Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

Benefits of Playing Music

I can still remember my first try at playing music. It was in grade school with an instrument called a flutophone. (They still exist, as shown at right.) I eventually graduated to a saxophone and was in the band throughout high school. So what are the benefits of playing music? At one point I decided

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The Plot To Sabotage Auschwitz

One benefit of studying history is the unusual stories you run across. Especially those involving exceptional bravery. I’ve found another one. Witold Pilecki was a Polish cavalry officer turned resistance fighter in World War II. On September 19, 1940, he went out during a Warsaw street round-up with a specific purpose — to get arrested

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How To Teach Kids About Money

We live in a material world. This means one of the most important functions of parenting is to teach children how to handle money. According to a 2013 Cambridge University study, kids understand basic money concepts at age three, and money habits are already set by age seven. Jim Brown is a financial consultant and

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Key To Living Longer — Get Moving

If you think you’re not getting enough exercise, you probably aren’t. But there may be an easy fix. A¬†research paper, published earlier this year in the¬†American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with movement every day could help prolong your life. This doesn’t have to be a workout; just a

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Defining the Pink Tax

It’s tough being a woman. I suspect my best female friend values our friendship the most when I lift heavy objects for her or reach items off the top shelf. Some are claiming that this gender disadvantage goes beyond the obvious examples and into mundane economics. In other words, women pay more for items simply

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Dividends From The Space Race

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing has brought back a lot of memories. I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy at the time, flying to Charleston AFB, SC to spend a couple of weeks at a “real” Air Force base to see exactly what I was getting into upon graduation. The flight

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The Next Supercontinent

We’ve pretty much figured out there is a cycle to continental drift — periodically on a geologic timescale, the continents come together to form one huge supercontinent, which stays intact for several hundred million years before breaking up. The continental plates move apart, then eventually, say 400-600 million years, they recombine again. The last supercontinent

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Can Plants Get Cancer?

Something you’ve probably never wondered about — can plants get cancer? Not very easily. Proof is all the lush flora growing around the very radioactive remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. To understand why, remember that radiation can cause all kinds of cellular damage, especially to DNA. The common result is that the body’s

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If You Thought We Were Lead-Free…

Lead is a health hazard. Ingesting the metal can cause lead poisoning (also called plumbism) with the symptoms of developmental delays, abdominal pain, and neurologic changes, among others. And it can be fatal if lead levels get too high. Over the years we’ve gone to great lengths to remove lead from our environment. It’s no

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