Sunday, May 05, 2024

Two Old Men. A Spiritual Short Story by Leo Tolstoy

"Two Old Men" by Leo Tolstoy is a story that explores themes of faith, pilgrimage, and the contrasting paths of spiritual fulfillment. The narrative follows two elderly men, Elisha and Efím, who decide to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Despite their initial plans to travel together, their journeys diverge due to differing commitments and values.

Elisha, the more central of the two characters, is depicted as compassionate and attuned to the needs of others. On his way to Jerusalem, he encounters various individuals in need, and he consistently chooses to help them, using his resources to provide food, shelter, and assistance. His journey becomes a series of compassionate acts, reflecting his deep commitment to living out his faith in practical, immediate ways.

Efím, on the other hand, focuses more on fulfilling his personal goal of reaching Jerusalem. His journey is more straightforward and less diverted by the plights of others. This contrast sets up a moral exploration of what truly constitutes a meaningful spiritual journey.

The climax of the story reveals that Elisha, despite never reaching Jerusalem, finds profound spiritual satisfaction and fulfillment through his acts of kindness and charity. Efím reaches Jerusalem but feels a sense of emptiness, suggesting that the physical act of pilgrimage is less important than the spiritual journey of helping and serving others.

Tolstoy uses "Two Old Men" to critique formal religious practices that prioritize rituals over genuine moral and ethical actions, emphasizing that true faith is demonstrated through deeds of kindness and compassion towards one's fellow human beings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Applying for scholarships

Image created by Copilot

Applying for scholarships can be a competitive process, but with the right approach, you can increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to help you navigate the scholarship application process:

Start Early:

Begin your scholarship search well in advance. Some scholarships have early deadlines, and you don’t want to miss out. Create a calendar with application deadlines to stay organized.

Research Thoroughly:

Look beyond the obvious scholarships. Explore local, national, and industry-specific opportunities. Use scholarship search engines, visit college websites, and check with community organizations.

Eligibility Criteria:

Read the eligibility requirements carefully. Apply only if you meet the criteria. Some scholarships are specific to certain majors, demographics, or extracurricular activities.

Customize Your Applications:

Tailor your application for each scholarship. Highlight relevant experiences, achievements, and goals. Address any specific essay prompts or questions asked by the scholarship committee.

Gather Necessary Documents:

Collect essential documents such as transcripts, recommendation letters, and proof of community service. Keep digital copies handy for easy submission.

Write a Strong Personal Statement:

Most scholarships require an essay or personal statement. Be authentic and showcase your passion. Explain how the scholarship aligns with your educational and career goals.

Proofread and Edit:

Typos and grammatical errors can hurt your chances. Proofread your application thoroughly. Ask someone else to review it as well.

Follow Instructions:

Adhere to the scholarship guidelines. Submit all required materials. Pay attention to word limits, formatting, and submission methods.

Apply Widely:

Don’t limit yourself to a few scholarships. Apply for as many as possible. Even small awards can add up and help cover expenses.

Stay Organized:

Keep track of submitted applications, confirmation emails, and any follow-up requirements. Respond promptly if the scholarship committee requests additional information.

Be Genuine and Passionate:

Scholarship committees appreciate authenticity. Share your unique story and aspirations. Show enthusiasm for your field of study and how the scholarship will impact your journey.

Stay Positive and Persistent:

Rejections are part of the process. Don’t get discouraged. Keep applying and stay persistent—you never know which scholarship will come through.

Remember, each scholarship application is an opportunity to showcase your strengths and aspirations. Good luck and may your scholarship search be fruitful! 

Source: Copilot

Monday, February 26, 2024

Canada as far south as California

Middle Island, on Lake Erie

Canada is famously referred to as the Great White North, but the majority of its population resides in the southern regions, which are even more southern than commonly perceived. Surprisingly, 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Canadian border, and approximately 60% of the entire Canadian population resides south of Seattle, Washington. Intriguingly, 27 U.S. states are either entirely or partially north of Canada's southernmost point, located at Middle Island in Lake Erie, Ontario. This northern expanse even includes a small portion of California, seemingly contradictory given the state's association with one of the hottest places on Earth, Death Valley. Utah and Nevada also encompass land north of Canada's southernmost point.

An often-overlooked fact is that Canada boasts the longest coastline globally. Spanning an impressive 125,567 miles, it surpasses Indonesia, the second-place holder with a coastline length of 61,567 miles.

The concentration of Canadians in these southern regions is primarily attributed to agricultural reasons. Historian William Lewis Morton explains that the establishment of a network of towns for commercial agriculture in these warmer climates laid the foundation for the development of modern cities during the Industrial Revolution. However, if temperatures continue to rise, Canada's colder regions might witness an influx of climate refugees in the next 50 to 100 years, altering the traditional image of the Great White North. From 1948 to 2022 Canada has warmed by 1.9 degrees Celsius, mostly because of urban sprawl and population growth.

Middle Island, located in Lake Erie, holds the distinction of being Canada’s most southern point. This picturesque island spans an area of approximately 46 acres.

Canada is 16 miles from France’s islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Source: Canada extends as far south as California. | Interesting Facts

Blue eyes share a common ancestor

AI-generated picture of a woman with blue eyes.

It is likely that all individuals with blue eyes share a common ancestor. Approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, the prevailing eye color among Homo sapiens was brown, considered an evolutionary advantage due to the protection provided by melanin against UV radiation. However, a mutation in the OCA2 gene during the Neolithic expansion in Europe led to the birth of an individual with blue eyes, deviating from the typical brown. Scientists propose that all blue-eyed individuals, constituting about 10% of the global population, are descendants of this original ancestor with the blue-eye mutation.

Interestingly, the mutation causing blue eyes doesn't actually impart a blue color to the eyes. Blue eyes are not genuinely blue. The iris of the eye consists mainly of two layers: the stroma and the epithelium. Unlike brown eyes, which have a brown-black melanin pigment in both layers, blue eyes lack melanin pigment in the stroma. Blue eyes, devoid of any pigment, exhibit a reflection of white light through the Tyndall effect. This optical phenomenon occurs as the shorter blue wavelengths are reflected more by the fibers in the eyes, absorbing longer red-orange wavelengths. Although the perception is that people have "blue" eyes, from a pigment standpoint, they essentially lack any color.

Source: Interesting Facts