Friday, October 14, 2011

Benjamin Banneker mathematician, astronomer, compiler of almanacs, inventor, and writer.

Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician, astronomer, compiler of almanacs, inventor, and writer. He was one of the first important black American intellectuals.

Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. 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. He became an active writer of almanacs and was appointed by President George Washington to the District of Columbia Commission.

 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 Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Simple Acts For A Healthy Mind

How can we optimize our mental well-being? Psychologist Doctor Judy Ellison Ph.D in an recent article gave five tips to optimize mental well-being.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
Personal mental well-being does not happen by itself - however, we can each choose to take steps to optimize this part of our lives. Today is a good day to start.

    Searching for the bird of happiness

    Everbody I know is searching for the elusive bird of happiness. A lot people are looking for happiness but only few find it. What do those who find happiness have in common?

    Dr. Judy Ellison, Ph.D.  psychologist and research scientist says There are three things that happy people have in common:

    Something to DO.  People who are engaged in fulfilling their life purposes, who believe they are here for a reason, are more apt to be happy. This may also include personal growth activities, pleasant hobbies and interests. When you keep busy there is less time to mope or be unhappy.

    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.


      A funny thing about time--the past is gone and the future is not here yet. We only have this moment. Make the best of it. It is all you got. We have only today. Let us begin." Jesus said "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomrrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


      Change can be scary and it takes courage to respond responsibly to change. The poet Robert Burns wrote "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go astray". A.J. Cornin wrote "Life is no straight and easy corridor along which we travel free and unhampered, but a maze of passages, through which we must seek our way, lost and confused, now and again checked in a blind alley.

      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."