Today I taught kindergarten

Today I taught 22 kindergartners about the thawing arctic. These children are mostly 6-years-old. Symbolically, the route that ArcticRow rowed was frozen until 6 years ago. A clear example of global warming. These kindergartners just completed a lesson on the Arctic.

My companies’ non-profit arm, the VMware Foundation, provided lunch bags to demonstrate the lesson of reuse+recycle. When you’re six years old, lunch bags double as hats.

Jasmine Sheldon (teacher at left above) and I improvised activities on the thawing Arctic.

  • We used inflatable globes to visualize the arctic ocean
  • We drew an outline of the 30-foot Arctic Rowboat in chalk on the ground
  • We sat in the chalk-shaped rowboat and mimicked rowing faster to escape polar bears and dodge ice bergs
  • We asked them to use reusable lunch bags instead of single-use bags–a tangible action

Here are pictures to give a sense for my experience.

“We rowed an ocean that was frozen 6 years ago.”

“The Arctic Ocean is here.”


“What Arctic animals will be hurt if the ice melts?”


Here, Ella Zimman helps me hand-out VMware Foundation re-usable lunch bags. Her father recruited me into VMware.

“Our rowboat was shaped like this.”

“What does rowing look like?”


“If the ice melts, where will the seals go?”

A shout-out to the people at The VMware Foundation (Nicola, Jesse and Betsy). They are super nice, support VMware employees that volunteer in the community and they donated the reusable VMware Foundation lunch bags. Thank you!

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Studies On Happiness

Good studies on happiness:

Stumbling On Happiness, Book.

Most important points of this book:
  1. Happiness is not as good as we imagine it, nor is unhappiness as bad as we imagine it. Neither lasts as long as we think they will
  2. We exaggerate the long- term emotional effects certain events will have on us.
  3. People will do things that make them happy.
  4. The most creative people are those who are unhappy and thus strive to change the world.
  5. Most of us have a basic level of happiness which we revert to eventually.
  6. People repeat the same errors in imagining what will make them happy.
  7. People rationalize unhappy outcomes to make them more acceptable.
  8. Events we dread may turn into new opportunities for happiness.

$60K A Year Can Make You Happy,  Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman


Psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman says millions of dollars won’t buy you happiness, but a job that pays $60,000 a year might help. Happiness levels increase up to the $60K mark, but “above that it’s a flat line,” he said. “Money does not buy you experiential happiness but lack of money certainly buys you misery,” he said. But the real trick, Kahneman said, is to spend time with people you like.

Dr Mike Pratt, Academic.

His top 10 list of happiness drivers:

  1. Progress towards meaningful goals using ‘signature strengths’ contributes significantly to happiness.
  2. Happy people take time to do things that give them pleasure.
  3. Quality time with friends and family is top of the happiness list.
  4. Doing altruistic things for others creates enduring happiness.
  5. Expressing gratitude enhances your own wellbeing and that of the recipient.
  6. People quickly adapt to material advances.
  7. Beyond satisfaction of needs, more money does not make people significantly happier.
  8. Positive experiences tend to provide more enduring happiness than tangible purchases (social benefits).
  9. We get little enduring pleasure from short cuts.
  10. Regular exercise increases happiness.

Well-Being Is Related to Substantive Conversations, Journal Article.


Results were consistent with prior research (Diener & Seligman, 2002) in that higher well-being was associated with spending less time alone, and more time talking to others. Further, higher well-being was associated with having less small talk, and having more substantive conversations. For example, compared with the unhappiest participants, the happiest participants spent about 25% less time alone and about 70% more time talking. They also had roughly one third as much small talk and twice as many substantive conversations.

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