Friday, October 14, 2011
A free black who owned a farm near Baltimore, Banneker was largely self-educated in astronomy by watching the stars and in mathematics by reading borrowed textbooks. In 1761 he attracted attention by building a wooden clock that kept precise time. Encouraged in his studies by a Maryland industrialist, Joseph Ellicott, he began astronomical calculations about 1773, accurately predicted a solar eclipse in 1789, and published annually from 1791 to 1802 the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris. Appointed to the District of Columbia Commission by President George Washington in 1790, he worked with Andrew Ellicott and others in surveying Washington, D.C.
As an essayist and pamphleteer, Banneker opposed slavery and war. He sent a copy of his first almanac to Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. secretary of state, along with a letter asking Jefferson's aid in bringing about better conditions for American blacks. Banneker's almanacs were acclaimed by European scientists to whom Jefferson made them known.
Copyright © 1994-2011 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit Britannica.com
Thursday, October 13, 2011
- Be social and connected - connect with the people around you, family, friends, colleagues and neighbors, home, work or in your local community. Social relationships are critical to our well-being.
- Get active - exercise has been shown to improve mood and has been used successfully to reduce depression and anxiety. Look for exercise that you enjoy. Mix it up so that you don't stop out of boredom.
- Be a lifelong learner - learning keeps us youthful at any age. It encourages social interaction and increases self-esteem and feelings of competency.Talking classes or learning something new gives you something positive to talk about with your friends and family.
- Give and receive - there are so many ways a person can give of themselves to others. You can practice "random acts of kindness" thanking someone, smiling, volunteering your time, and getting involved with your local community. These positive experiences contribute to a sense of mental well-being.
- Be grateful in the moment - the ability to be present in each moment is a major component to mental wellness. Think of all the reason you have to be grateful. Think of all the reason you have to praise God!
Something to LOVE. It is no surprise that social relationships have been found to be a big contributor to happiness. We imagine that to mean having a romantic relationship, and yes, that is important. However, according to research, you get more joy spending longer periods of time with a close friend – just hanging out.
Something to LOOK FORWARD TO. Happy people make future plans to do things that they enjoy. There is nothing better than looking forward with anticipation to taking that special vacation, moving into a home of your dreams, or something as simple as flying a kite on a beach.
What would your life look like if it looked the way you wished? What would make you happy? Now is the time to take the initiative and do the work to make it so.
But always, if we have faith, a door will open for us, not perhaps one that we ourselves would ever have thought of, but one that will ultimately prove good for us."