Why I do look the fairest of them all in the bathroom mirror?

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015

Ever wondered why you seem to look different, that is to say, better, when looking at your reflection in a bathroom mirror, as opposed to other reflective surfaces, and even photographs? It could be that hand basins, or vanity counters, have rather a lot to do with it.

This may go someway to explaining why many selfies are taken in bathrooms.

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Boredom, a tedious way to bolster creativity

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015

Thankfully I rarely experience bouts of boredom. There’s always something going wrong around here, meaning my mind is seldom in neutral long enough for such state to take hold. It’s far from pleasant though when it happens, that much is certain.

As hard as it may be to believe however, a certain degree of boredom can be beneficial, as it can help enhance creativity:

As we all know, being bored can feel awful, as though the monotonous tick-tock of time is slowly eating your brain. This is why Candy Crush was invented. More seriously, it can signal depression, feeling cut off from the world. The Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen, in his book A Philosophy of Boredom, calls boredom “meaning withdrawal.” But in recent years, science, with a little extra time on its hands, has been poking around in boredom and surmising that it may not be a negative thing. It may be evolution’s way of saying, “Get out of the house and be creative.” It may be reminding us that to be human is to be connected to the world.

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On public speaking and anxiety disorders

Tuesday, 27 January, 2015

The prospect of speaking in public is probably enough to unsettle the best of us, but how does someone with an anxiety disorder manage? Scott Stossel, writing for The Alantic, outlines his preparations ahead of a speaking engagement.

Four hours or so ago, I took my first half milligram of Xanax. (I’ve learned that if I wait too long to take it, my fight-or-flight response kicks so far into overdrive that medication is not enough to yank it back.) Then, about an hour ago, I took my second half milligram of Xanax and perhaps 20 milligrams of Inderal. (I need the whole milligram of Xanax plus the Inderal, which is a blood-pressure medication, or beta-blocker, that dampens the response of the sympathetic nervous system, to keep my physiological responses to the anxious stimulus of standing in front of you – the sweating, trembling, nausea, burping, stomach cramps, and constriction in my throat and chest – from overwhelming me.) I likely washed those pills down with a shot of scotch or, more likely, vodka, the odor of which is less detectable on my breath.

How daunting is that? I may dread public speaking, but thankfully I don’t have to deal with an anxiety disorder.

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Could you fall in love instantly if you passed the love quiz?

Thursday, 22 January, 2015

Could you fall in love, and establish a lasting connection, with someone if, first up, you could both offer – I guess – compatible answers to a thirty-six question quiz, and then secondly, gaze into their eyes for two to four minutes?

I’ve likely cut all the meat off the bone of the concept as it were, but I say forget the questions, I couldn’t possibly answer them instantaneously, but the two to four minutes of eye contact, now that I can go for.

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A formula for politely ending a conversation

Tuesday, 20 January, 2015

The situation where you find yourself in what you deem to be a dead-end conversation, but cannot figure out a way to politely terminate proceedings. Well, guess what, there’s a scientific formula for doing just that:

Meanwhile, psychologists Stuart Albert of the University of Pennsylvania and Suzanne Kessler of SUNY-Purchase settled on a common formula for ending social encounters: Content Summary Statement, Justification, Positive Affect Statement, Continuity, and Well-Wishing. The translation, in everyday terms: “Well, we covered everything we needed to [Content Summary Statement], and I have another meeting [Justification]. I really enjoyed getting together [Positive Affect Statement]. Let’s do it again next week [Continuity]. Take care [Well-Wishing].”

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Introverts should not mix coffee with meetings of importance

Tuesday, 20 January, 2015

If some recent research is to be believed, then it seems that introverts should not drink coffee, or ingest other stimulants, prior to an important meeting, as it may over stimulate certain regions of their brains. Well, I’ll be.

It’s the idea that introverts and extraverts differ in the level of neocortical arousal in the brain – in other words, how alert or responsive you are to your environment. According to this theory, introverts are over the optimal level – that is, more easily stimulated – and extraverts under the optimal level. It’s more complex than that, but this is a useful model because it allows us to make some predictions. This suggests that performance will be compromised for introverts if they are exposed to stimulating situations, or if they ingest a stimulant (such as caffeine),which pushes them even further away from the optimal level.

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Life is but a thought experiment… if you want it to be

Wednesday, 14 January, 2015

Some intriguing food for thought being served up here at Quora, here is but one morsel:

What if oxygen is a highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, and the hallucinations are what we call reality? Once we stop breathing, the hallucinations stop.

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There’s a lot to be learned from startup life

Tuesday, 13 January, 2015

Ten things the founders of Maptia learned, or came to believe, during the first one thousand days of their venture… there’s some good stuff here should you be thinking of striking out by yourself in the near future:

  • Don’t let inexperience hold you back
  • Ignore Plan B, it distracts from Plan A
  • Lean into uncertainty

“Ignore Plan B, it distracts from Plan A”, this one interests me and it’s a point that polarises people. While some feel a backup plan is an integral part of pursuing your dreams – it is something that Matthew Michalewicz, author of Life In Half A Second, advocates – others think such things only get in the way.

I can see the logic in both points of view. Could it be that being prepared to devise a “Plan B”, if or when “Plan A” has irrevocably failed, is the way to go?

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To someone who doesn’t hoard, stuff is just stuff, nothing else

Wednesday, 10 December, 2014

Hoarding, or the desire to keep as many possessions as is possible, appears to be the rise in the US, if the increase in self-storage units since the late 1990s, is anything to go by, that is.

Chris Ziegler however is probably one person who does not own a storage locker… why would he need one after all, given that the possession of possessions appears to be a concept he struggles to comprehend.

I’ve found that the struggle lies in the wide rift between the anticipation of owning a gadget and the reality of actually owning it. Rarely does anything really pay off. There’s an adrenaline rush in buying neat things, and certainly those of us who’ve ever made or watched an unboxing video understand that basest kind of materialistic thrill – the peeling of the protective wrap, the smell of new plastic, the first boot-up. But eventually, you move beyond the honeymoon and struggle through the morass of owning something of value, be it $5 or $500, that doesn’t necessarily contribute a whole lot to your life.

That makes sense to me…

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Why do some people feel the cold more than others?

Tuesday, 9 December, 2014

If I’m in a group of people, I’m probably one of the last to notice the cold, if temperatures are on the cooler side. Of course everyone is different, and somethings effect people in varying ways, but I’ve always wondered about temperature, so a little light on the subject is always welcome.

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