June Recap

In case you missed a post or two this month, here’s a quick recap of what I wrote about during the month of June:

Questions I Asked –

How Does A Calculator Work? – They rely on chips and string. Throw in a random penny or two and you would have the exact same thing I find when looking between my couch cushions.

How Are Social Security Numbers Assigned? – Answer: Randomly. But that wasn’t always the case.

Who Was The 1st NBA Draft Pick – On the eve of the NBA Draft we look back to an old Wonder Why Wednesday.

What Is New Car Smell? – The answer is very complex answer, but I have come up with a way to simplify it so we can always remember. It uses a comparison to the Fast and the Furious movies.


Things We Learned –

How much we would pay to avoid regret – Imagine a life where fear is not a problem. You are not looking back, so the last thing you worry about is regret.What do you think that experience would cost? How much would you pay to avoid regret? Dr. Hi Po Bobo Lau from the University of Hong Kong set out to find that answer.

Why now is a good time to start – There is a workout class I attend every week and every week one woman, let’s call her Betty White, shows up 30 minutes late. The class is one hour long, so she misses half of the workout. The class begins at 5pm. She gets there at 5:30pm. Always. Here’s what I learned about that.

More evidence that now is a good time to start – A client once gave me the task of reading through all the reviews of their products. No, they didn’t want to show off with how many five stars they had received. They wanted me to search through the reviews and mark which ones would be helpful to others who were looking to buy their basketball DVDs and training videos. Here’s what I learned about that.

What the NBA Finals would look like if it were a Disney movie – I came up with some examples of who the NBA Finals stars would be if they were Disney characters. Check it out.

Forgetting things may not be a bad thing – But if this is true, why am I not Albert Einstein.

Maury C. Moose needs your help – Find out how you can lend a hand to your favorite pun-loving moose.


Fun With Numbers –

5 Famous Sayings Reworked With A Modern Twist – Which one is your favorite?

10 Things I Would Tell My High School Self – What would you tell yourself back in high school?

5 Good Things – Having a rough week? Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Looking for a little pick me up? Here are 5 good things going on in our world.

3 Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors – The latest thing I wish I wrote.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Internet – Turns out the internet is pretty impressive.

Who Wants To Help?

I am working on a new Maury C. Moose book and I need your help. Specifically, I need help from 3rd-5th grade kids.

Do you know anyone in this age range? You do? Great. Ask them these questions:

  • Would they be interested in receiving a sneak peek of a story no other readers will get to see yet?
  • Do they want to help shape a new children’s book?
  • Are they just so bored that they will agree to anything?

If they answered yes to any of those questions, I would love their help. Send me an email to adam(at)maurycmoose.com or post a comment in the section below and I will give you more information.

This is a great way to have your child learn about the book writing process and at the same time make the next Maury C. Moose book the best it can be.



What Is New Car Smell?

Our sense of smell is an impressive thing.

We smell a certain perfume and it triggers powerful memories of our grandmother’s house from 30 years ago. We get a whiff of fresh baked cookies and our mouths start to water. Smell even works as an alarm for when it is time to do laundry, thanks to a quick sniff of our shirt.

One minute our sense of smell has the ability to draw us close to something, like a strong cup of coffee, and the next minute it can make us want to run away, or as Pumbaa from The Lion King says, “clear the savannah.”

There is one smell that I have always wondered about. One particular scent that I can’t quite put my finger on. It evokes an image of an unblemished pile of metal and it has become a top seller in the fragrance market.

I’m talking about new car smell.

What exactly is it? And why is it unique to cars? As far as I know, people aren’t buying new house or new shoe air fresheners. What is it about the scent that comes with shiny plastic seats on a Ford Taurus that we love so much?

Let’s find out…

Wonder Why Wednesday: Where Does New Car Smell Come From?

According to Wikipedia, “New car smell is the odor that comes from the combination of materials found in new automobiles.”

Thanks a lot Wikipedia. Yes, I guess I should have expected that, but I was looking for something a little more in-depth.

After some more digging, it turns out that the long answer involves a lot more science. Compound Interest explains with the following graphic:


That seems like a very complex answer, but I have come up with a way to simplify it so we can always remember.

The smell created by Xylenes and Trimethylbenzenes is just like the Fast and the Furious movies. Both are attached to new cars and people love them, despite the fact that they may lead to headaches, sensory irritations and minor allergic responses.

If This Is True, Why Am I Not Albert Einstein?

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have a terrible memory. I can’t remember names, stories from my past or historical events.  There are only two things that I am good at remembering:

1)Where NBA players went to college

2)The theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

I used to think this lack of memory was hurting my intelligence, but now, thanks to new research, I realize that it may be making me a genius.

A Science Alert article with the title Forgetting Things Could Actually Be Making You Smarter  makes the following statement:

bouts of forgetfulness could be caused by a safety mechanism in the brain designed to make sure we’re not overloaded with information. In other words, it’s a healthy part of the brain’s operation.”

The research suggests that our brains may actually want us to have a poor memory. By forgetting we let go of memories we don’t need which can help us adjust to new situations. Forgetting also allows us to make decisions about new events by generalizing past events.

Blake Richards, a researcher from the University of Toronto in Canada, says,

If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision.”

This is great, except for the fact that I have both a terrible memory and a hard  time making informed decisions. Thanks a lot, brain.

If you are interested in the entire article, you can check it our here.

How Are Social Security Numbers Assigned?

There are a few benchmarks that show you have become an adult.

Your friends have started getting married and having babies. You’ve Googled the phrase, “what is a 401K?” And your back just starts to hurt for no reason.

I am sure you can come up with a dozen other examples. One thing that I clearly remember signaling I was becoming an adult was when I had my social security number memorized.

As a teenager I used to carry a sticky note in my wallet that had my social security number on it. That was for the few times I had to know that number on a job application or a drivers test or something.

That probably wasn’t the smartest idea but back then I was too dumb to know of the threat of identity theft and plus, I didn’t really know why a social security number was so important.

Somewhere throughout the years, my use of the social security number became so frequent that I no longer needed that sticky note. I had memorized that nine digit number.

I remember being impressed that I could memorize such a long number and important number. Congratulations to me.

I guess that was my brain’s way of saying, “Welcome to adulthood!”

Even though I have the number memorized I know little more about it than when I was carrying that sticky note in my wallet. Where did that number come from? Was it my dad’s lucky number or did my mom just think it had a “nice ring to it?” Did we pick that number or did that number pick me?

Let’s find out in today’s Wonder Why Wednesday…

How Are Social Security Numbers Assigned?

Answer: Randomly. But that wasn’t always the case.

According to the Social Security Administration, social security numbers are now issued via a process called “randomization.” This is a fairly recent change, dating back to just June 25, 2011. So if you are reading this, you are either a great reader for your age or you had your social security number assigned through the previous process.

The nine-digit SSN dates back to 1936, when it was created to track workers’ earning throughout their life. The SSN begins with a three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number, and ending with the four-digit serial number.

Beginning in 1972, the area number was dictated by the state you were born in. However, as the population grew, the SSN assignment process couldn’t keep up with the number of SSNs needed for people from each state.

Thus the need for randomization. Today, there is no geographical significance of the first three digits.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Internet

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about an object we so clearly use everyday that I can’t believe I haven’t covered it already…the Internet.

Yes, the internet. You know, that thing I’m using right now to write this, and you’re using right now to read this. It is something we’ve become so attached to that I recently heard someone comment that he hopes his niece is born with WIFI, since he will be spending a lot of time with her. I doubt that will happen, but I also doubt it will prevent him from finding another way to get online.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Internet

1. Don’t Become A Dinosaur

I think it might be an Internet law that when you talk about a website that fell from grace, you have to mention MySpace. You probably know about how MySpace took the Internet by storm in the 2000s only to fall by the wayside and see sites like Facebook and Twitter pass it by. There are plenty of other examples like Hotbot, Ask Jeeves or Crumble-ology. Okay, I might have made up that last one, but it definitely sounds like something that would have been online at some point.

Are we becoming the MySpace of our profession? Are we destined to be the Crumble-ology of our craft? (Actually now that I think of it, Crumble-ology sounds like something you would study in culinary school). To avoid a similar fall of the face of the earth, we need to be constantly evolving. Learn a new skill. Take up a new hobby. Enroll in a Crumble-ology course. Anything to keep on, keeping on.

2. Everyone Has A Voice

Imagine what the Internet would look like if only a select few could add to it. Sure it might still be interesting, but it wouldn’t be nearly as great. You might get awesome sites like ESPN.com, but you wouldn’t be able to hear random dudes make up words like Crumble-ology (that is the last reference, I promise). My point is, the Internet is so great because we never know who is going to chime in with the next great idea.

When we are chasing our dream it is important to keep our ears open. We can be so narrow minded that we forget that everyone has a voice. We may bypass a helpful idea because we are not listening to the speaker.

3. Even The Best Things Can Seem Scary

I fear many things, but the World Wide Web is not one of them. But you’d be surprised just how many people think are afraid of the Internet. They think every email is out to steal their identity. Just hearing the words, “open a new window in your browser,” makes giant butterflies dance around in their stomach.

There are many great things out there, but for each one I am sure you can find someone afraid of it. I may laugh at someone’s fear of the Internet while at the same time being ashamed to acknowledge my own fear making new friends. In life, as online, even the best things can seem scary. Our ability to step into that fear helps shape just how great that thing can be.

4. Even With Convenience, We Get Lazy

I have a friend who teaches high school Biology. He told me he has one rule when his students write a report. You can’t rely solely on Wikipedia. He is not some crazy anti-Wikipedia nut job who spends his evenings concocting a potion with the hopes of destroying the online encyclopedia. He is simply trying to teach his kids to explore the internet and find multiple sources. He even explains that if they are afraid of venturing too far from Wikipedia, they can use the sources footnotes on the site. They barely have too look for other resources, yet time and time again he receives papers that simply cite Wikipedia.

As we go after our goals, we might get lazy. Despite having an enormous amount of resources – talents, friends, education – we get caught looking for the easy way. Much like my friend’s students we look in one area for all the answers. We need to not be afraid to look around and see what else this world has to offer.

5. Too Much Information Is Overwhelming

There is so much to learn from — and on — the Internet that I probably could have titled this list 1,000 Things We Can Learn From The Internet. But that would have been too much. The readers would be overwhelmed and probably wouldn’t make it through the first 20. Just because we can go on and on, doesn’t mean we have to.


3 Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors

Many times, I will read something online and immediately think, “that was great, I wish I wrote it.” I may not have written it, but I can still share it. Here’s the latest…

Three Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors by Jason Marsh

If you have read this blog before you know that I enjoy basketball and learning things from other things. This post from Greater Good combines both of those things I am fond of.

Marsh authors a great piece that explains why the NBA Champions are a case study in mindfulness, empathy, and cooperation. Check it out and learn

  1. Good things happen when you focus on the present.
  2. Empathic joy feels better than selfish joy.
  3. Cooperation is key to getting ahead.

Three Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors by Jason Marsh

5 Good Things

Having a rough week? Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Looking for a little pick me up?

Here are 5 good things going on in our world…

  1. 11-Year-Old Born Without Hands and Legs Throws First Pitch at Yankees Game -11-year-old Landis Sims, a die-hard New York Yankees fan, who was born without hands and legs, delivered a great pitch before Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles. According to his mom, this is just another example of his “Watch me. I can do this, and don’t tell me I can’t,” attitude.
  2. Little Ceasers Staff Saves Tips For Months To Send Nigerian Coworker Home To See Family -It’s been five years since 22-year-old Samuel Nzube, an Algoma University student in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has been home to see his family in Nigeria.But that’s all about to change thanks to the kindness of his coworkers at Little Caesars.
  3. Girl, 12, uses ‘Hunger Games’ first aid to save friend – Just one more reason to read a book.
  4. Ohio teen rescues 4-year-old on first day as a lifeguard – Jack Viglianco says he was 20 minutes into his shift at a Lakewood swimming pool Thursday when he heard the boy calling for help. The 15-year-old jumped into the water and helped the child to safety.
  5. Doggy dropout gets regal new job – Gavel the puppy was facing a tough change when he flunked out of police dog academy for being too sociable. See what he did next.

10 Things I Would Tell My High School Self

This morning I spoke at a high school entrepreneur class. In addition to speaking about my children’s book, I tried to give them advice based on what I would say if I had a time machine and could talk to myself back in high school.

If you got the opportunity to tell your high school self 10 things, what would you say?

Here is what I said.