Annual Readership Decreasing in United States

A member of the Yeshiva Meon Hatorah board in Spring Valley, New York, Lakewood resident Avrahom Joseph enjoys staying active by playing tennis and baseball. Avrahom Joseph, an avid reader, also likes to relax with a good book.

The benefits of reading every day are well documented and range from added knowledge to improved memory. Unfortunately, the portion of Americans who go an entire year without reading a single book has risen dramatically over the past few years.

According to a series of polls conducted by Gallup and Pew, only 8 percent of Americans failed to read a book over the course of 1978. By 1990, that figure had doubled, though the number decreased to 13 percent in 1999 and 2001. However, Pew reported that in 2011, the number of Americans who had not read a single book climbed to 18 percent of the population. In both 2012 and 2014, that figure held at 23 percent, nearly a quarter of the population.

The Americans population’s growing disinterest in literature can be seen in a number of different studies. Following another Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans in 1978 claimed to have read at least 11 books over the past year, with another 17 percent having read between 6 and 10. In 2014, only 28 percent of Americans had read 11 books or more, a number slightly higher than those who had not read at all.

Homo Sapiens

After researching this topic extensively, I found quite a bit of interesting “sidebars” and studies, some of which have merit, but mostly of the ridiculous realm. There are studies suggesting that Homo Sapiens interbred with Neanderthals, and by some biblical scholars, even angels. There is also an odd argument that people with Down Syndromes are not human, as chimpanzees are between 95 and 98.5% genetically similar to humans and Down Syndromes are only 97.87% and cannot mate successfully with humans. Seems odd, but the question of Homo Sapiens breeding with chimpanzees seems to have opened a Pandora’s box of different mindsets and opinions in the human race. Many cannot fathom interbreeding with chimps and find the idea “too hard to stomach”, “ridiculous”, and “a sham”. However, scientists seem to have much proof to the contrary. Our genetic code is so similar to the chimps, that there must have been “hybridization” between the two races. They found that the time from the beginning to the completion of divergence between the two species ranges over more than four million years. In particular, it was found that the X chromosome – which occurs twice in women and once in men – is the youngest part of the genome and was still being modified just before the final split occurred. It would seem that there was inbreeding and then a split after a period of time. However, more recent research shows that there are discrepancies in the closeness of the chimp to the homo sapien, and that they may only be 95% similar which would make a huge difference in the large amount of DNA code tracked. In conclusion, it does seem likely from most of the body of research that was gleaned that some form of inbreeding and then speciation (the separation of one species from another) did occur, but this is not conclusive. What IS clear though, is that this topic is enough of a hot button to create tremendous debate among scholars in both the scientific and ethical arenas.


“The House of Mirth” analysis part one.

Annotated Bibliography


Baker-Sapora, Carol. “Female Doubling: The Other Lily Bart in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism 194 (1993): 371-394. Cengage Learning, Fall 1993. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

In her essay, Female Doubling, Baker-Sapora examines the conflict portrayed in The House of Mirth between the image of women as works of art or decorative objects as opposed to women’s attempts at self-actualization. Lily, the main character is seen throughout the book as a demi-goddess with perfect features and of soaring grace. However, indirectly, the author keeps to her level in women’s society and “doubles” the main character as a female liberator. Similar to the work Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where the main character has a double role, so too in The House of Mirth, Lily’s role is doubled both as a sexual being and as an advancer of women’s independence. I believe that it IS clear from Wharton’s work that the main thrust of the story is Lily’s vying for attention as a human being as opposed to just a sex symbol.

Barnett, Louise K. “Language, Gendre, and Society in The House of Mirth.” Connecticut Review 11.2 (1989): 54-63. Summer 1989. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

In his essay, Barnett posits that The House of Mirth develops the theme that society functions as a character rather than simply a setting against which the story is told. Barnett brings many proofs as such and through many different modes. For example, each stage of Lily’s movement down the social ladder produces a potential male rescuer, and though none is disinterested, none is villainous. Where her former good women friends abandon her, these men reveal themselves reluctant to believe the worst and willing to help her. This theme has been discussed many times from a variety of writers and seems to be a thread through Wharton’s other novels as well.

Blackall, Jean Frantz. “The House of Mirth: Overview.” Reference Guide to American Literature (1994): n. pag. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Wharton draws her title from Ecclesiastes 7:4, “the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Lily is repelled by crudity and ugliness, whether in physical objects or drab lifestyle. But under duress of monetary issues as well as social ambition that she has, Lily is willing to give up that scrutiny. This particular work should most probably have been first in the list of reviews as it is a basic overview of the entire novel. However I felt that due to its’ simplicity it should be of the last to be noted.

Clubbe, John. “Interiors and the Interior Life in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.” Studies in the Novel 28.4 (1996): 543-564. Cengage Learning, Winter 1996. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Clubbe draws upon Wharton’s famous interest in interior design to discuss the correlation in The House of Mirth between Lily’s interior physical environments and the struggling development of her inner life. Wharton established herself as an authority on interiors with her writing of the work- The Decoration of Houses, written with the noted Gilded Age designer Ogden Codman, Jr. From that time forward Wharton’s fine-tuned readings of interior space became a signature aspect of her writings. Clubbe brings numerous proofs to his position on Wharton’s work, and there definitely is some connection between the two. However it is this reviewer’s opinion that the focus of the book was never meant to be in that direction, and that it can be construed mainly as a sidebar of the novel.

Physics Equations

Chapter 1- Components of vectors

  • Distance = Speed * Time
  • Pi = C/D
  • Displacement on right angle = a^2 + b^2 = C^2 SQR of C
  • Tan = Sin/Cos

Chapter 2- Motion with constant acceleration

  • Average velocity = X2 – X1 / T2 – T1
  • Velocity = Displacement / Time, Speed = Distance / Time
  • Instantaneous velocity = slope of tangent line to the curve at that point
  • Average acceleration = V2 – V1 / T2 – T1
  • Instantaneous acceleration = slope of tangent line to the curve at that point
  • Constant acceleration, or Ax = Vx – V0x / T- 0, or V = V0x + AxT
  • Vav, x = V0x + Vx / 2
  • Vav,x (velocity for any time T) = ½(V0x + V0x + Ax+T) = V0x + ½ AxT. Also, Vav,x = X2 – X1 / T2 – T1
  • Position as a function of time when constant acc. = Vox + ½ AxT = X-X0 /T, or X = X0 + V0xT + ½ AxT2
  • Velocity as a function of position when constant acc. Vx2 = V0x2 + 2Ax (X-X0)
  • Position, velocity, and time when constant acc. = X-X0 (total displacement) = V0x + Vx / 2 * T (useful when Ax is not known)
    • Position X = ½ AxT2
    • XA = ½ AxTA2 = TA2 = (TA)2
    • XB = ½ AxTB2 = TB2 = (TB)2
  • Earth g=9.8 m/s2 on moon g= 1.62 m/s2 near sun g= 274 m/s2

Chapter 3- Motion in a plane

  • Velocity in a plane is the same equation as for chapter 2
    • R = √ X2 + Y2
    • Vav = R2 – R1 / T2 – T1
    • Vav,x = change of X / change of T
    • Vav,y = change of Y / change of T
  • Instantaneous velocity in a plane = slope of tangent line to the curve at that point
  • Instantaneous speed = √VX2 + VY2
  • Direction = tan-1 Vy / Vx
  • Average acceleration in a plane = V2 – V1 / T2 – T1
  • A = √Ax2 + Ay2 and theta = tan-1 Ay / Ax
  • Parallel or perpendicular acceleration
  • Projectile motion (equations on page 77)
  • Uniform circular motion (equations on page 86)
  • Relative velocity in a plane (equations on page 88)

Chapter 4- Newton’s laws of motion

  • Forces
  • A= F (magnitude) / m (mass)
  • M= F/A
  • 1N= (1kg)(1m/s2)
  • M1A1 = M2A2
  • Or, M2/M1 = A1/A2
  • ∑Fx = MAx and ∑Fy = MAy
  • W = M*g
  • M = W/g

Chapter 5- Application of Newton’s Laws

  • F (friction force)k = UkN (normal force)
  • Fs ≤ UsN
  • Fspr = -kx (Hooke’s law)

Chapter 6- Circular motion and Gravitation

  • Arad = v2(speed) / R(radius)
  • V(speed) = 2piR (circumference of the circle)/T2
  • Arad= 4piR/T2
  • Fnet=m*(v2/R) (relation of net force to acceleration)
  • Frad= Mv2/R
  • Mg= M(Vmax)2/R, or Vmax= √gR
  • Fgrav= G*(mmE/r2)
  • Decreases by 1/r2 as we get close to center of earth
  • G= 6.674 * 10-11 N * m2/kg2
  • W(weight based on grav from earth) =Fg = G(mmE/RE2)
    • Because mg=w, so mg = G(mmE/RE2)
    • Rearrange and divide by m to give g=(GmE/RE2)
    • Mass of earth = mE = (gRE2/G), and so ME = 5.98 x 1024 kg
  • Weight of an object decreases inversely with the square of its distance from the earth’s center- r=2RE
  • GmmE/R2 = mv2/R, solving for v = √GmE/R
  • V = 2piR/T
  • T=2piR/v = 2piR√R/GmE = 2piR3/2/√GmE
  • Black hole equation (page 178)

Chapter 7- Work and energy

  •    ½ mv2
  •    W= FII(parallel to displacement)s = (Fcos angle)s
  •      Vf2 = Vi2 + 2AS
    • A = (Vf2 – Vi2) / 2S
    • Ftotal = ma = m * (Vf2-i2)/2S
    • Ftotals = ½ MVf2 – ½ MVi2
    • K = ½ MV2
    • Wtotal = Kf – Ki = Delta K
  •    W = F1 delta X1 + F2 delta X2 + F3 delta X3 etc…
  •      F = KX
  •      W = ½ (X)(KX) = ½ KX2
  •      W = ½ KXf2 – ½ KXi2
  •      Wgrav = Ui – Uf = mgyi – mgyf
  •        MgdeltaS cos B = -mgdeltaY
  • Elastic potential energy (page 207)
  • Conservation of energy (page 208-209)
  • Conservative and non-conservative forces (page 212)
  • Power (page 216)

Improving Schooling for Cultural Minorities: The Right Teaching Styles Can Make

A review of the paper: Improving Schooling for Cultural Minorities: The Right Teaching Styles Can Make a Big Difference, would be remiss without quoting Geoffrey D. Borman and Laura T. Rachuba of Johns Hopkins University. To quote: Every child has the capacity to succeed in school and in life. Yet far too many children, especially those from poor and minority families, are placed at risk by school practices that are based on a sorting paradigm in which some students receive high-expectations instruction while the rest are relegated to lower quality education and lower quality futures. The sorting perspective must be replaced by a “talent development” model that asserts that all children are capable of succeeding in a rich and demanding curriculum with appropriate assistance and support.”

The current article being reviewed does not contradict the assertion that minority students receive a poorer education than non-minority students. However, the meaning behind “poorer education” is elucidated somewhat differently. A poor education according to Morgan, is the lack of consideration of teachers and school administrators to perceive and change the method of education that each specific student needs and requires in order to fully develop his or her talents. For example, low self-esteem or cultural differences between students can impact their learning abilities. Different parenting styles can affect the way students learn as well.

For instance, African Americans students tend to be field-dependent: they prefer working together. In contrast, Anglo-American students, who tend to be field-independent, prefer to work alone.

Teachers may believe that treating all students the same way avoids discriminating against any group, but that practice in itself is discriminatory.

This attitude is extremely difficult to replicate in reality according to Morgan. True, requiring all students to follow one style of teaching will favor one group over the other, but on the flip side, the sheer size of cultural diversity in this country makes it difficult for educators to be culturally responsive. However, knowledge of the differences in cultures can certainly add to the educational value of the classroom.

In addition to being culturally receptive to the particular groups in a classroom, each group also needs to learn and develop the skills and values they lack. Students definitely benefit from exposure to other cultures and the variety of value systems and ways of learning. Even so, their school experiences will likely turn negative if they are constantly overwhelmed by those values and teaching methods. There needs to be a balance between the two.

Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen remodeling can be fun… especially when doing it in conjunction with ones spouse. It’s important to note however that you must do all your preparations beforehand or else things can get sticky (take it from someone who’s been there). You must budget and pick out materials as well as finishes before the project begins. If you’re on top of things beforehand the project will go as smoothly as possible. There will (almost) always be glitches and surprises when starting though. For example, we wanted to take down a dividing wall between the kitchen and office to make the kitchen larger. But when we opened the wall there were three air vents going through it! We needed to have them rerouted which cost us a bundle, but at the end it was worth it.