This article originally appeared on 07.10.21
Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!
Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.
Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.
"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."
"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."
The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:
"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."
People were understandably excited by the news.
Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.
Babylonian tablet Plimpton 322 will make studying maths easier, mathematician says http://ab.co/2vuEzuL\u00a0 | @abcnewspic.twitter.com/U10wQ7ZA42— ABC Australia (@ABC Australia) 1503644411
"With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trig. (with) clear advantages over our own."\n@n_wildberger: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/24/mathematical-secrets-of-ancient-tablet-unlocked-after-nearly-a-century-of-study\u00a0\u2026\n#TOK— Roo Stenning (@Roo Stenning) 1503658186
Of course, there were the haters...
Find someone who loves you as much as this guy dislikes a hypothesis about Babylonian math: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/ancient-babylonian-tablet-may-contain-first-evidence-trigonometry\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/c5yO8LmjhE— Miles Brundage (@Miles Brundage) 1503605001
But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.
And we're over here trying to figure out how to do trig with our TI-83s... man I love it when the ancients show what real intelligence is.— Kenny Hayse (@Kenny Hayse) 1503633184
Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!
Here are 17 changes that can have big results.
James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.
"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”
His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.
Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.
A Reddit user named Accomplished-Rough36 was looking to find simple life hacks that can make a big impact so they asked the online forum, “What life hack became your daily routine?” and received more than 5,300 responses. The best answers were simple, effective habits anyone can implement that can yield big benefits.
The Reddit users shared a whole lot of great ideas for dealing with the things we all have a hard time staying on top of such as keeping a clean house, creating good sleep habits and breaking free from technology addiction.
Here are 17 of the best responses to “What life hack became your daily routine?”
"I flip my pill bottles after taking them so I remember if I took them or not. really helps if you take the same pill in morning and at night." — [deleted]
"Sleeping with a pillow between my knees. No more lower back pain." — fiddyk50
"Don’t put it down, put it away.” — arcady
"Washing dishes while cooking. Now it’s at a point where I just do it because I want a clean kitchen." — devatrox
"I bought 24 pairs of the same socks and threw the rest of miss matching ones away. I have a couple 'winter socks' and that’s it." — familiarfate01
When I'm trying to sleep in bed at night I go over what I did that day and think of everything I did in a positive light or as if it's part of a goal I'm working towards. I've never been depressed (or at least diagnosed with it!) but this helps feeling like I've accomplished something and I can feel better about what I've done. Celebrate every little thing you did, and also it helps me fall asleep a little bit faster too." — anderoogigwhore
"Saying 'thank you' instead of apologizing for things that dont need apologies. I'm a chronic apologizer and it's helped a lot. For example, if I have a bad day and vent to my husband, instead of saying 'sorry for venting and bringing down the mood, I'll say 'thank you for listening and being supportive.' It puts a much more appreciative and positive light on your relationships!" — thegracefuldork
"My alarm clock is across the room, requiring me to get out of bed to turn it off. Prevents me from falling back asleep." — soik90
"Posting this too late for anyone to see, but I brush my teeth as part of my daughter's bedtime routine. This keeps me from snacking late at night since my teeth already feel clean and I don't want to mess them up before bed. I've lost about 5 inches from my waist, and it keeps me accountable to brush my teeth before I'm too tired to care." — petethepianist
"A work from home life hack I adopted was using break time from work to do low mental energy chores. Stuff like dusting furniture and vacuuming the pool is a nice break from the mental energy of working and I’m getting stuff done." — drakeallthethings
"Preparing/getting stuff ready the night before. For example:
1. Getting my shoes and putting them by the front of the door
2. Packing my backpack with all the things I'll need for that day
3. Getting my underwear, shirt, pants, etc. out and folding them in a pile
4. Packing lunch(es) for that day
5. No more running around in the mornings looking for stuff on a time crunch! It’s become so much less stressful when I know where everything is and I can just get everything (on) and leave." — KomodoJoe3
"Drink. Water. It's something so simple yet so often ignored. Yeah, it can get annoying at times. I never really want to get up at 3:30am to piss. I don't really want to have to stop on, say, a six-hour drive because I have to pee. But, staying well hydrated helps me feel better, look better, rest better (yeah, there's the 3:30am piss, but that's after three hours of sleep. I didn't toss and turn for three hours before then,) etc. And it will help you live longer. Your organs will thank you." — 2020isanightmare
"If it takes less than a minute, just do it." — evelynmtz821
"If you have to put something down for a bit, like say your phone or glass of water, say out loud, 'I'm putting this ____ here.' I guess that by doing that you engage different parts of you brain and makes it more likely for you to remember where you put something when you need it again." — -eDgaAR-
"Ignoring people I don't want to interact with." — ClubZen
"That moment trick from Deadpool.
I have a bad temper, not going to lie. It felt uncontrollable for a while, but it was just because I was always so quick to react. Like as a kid, if my brother said something that rubbed me the wrong way, the next moment, I was trying to fight my brother without even thinking. Now, if something pisses me off, I catch myself and think about why that thing pissed me off. Nine times out of 10, I'm just being dumb and allowing something dumb to upset me. This helps a lot if you rage in video games. Most of the time if you're raging in a game at someone on your team, you're the problem." — _IraPirate_
"Its amazing how much more i get done when i wake up 2 hours earlier." — TysonGoesOutside
This article originally appeared on 09.08.16
Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.
Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.
Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It's their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.
"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"
A big believer in the idea that our environment has an enormous effect on us, he started thinking big — and way outside the box.
"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"
And that was just the beginning. He also researched sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And carpet that looked like grass. No idea was off-limits.
What he came up with was a truly unique memory-care facility. And after testing the concept in Lantern's Madison, Ohio, facility, Makesh is opening two new locations this year.
All photos courtesy of Lantern
Some studies have shown that this kind of aromatherapy may indeed have some merits for improving cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients.
There's even a little "main street" where residents can gather.
The insides of the rooms aren't too shabby, either.
Makesh said one of the frustrating shortcomings of most nursing facilities is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by throwing antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications at patients. In other words, when someone has severe dementia, we often give up on them. From there, they stop getting the engagement their brain needs to thrive.
But Makesh's project shows that when we think strategically about altering the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential self-care and hygiene skills, the near-impossible becomes possible.
"In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment," he said. "In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."
He knows it's a lofty goal. And whether he'll meet it remains to be seen. But in the meantime, he's proud to own one of the few places that offers something pretty rare in cases of severe dementia: hope.