Is there a scientific formula for finding satisfying work?

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Is finding the sort of work that is right for you a matter of applying a scientific formula? Whatever helps I say, but much of the science here seems more like common sense.

Given that perceptions of common sense vary considerably however, taking a structured approach might be a better option though.

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An interview with a con artist

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

I imagine that a con artist with a conscience, maybe one who sees themselves as a Robin Hood of sorts, is better than one with no scruples at all. Maybe.

GM had agreed to do an in-person interview the next morning at a coffee shop of his choosing, one with “good escape routes and foot traffic, so I can disappear if I feel you are not being forthcoming.” He would approach me, he said, and he promised not to do anything slick. In his emails, he presented himself as principled – a Robin Hood-type who used cons to teach manners to the greedy.

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The combat gear of British soldiers since 1066

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

Photo by Thom Atkinson

I was into the knights of old when I was a kid, so this photo series, by Thom Atkinson, of combat outfits worn by British soldiers from 1066 through to today, was absorbing to say the least.

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How is it that our typos can often evade us?

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

From time to time, while looking back on older posts here, I find myself cringing when I find a typo, be it a missed word, or a spelling mistake. And all the more so when the faux pas was made years ago…

I’m left wondering how such errors could have slipped by, given I write everything in a word processor that spell checks, and then copy and paste the article into a web browser that likewise spell checks, usually a day or so later. I’ve long figured that not looking at a piece of writing for a time makes typos easier to spot later on.

So much for that proof reading technique then. Well, not really. Part of the problem in error checking comes about, it seems, from a conflict with what our eyes see, compared to what we think we should see:

When we’re proof reading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.

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In space no one can sleep… or rather sleep all that well

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

Crews aboard long haul space flights, such as trips to Mars, should one, be introverts, and two, be possessed of the gene variant that allows them to function on less sleep than others since space, it seems, is not particularly conducive to slumber

Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the ISS and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night’s rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night.

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Will driver-less motorbikes also soon be taking us for a ride?

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

We all know that driver-less cars, if they are not already cruising the streets near you, will be soon. And I guess if we’re going to have cars sans drivers, it makes sense that there will one day be driver-less motorbikes as well.

But for what purpose though? Automated courier, or pizza, deliveries perhaps?

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Chocolate LEGO bricks… is this really a good idea though?

Monday, 18 August, 2014

Chocolate LEGO brick

Chocolate LEGO by Akihiro Mizuuchi… actually I’m surprised they didn’t come along sooner. Maybe they have, but just didn’t last very long?

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Having a great time living off the grid, wish you were here

Monday, 18 August, 2014

While trekking about some little way from the beaten track in the north of Portugal, in bush in the vicinity of Peneda-Gerês National Park once, I happened upon an expatriate American who was determined to make a go of living off the land there.

Home was an abandoned, and somewhat dilapidated caravan, and he told me of a plan to start farming livestock as a source of both food and income. I often wonder how he fared, or, who knows, still fares. At least he couldn’t be faulted for the location he’d chosen.

So what is life like for those who decide to live on the fringe, off the grid, and far from the rest of society? French photographer Antoine Bruy has spent the last two years going around Europe, looking for, and photographing, people doing exactly this, for his “Scrublands” photo series.

I think it’s fair to say that the lifestyle is not for those who enjoy their creature comforts…

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Could you condition yourself to go without shampoo?

Monday, 18 August, 2014

While the notion of a single, global, time zone is something I could quite easily get my head around, the thought of ditching shampoo and conditioner, something that appears to make an equal amount of sense, would be another matter entirely.

Left to its own devices or washed with natural substitutes, the scalp eventually theoretically returns to its natural balance, producing enough oil to keep hair soft and smooth without the associated grease-slick. The oils produced by the scalp – notably sebum – keep the shaft of the hair clean, smooth and protected, performing the role of “shampoo and conditioner” far more effectively than the manufactured alternatives. The upshot should be healthier hair that is stronger, thicker and fuller as it is less damaged than shampooed hair.

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Politeness, a social virtue worth preserving

Monday, 18 August, 2014

It’s possible to be too polite sometimes, but I think a little more is better than not enough:

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

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