Science Says Participation Trophies Are a Big Win for the Little Ones

The pee-wee soccer season has come to an end and the Red Dragons squad of 5-year-olds has gathered with their parents for the team party. Just a couple of hours earlier, they were locked in combat with the Incredible Hulks, swarming the YMCA field like crimson and forest green bumblebees, chasing a ball that sometimes, by sheer chance, found its way into an unguarded goal. And not always the right one, but no matter … no one was keeping score.

A few of the Dragons were budding stars, stealing the ball from opponents, dribbling up field and repeatedly depositing it in the goal. Some tried, but were either overpowered or not ready for prime time, opting to pass to a more competitive teammate and get out of harm’s way. Still others picked flowers or chased butterflies, clearly not battle ready.

But one by one, between the cheese pizza and sheet cake, each Red Dragon came forward, hearing kind words from their coach about hard work and potential and love for the game.

And each of them — the stars, the kids who tried and failed, and those who chased butterflies — got a trophy.

Who knew that awarding a four-inch plastic figurine with a soccer ball for a head would generate controversy? But lately, the time-honored practice of handing out “participation trophies” to children who have played youth sports has come under fire in the media as one of the ways America’s children are being coddled. Rewarding our kids for showing up, practicing, even trying, regardless of whether they win or lose, sends the message that losing is acceptable. It is not about trying your best, goes the argument. It’s about winning. Period.

Best Effort Not Enough, Says NFL’s Harrison

Most recently, this was the message of Pittsburgh Steelers —> Read More

Cold Fusion Heats Up: Fusion Energy and LENR Update


The world faces a grim future if we do not immediately rein in consumption of fossil fuels. Risks include rising sea levels, more frequent extreme temperatures, flooding, drought and conflicts among human societies. An eventual sea level rise of 6 meters now seems pretty much assured. Additionally, July 2015 is now officially the hottest single month in recorded history.

In spite of these truly sobering developments, some are seeing rays of hope. Prices of solar photovoltaic panels have dropped considerably. Observers predicted in 2000 that wind-generated power worldwide would reach 30 GWatts by 2010; it exceeded 200 GWatts, and by 2014 it was 370 GWatts. These developments have led some, such as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, to be cautiously optimistic.

Nonetheless, there is still an enormous gap between current carbon consumption and where we need to be (some argue that we must zero out carbon emissions altogether, and soon). While solar photovoltaic and wind systems are a great boon for green energy, nonetheless they still are reliant on the whims of weather and geography. And as for battery systems, in spite of advances such as those reported by Elon Musk, they are far from being a practical means for utility-scale storage of electrical energy.

Fusion energy?

Against this backdrop, some have been taking another look at fusion energy, the energy that powers the sun. Fusion, unlike fission reactions used in conventional nuclear reactors, need not emit dangerous radiation, nor do they produce radioactive byproducts.

Scientists have been feverishly working for decades to develop a practical way to contain this energy, which traditionally is thought to mean that we must confine some hydrogen (or deuterium) fuel, either in a “magnetic bottle” or by inertial confinement, then heat it to millions of degrees Celsius. Despite the expenditure, over sixty years, —> Read More

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