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WITandWISDOM(tm) - October 4, 2000

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

No man is good enough to govern another without that other's consent. -Abraham Lincoln

Source: Quote A Day, quoteaday-subscribe@listbot.com via http://www.witandwisdom.org


By Susan Fahncke xoxosooz@fawnkey.com www.2theheart.com
Used by permission - Richard Wimer witandwisdom.org

Not many people talk to my son. It isn't that they don't want to. Everyone who sees him wishes they could. There is something so rare and beautiful about him. I know I'm his mother, and I'm supposed to think that, but strangers often come up to me and just announce how beautiful he is. Instead of saying "Thank you" like any well-mannered mother would, I always look at his beautiful chubby face, with its rosy cheeks, brilliant blue eyes, full red lips, and in awe myself, I simply say "I know". Something within him bubbles over with life, it amazes even me.

My son is two years old. And he is Deaf.

I used to become embarrassed when strangers would stare at our conversations. My hands flying, my face animated to express my "tone of voice", and my toddler's chubby hands fluttering with his baby signs, his face even more animated than mine, I know it is something to see.

But embarrassment soon became pride when I learned that people were only staring because they think our language is beautiful. Indeed it is. Many times I have watched with joy, my heart bursting with pride and sheer love when I see my baby speak with his hands. He can say more with his hands and his face than most children his age can say with their voices. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a child's small hands signing "I love you", or "Mama, hold me".

People will walk up to us, sometimes embarrassed and nervous, sometimes shy, but always curious about this beautiful language we use. Time and time again, I am asked where they can learn to sign. What I used to mistake for rudeness was simply admiration and the wishing of strangers that they could speak like us.

However much they want to, most of the people in my little son's life cannot speak to him. As a result, he goes through life in a silent confusion, with only a very small percentage of the people he comes in contact with able to communicate with him.

And when we do meet someone who "speaks" his language, it is a unique and wonderful gift.

Last week our family went to a nearby Zuka Juice. We were enjoying each other's company, laughing and talking together. The place was filling up fast, and as usual, I noticed many people watching us sign with Noah. Near the front door were two missionaries, young men dressed in suits. One of them was staring intently at my conversation with Noah. Noah and I were laughing as I was calling him a piggy and he was complying by slurping down his chocolate/peanut butter shake.

The young missionary waited for Noah to turn his head and when he did, he waved at Noah. Noah waved back and grinned his chocolatey two-year old smile. What the young man did next made my heart leap and tears spring to my eyes.

I watched with amazement as his hands formed the signs for "You are beautiful". I choked back a sob and watched as he did it again. Noah turned and looked at me, his eyes huge, as if to say "MOM, DID YOU SEE THAT?!" I pointed to the young missionary and then showed Noah the sign for "friend". The young man then signed to Noah "How are you?" Noah did a few baby signs back and, being two, that was the extent of his attention span. Grinning, the young man told me his sister was fluent in ASL, and over the years he had picked up on it. We made polite conversation, and all too soon it was time to leave.

Although I'll never see that young man again, for a brief moment he gave me a gift I won't forget. His conversation with my son was like a ray of sunshine. Remembering his hands telling my child he is beautiful in his own language still brings the tears. There aren't many moments like that for Noah, and I will savor the memory always.

Submitted by Cherity

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

(true story)

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:

"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied:

"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sqroot (l / g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only person from Denmark to win the Nobel prize for Physics.

Submitted by Jon B. Roberts, Mansfield, TX

This story can be found in "The Teaching of Elementary Science and Mathematics" by Alexander Calandra


Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song? - Steven Wright

Source: Funnystuff Mailing List, funnystuff-on@pbbt.com via http://www.witandwisdom.org

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:

Ever wish you could make a "snapshot" of your screen? If you have some imaging software (or a good word processor), you can! Here's how:

To capture the whole screen, just hit the Print Screen button on your keyboard (It is just to the right of the F12 key). If you would like to capture only the current window, hold down the ALT button while you press the Print Screen button.

Then, open your imaging or word processing software (and a blank page, if you need to - it will depend on your software), and select your "Paste" command or CTRL V. You can then print it or edit it from there.

Source: Computer Tips, www.coolnewsletters.com via http://www.witandwisdom.org

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