Some of us can profit from the gimmicks restaurants use on diners

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

This article listing the ways restaurants find ways of making customers eat less, while paying more for the privilege, might make for useful reading if you’re thinking of opening a dining establishment yourself.

Time is money, but that principle means different things for different types of restaurants. Unlike fast-food and all-you-can-eat places, fine-dining establishments prefer customers who linger and spend. One way to encourage patrons to stay and order that extra round: put on some Mozart. British researchers found that when classical, rather than pop, music was playing, diners spent more.

What about when you want to close up shop, and go home? How do you encourage patrons to go, you know, pay up and get out? Change the music, of course:

Another study found that fast music hurried diners out.

That’s an old one, shops, especially supermarkets, often start playing up-tempo music as closing time approaches.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

Working while in motion, not standing, the way to get ahead

Monday, 30 March, 2015

Forget standing desks, if you want to boost your performance at work, it looks like treadmill desks are the way to go.

We’re told sitting is the new smoking and that we should consider working at standing desks, or perhaps better still, treadmill desks. Indeed, the health benefits of treadmill desks are indisputable, say neuroscientists in Canada, led by Élise Labonté-LeMoyne.

It makes sense, walking has been seen as a great way to arrive at solutions to problems. In fact I’m surprised someone didn’t devise a treadmill desk earlier. Unless they did.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

Children must master many skills, especially these seven

Thursday, 26 March, 2015

Reading, conversation, collaboration, engagement, flexible/lateral thinking, and well-being, are skills all children should acquire while they are at school, with perhaps, if you were to ask me, a particular emphasis on inquiry:

Children are born wanting to find things out. But schools have, by and large, done little to build on this valuable impulse. In fact, when children get to school, they ask fewer questions, explore less often and with less intensity, and become less curious. One of the great ironies of our educational system is that it seems to squelch the impulse most essential to learning new things and to pursuing scientific discovery and invention.

It seems to me if something’s not covered in the book as it were, that is, if there are no explicit instructions as to how deal with a certain situation, then there is little interest in trying to resolve the matter. A little more of the inquiry attribute might remedy this.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

When life’s complete, but there’s something missing still

Thursday, 5 March, 2015

Getting out of a bad place, some thoughts from New Zealand based programmer, writer, and entrepreneur, among other things, Derek Sivers. With a to-do list that’s been weighing a tad too heavily in recent times, I’m finding this to be good stuff:

When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it. But despite feeling that way, I brush, floss, go to the gym, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, clean the house, pick up clutter, vacuum, pay my bills, answer my emails, take my vitamins, do the laundry, play with the kid some more, brush and floss again, turn off the computer early, turn off the phone, and get to bed early. It’s so mundane, but it really helps to feel on top of things. Things in life well-sorted so I don’t need to worry about them.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

Happiness is a skill, not something that might just happen

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

To be happy, you have to work at being happy, you have to become skilled in being happy, this from gaming website Polygon:

I’ve often heard that happiness is a skill, not a feeling, and I realized how little time I was spending working on the skill of happiness, while waiting passively for the feeling to reach me.

And then there’s this:

If you have a large family or simply many obligations in life – and this is just about everyone – setting concrete, workable goals for what games you want to play or books you want to read and chipping away at the list in an organized manner may make a huge difference in how you approach your free time. These things became fun again, instead of feeling like obligations that waited for me at the end of every day.

Listing out everything you need to do, and almost rationing time to action said objectives, may not result in a life that’s particularly spontaneous, but it is about the only way to do everything. But don’t worry about that lack of spontaneity, we live in far too chaotic a universe for there to be a great many dull moments.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

Failure is not an option, inaction however is

Monday, 23 February, 2015

Working toward any goal can, on occasion, feel like taking one step forward, two steps back, and that’s on a good day. Two steps ahead, one in reverse, is always preferable, but it’s useful to remember that things don’t always work that way, all of the time:

Failure is one of those funny words. Everyone talks about it. Everyone runs from it. As it turns out, what really matters is how you look at it, how you define it. In our own simple definition, “failing” means “not trying”. In other words, a failure is not a product of an action, but the lack of it.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

If you want to look 20 years younger in 20 years, stop smiling now

Friday, 20 February, 2015

As a ten year old year old girl, so the story goes, Tess Christian decided to stop smiling. She thought that doing so would maintain her youthful looks.

Aside from the difficulty in making a conscious effort not to smile, no matter how overwhelming the temptation may be, as a way of maintaining one’s youthful looks, there just might be something in such a strategy. What do you think?

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

All things in moderation, including anxiety

Thursday, 19 February, 2015

As if we could avoid it… anxiety, however, or a certain, limited I would think, amount of it, can be beneficial, it seems:

This picture of anxiety as a dark and pernicious force certainly has illustrious supporters. Even so, I believe that it is mistaken. It goes against the grain to say this, but anxiety can be a good thing. Indeed, I hope to persuade you that it is central to our ability to successfully navigate moral and social life. I won’t go as far as to say that we need more of it, but we should cultivate it. Worry is important; we should get it right.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

Here’s one way to score a walk-on role in a superhero comic story

Thursday, 12 February, 2015

Do you have an above average interest in a particular science fiction franchise, or a comic-book series? Do you ever give any thought as to where that fixation might eventually lead you, other than of course to Comic Con, or the like?

For US psychologist Andrea Letamendi, it was onto the pages of a Batgirl comic-book story, as a psychologist treating Batgirls’ alter-ego Barbara Gordon, following her debilitating run in with the Joker.

The cameo came about after Gail Simone, writer of the Batgirl comics, contacted Letamendi, asking her advice on how a visit to a psychologist’s office would play out in the real world.

“You were shot; your life has changed. Don’t you think you could maybe use a little help negotiating that, Ms. Gordon?” Letamendi’s character (also named after her) asked, sipping a steaming cup of tea, laptop open on her desk. Gordon, shot when she was a civilian, sat in a wheelchair talking about her dreams of choking the Joker to death. “I kill the Joker with my bare hands. Sometimes I feel guilty,” she said. “And sometimes I wake up crying that it was only a dream.” Letamendi wrote in her notebook: “Progress remains painfully slow. Patient is exhibiting signs of fatalism and depression.”

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

For best results always ask for the most expensive placebo

Thursday, 5 February, 2015

Not all placebos are created equal… when patients were administered what they believed to be two different drugs, with one being considerably more expensive than the other, they found the dearer medication to be more effective than the cheaper.

What everyone got, though, was saline. There was no drug. Both placebo doses improved motor function, which was expected: the placebo effect has been documented in Parkinson’s patients before. But when patients were told that the first dose was the expensive one, the effect was greater than when they were told that the first dose was the cheap one. The belief is that that placebo effect is so noticeable in Parkinson’s (and in pain relief and in depression) because the reward and expectation system in the brain has a large dopamine signaling component, which matches well with these conditions.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,