Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 5, 2006

“A Shining Example”

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:00 pm

Mark in Mexico reports:

This is an unbelievable story. Shoeshiner Albert Lexie, in 24 years, has donated $100,000 to the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – from his tips. The man only makes about $10,000 a year and donates another $10,000 to the hospital. What’s more, he’s got his own website.

Think about that for a moment. He makes $20,000 a year and gives half of it to the hospital, every year, year-in and year-out. Kind of makes Bill and Melinda Gates look like a couple of pikers, doesn’t it?

Not to mention you and I.

From the news story:

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ — Shoeshiner Albert Lexie has achieved a remarkable milestone, raising more than $100,000 for the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh by donating tips from his business over the last two dozen years.

Children’s held a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006, to recognize Lexie’s commitment to the patients of Children’s. …

Lexie, a 64-year-old Monessen, Pa., resident, has been shining shoes at Children’s since 1982 and accepting tips from customers on behalf of “his kids,” as Lexie refers to the patients at Children’s. Charging $3 per shine, Lexie donates all tips to Children’s Free Care Fund, which ensures that all children receive medical care, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

At age 15, Lexie built a shoeshine box in high school shop class. He now uses that same box to shine shoes at Children’s every Tuesday and Thursday. On those days he makes the trip by bus from his hometown to Oakland, leaving home at 5:50 a.m. and arriving at the hospital at 7:25 a.m. In addition to shining shoes at Children’s, Lexie travels to Salomon Smith Barney in Pittsburgh and the business districts of Charleroi, Donora, Monessen and Monongahela to offer his services. His yearly income is only about $10,000, and he donates roughly $10,000 a year to the Free Care Fund.

Lexie was recognized in 2001, receiving an Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the organization’s Western Pennsylvania Chapter. In 1997, he received a Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen. He also has been recognized by several Rotary organizations in the Monongahela Valley.

To read more about Albert or to make an online donation to his fund- raising effort, please visit Children’s Web site at www.chp.edu, or call 412- 586-6310 or 877-CHP-GIVE. Visit Albert’s personal Web site at www.kevweb.com/albert/index.htm.

Standard Atomic Weights Revised

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:37 am

I’m a little late on this, but I’ll bet most readers will not have heard this news yet. This comes to us from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which announced in its “News and Notices” in late 2005 that:

Standard Atomic Weights Revised

The Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (II.1) met for two days, on 10-11 August 2005, during the 43rd IUPAC General Assembly in Beijing. Following its meeting, the Commission released the changes to the standard atomic weights, Ar(E), of 16 chemical elements. The following changes are based on new determinations of isotopic abundances and reviews of previous isotopic abundances and atomic masses:

From To
Aluminium 26.981 538 (2) 26.981 5386 (8)
Bismuth 208.980 38 (2) 208.980 40 (1)
Caesium 132.905 45 (2) 132.905 4519 (2)
Cobalt 58.933 200 (9) 58.933 195 (5)
Gold 196.966 55 (2) 196.966 569 (4)
Lanthanum 138.9055 (2) 138.905 47 (7)
Manganese 54.938 049 (9) 54.938 045 (5)
Neodymium
144.24 (3)
144.242 (3)
Phosphorus 30.973 761 (2) 30.973 762 (2)
Platinum
195.078 (2)
195.084 (9)
Samarium
150.36 (3)
150.36 (2)
Scandium 44.955 910 (8) 44.955 912 (6)
Sodium 22.989 770 (2) 22.989 769 28 (2)
Tantalum
180.9479 (1)
180.947 88 (2)
Terbium 158.925 34 (2) 158.925 35 (2)
Thorium 232.0381 (1) 232.038 06 (2)

The values are presented in a concise notation whereby the standard uncertainty is given in parenthesis next to the least significant digits to which it applies; for example, Ar(Al) = 26.981 538 (2) is the concise form of the expression Ar(Al) = 26.981 538 ± 0.000 002

These changes in the atomic weights will be published in a new Table of Standard Atomic Weights 2005, which will be submitted for publication in Pure and Applied Chemistry by the end of 2005. The commission also continued its review of publications of variations in the natural isotopic abundances. For more details about the Commission meeting in Beijing, see Chem. Int.Nov/Dec 2005 issue, Division Roundups on p. 7, or contact Michael E. Wieser <mwieser@ucalgary.ca>, secretary of the Commission.

If you need a new Periodic Table of the Elements, you can download the official IUPAC table here.

And, keep checking back here at Different River for other important updates!

A Modern Vashti?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:23 am

Here’s a very interesting article by David Yeagley:

Anyone familiar with Biblical history will immediately think of Vashti, Shahbanou of ancient Persia, wife and queen of Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes). Ahasuerus reigned at the apogee of the Achaemanid era, ruling 127 provinces from Indian to Ethiopia. Vashti, however, like a modern Iranian woman, stood up for her rights one day in the mid-5th century BC. (See, Esther 1:1-22; 2: 1-4). Her beauty was transcendent, but she refused to be displayed as a mere object of wonder. Her independence cost her the throne [and her life --DR], but, she is remembered as one of the first women’s rights advocates in history. She set a grand pace for all women thereafter.

I call it objectivity. Vashti was not a slave to her own beauty, nor to the power it inevitably wielded. She was independent. Persians have always been known for objectivity. Only now, under the iron cowl of Islam, do they fail in their ancient, lofty status.

Today, coming out from under that cowl, we find Iranian women first in line in reform. Women’s rights are being defined in the Muslim world by Iranian women. Even the luri, the Persian gypsy women, often dispense with the veil. And now we have the trauma experience by the Persian pop singer, Deeyah. She is pushing the envelope, so to speak, as she strips off her hijob (robes) in a rock video. “The Muslim Madonna,” she is called. Another riot on the way? (A rather primitive expression of freedom on her part, perhaps.)

However, I look for a Vashti among them. It is a little early yet. Iranian women are only now rediscovering their powers of beauty. It will take a few generations for a Vashti to evolve from them. But when she does, she will once again hold beauty in its proper sphere–under her own control. She will not be a slave of attractions, or the servant of attention, or a puppet of the business. She will have deeper, more transcendent values. She will be in control, even to her own hurt. She will sacrifice to uphold truth. She will not think of herself, but of all women.

I wonder if he knows how timely this is — not just from the standpoint of world affairs, but fromthe standpoint of the Jewish calendar. The Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the events that began with the incident above, is about a week and a half away.

A Clever Word Puzzle

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:06 am

Pat Sajak (yes, that Pat Sajak) has a blog. Normally, he posts about odd things in life, politics, interesting trivia — the sorts of things most bloggers post about. But now, he has a word puzzle, and since he’s rather famous for a type of word puzzle at which he makes his living, this has a little extra zing to it.

Here it is.

Hint: If you are Jewish, think “Ashrei.” Or any number of piyyutim, but not all of them.

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