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The Benefits Of Home Libraries

Preparing Bible Studies and sermons on the book of Ecclesiastes, verse 12 in chapter 12 that kept echoing: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
Now, I own a few books.
I’ve already posted a quote from a new one that arrived today.
So this report about the benefits of growing up in a home with books salves my conscience.
(Not that it needed much salving, admittedly.)

From a report at PacificStandard:

The results suggest those volumes made a long-term difference. “Growing up with home libraries boosts adult skills in these areas beyond the benefits accrued from parental education, or [one’s] own educational or occupational attainment,” the researchers report.
Not surprisingly, the biggest impact was on reading ability. “The total effects of home library size on literacy are large everywhere,” the researchers report.Growing up with few books in the house was associated with below-average literacy rates, while he presence of around 80 books raised those rates to the mean. Literacy continued to increase with the number of reported books up to around 350, at which point it flattened out.
Similarly, the effects of a home library on numeracy were quite significant across the board. Its impact on technological skills was smaller but also widespread.

Read the whole post here.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a book to get back to.


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Your Brain On Cats (via Inverse Health)

Well, normal brains on cats, anyway.
A phd neuroscience candidate and (budding cat-lady) explains the effects that kittens have on human brains.
Seems as if cats have basically turned themselves into a drug.


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The Origin Of Shopping Malls (via Origin Of Everything)

Ten minutes of video about why all shopping centres look the same, along with a bit of lead-up information.
Turns out suburbs and teenagers have something to do with it. And some guy named ‘Gruen.’
US in origin, but since similar developments occurred in Australia roughly around the same time the information seems to ring true.
And rows of shops pointing out with car parks in front of them are ‘extroverted,’ which must be why I prefer parking and going inside to a more ‘introverted’ experience.


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Why Is “Sic ‘em” Used As A Command For Dogs To Attack? (via Today I Found Out)

Another of life’s big questions: where did the practice of using the phrase “sic ‘em” to command dogs to attack come from?
No mention of where the succinct Australian variation “skitch” come from though.

The phrase seems based in older language usage, but how do these sorts of things find themselves in popular usage:

“Sick,” in this context, had nothing to do with the word meaning “ill,” but rather was simply a dialectal variant of “seek,” which used to sometimes carry the connotation of seeking with the intent to attack. (This sense of the word “seek” was used as far back as around AD 1000 in the work, Beowulf.)

Read more about it at Today I Found Out.


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The History Of Nutella

Five minutes of video explaining the not-so-secret origin of Nutella.
It may be ironic that chocolate is generally cheaper to buy than Nutella, given the reasons for the spread’s creation.


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When Coca-Cola Tried To Introduce Vending Machines That Raised Their Prices On Hot Days (via Today I Found Out)

Everyone is used to (but nobody likes) the way that petrol prices rise and fall through the week in a way that has less to do with the cost of production and more to do with increased demand and capacity to pay.
In Australia most mortgages have interest rates that can be raised (and more recently lowered) with no or little notice.
But the same grudging tolerance is not extended towards other products.
This Today I Found Out Story made me think of that.
It’s about a time when Coca-Cola trialled vending machines that had internal thermostats so that they could raise or lower their prices based on what would be understood to be people’s thirst.
It did not prove to be a popular measure.
Perhaps it was simply before its time.
(When I used to drink soft-drink there was a vending machine that sold Coke Zero cheaper than anywhere else and I went out of my way to use it.)
A brief excerpt.

When asked how Coca-Cola as a company planned to take advantage of the amazing revelation that hot weather inexplicably also coincided with an increased demand for cold drinks, Ivester stated that they’d been developing a new line of vending machines that exploited this fact. Specifically, [then CEO Doug] Ivester explained that Coca-Cola had been experimenting with vending machines that contained a thermostat and simple software that would raise the price of the products within the machine once a certain temperature threshold had been reached. As Ivester himself would correctly point out during the interview, neither the technology nor the idea of raising the price of a product in times of great demand was a new concept, noting in regards to the latter that “the machine will simply make this process automatic”.

Read the whole article at Today I Found Out.


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Seventy National Stereotypes Debunked – Or Not (via Condé Nast Traveller)

This video from Condé Nast Traveller features seventy people of different nationalities saying what the most common stereotypical perception of their country is.
Some of them concede that sometimes a stereotype is a stereotype for a reason.
And sadly, we don’t all ride kangaroos. Though sometimes we see them hopping down our main street.
I’m a bit crushed to find out they don’t say ‘Hakuna Matata’ in Tanzania.