his glass of milk at the dinner table. The child may not realize that the problem is that the glass is too close to his elbow. But, once the problem is seen for what it is, it can be solved.

the next step for a youngster is to choose a solution. This step takes courage. Some people are so afraid of being wrong that they cannot solve problems. You can help by talking over some solutions to the problem. Between the two of you, decide which solution is the best and let the youngster try it out. You can help him realize that problems can be solved. Give him the courage and praise he needs to try his solution.

Another step to problem-solving is to help youngsters see the laws of cause and effect. For example, if the child knocks over a vase, it will fall and break. If he writes on the wall, it will leave a mark. Once the youngster sees the relationship between cause and effect, he is on the road to growth. The next time he sees someone knock over a vase, he knows it will break. If he sees writing on the wall, he can tell how it got there.

The ability to deal with problems does not come easily for youngsters. It does not come easily for adults, either. It takes patience for you. It takes practice for the youngster. It can be a tiring experience, but problem-solving can be taught. All it takes is time and effort.

37. A Smart Shopper

Where you do your major food shopping often affects your grocery bill. It’s best to check the price in nearby stores for the foods you buy all the time. You can then decide which store gives you the best prices. Check, too, for other features that may be useful to you. Which store offers the freshest foods? Which store has off-street parking and will cash your check?

Small stores will deliver orders to your home. If you do not need this service, you will do better shopping at a large chain. The large chain markets offer more variety and have better prices.

For most people it is best to choose a store with good prices and stay with it. Store-shopping for sales on certain foods may save you pennies, but it can be costly in time and gas.

When you shop depends on your schedule. Try to go when the store is not too crowded and when you have time to choose with care. Study labels and compare prices. Learn about new products. Give food buying all the attention it deserves.

The meat, poultry, and fish items in your menu usually cost the most. Studies show that one-third of the money spent on food goes for these items. To take advantage of the best buys at the meat counter, you need to be aware of the many cuts of meat that are available. Also, you must know how to use them in meals. Keep in mind that the economy of a cut depends on the cut with a low price per pound is not the best buy. What counts is the amount of lean meat and the number of servings it will provided. For example, a high priced meat with little or no waste may be a better buy than a low priced cut with a great deal of bone or fat.

Same size servings of cooked lean meat from different types and cuts of meat often have the same food value. As a rule, cooked lean meat from pot roast is as nutritious as that from steak. Fish has as much nutrition as lamb, and turkey has as much as veal. So when you visit the market, be a smart shopper and take the time to make the right choice.

36. Think Thin

Persons who are overweight should watch their diet carefully in order to lose pounds. The best way to do this is to start a weight control program. At first it is wise to talk with your doctor. He can tell you if your health is good enough for you to try to lose weight. If you are in good health, your doctor can tell you how much weight you should lose. He can advise you of the number of calories you should have in your meals each day. He can tell you about exercising while on your diet. A good rule is to lose slowly. A loss of a pound or two a week is plenty.

Plans meals around foods you know. The best diet for you is the one you can be faithful to. This means that it is wise to include foods that you are used to and that are part of your regular eating habits. Strange foods may not satisfy you. They may throw you off your diet. When you have lost the weight you wish, simple items can be added to your diet so that you can maintain the weight you want. While you are dieting, try to build a pattern of eating that you can follow later to maintain your desired weight. Strange and glamorous foods used on a diet may work but will be hard to continue eating afterwards. As a result, you may become discouraged and go back to your old habits that put on the extra weight in the first place.

When you plan meals, follow a sound food plan. Be sure to include the daily nutrition you need. Make certain you are getting the right kinds of food.

When dieting, choose low-calorie foods. Avoid such items as fats, gravy, sauce, fried food, sweets, cakes, alcoholic drinks or soft drinks, and cream. Use spices, herbs or tart fruit juices to season your food.

Learn to like cereal or fruit with little or no sugar added. Try to take coffee and tea without sugar or cream. Snacks can be part of your diet. For example, a piece of fruit or crisp vegetable, or a simple dessert saved from mealtime, can be eaten between meals.

Keep busy! This way you will not be tempted to go off the diet. Take advantage of opportunities to exercise. Try walking instead of riding whenever possible. Happy dieting!

35. A Stitch in Time

Fibers have been used for making cloth for thousands of years. Many of them are still used today to make fabric. Linen, for example, is the oldest textile fabric. It comes from the flax plant. It was used in prehistoric times and in ancient Egypt. We have learned that linen was woven in England as early as the year 400. Today this fiber is used in many ways around the home. In fact, the word “linens” has come to be used as the name for household textile goods, such as sheets and towels.

Wool, also, dates back as far as Bible times. Much later, in the 15th and 16th centuries, sheep form Spain and England were brought to the American colonies. Spanish explorers brought sheep with them from California to Florida. Thus, wool came to be used here in America.

Another leading fiber is cotton. It was woven into fabrics in India as early as 1500 years before Christ. Cotton was also used for candle wicks in England as far back as the 1300s. By the 1400s, cotton fabrics were being manufactured in central Europe. In 1793 in the southern United States, Eli Whitney invented the “cotton engine.” This name was later shortened to become the “cotton gin.” It was used to comb seeds out of cotton fibers. This machine removed a major delay in the processing of cotton. Because of it, cotton became the South’s most important crop.

The production of silk began with the ancient Chinese. Legend says that a Chinese empress saw a silkworm spinning its cocoon. The empress wondered how she would look in a gown made of such fine material. Silk weaving soon spread. It was seen in many other countries. But silkworm raising remained wholly Chinese until the sixth century. At that time, the art spread to other parts of the Middle East.

The fibers that have been mentioned so far are all natural. But today there are many man-made fibers in use. Some of these were made for a certain need. Others were discovered mostly by chance. Production of man-made fiber was chiefly a United States industry until the 1950s. After the 1950s things changed. Foreign production grew until, by 1960, this country made less than half of the world’s man-made fibers. Rayon and nylon are just a few examples of today’s man-made fabrics.

34. A Change Is Near.

The United States has joined the trend toward a system of measurement called the metric system. The names of the units in this system may sound strange to our ears. Still, there are only a few words that we have to learn for daily use. Some units of measure that we now use will not change. Time will still be measured in hours, minutes and seconds. Electric power will still be measured in watts. Our money system will stay the same.

The metric system is already being used in this country. In swimming, track and field events, lengths are given in meters rather than in yards and feet. Our astronauts told the world how far their rocket had landed from a lunar hill in meters. You see weights listed in grams on more and more packaged items at the market. The trend toward metric is increasing.

The metric system is becoming popular throughout the world for two reasons. One, it is a simple system. Two, it is a decimal system. It is simple because each quantity, such as length (meter) or weight (gram), has its own unit of measure. No unit is used to show more than one quantity. In the system we now use, pounds can mean force, as in pounds needed to break a rope. Pounds can also be used for weight, as in a pound of sugar. Ounce can mean volume, as the number of ounces in a quart. Ounce can be used for weight, as the number of ounces in a pound.

The metric system is easier to learn to use in solving problems. This is because metric units are related to each other. They are based on a factor of 10. This makes figuring an easy task.

Think about the measurement of length. In the metric system, a measure of length is shown in meters of multiples of the meter. A centimeter is one hundredth of a meter. A millimeter is one thousandth of a meter. A kilometer is one thousand meters. All units are either a division or a multiple of 10.

More and more we will see the use of metrics. Children are now taught the metric system is school. Road signs on the highways will soon give distances in kilometers. More consumer goods will be made and labeled using metric units. The change is coming. Soon metric units will no longer be strange to our ears.

33. To Your Health

Protein, carbohydrates and fats are needed for a good diet. Along with water and fat, our bodies contain much protein. Protein is most important to a healthy body. Enzymes are made of protein. They help to keep the body working. Antibodies in the blood stream are also made of protein. They fight off disease. The body also needs protein to build muscle. The muscles in turn hold the bone structure together. Muscles provide the strength to move and work. It’s a good thing that most of us get enough protein.

But where is protein found? Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese and eggs give us good amounts of it. Bread and cereal are also important sources. Vegetables, like soybeans, chickpeas, dry beans and peanuts, are also good sources of protein. You do not have to load up on meat, poultry or eggs to get enough protein in your diet. Eating cereal or vegetable foods with milk, cheese or other animal protein can give you enough protein in your diet. For example, eat cereal with milk, rice with fish, or simply drink a glass of milk during a meal. Together, these foods provide the high quality protein the body needs.

Carbohydrates are the biggest source of energy. This group is made up of starches and sugars. Carbohydrates are mostly found in cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, and sugar. Such foods as wheat, oats, corn and rice provide starch. So, too, do potatoes, sweet potatoes and vegetables like peas, dry beans, peanuts and soybeans. Most other vegetables have smaller amounts of carbohydrates. In vegetables, the carbohydrates are usually in the form of starch. In fruits, they show up as sugar. Of course, candies, jams and syrups are mostly sugar.

Fats give us energy. They add flavor and variety to foods. They make meals more satisfying. Fats carry vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also an important part of the cells which make up the body’s tissues. Our body fat protects our important organs by surrounding them with a cushion. Fats are found in butter, margarine, shortening, salad oils, and cream. Most cheeses, mayonnaise, salad dressing, nuts and bacon also have a good deal of fat.

A good and balanced diet will use foods from all three of the above groups. In the end, eating right pays off in a healthier body. You’ll not only look better, but you will also feel better.

32. Ears Are for Listening.

A baby spends his first year of life learning to listen. A new born child comes equipped with a finely tuned pair of ears, but he doesn’t yet know how to use them. A buzz of meaningless noise surrounds him. No one sound means more than any other. Unlike his ears, the hearing center of his brain is still immature. As the baby grows, two things happen. First, he becomes better at picking out certain sounds. Second, he begins to remember them.

This development is easy to see. If you make a loud sound near a day-old baby’s head, you will not see any reaction. Only a check on his pulse or breathing rate will show a change. But just two weeks later, the same noise will make him jerk. He may even turn his head toward you. Now the human voice means something to him. If he hears another baby crying, he will cry. By his fourth to sixth week, sounds like the door bell or the closing of a door no longer surprise him. He can pick out one voice – his mother’s – from all others. That one voice can soothe him and stop his crying. By eight weeks these mother-sounds can make him smile.

What is actually happening is that he starting to learn to listen. He can select certain sounds and memorize them. When he hears that sound again, he can match it with the one he has heard before. These skills are basic to all learning.

At the same time these early hearing and language skills get under way, the child begins to practice sound-making. His first sounds are the discomfort sounds. These are the shrill whines which he seems to spend all his time making. These sounds are heard when he is not quiet or sleeping. These sounds mean nothing to him yet. To his mother they say that he is wet, or uncomfortable or hungry.

Within the baby’s first month, another sound appears: the comfort sounds. These are different from the discomfort sounds. These are more throaty and vowel-like. These coos, sighs and grunts are the beginnings of true speech. As the child grows, his comfort sounds will use more of the vowels and consonants and rhythms which he will later use. These sounds will come together to form the first word. An event that will be long remembered by the proud parents.

31. Think Before You Buy.

Before you shop for a carpet for your home, think about colors and textures. What will look good in your home? How long will the carpeting keep its pleasing appearance?

Red, orange and yellow are warm colors. They tend to create a lively and cheery feeling. They are good in rooms that get little sunlight. Also, they can make a large room seem cozier. In a small room, though, they can be overpowering.

Green, blue and violet are cool colors. These colors are useful for sunny rooms or for a formal setting. They tend to make rooms seem cooler and larger.

Gray and beige are neutral. They go well with either warm or cool colors. Neutral colors will blend well with colors already in a room. No matter what color carpet you choose, it will look better in your room if it is part of a planned color scheme.

Single-color schemes are made up of various shades of one color, ranging from light to dark. Use the darkest shade in the carpet and lighter shades in curtains or furniture. Examples of a contrasting-color scheme would be orange with green or blue with yellow. Make one color stand out and have only small things in the contrasting color. If the carpet color contrasts with the walls, the effect will be too much. Use the contrasting color instead in upholstery fabrics.

Texture is important, too. Smooth, even surface textures made of long, closely packed yarns give carpets an expensive look. An uneven texture gives a less formal effect. Patterns or designs can highlight either one of these effects.

Light carpet colors show soil and dust easily. They should not be used if your home has forced-air heat. Air-borne dust will soon darken light colors around air vents. Black, dark brown and other deep colors show lint. A mixture of two or more colors, patterns and designs tends to hide soil. Multi-colored rugs are a wise choice if you don’t want your carpet to show the dirt.

Also, even textures tend to show dirt and dust more than uneven textures. Uneven textures, however, are harder to clean and may need more strokes of vacuum cleaner.

The next time you are in the market for a good carpet, keep these few simple facts in mind. Take time to think about your choice – it will make a world of difference.