Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a new breakthrough. This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells manufactured using low-cost roll-to-roll printing technology, demonstrated here by professors Olle Inganäs (right) and Shimelis Admassie.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells have in recent years emerged as a low cost alternative to silicon solar cells. In order to obtain high efficiency, fullerenes are usually required in polymer solar cells to separate charge carriers. However, fullerenes are unstable under illumination, and form large crystals at high temperatures.
Now, a team of chemists led by Professor Jianhui Hou at the CAS set a new world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells by developing a unique combination of a polymer called PBDB-T and a small molecule called ITIC. With this combination, the sun’s energy is converted with an efficiency of 11%, a value that strikes most solar cells with fullerenes, and all without fullerenes.
Feng Gao, together with his colleagues Olle Inganäs and Deping Qian at Linköping University, have characterized the loss spectroscopy of photovoltage (Voc), a key figure for solar cells, and proposed approaches to further improving the device performance.
The two research groups are now presenting their results in the high-profile journal Advanced Materials.
-We have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve a high efficiency without using fullerene, and that such solar cells are also highly stable to heat. Because solar cells are working under constant solar radiation, good thermal stability is very important, said Feng Gao, a physicist at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University.
-The combination of high efficiency and good thermal stability suggest that polymer solar cells, which can be easily manufactured using low-cost roll-to-roll printing technology, now come a step closer to commercialization, said Feng Gao.
For most of the year, the trees of 40 fruits, of which there are currently 16 in the world, look like any other tree. But in spring, dozens of shades of pinks and reds and whites begin to appear, and by the end of the summer, each one has produced a harvest of over 40 different kinds of stone fruit.
The trees are the work of award-winning contemporary artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken, who told Epicurious.com that “first and foremost I see the tree as an artwork.” But that doesn’t mean his living masterpieces aren’t a fascinating study in agriculture and culinary history.
“As the project evolved, it took on more goals,” Van Aken said. “In trying to find different varieties of stone fruit to create the Tree of 40 Fruit, I realized that for various reasons, including industrialization and the creation of enormous monocultures, we are losing diversity in food production and that heirloom, antique, and native varieties that were less commercially viable were disappearing.”
Although each tree ends up with around 40 species of stone fruit, including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds—which Van Aken chose for the project because of their great diversity and inter-compatibility—he works with over 250 varieties, plotting the timelines of each and selecting species to create artwork out of the different blossoms.
The grafting together of all these species takes about five years, and Van Aken visits each of his 16 trees—which can be found at museums, community centers, and private art collections around the country, including in Newton, Massachusetts; Pound Ridge, New York; Short Hills, New Jersey; Bentonville, Arkansas; and San Jose, California—twice a year for pruning. And if you’re wondering, yes, all the fruit is completely edible (and presumably delicious), at least now that Van Aken has solved the problem of hungry deer destroying the crop.
Only three months in, and 2016 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record.
The Earth is warming so fast that it’s surprising even the climate scientists who predicted this was coming.
Last month was the hottest March in 137 years of record keeping, according to data released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s the 11th consecutive month to set a new record, and it puts 2016 on course to set a third straight annual record.
Now, it might seem premature to talk about setting a new yearly record after just three months of data, but these months have been such an extreme departure from the norm that Gavin Schmidt, who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has already made the call.
“I estimate [a greater than] 99 percent chance of an annual record in 2016,” Schmidt wrote on Twitter last week, after NASA released its own record climate readings. A month ago—following the release of February’s data—Schmidt wrote, simply, “Wow.”
Since 1980, the world has set a new annual temperature record approximately every three years, and 15 of the hottest 16 years ever measured are in the 21st century. The chart below shows earth’s warming climate, measured from land and sea, dating back to 1880.
The March data follows the hottest winter on record worldwide. Results from the world’s top monitoring agencies vary slightly, but NASA, NOAA, and the Japan Meteorological Agency all agree that 2016 has no precedent in the modern climate record.
To be sure, some of this is the result of a monster El Niño weather pattern lingering in the Pacific Ocean. But the broader trend is clear: We live on a planet that is warming rapidly, with no end in sight. Since 1980, the world has set a new annual temperature record roughly every three years, and 15 of the hottest 16 years ever measured are in the 21st century. Now the hottest winter on record is turning into the hottest spring—the beginning of something grimly new.
Celebrities talking openly about having a double mastectomy seem to be influencing decisions made by other women.
Researchers at the University of Michigan say there’s been an almost five-fold increase in the number of people undergoing the procedure since 2000.
That timeframe coincides with significant media coverage of at least 17 celebrities in the United States alone who have talked about fighting breast cancer. Four of them opted for a double mastectomy.
“People underestimate the impact of celebrity news reports on medical knowledge. It’s naïve to think this is not a source from where we get our medical information,” says study author and breast cancer surgeon Dr Michael Sabel.
The highest profile case was that of Angelina Jolie who in 2013 revealed she’d had both breasts removed. In a very personal piece for the New York Times, Jolie went into great detail about the BRCA mutation that had put her at high risk of breast cancer.
“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” Jolie wrote.
That placed the issue firmly in the media spotlight and convinced many women to follow her lead.
“Much more often, patients are not coming in asking what their options are for treatment. They are coming in saying they want a bilateral mastectomy. Patients are increasingly using outside sources of information, such as the internet, and coming to their own conclusion,” says Dr Sabel.
He worries that leads many women to make decisions based on wrong information about the risks and benefits.
“When the next celebrity has a double mastectomy, we need to make sure we are putting the right messages out. This includes framing the story in terms of why the patient had a bilateral mastectomy and when that might be a good decision for a patient,” he says.
Traditionally, an unexpected adverse event was equated with an error. In turn, an error was equated with incompetence or even negligence. Consequently, punishing the guilty was considered to be the only method to improve safety of patients. We felt that we could solve human error problems by telling people to be more careful, by reprimanding the miscreants, or by issuing a new rule or procedure. This is ‘The Bad Apple Theory’, where you believe your system is basically safe if it were not for those few unreliable people in it. This old view of human error is increasingly outdated and will lead you nowhere.
In fact, this “name, blame, and shame” approach has a toxic effect. Not only does it not improve safety, it also continues to push the issue of medical errors into secrecy. The new perspective The new discipline of Patient Safety acknowledges that risk is inherent in medicine and error is inherent in the human condition. As Dr Lewis Thomas said eloquently, “We are built to make mistakes, coded for error.” We now understand that a human error problem is actually an organizational problem. Finding a ‘human error’ by any other name, or by any other human, is only the beginning of your journey, not a convenient conclusion. The new view recognizes that systems are inherent trade-offs between safety and other pressures , such as time. For example, in an understaffed hospital, a rushed doctor may be forced to take shortcuts which jeopardize the patient’s safety, not because he is careless, but is forced to do so because he has lots of other patients to see. The major contribution of the patient safety movement has been to propagate the insight that medical error is the result of “bad systems,” not “bad apples”.
Errors can be reduced by redesigning systems and improving processes so that doctors and nurses ( caregivers ) can produce better results. While the discipline of Patient Safety can learn a lot from other high hazard industries, such as aviation and nuclear power, the uniqueness of health care must not be lost. Health care is much more unpredictable, complex, and nonlinear than the most complex nuclear power plants. Machines respond in a predictable way to a set of commands and processes; patients don’t—their response to medications and clinical interventions is far more variable and unpredictable. Machines don’t have families, feelings, language barriers, or psychosocial issues; patients do. While it is vitally important for us to learn techniques and lessons from other industries, the healthcare industry must produce leaders and champions from within the clinical community to face up to this challenge and devise solutions unique to the clinical environment.
Humans as heroes While humans can cause problems, they are the solution as well. After all, humans are the only ones that are going to be able to recognize the errors and prevent and correct them. We need to be able to balance both these views of human ability and experience; one that uses technology, design, standardization and simplicity to reduce human fallibility, while the other stresses human adaptability, foresight and resilience as a shield against errors. Systems and processes are important, but in the end people make the difference. We need to think not in terms of humans as hazards, but rather in terms of humans as heroes. In reality, what’s amazing is that in spite of the chaos, constraints, and limitations under which hospitals in India function, doctors and nurses are able to deliver safe care to their patients the vast majority of times. This is on account of the hard work, individual vigilance, resourcefulness and problem-solving ability which the medical staff brings to work every single day. Sadly, the cardinal virtues and abilities of clinical staff are being squandered on filling in forms.Their job seems to be to fix administrative and organizational inefficiencies, rather than being put at the service of patients. Clinical staff maintains safety by adapting and working around these inefficiencies. If we truly want safer healthcare, front line staff may have to complain more and demand action on these inefficiencies, on behalf of themselves and their patients.
Hospitals are complex adaptive systems which means they do not respond in predictable ways to rules and policies. It also means that efforts to improve safety must combine rules and standards with messier activities that respect the importance of culture, innovation, and iterative learning in the clinical setting. A variety of strategies have been employed to create safer systems, including: Simplification Standardization Building in redundancies Using checklists Improving teamwork Communication Learning from past mistakes
If you want to achieve anything, you are going to make some enemies along the way. Don’t be afraid of making enemies. It’s a given, it’s certain, it’s going to happen. You can choose any undertaking you want, even the ones that are the least combative ones possible, if you want to make an impact on it, you are going to end up pissing off some people, offending others and making some your enemies.
You also need to realize that the bigger your goal, the more foes you are going to make. If your goal impacts a small amount of people, you are going to have smaller opposition. But if you want to do something to change the world, you are going to make a lot of ENEMIES! The only people in the world who have no enemies are those choose to live and die doing absolutely nothing. Heck even someone as peaceful as The Buddha had many critics and enemies. How can you imagine doing anything worthwhile without having someone who tries to come in your way?
If you don’t lose weight, they will call you fat. If you lose weight, they will say you should be happy the way you are. If you don’t do charity, they will say you are selfish. If you do charity, they will say you are doing it to for attention. The reality is that no matter what you do some people will always have a problem with you. If you try and make those people happy, you are going to make another set of people angry. Some people will always stand in your way, no matter what you do. The goal is not to remove opposition, but to march forward despite the opposition.
Now criticism is not always bad and sometimes it is very helpful. Read the article Why Criticism is Important And Will Help You Succeed for when criticism can be helpful. But for the most part, enemies, criticism and opposition play a much more destructive role than a constructive one.
Now I won’t encourage people to go out and actively make enemies out of everyone, as that is just stupid. Obviously it is helpful when you have to deal with the least amount of opposition along the way. My point is that while you should not actively seek out enemies, you SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID of making them, especially when your goal is something really important to you.
Having Enemies can actually increase your potential for success.
Aren’t enemies supposed to come in your way? Then how do they actually increase your chances of success? Well they do, especially if you have the right ingredients in you to begin with. The reason is that when the enemy taunts you or tries to come in your way, or ridicules you it actually gives you much more motivation to prove them wrong and show them the stuff you are made of.
Secondly, enemies are often competitors and competition is a really power thing, it forces you to push against your limits. Read the incredible story of mankind’s progress in space during the Space Race between USA and the Soviets. When they were both trying to prove their supremacy, man ended up visiting the space, walking in space and even managed something that was dreamed of for thousands of years, visiting the moon. Most of us would have dreamed of having permanent moon bases by now or even bases on Mars and yet none of that happened when the cold war ended. When the two countries became space “allies”, ironically both lost the motivation to keep pushing the bar and became happy in their comfort zone, leading to almost no progress.
When having enemies actually increases your chances of success and the lack of them leads to you becoming stale and losing motivation, isn’t it much better to have them around?
Some things are more important than what people’s opinions
One of the main reasons some people are able to achieve the success they have is because they understand that while people’s feelings and opinions have their place, some things are far more important than people’s opinions about it. Since childhood all of us have taught to be polite, to avoid confrontation, to avoid making enemies, which generally is pretty good advice if the argument is about petty matters. For example if someone makes a small dent in your car by accident, getting into a road rage over it is silly. If they don’t make a dent in your car, someone else will or maybe you will yourself one day. That’s just how it is. It is unavoidable and inevitable so sort things out peacefully and move on.
But when it comes to the important things in life that really mean something important to you, letting the other person have their way can totally crush you in the process. In those things, it is ok if you do end up making some enemies, as long as you are not violent about it!
What sets apart the truly great and revolutionary people of the world was that they were not afraid of offending people if their mission was more important that people’s opinions. Leadership is about taking decisions and not all decisions will be popular, they are going to be offensive to some. But it’s ok. If you live life on your your terms, you will die loved by some and hated by some but ignored by none.
Selfishness is a virtue sometimes
Success requires a certain amount of ruthlessness. It doesn’t matter even if you are focusing on the most peaceful of pursuits, you still need a certain ruthlessness, a killer instinct, a will to win in order to trump your competitors. And when you do that, some of them will become your foes.
It’s ok to be selfish when it really matters. In fact all of us are selfish no matter what we think. A man who makes sacrifices for his girlfriend is still selfish because seeing her happy makes him happy. A mother who makes sacrifices for her child is also selfish in a way because she derives happiness from the child. A truly unselfish act would be one where you derive absolutely no happiness from willingly giving up what you want. In that sense very few of us are truly unselfish.
So when we are raised with this idea of being unselfish, it is only healthy to the extent that your sacrifice makes you happy directly or indirectly. If your sacrifice makes you miserable then that means you are slowly killing yourself from the inside.
Almost all successful people will tell you that you need to put your dreams and goals first. After all if you are not happy yourself, how are you going to make others happy? A miserable person rarely ever becomes a great philanthropist or good Samaritan. When it comes to your dreams, you need to be selfish. Being selfish to the extent that your happiness comes first is OKAY and even desirable. You don’t have to crush others with a malicious intent to make your dreams come true but you need to make sure nobody crushes you either. And if in the process you make enemies, so be it. That’s an inevitable to price to pay for what you want. Better to have a lot of enemies and lead a happy life, than to have no enemy but end up being miserable.
Astronomers are arguing about whether they can trust this untested—and potentially untestable—idea.
e universe began as a Big Bang and almost immediately began to expand faster than the speed of light in a growth spurt called “inflation.” This sudden stretching smoothed out the cosmos, smearing matter and radiation equally across it like ketchup and mustard on a hamburger bun.
That expansion stopped after just a fraction of a second. But according to an idea called the “inflationary multiverse,” it continues—just not in our universe where we could see it. And as it does, it spawns other universes. And even when it stops in those spaces, it continues in still others. This “eternal inflation” would have created an infinite number of other universes.
Together, these cosmic islands form what scientists call a “multiverse.” On each of these islands, the physical fundamentals of that universe—like the charges and masses of electrons and protons and the way space expands—could be different.
Cosmologists mostly study this inflationary version of the multiverse, but the strange scenario can takes other forms, as well. Imagine, for example, that the cosmos is infinite. Then the part of it that we can see—the visible universe—is just one of an uncountable number of other, same-sized universes that add together to make a multiverse. Another version, called the “Many Worlds Interpretation,” comes from quantum mechanics. Here, every time a physical particle, such as an electron, has multiple options, it takes all of them—each in a different, newly spawned universe.
But all of those other universes might be beyond our scientific reach. A universe contains, by definition, all of the stuff anyone inside can see, detect or probe. And because the multiverse is unreachable, physically and philosophically, astronomers may not be able to find out—for sure—if it exists at all.
Determining whether or not we live on one of many islands, though, isn’t just a quest for pure knowledge about the nature of the cosmos. If the multiverse exists, the life-hosting capability of our particular universe isn’t such a mystery: An infinite number of less hospitable universes also exist. The composition of ours, then, would just be a happy coincidence. But we won’t know that until scientists can validate the multiverse. And how they will do that, and if it even possible to do that, remains an open question.
This uncertainty presents a problem. In science, researchers try to explain how nature works using predictions that they formally call hypotheses. Colloquially, both they and the public sometimes call these ideas “theories.” Scientists especially gravitate toward this usage when their idea deals with a wide-ranging set of circumstances or explains something fundamental to how physics operates. And what could be more wide-ranging and fundamental than the multiverse?
For an idea to technically move from hypothesis to theory, though, scientists have to test their predictions and then analyze the results to see whether their initial guess is supported or disproved by the data. If the idea gains enough consistent support and describes nature accurately and reliably, it gets promoted to an official theory.
As physicists spelunk deeper into the heart of reality, their hypotheses—like the multiverse—become harder and harder, and maybe even impossible, to test. Without the ability to prove or disprove their ideas, there’s no way for scientists to know how well a theory actually represents reality. It’s like meeting a potential date on the internet: While they may look good on digital paper, you can’t know if their profile represents their actual self until you meet in person. And if you never meet in person, they could be catfishing you. And so could the multiverse.
Physicists are now debating whether that problem moves ideas like the multiverse from physics to metaphysics, from the world of science to that of philosophy.
Some theoretical physicists say their field needs more cold, hard evidence and worry about where the lack of proof leads. “It is easy to write theories,” says Carlo Rovelli of the Center for Theoretical Physics in Luminy, France. Here, Rovelli is using the word colloquially, to talk about hypothetical explanations of how the universe, fundamentally, works. “It is hard to write theories that survive the proof of reality,” he continues. “Few survive. By means of this filter, we have been able to develop modern science, a technological society, to cure illness, to feed billions. All this works thanks to a simple idea: Do not trust your fancies. Keep only the ideas that can be tested. If we stop doing so, we go back to the style of thinking of the Middle Ages.”
He and cosmologists George Ellis of the University of Cape Town and Joseph Silk of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore worry that because no one can currently prove ideas like the multiverse right or wrong, scientists can simply continue along their intellectual paths without knowing whether their walks are anything but random. “Theoretical physics risks becoming a no-man’s-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any,” Ellis and Silk noted in a Nature editorial in December 2014.
It’s not that physicists don’t want to test their wildest ideas. Rovelli says that many of his colleagues thought that with the exponential advance of technology—and a lot of time sitting in rooms thinking—they would be able to validate them by now. “I think that many physicists have not found a way of proving their theories, as they had hoped, and therefore they are gasping,” says Rovelli.
“Physics advances in two manners,” he says. Either physicists see something they don’t understand and develop a new hypothesis to explain it, or they expand on existing hypotheses that are in good working order. “Today many physicists are wasting time following a third way: trying to guess arbitrarily,” says Rovelli. “This has never worked in the past and is not working now.”
The multiverse might be one of those arbitrary guesses. Rovelli is not opposed to the idea itself but to its purely drawing-board existence. “I see no reason for rejecting a priori the idea that there is more in nature than the portion of spacetime we see,” says Rovelli. “But I haven’t seen any convincing evidence so far.”
“Proof” needs to evolve
Other scientists say that the definitions of “evidence” and “proof” need an upgrade. Richard Dawid of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy believes scientists could support their hypotheses, like the multiverse—without actually finding physical support. He laid out his ideas in a book called String Theory and the Scientific Method. Inside is a kind of rubric, called “Non-Empirical Theory Assessment,” that is like a science-fair judging sheet for professional physicists. If a theory fulfills three criteria, it is probably true.
First, if scientists have tried, and failed, to come up with an alternative theory that explains a phenomenon well, that counts as evidence in favor of the original theory. Second, if a theory keeps seeming like a better idea the more you study it, that’s another plus-one. And if a line of thought produced a theory that evidence later supported, chances are it will again.
Radin Dardashti, also of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, thinks Dawid is straddling the right track. “The most basic idea undergirding all of this is that if we have a theory that seems like it works, and we have come up with nothing that works better, chances are our idea is right,” he says.
But, historically, that undergirding has often collapsed, and scientists haven’t been able to see the obvious alternatives to dogmatic ideas. For example, the Sun, in its rising and setting, seems to go around Earth. People, therefore, long thought that our star orbited the Earth.
Dardashti cautions that scientists shouldn’t go around applying Dawid’s idea willy-nilly, and that it needs more development. But it may be the best idea out there for “testing” the multiverse and other ideas that are too hard, if not impossible, to test. He notes, though, that physicists’ precious time would be better spent dreaming up ways to find real evidence.
Not everyone is so sanguine, though. Sabine Hossenfelder of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Stockholm, thinks “post-empirical” and “science” can never live together. “Physics is not about finding Real Truth. Physics is about describing the world,” she wrote on her blog Backreaction in response to an interview in which Dawid expounded on his ideas. And if an idea (which she also colloquially calls a theory) has no empirical, physical backing, it doesn’t belong. “Without making contact to observation, a theory isn’t useful to describe the natural world, not part of the natural sciences, and not physics,” she concluded.
The truth is out there
Some supporters of the multiverse claim they have found real physical evidence for the multiverse.Joseph Polchinski of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Andrei Linde of Stanford University—some of the theoretical physicists who dreamed up the current model of inflation and how it leads to island universes—say the proof is encoded in our cosmos.
This cosmos is huge, smooth and flat, just like inflation says it should be. “It took some time before we got used to the idea that the large size, flatness, isotropy and uniformity of the universe should not be dismissed as trivial facts of life,” Linde wrote in a paper that appeared on arXiv.org in December. “Instead of that, they should be considered as experimental data requiring an explanation, which was provided with the invention of inflation.”
Similarly, our universe seems fine tuned to be favorable to life, with its Goldilocks expansion rate that’s not too fast or too slow, an electron that’s not too big, a proton that has the exact opposite charge but the same mass as a neutron and a four-dimensional space in which we can live. If the electron or proton were, for example, one percent larger, beings could not be. What are the chances that all those properties would align to create a nice piece of real estate for biology to form and evolve?
In a universe that is, in fact, the only universe, the chances are vanishingly small. But in an eternally inflating multiverse, it is certain that one of the universes should turn out like ours. Each island universe can have different physical laws and fundamentals. Given infinite mutations, a universe on which humans can be born will be born. The multiverse actually explains why we’re here. And our existence, therefore, helps explain why the multiverse is plausible.
These indirect pieces of evidence, statistically combined, have led Polchinski to say he’s 94 percent certain the multiverse exists. But he knows that’s 5.999999 percent short of the 99.999999 percent sureness scientists need to call something a done deal.
Eventually, scientists may be able to discover more direct evidence of the multiverse. They are hunting for the stretch marks that inflation would have left on the cosmic microwave background, the light left over from the Big Bang. These imprints could tell scientists whether inflation happened, and help them find out whether it’s still happening far from our view. And if our universe has bumped into others in the past, that fender-bender would also have left imprints in the cosmic microwave background. Scientists would be able to recognize that two-car accident. And if two cars exist, so must many more.
Or, in 50 years, physicists may sheepishly present evidence that the early 21st-century’s pet cosmological theory was wrong.
“We are working on a problem that is very hard, and so we should think about this on a very long time scale,” Polchinski has advised other physicists. That’s not unusual in physics. A hundred years ago, Einstein’s theory of general relativity, for example, predicted the existence of gravitational waves. But scientists could only verify them recently with a billion-dollar instrument called LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
So far, all of science has relied on testability. It has been what makes science science and not daydreaming. Its strict rules of proof moved humans out of dank, dark castles and into space. But those tests take time, and most theoreticians want to wait it out. They are not ready to shelve an idea as fundamental as the multiverse—which could actually be the answer to life, the universe and everything—until and unless they can prove to themselves it doesn’t exist. And that day may never come.
In a world where more and more people find themselves working in roles that could be considered “always on” jobs, how do people achieve and maintain work-life balance and how do companies and leaders promote this way of life? It is a challenge to say the least.
Every day millions of people wrestle with these questions. At the same time, leaders wrestle with the solutions. It is a hard issue to reconcile because the answers vary.
As a manager and member of the leadership team at home-improvement network Porch.com, helping people find work-life balance is something important to me. It is something I didn’t always possess or believe in.
There were times when I was the poster child for bad-balance behavior. I once had a sign in my office that read “never leave for tomorrow what you can get done today.” I was king of the 3 a.m. emails and I wore my 20 hour days, seven days a week work ethic as a badge of honor. Then a funny thing happened. I realized that I could be a much better leader, employee, manager, husband and friend when I took the time to focus on achieving balance. I found that I was living a happier, healthier, and more productive Life. And my output wasn’t comprised.
To help entrepreneurs, managers, and employees strike the right balance, here are five ways to achieve and maintain life-work balance. There is no one size fits all approach, but hopefully, these tips will lead to productive discussions for managers and employees.
1. Be open about your needs. I believe that the first thing people need to do is identify what truly matters to them and communicate it. Don’t hide it and don’t expect others to guess what makes you feel balanced and fulfilled.
Do you need to leave work at 5 p.m. so you can have dinner with your family? Do you need to step away at 12 p.m. to attend a yoga class? Whatever your sweet spot is you need to find it and be transparent about it. Employees need to have an open dialogue with their managers and managers need to understand what works and what is possible. Different jobs require different approaches, but everyone can benefit from having an open and honest conversation about what balance means.
2. Respect boundaries. You cannot achieve your balance if you don’t respect the boundaries you have put in place. It will be hard in the beginning but you need to stick with it so you develop a routine and drive a culture and lifestyle of predictability. You will find that there is also something else you can do. There is always another email to reply to or a problem to work, but you need to PERSONALLY respect your boundaries. If you don’t then you can’t expect others to respect them.
3. Understand what really matters. Over the years I have seen too many people spend too much time working on things that don’t really matter. Time is the most valuable commodity in life: it is the one thing you cannot buy more of. So, don’t waste time. Focus on what really matters. What really moves the needle for the business? Are you working on priorities that drive the overall goals of the business or are you just making noise? Really scrutinize your day and max it out every hour, minute and second to focus on the most important outputs. For some this may require a high degree of planning and structure.
4. Embrace the off button. Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so use it. It is not easy and for many people this is the hardest thing to do. To get started, do it in phases. Don’t bring your cellphone to the dinner table. When you are on vacation, be on vacation. Don’t bring your tablet to the beach. Once you have done it a few times, it is easier to push the boundaries. When you unplug and step back you will start to experience one of life’s greatest treasures — perspective. You will think about problems you are wrestling with greater clarity. You allow yourself the freedom to be more analytical and less emotional when you step away and think vs. just diving in and responding in the moment.
5. Pace yourself. To have a long, healthy, productive, and happy life and career you need to understand the value of pace. There are times when you need to throttle up and there are times when you can throttle down. Self-awareness is crucial. Doing so will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
I love bananas. I try to eat at least one or two a day. When I was a kid, I always thought it was gross when the adults waited until they peel got a little dark before they ate them. Now I think I know why!
If you enjoy the company of bananas, then you should be really careful next time you decide to buy some. They are so delicious that rarely anyone can resist them, but there is one thing you must be aware of before buying these tropical flavor fruits.
The fully ripe banana produces a substance called TNF( Tumor Necrosis Factor) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells. As the banana ripens, it develops dark spots or patches on the skin. The more dark patches it has, the higher will be its’ immunity enhancement quality . Hence the Japanese love bananas for a good reason. According to a Japanese scientific research, banana contains TNF which has anti-cancer properties. This substance, according to their study, helps to increase the immune system capacity. The conclusion of the study was that eating those ripe bananas may just prevent certain lifestyle-related diseases and carcinogenesis.
The degree of anti-cancer effect corresponds to the degree of ripeness of the fruit, i.e. the riper the banana, the better the anti-cancer quality.
It is a fact that nutrient content of fruits change slightly as they ripen. As a banana ripens and turns yellow, its levels of antioxidants increases. In full ripe bananas with dark spots on skin, the starch content changes to simple sugars that are easier to digest.
In an experiment carried out by Japanese scientists, the various health benefits of different ripe fruits, as banana, grape, apple, watermelon, pineapple, pear and persimmon were compared and it was found out that banana gave the best results. It increased the number of white blood cells, enhanced the immunity of the body and produced anti-cancer substance TNF. The recommendation is to eat 1 to 2 banana a day to increase your body immunity to diseases like cold, flu and others.
It’s believed that bananas having reached the stage of multiple brown spots may have a considerable amount more of TNF-alpha — and be up to 8 times more effective than the green skin banana version or fresher bananas without the same dark patches or spots, i.e 8 times more effective in enhancing the property of white blood cells.
Tumor Necrosis Factor(TNF-α) is a cytokine, substances secreted by certain cells of the immune system that have an effect on other cells. This is indeed helpful in fighting abnormal turmor cells in body. Research done on ripening bananas has proved that the levels of TNF-α induction increased markedly with dark spots on skin before the entire banana peel turned brown. The research concluded that the activity of banana was comparable to that of Lentinan, a chemical immunostimulant that is intravenously administered as an anti-cancer agent. So, ripe banana can act as an anti-cancer agent by stimulating the production of white blood cells in the human cell line and preventing cell mutation.
The proximate, functional properties, anti nutrients and amino acid composition of Celosia spicata leaves were investigated. The sample contained moisture content (8.16±0.01%), total ash (15.3±0.63%), crude protein (10.2±0.01%), crude fat (1.15±0.01%), crude fibre (12.3±0.02%) and carbohydrate (47.6±0.63%). The sample contained oil absorption capacity (303%), water absorption capacity (440%), emulsion capacity (56%), emulsion stability (29%) and foaming capacity (12.5%) while the least gelation concentration was 8%W/V. The water and oil absorption capacities were relatively good, and the in-vitro protein digestibility (IVPD) was 82.2%. Glutamic acid (12.8g/100g crude protein) and aspartic acid (8.96g/100g crude protein) were the most abundant amino acid while cysteine (0.40g/100g crude protein) was the least. The total essential amino acid of the sample was calculated to be 94.97g/100g crude protein which showed that the sample contained moderate quantity of essential amino acids. The sample contained tannin (97.42mg/100g), saponin (4.93mg/100g), alkaloid (0.36mg/100g), phytate (21.08mg/100g) and oxalate (16.53mg/100g) respectively. This study would provide information on the nutritional potentials of Celocia spicata leaves.