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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

Poor Little Pluto

Life can be confusing. People sometimes struggle with the idea of who they are and where they belong in the grand scheme of things. If Pluto had feelings, imagine what it has gone through in its 87 years. When first discovered in 1930, the small mass orbiting the sun at the edge of the solar system was called “Planet X.”

It wasn’t named until an 11 year-old girl suggested calling it “Pluto,” after the mythological Roman god of the underworld.

At that time, Pluto had the title of being the furthest object ever found that rotated around the sun. It was our solar system’s outermost planet, the deep dark member of Earth’s immediate family.

For decades, scientists, astronomers and students learned about the lonely planet Pluto.  Then, in 1979, Pluto got its first humiliation. Because the orbits of planets are not perfect, Neptune swung further out in the sky, making Pluto only the “second” furthest. It lost its title.

Things got worse for Pluto in 2006. At that time, the astronomers who oversee how objects in space are classified reviewed their rules. Under their new rules, Pluto was too small to be a planet. It was removed from the official list of solar system planets. Pluto was just another “mass” whirling through space.

But Pluto has fans. Many scientists who grew up looking at Pluto as the great distant planet were upset. They thought that Pluto’s history should give it special consideration. Because of their concern, the International Astronomical Union sat down and again looked at how they defined a planet.

Many hoped that a new definition would return Pluto to its previous glory. After all, it had moons and was a significant body at the very edge of our solar system. Still, Pluto is smaller than our moon and has very , very weak gravity.

The astronomers sat down and played with their numbers. Over the last few months, they created a new definition of what makes a body in space “a planet.” This new definition would again make Pluto one of the planets in our solar system.

But now Pluto has another problem. The new definition would mean that another 109 celestial objects (like asteroids) would also now be “planets.”

Poor Pluto. This mass orbiting the sun in space has gone from being the great edge of our solar system—named after the mythological god of the underworld–to a simple “mass.”

If any object in space could be considered an underdog, it would be this small, lonely body over 3 and a half billion miles from the sun.

Life can be confusing. People sometimes struggle with the idea of who they are and where they belong in the grand scheme of things. If Pluto had feelings, imagine what it has gone through in its 87 years. When first discovered in 1930, the small mass orbiting the sun at the edge of the solar system was called “Planet X.”

It wasn’t named until an 11 year-old girl suggested calling it “Pluto,” after the mythological Roman god of the underworld.

At that time, Pluto had the title of being the furthest object ever found that rotated around the sun. It was our solar system’s outermost planet, the deep dark member of Earth’s immediate family.

For decades, scientists, astronomers and students learned about the lonely planet Pluto.  Then, in 1979, Pluto got its first humiliation. Because the orbits of planets are not perfect, Neptune swung further out in the sky, making Pluto only the “second” furthest. It lost its title.

Things got worse for Pluto in 2006. At that time, the astronomers who oversee how objects in space are classified reviewed their rules. Under their new rules, Pluto was too small to be a planet. It was removed from the official list of solar system planets. Pluto was just another “mass” whirling through space.

But Pluto has fans. Many scientists who grew up looking at Pluto as the great distant planet were upset. They thought that Pluto’s history should give it special consideration. Because of their concern, the International Astronomical Union sat down and again looked at how they defined a planet.

Many hoped that a new definition would return Pluto to its previous glory. After all, it had moons and was a significant body at the very edge of our solar system. Still, Pluto is smaller than our moon and has very , very weak gravity.

The astronomers sat down and played with their numbers. Over the last few months, they created a new definition of what makes a body in space “a planet.” This new definition would again make Pluto one of the planets in our solar system.

But now Pluto has another problem. The new definition would mean that another 109 celestial objects (like asteroids) would also now be “planets.”

Poor Pluto. This mass orbiting the sun in space has gone from being the great edge of our solar system—named after the mythological god of the underworld–to a simple “mass.”

If any object in space could be considered an underdog, it would be this small, lonely body over 3 and a half billion miles from the sun.

Got the Winter Blues? Maybe It’s SAD….

Seasonal Affective Disorder KIDS

Have you been feeling down lately? Moody? You can’t seem to concentrate? Want to lay around all the time? You could be SAD. We’re not talking about having the blues; SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically-recognized condition.  The symptoms are similar to being depressed. People with SAD can’t concentrate, have less energy, are moody and can have problems sleeping.

Researchers think that SAD is caused by three main factors:

  • Biological clocks. Your body is used to seeing the sun for a certain time and being in the dark for a certain time. Winter means shorter day, which confuses your internal clock.
  • Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood booster that your body makes naturally. Sunlight helps your body make serotonin, so when cold weather keeps you inside and out of the sun, you could have very low serotonin levels. This could make you feel sad or tired and even more hungry.
  • Melatonin levels. Your body makes melatonin naturally, but when days get short, your body makes less. This makes it harder to sleep.

SAD is also believed to effect younger people more than older people. That’s why you need to be aware of SAD. When you see a friend is posting dark or depressing messages, maybe he or she is suffering from SAD.

If you are feel low and find that your mood is effecting your schoolwork or relationships, you should mention this to your parents. You could be suffering from SAD and need to see a medical doctor for help.

Most of the time, SAD is just a natural response to a long stretch of cold and dark days. In those cases, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

The first and easiest thing you can do is get more sunlight. Bundle up and walk to school if you can. Or grab some friends for an outdoor game.

Being active is another way to treat SAD. Exercise increases serotonin levels, helping make up for the serotonin you lose during winter. This could be playing basketball in school or following an exercise video online. By getting your exercise outside when the sun is shining, you get twice the benefit.

Think about SAD when you check your social media. When you see a friend making posts that sound depressed or moody, pick up your phone and invite him or her out to do something fun.

You aren’t a doctor, but you can still help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Have you been feeling down lately? Moody? You can’t seem to concentrate? Want to lay around all the time? You could be SAD. We’re not talking about having the blues; SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically-recognized condition.  The symptoms are similar to being depressed. People with SAD can’t concentrate, have less energy, are moody and can have problems sleeping.

Researchers think that SAD is caused by three main factors:

  • Biological clocks. Your body is used to seeing the sun for a certain time and being in the dark for a certain time. Winter means shorter day, which confuses your internal clock.
  • Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood booster that your body makes naturally. Sunlight helps your body make serotonin, so when cold weather keeps you inside and out of the sun, you could have very low serotonin levels. This could make you feel sad or tired and even more hungry.
  • Melatonin levels. Your body makes melatonin naturally, but when days get short, your body makes less. This makes it harder to sleep.

SAD is also believed to effect younger people more than older people. That’s why you need to be aware of SAD. When you see a friend is posting dark or depressing messages, maybe he or she is suffering from SAD.

If you are feel low and find that your mood is effecting your schoolwork or relationships, you should mention this to your parents. You could be suffering from SAD and need to see a medical doctor for help.

Most of the time, SAD is just a natural response to a long stretch of cold and dark days. In those cases, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

The first and easiest thing you can do is get more sunlight. Bundle up and walk to school if you can. Or grab some friends for an outdoor game.

Being active is another way to treat SAD. Exercise increases serotonin levels, helping make up for the serotonin you lose during winter. This could be playing basketball in school or following an exercise video online. By getting your exercise outside when the sun is shining, you get twice the benefit.

Think about SAD when you check your social media. When you see a friend making posts that sound depressed or moody, pick up your phone and invite him or her out to do something fun.

You aren’t a doctor, but you can still help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card. It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the history of Valentine’s Day lives on annually every February 14th in a worldwide celebration of love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card. It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the history of Valentine’s Day lives on annually every February 14th in a worldwide celebration of love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.

Your Life in 2017 – New Year Predictions!

New Years Kids 2017

For many people, a brand new year means a fresh start. For others, there is anticipation about upcoming events, such as another birthday or a special holiday trip. As one year rolls into the next, you may be looking for clues as to what the future holds. Here are 100% genuine true predictions for 2017.

1. You will hear or read something that will hurt your feelings.

Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. Remember that everyone sees the world differently and everyone has a different opinion. And just because you hear or read something that stings you, the commenter might not have meant anything mean.

The key is to not take things too personally.  Expect that people will disappoint you from time to time. Humans make mistakes and often do not intend to hurt others.

2. You will try to reach a goal and fail.

Winning at anything means taking steps along the way and stumbling. Every time you fail at reaching a goal, you get close to actually getting there.

Many famous and successful people have said that there is no success without failure. It is an essential stepping stone to greater things as long as you keep on trying.

3. You will try to reach a goal and succeed.

It might be a small goal, like getting a great mark on a pop quiz or finally being able to make a super-serious friend laugh at one of your jokes.

Every time you try to do something, it makes you stronger and more confident. Most people make lists of huge, towering resolutions and ultimately break them before the year has even started. Make lists of small goals and soon you will find bigger goals easier to tackle.

4. Something you do in 2017 will have a major effect on your life.

It could be a friend that you make. It could be some nice act you perform for another person that changes how you feel about yourself. It could be a new skill you learn or an achievement in school or online.

You might not even know that this “thing” is important until years later. Still, 2017 will make a difference for years to come. Think about that when you get up each morning.

5. One of your idols will do or say something idiotic.

Yup. That’s a guarantee. As a matter of fact, all of us will do or say something idiotic in 2017.

It could be in person or online, but every single living human being will say or do or post something that will look silly to others. That’s why everyone of us should expect to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I’ve made a mistake” at least once in 2017.

6. You will make at least one decision between right and wrong.

Doing the right thing in the face of adversity is never easy. You may be approached to cheat on a test or be tempted to ignore a good friend because of peer pressure.

You may see someone being bullied and want to help them but be faced with fear of what will happen if you do.  Accept that you will make mistakes in 2017 like every other human on the planet.   The important thing is to decide now the kind of person you want to be and surround yourself with the type of people that will help you “be that person”.

7. You will work and you will play – and you can have fun doing both.

A good life is about balance.  All play and no work brings discontentment.  We all need goads to strive for.  All work and no play will stress you out and is not healthy.  Plan now to make sure there is balance in your life… between sports and school, between family and friends and even your own “alone time”.

2017 is going to be an interesting year. The person you are when it begins is not the person you will be when you celebrate 2018.

Enjoy the changes in your life and around the world.

For many people, a brand new year means a fresh start. For others, there is anticipation about upcoming events, such as another birthday or a special holiday trip. As one year rolls into the next, you may be looking for clues as to what the future holds. Here are 100% genuine true predictions for 2017.

1. You will hear or read something that will hurt your feelings.

Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. Remember that everyone sees the world differently and everyone has a different opinion. And just because you hear or read something that stings you, the commenter might not have meant anything mean.

The key is to not take things too personally.  Expect that people will disappoint you from time to time. Humans make mistakes and often do not intend to hurt others.

2. You will try to reach a goal and fail.

Winning at anything means taking steps along the way and stumbling. Every time you fail at reaching a goal, you get close to actually getting there.

Many famous and successful people have said that there is no success without failure. It is an essential stepping stone to greater things as long as you keep on trying.

3. You will try to reach a goal and succeed.

It might be a small goal, like getting a great mark on a pop quiz or finally being able to make a super-serious friend laugh at one of your jokes.

Every time you try to do something, it makes you stronger and more confident. Most people make lists of huge, towering resolutions and ultimately break them before the year has even started. Make lists of small goals and soon you will find bigger goals easier to tackle.

4. Something you do in 2017 will have a major effect on your life.

It could be a friend that you make. It could be some nice act you perform for another person that changes how you feel about yourself. It could be a new skill you learn or an achievement in school or online.

You might not even know that this “thing” is important until years later. Still, 2017 will make a difference for years to come. Think about that when you get up each morning.

5. One of your idols will do or say something idiotic.

Yup. That’s a guarantee. As a matter of fact, all of us will do or say something idiotic in 2017.

It could be in person or online, but every single living human being will say or do or post something that will look silly to others. That’s why everyone of us should expect to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I’ve made a mistake” at least once in 2017.

6. You will make at least one decision between right and wrong.

Doing the right thing in the face of adversity is never easy. You may be approached to cheat on a test or be tempted to ignore a good friend because of peer pressure.

You may see someone being bullied and want to help them but be faced with fear of what will happen if you do.  Accept that you will make mistakes in 2017 like every other human on the planet.   The important thing is to decide now the kind of person you want to be and surround yourself with the type of people that will help you “be that person”.

7. You will work and you will play – and you can have fun doing both.

A good life is about balance.  All play and no work brings discontentment.  We all need goads to strive for.  All work and no play will stress you out and is not healthy.  Plan now to make sure there is balance in your life… between sports and school, between family and friends and even your own “alone time”.

2017 is going to be an interesting year. The person you are when it begins is not the person you will be when you celebrate 2018.

Enjoy the changes in your life and around the world.

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