Sometimes going fast is reason enough

Experiments in Speed from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

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We are all being watched

peekaboo 450x322 We are all being watched

img by Front404

What better day to point this out than the 110th anniversary of George Orwell’s birth? Artists and social commenter Front404 used Orwell’s birthday to bring attention to this fact by putting party hats on every security camera they could find.

Take a few minutes to examine the areas near your home and see how many security cameras you can see that are filming public areas. Still think no one will see you picking that booger?

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I *knew* it.

950 riding 450x337 I *knew* it.

Riding motorcycles make you smarter according to the inventor of Brain Age. His study found that riders had better mental acuity than non-riders.

Because riding a motorcycle requires a high level of alertness and
rapid problem solving, Kawashima found, “the driver’s brain gets
activated by riding motorbikes.”

The real gist of this piece confirms that there is such a thing as brain atrophy. If you aren’t challenging yourself -and your brain- you’re slowly degenerating. So even if bikes aren’t your thing, finding something challenging for your body and mind has a good deal of fringe benefits. What this piece doesn’t explain is why I do so many stupid things while riding.

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Tricked into learning something…again!

Destin at Smarter Every Day has duped me again. Lured in with the promise of super cool high speed camera footage of exploding glass, I’ve unintentionally learnt something. Damn you Destin!

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And no mistakes

The sheer number of pieces is just mind boggling. And for a race car of any stripe everything has to be right for there to be a chance of being near the top at the end. In my mind, this is the hardest part of racing. A driver can only make so many mistakes, but for a mechanic the possibilities are almost endless. Think about that the next time you see a race car finish a race. No matter what place the car finishes it is a triumph. It is a triumph of a small group of people against infinite possibilities to screw the pooch.

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Lying liars of multi-tasking

texting 450x337 Lying liars of multi tasking

img by mrJasonWeaver

Multi-tasking has been a workplace buzzword for more than a decade. For years I kept an ugly secret; I couldn’t really multi-task. I just couldn’t get my brain engaged on simultaneous tasks adequately enough to do a good job with both of them. One or both of the tasks would end up looking like the dogs breakfast. About five years ago I was vindicated when I heard this story on the radio.

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”

Last week those earlier findings were bolstered by this study. Both studies show basically the same results; a nominally functioning brain really can’t multitask, and when we try, we end up doing a poor job at two—or more—tasks.

There was a negative correlation between multitasking ability and practice: Those who performed worse on the test were the most frequent multitaskers in real life. The subjects in the top 25 percent of performers on the multitasking test were also the least likely to multitask.

What our brains are good at is breaking big tasks into small components, and then sequencing the components of Task A with the components of Task B. This allows us to squeeze more productivity into a given period of time because we take the lulls and waiting around involved in Task A, and use that time to move Task B forward. Sequencing becomes even more proficient as we get more familiar with both Task A and B.

Take this knowledge and store it in your back pocket for the next time someone tries to imply you need to improve your multi-tasking. You’ll look smarter than them, probably because you are, and most people lose their steam when you trounce all over their argument before they really get rolling.

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