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Departing Space Station Commander Provides Tour of Orbital Laboratory

Going penniless: how will this impact your business?

"Loose Change" is a 550 piece puzzle by White Mountain Puzzles.  Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.

“Loose Change” is a 550 piece puzzle by White Mountain Puzzles. Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.


Going penniless: how will this impact your business?

By the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, reposted by The Book Vault Inc. on January 31, 2013

Joining the ranks of Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, Canada ceased production of the penny in May, 2012 after 154 years. Effective February 4, 2013, pennies will be withdrawn.

What does this mean for your business?

  • There will be no changes to transactions using cheques, credit or debit cards.
  • Pennies are still legal tender, so if a customer has pennies on hand, they’ll pay as usual.
  • If a customer doesn’t have exact change, round their purchase up or down to the nearest five-cents. For example, an item that costs $1.01 or $1.02 will be rounded down to $1. An item that costs $1.03 or $1.04 will be rounded up to $1.05.
  • Rounding only happens after the calculation of the GST or HST, so don’t start rounding prices on individual items. You also don’t need to update your cash register.

Cheerleaders and Soldiers: Call Me Maybe

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

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Why Physics Is In Trouble

Music education can help with school skills

The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario

The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario

Music education can help with school skills

Learning to play an instrument can pay dividends inside the classroom.

The Stratford Gazette, January 10, 2013

Music’s effectiveness as a teaching tool has long been studied.  Though some still doubt if music has any effect on student performance, a strong body of evidence suggests otherwise.

Studies into the effects of music on learning are nothing new.  Such studies have been conducted for decades, gaining popularity during the 1950s when research was done on something called the “Mozart Effect.”  The Mozart Effect theorizes that listening to Mozart can temporarily improve performance and may even boost a person’s IQ.  In response, many parents started playing Mozart and other classical music in their homes.   By the late 1990s, Baby Einstein, a company that offers a wide range of developmental and entertainment products for babies and toddlers, released a series of CDs and videos that prominently featured classical music amid visual learning sequences for young children.  “Baby Mozart,” “Baby Bach” and “Baby Beethoven” were just a few of the videos capitalizing on the evidence that children learn more when exposed to classical music.

Ongoing research continues to support the theory that music education can help children on many levels.  In Canada, a research group from McMaster University conducted their own study into music education.  That study, which was published in the journal Brain in 2006, examined two groups of children, ages 4 to 6.  Each were taught the same lessons, but one group was also given musical instruction.  The study found that the group of children who received musical instruction scored much better than their peers in literacy, mathematics, IQ, and memory skills.

Long Island University researchers Joseph Piro and Camilo Ortiz found that children exposed to a multi-year program of music instruction, involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills, displayed superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared to their peers who did not receive musical training.  The authors concluded that, “because neural response to music is a widely distributed system within the brain, it would not be unreasonable to expect that some processing networks for music and language behaviours, namely reading, located in both hemispheres of the brain would overlap.”

Music education is not just for the average student.  Other research shows it my be beneficial to children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.  A study completed at Stanford University showed that mastering a musical instrument improves the ability to process parts of the spoken language.  The researchers believe that additional research might develop a way to use the knowledge obtained in the study to increase language development for individuals with dyslexia or cognitive disorders.

In many schools, music education is being drastically reduced or eliminated.  Parents may want to look outside the classroom for music instruction or play more music at home.





Amazing. Just amazing.