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Stroll like an Alpha 0:10-1:40

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Calm Bottle (aka Glitter Jar, aka Mind Jar)

Supplies

  • Container: This is typically made with a glass mason jar, but since I often make these with children I use water bottles with smooth sides.
  • One bottle of clear glue (not white glue that dries clear), or glitter glue: I like using regular glue so I don’t have to deal with the hot water since I make these in my office. Glue/glitter glue works best, but you could also use corn syrup if that’s all you have (You have to pour it directly in the water without letting it touch the sides of the bottle or the glitter will stick to it).
  • Water: It can be room temperature if you use regular glue but should be hot if glitter glue is used. If the water is not hot enough then the glitter will become clumpy and separate.
  • Glitter: I use mostly super fine glitter with a little regular sized. I sometimes add sequins, beads, shells, plastic jewels, etc. Glow in the dark glitter looks really cool if you can find it. Less (or even none) is needed if glitter glue was used.
  • Food coloring: This is optional. Only use one drop or it becomes difficult to see the glitter.
  • Strong glue or duct tape: This is used to fasten the lid to the container. I like using colored duct tape.

Directions

  • Making a Calm Bottle (clear glue): Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water. Then add the glue (and shake) and glitter (and shake). I use a funnel for the glitter. The more glue you use, the longer it will take the glitter to settle. I usually use the whole bottle. Add 1 drop of food coloring, if desired, and then glue/tape the lid on.
  • Making a Calm Bottle (glitter glue): Instead of clear glue you can use glitter glue. If you go this rout then mix the glitter glue in a bowl with very hot water (I boil the water) before adding it to the bottle. If the water is not hot enough then the glue will clump up and not work. You can add 1 drop of food color and additional glitter is desired.
  • Using a Calm Bottle: This is a sensory activity that I primarily use with clients who have temper tantrums. If child becomes emotionally dysregulated at an inappropriate time they shake the bottle vigorously and then set it down and watch the glitter fall while taking deep breaths (how to teach deep breathing to children can be found here) and sitting with their anger (Ahn’s Anger is a good book for teaching this).  This is also useful as a timer that can be applied to a variety of issues (ex. homework breaks).
  • Important Note: I have noticed many people using these for anxiety and panic attacks (without the guidance of a therapist) and I wanted to emphasize that while this could be useful in certain specific situations, it should not be used to avoid dealing with underlying issues.  This exercise will do nothing to get to the root cause or prevent it from happening in the future (and has the potential to make things worse).  Fear must be confronted, rather than avoided, for lasting change to take place.  
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Calming Jellyfish Jar: I have met many people who report being calmed by thoughts of the ocean/beach, and this an especially effective “calm jar” for them.  This goes well with the ocean breaths deep breathing technique I featured here.  This can also be a tool to teach about flexibility, going with the flow, and being adaptable in situations you don’t have control over.

Supplies: Large waterbottle (ex. smart water), 1 drop food coloring, water, plastic bag (like the kind you put veggies in at the grocery store)

Click here for a photo tutorial on how to create this jellyfish jar.  I haven’t tried adding corn syrup and glitter to one but that could potentially look really cool if it works.

See my Calm Bottle for a similar post

An invisible force at the center of our galaxy


Scientists have theorized that our Milky Way galaxy has a super massive black hole at the center of it, but how did this idea come about?  How do astronomers measure something that has actually never been seen in our telescopes?

Above is an animation of star movements in our galaxy over the past 16 years.  They all orbit around a point that emits no light in our galaxy.  We can measure the mass of these stars and calculate that their orbits require an object with the mass of 4 million Suns.  So far this points to a super massive black hole in our galaxy.

Read more about how galaxies obtain these supermassive objects →

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A peanut in the middle of our galaxy


It turns out that the center of our galaxy resembles the shape of a peanut according to new research.  UCLA’s R. Michael Rich is looking to map this dense inner region of the Milky Way. It can be thought of as a big metropolitan area with “stellar suburbs” of stars at the edges that can be anywhere from a few million years old to some 12 billion years old.

The way he plans to do this is to use images taken from a 500 megapixel camera - To put that in another way, an image taken from this camera would need 250 computer screens to view. So a supercomputer will then parse through that data and reduce the images for viewing.

Rich hopes to use this study to better understand how our galaxy has formed and evolved over time.

Read more about the project →

First, when a white person claims to be the victim of racism, what they are really doing is expressing their fears that their privileges might be taken away. Second, they are saying that they experience the same form of oppression that people of color face. Sorry to break it to you, but there is no system that actively works to oppress and subjugate white people in order to treat them as inferior. To say that a white person has experienced racism just like any person of color assumes that the playing field was level to begin with.
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