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The habits of gratitude

So I'm going to be really obvious and talk about gratitude...First of all: thanks to all our readers! I always look forward to reading your comments, which are guaranteed to be full of expertly hewn gems of facts, wisdom, and hilarity. There's that lovely Meister Eckhart quote: If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice. But in the latter day of all sorts of spiritual maxims, there are more than a few outspoken factions who support the ritualized giving of thanks daily, and consider the state of gratitude to be very powerful. Some people compose daily lists (which I've done), ZenChill recommends a more fleshed-out gratitude journal, and others carry gratitude rocks (haven't done), and some people, like Masaru Emoto, who, you may have heard by now, channels messages through water crystals (the one pictured is the result of a piece of paper reading "thank you" taped to a glass of water overnight; you can check out the results of the negative messages on his site). And of course if you've seen What the #$*! Do We Know!? you're familiar with the Marlee Matlin scene in which she Sharpees "I love you" and "Thank you" all over her body. I do think it's easier to rap off "hey--thanks!" than it is to truly inspire a state of gratitude. Do you have a ritual that helps trigger gratitude?

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History
A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room
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The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.

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