Gleanings From The Past #55


The Sword and the Pen

The sword of the warrior was taken down for the purpose of being polished. It had not been long out of use. The rust was rubbed off, but there were spots that would not go; they were of blood. The sword was placed on the table, near the pen of the warrior’s secretary. The pen took advantage of the first breath of air to move a little further off.

“Thou art right,” said the sword, “I am a bad neighbor.”

“I fear thee not,” replied the pen, “I am more powerful than thou art; but I love not thy society.”

“I exterminate,” said the sword.

“And I perpetuate,” answered the pen; “where are thy victories if I record them not? Even where thou thyself shalt one day be in the lake of oblivion.”

The Rural Repository, Vol. 25, March 31, 1849

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Learn Fun Facts’ Monthly Miscellany, May 2018

Random Ramblings

A Cruel Prank

I have done several odd jobs, including cooking. During college, I applied at a Shanghai food restaurant as a “Study Boy”. A study boy’s job is to assist the chefs while learning from them in the process. Most of the greatest Chinese cuisine chefs started their careers like that.

I was surprised when they hired me since I didn’t know anything about cooking. They said that it doesn’t matter even if I don’t know how to boil water as they’d teach me.

How my work there turned out is a story for another time. This time, I’ll talk about a vicious prank that I witnessed there.

Pranks were normal in the workplace. Ordinary pranks such as putting a piece of tofu on the slipper of someone while he’s tiptoeing, dropping raw egg yolks on someone’s head while he’s cleaning his head, or replacing regular cookies with salted ones.

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Quotable #55: Necessity


“Necessity is the mother of invention.” — Anon.

“Invention is the mother of necessity.” — Samuel Butler

“Necessity knows no law.” — St. Augustine

“‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ is a silly proverb. ‘Necessity is the mother of futile dodges’ is much nearer the truth.” — Alfred North Whitehead, cited in The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 29, No. 287, 1945

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A Study Of The English Language

The English language can be confusing, especially to foreigners who are learning it. The following curious anecdote has a good illustration regarding this, and it also contains an ingenious collection of words:

A Frenchman, while looking at a number of vessels, exclaimed, ‘See what a flock of ships!’ He was told that a flock of ships was called a fleet, but that a fleet of sheep was called a flock. To assist him in mastering the intricacies of the English language, he was told that a flock of girls was called a bevy, that a bevy of wolves is called a pack, but that a pack of cards is never called a bevy, though a pack of thieves is called a gang, and a gang of angels is called a host, while a host of porpoises is termed a shoal. He was told that a host of oxen is termed a herd, and a herd of children is called a troop, and a troop of partridges is termed a covey, and a covey of beauty is called a galaxy, and a galaxy of ruffians is called a horde, and a horde of rubbish is called a heap, and a heap of bullocks is called a drove, and a drove of blackguards is called a mob, and a mob of whales is called a school, and a school of worship is called a congregation, and a congregation of engineers is called a corps, and a corps of robbers is called a band, and a band of locusts is called a crowd, and a crowd of gentlefolks is called the elite. The last word being French, the scholar understood it and asked no more.


The Gentleman’s Journal, Vol. 3, March 1871

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Pun Of The Weak: Less Money


The workers at the mint reportedly are threatening to go on strike. They want to make less money.

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10 Ways To Get Out Of A Blogging Slump

I’m having a blogging slump during the last few days or so and I’m not really sure why. It’s not that I lost my motivation for blogging. I suspect (and hope) that this is only fleeting and I’d eventually overcome it.

Nonetheless, instead of worrying about it too much, I decided to write about some ways to beat a blogging slump. Perhaps, they will not only help those who have blogging slumps but me as well.

1. Motivate Yourself


Many people these days rely on motivational books and motivational seminars for motivation. They would even pay huge amounts of money for them. However, the truth is, all of these motivational guides are useless if you don’t know how to motivate yourself. For example, the speaker at a motivational seminar can simply tell you that you can “overcome your problems using your willpower” or “you can succeed through determination”, but they all mean nothing if you don’t have self-motivation.

This also applies to blogging. I could repeatedly tell you some cheesy quotes to motivate you but it’s pointless if you can’t motivate yourself. Yes, you can use others’ motivational speeches or writings as inspiration if you want, but in the end, you have to rely on yourself. Those who know how to motivate themselves seldom need motivations from others. Continue reading

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Spending Sleepless Nights Creating Student Assessments? 5 Tips to Cut Down Creation Time to Half

This is a guest post by Angela White


It’s funny how people still believe that teachers don’t work on weekends, during spring breaks and over the summer. On a good day, it’s a joke that makes you laugh. But after a long, sleepless night spent reading student essays and grading their assignments, it feels less entertaining and more cruel.

Because a teacher’s job is no laughing matter.

And here’s a thing – when it comes to student assessment, a good teacher knows better than to distribute a dull old test at every module end. Retention of knowledge requires unceasing motivation, and motivation stems from continuous engagement. Education-wise, innovation is always imperative.

This means that creating student assignments is a process of ideation in its own right. The format and type should not only be suitable to the material that’s being assessed and to the level of student knowledge but should also offer a new and stimulating challenge that will keep the students engaged.

Contrary to the popular belief, this is very time-consuming.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to cut that time to half.

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