Self Confidence and Motivation: IT PAYS OFF

Hello guys!



I wanted to make a post about self-confidence, because I have a lot of issues with being confident in my abilities, my knowledge, and my endeavors. I have had terrible confidence during the college admission decisions, and I’m pretty sure that many of college applicants do, its natural! However, this evening, after getting back from an NHS induction ceremony (I was helping out), I got home, and knowing that Cal’s decisions were coming out tonight, faithfully prepared a cup of hot tea to comfort my rejection tears…but, alas! The tea did not have to come into play! I have been secured a spot in one of the most prestigious public universities in the world and I am ever thankful for God, my family, and myself for that.

But I totally did not expect this. In fact, my self-confidence probably hit an all time low this afternoon.

My message to you guys: Have faith in your ability to work hard and get results. Good things happen to those who hustle (and wait at times). But trust yourself, because you are really so much better than you actually perceive yourself to be.

So, take a step back and breathe in. Because that person looking back at you in the mirror is so much more than you give credit to.

Enjoy your success and reap the benefits….

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Scientists have engineered the food that will help save a starving, warming planet


A new bean. The solution?

Originally posted on Quartz:

Hidden in a corner of the Colombian countryside lies one of Latin America’s best-kept secrets. At the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Valle de Cauca, over three hundred scientists from around the world are working to keep the world fed. The relaxed, university-like atmosphere belies the importance of the organiation’s work. CIAT, which is part of a food-research consortium called Cgiar, has international responsibility (pdf) under the UN for safeguarding vital crops such as cassava, rice and beans: staples that hundreds of millions of people in the developing world rely upon for survival.

In the center’s gene bank Daniel Debouck’s eyes sparkle as he points out rows of shelves, each crammed with different kinds of beans. The collection contains a kaleidoscopic array of colours, shapes and sizes. White, gravel-like varieties from Mexico sit beside larger, ruby-red specimens from Malawi. The seeds on display represent a tiny fraction of the…

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Tracing Back Liquid Gold: Commercial Beehive Visit

This weekend, I visited California’s Central Valley to take a tour around a beekeeper’s farm. I’m currently doing an independent research project about Colony Collapse Disorder, so this was a really interesting and educational trip!

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The almond trees around his property were beautiful. According to him, there are two distinct species and he separates them by alternating each species tree by tree.

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The top photo shows barrels of honey in his warehouse. While many beekeeper’s lease their bees to pollinate farmers’ crops, it is also not uncommon to see beekeeper’s sell their honey. Our beekeeper specifically makes it a part of his trade to sell honey, and he often buys it unprocessed from other beekeepers. In fact, he told us that he exports more honey than he produces himself.

He processes his honey by heating the solidified substance in the barrel for long periods of time. To read more about honey extraction, read further on the post.

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Above is another angle of his warehouse. There are so many honeycombs, hive boxes, and jars! He has to use a forklift to get boxes down from the second story.

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These are his buckets of honey. He fills them from the barrel (shown in the far right picture).

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He had a little tasting place in the back. In this middle are our bottles. The far right shows him filling on of our jars.


The above picture is not from our trip, its just from an internet source. But it shows a honey extraction machine.

How it works is that first, the frames are placed in a vertical blade. Bees cap their pollen deposits, which form honey later on. The vertical blade precisely chops off the top of the caps, but does not ruin the frames or the combs for further use. Then the honey deposits and the caps are placed through a versicle. They are centrifuged around so that the wax (the caps) separate from the honey. The liquid is left over and the wax gathers for extraction.

Honey wax is very valuable because most beekeepers like to keep the combs, so the only wax they make is from the caps that are sliced off of the frames.

Voila, honey!

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My bee collection ( I feel like a 7 year old). On the bottom of the left picture is a cage. That is where queen bees are kept when they are first introduced to a hive. As you see in a lot of biology, when a foreign invader enters a system, they are often the first to be attacked by the host colony. Thus, they are put in those tiny cages with a thick sugar cap. By the time the worker bees take to eat through the honey, they are acquainted with the queen’s scent and accept her as one of their own.

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After the warehouse, we took a trip to the field. There the beekeeper’s employees were splitting hives. The purpose of splitting hives, obviously, is to create more hives. In the photos above, we are looking for the queen bee so that she may remain with her old hive.

Altogether, this was a very exciting trip. Actually it was amazingly fun, and I even got a few jars of honey out of it as well!

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The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English


Love these words!

Originally posted on Just English:

Ailurophile A cat-lover.
Assemblage A gathering.
Becoming Attractive.
Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
Brood To think alone.
Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.
Comely Attractive.
Conflate To blend together.
Cynosure A focal point of admiration.
Dalliance A brief love affair.
Demesne Dominion, territory.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Denouement The resolution of a mystery.
Desuetude Disuse.
Desultory Slow, sluggish.
Diaphanous Filmy.
Dissemble Deceive.
Dulcet Sweet, sugary.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Effervescent Bubbly.
Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.
Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
Elixir A good potion.
Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
Emollient A softener.
Ephemeral Short-lived.
Epiphany A sudden revelation.
Erstwhile At one time, for a time.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Evocative Suggestive.
Fetching Pretty.
Felicity Pleasantness.
Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
Fugacious Fleeting.

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Capri musings

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Utter bliss. This is the feeling I remember when I think about that day on the top of the island of Capri. The wind was sweet and subtle, the island was a beautiful temperature, perfectly tropical, the air smelled so fresh, like the nectar of a jasmine flower. I can’t even begin to describe. But I think its not always about the places and history and the things that we do. For, me, its about the ambience I get from being somewhere. When I went to Capri, I felt rejuvenated spiritually. I felt alive, awakened from a type of sleep. I think its the most I’ve ever smiled naturally in my life. I could not wipe that smile off my face…and by God, how genuine that smile was (as you can see in the photo). It’s moments like those when we escape the banalities of life, that we really feel its treasures, its excitement. Here is an excerpt from my diary entry that day:

I know now what it means when they say “To live is the rarest thing in the world.” Today I lived, perhaps for the first time ever. Something inside of me was shaken in this beautiful land, something that seems so right, so great, so above me. It may be God speaking to me, it may be the blood of my ancestors of this land talking to me, I can’t pinpoint it. All I know is that there is life and joy and happiness in my heart and all I can think about is the moment I reached the top of the island. Wow. The island just came alive. The wind was speaking to me. The cliffs were so graceful. The birds felt it too. There’s something about this place.

It’s moments like these that we never forget.


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How and Why the Dalai Lama Left Tibet

Originally posted on TIME:

The invitation seemed innocuous: A Chinese general asked if the 14th Dalai Lama would like to see a performance by a Chinese dance troupe. But when he was told to come to the Chinese military headquarters without soldiers or armed bodyguards, according to his official biography, the Tibetans sensed a trap.

After years of guerrilla war between Tibetan rebels and the Chinese soldiers in a land that China considered to be its territory, the friendly overture seemed suspicious enough that, on the day of the performance, thousands of protesters surrounded the Dalai Lama’s palace in Lhasa to keep him from being abducted, arrested or killed. Over the following few days, the protests expanded into declarations of Tibetan independence and the mobilizing of rebel troops to fight the Chinese forces. The State Oracle, the Dalai Lama’s advisor, urged him to flee.

On this day, March 17, in 1959, Tibet’s spiritual…

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Praying at the ends of the earth


This is so cool.

Originally posted on Quartz:

“In the world there’s no tranquility and silence. But here, it’s quiet enough,” said Sophrony Kirilov, a 38-year-old Russian Orthodox priest profiled by The New York Post. Kirilov resides in and cares for the world’s southernmost house of worship—the Holy Trinity Church on King George’s Island, Antarctica.

Russian priests are placed on King George’s for yearlong rotations, according to the Post, primarily for the purpose of leading mass for the 15 to 30 workers at the nearby Russian base at Bellinghausen.

The tiny church—like something out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale—sits atop a rocky precipice overlooking the Antarctic Ocean. Built in Russia out of sturdy Siberian cedar logs, the structure was shipped piece-by-piece to the desolate island in 2004. It is equipped with seven bells, which Kirilov rings himself, all nestled in a steepled belfry that has become a favorite roosting spot for brown skua—formidable seabirds with whom Kirilov…

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Originally posted on The beanbag reflections:

I just watched the appalling documentary –India’s Daughters. India’s daughters???? Really??? I still have goosebumps all over my body from watching that horrendous video! I am appalled. I am disgusted! I am just at a loss for words!!! I can’t stop the wave of nausea that hits me every time I think of the lawyers’ comments and I can’t help wishing someone would just do to him what he said was just a thing- I wish someone would pull his intestines out of his anus (like what happened to that poor victim; only her entrails came out of her vagina)

She is definitely not the 1st victim of a gang rape, then why all the commotion? Maybe because it happened in the capital, maybe because the media hyped it a lot, maybe because she was so badly wounded and everyone came to know about it? or maybe it was…

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Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

Originally posted on Quartz:

As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The…

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Armenian Genocide Commemoration March


Today, I marched across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to commemorate the 100th centennial of the Armenian Genocide. This march’s purpose is to inform others about the blatant denial of the Genocide by its perpetrators, Turkey, and many other countries and organizations.

My friend walking with the Armenian flag wrapped around his shoulders, billowing in the wind on the Golden Gate Bridge.

My friend walking with the Armenian flag wrapped around his shoulders, billowing in the wind on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, when running for his 2008 campaign, claimed that he would finally declare this event a “genocide,” however, he did not keep his promise.

Listening to a speech at the vista point. Hundreds of Armenians and others gathered together in solidarity.

Listening to a speech at the vista point. Hundreds of Armenians and others gathered together in solidarity.

As an Armenian-American, I am fully attached and deeply moved by this tragedy. In the years following 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically massacred by the Ottoman Turks. This included deportations, marches through the Syrian desert, starvation, beheadings, crucifixions…much like the crimes of the terrorist organization ISIS today. Armenians were powerful, talented, smart, educated people…but most of all, Christian. The Ottoman Turks were threatened by the Armenians’ strong Christianity and thus killed them all, in order to expunge the world of my race. In addition to Armenians, the Ottoman Turks during this time also targeted Greeks, Assyrians, and Yezidis. Even before the 20th century, similar killings were going on and in the late 1800s, these became known as the Hamidian Massacres. As it is the 100th commemoration of the Genocide, my people are fighting as hard as ever to get Turkey to recognize their crimes. Currently, it is a jail sentence of up to 10 years if one mentions the Armenian Genocide. That needs to change.

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