Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finally! An Excuse for All the Weird Stuff in My Office

I have lots of schwag and silly toys in my office. Mostly, it's a bunch of plastic crap. BUT! It's mine, and now I have a study to show that it improves my productivity.

"...superior outcomes are observed when offices are decorated rather than lean. However, further improvements in well-being and productivity are observed when workers have input into office decoration."


Dominant Hand Good, Nondominant Hand Bad

This fascinates me. "In laboratory tests, right- and left-handers associate positive ideas like honesty and intelligence with their dominant side of space and negative ideas with their non-dominant side,"

If only everyone in meetings didn't have their hands on laptops and smartphones, this could be useful in real life...


The Real Reason They Killed Off the Guy in the Red Shirt

Red shirts make you more attractive to the opposite sex. (Source: If they hadn't killed off the dude in the red shirt, Captain Kirk would have been SOL.


Don't wear it to an IQ test or when trying to be creative 'cuz it'll undermine your performance. (Source:

So much for getting dates in art class...

Friday, July 30, 2010

You Can't Eat Your Way to Sleep

No fat, no alcohol, no caffeine, no turkey... Taking all the fun out of choosing late-night snacks...

Tunnel Vision and The Blues

"inducing a good mood in the participants caused an increase in the scope of their field of vision, whereas inducing a negative mood reduced their visual field" (source:

We tend to talk about people getting fixated on a pessimistic vision and, thus, missing any and all evidence that contradicts said vision. Interesting that there's a visual-processing analogue to the psychological phenomena.

The Healing Power of Attention

"Healing an injury requires the practice of paying attention, of being with something fully, of focusing upon it over and over again without pushing it away or trying to change it. It is in paying attention that we will discover the tiny threads of healing and transformation that are developing moment to moment. It is attention, not judgement, that will help our brains rewire." (source:

This really resonates with me. I'm currently recovering from an injury, and given that patience is not in my top five strengths, have experienced a lot of frustration with my slow progress. A few times, however, I've been stopped in my tracks by someone with a better view than mine. For example, my acupuncturist always asks about my workouts and what I'm able to do. Invariably, I express frustration with not being 100%, and just as invariably, she flips back to the last appointment and points out that I'm doing better than I was.

I'm gonna try paying attention. Moving those reality checks closer together than my acupuncture appointments should bring a steady stream of moments in which to feel good about my progress.

Bring Your Inner B*#$ch to the Bar


A study shows that guys lose their ability to tell the difference between friendliness and sexual interest when alcohol enters the picture. No wonder it takes such a high level of hostility to get some of them to go away...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's OK To Be An Introvert

I'm loving the current trend in psychology towards seeing introversion as a trait (like eye color or height) to be worked with and around, rather than something to be fixed, cured, or overcome.

This is a nice discussion of the way in which connection and separation are not mutually exclusive and actually support each other.

Music Messes With Memory

Yet another case in which they could have just asked me. :)

Music is great for our moods and well being, but gets in the way when doing cognitive tasks. Well, duh.


Beautiful Transportation Infographics

I have a thing for patterns, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I really like these two infographics.

San Francisco Muni

And the restart of European air travel as the smoke from the Icelandic volcano (You didn't really think I was going to try to spell that name did you?) cleared.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Nation... Being Wrong... And Always Learning...

Another article from Kathryn Schulz. This one talks about how the US was built on "this is what we think is best, but that could be wrong or change". Keeping that humility and flexibility feels so much stronger to me than digging in and being rigid. How 'bout you?

I Think I'll Be Wrong More Often

This is a great discussion on ways to admit it when you're wrong. We're set up by both nature and nurture to fear being wrong and do anything to avoid it, but this discussion clearly shows what a great relief it is to cop to it and the elevation in status that honesty can bring.

Lego Dudes With Tattoos

These guys have better art than most of the inked skin I've seen.

Why I Skip High-Emotion Political Discussions


I love that this issue is getting press. A while ago, I read a book on the new brain science (fMRIs, etc.) and was struck by a study that showed that when arguing politics, people's emotional centers lit up, but NOT their logical centers.

I can see the "plug ears and chant na na na na" dynamic in many areas of life. Kinda no wonder that there are zillions of books on mindfulness. It's nowhere near automatic.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plush Pop Tarts

Why do stuffed versions of food items with funny faces tickle my funny bone so? I still remember a plush piece of toast with a grumpy face that I saw on Etsy over a year ago. I think it was titled "Crabby Toast". I went back to it all afternoon 'cuz it just plain made me laugh. So, here are stuffed toaster pastries to go with crabby toast.

Slo Mo Photography

Love the way the drop of red jumps back out of the water.

Show Your Work

I love this post ( from Cary Milsap. Probably because I'm one of those people who expresses their stream of consciousness out loud while problem solving. The thinking out loud or on a whiteboard strategy has worked well for my team, too. When we tackle a problem together, exposing our logic chains to the group saves us from implementing solutions for which "the correctness of the answer is actually an unfortunate coincidence"


If you haven't discovered Terry of Bent Objects fame, check out his book or his blog. No bent objects in this post, but a good funny-bone tickler.

Lady Gaga - Had No Idea

Wow. The girl can sing. Found some vids of her pre-Gaga phase.

Nice to know there's some substance behind the flash.

Warm Geeky Fuzzies


If you have even the slightest bit of geek in your DNA, the ability to make widgets that query Wolfram Alpha will make you go "Oooo!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Want That Color!

Does it get any cuter than bottom-row-second-from-the-right purple (periwinkle)? Love that color! It would be silly to change out the yellow, though, right?

Boobs in Space

Is it just me, or does this look like someone has been playing with the mammogram machine?

More Brain Syncing


In this case, syncing to what's going on in a movie...

When we watch movies, our visual (no surprise), facial recognition, touch processing, etc. brain areas light up. Even more interesting, everyone in the theater pretty much lights up the same way.

"But it’s also worth pointing out which brain areas didn’t “tick together” in the movie theater. The most notable of these “non-synchronous” regions is the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with logic, deliberative analysis, and self-awareness. Subsequent work by Malach and colleagues has found that, when we’re engaged in intense “sensorimotor processing” – and nothing is more intense for the senses than a big moving image and Dolby surround sound – we actually inhibit these prefrontal areas."

No wonder people can see the same movie and completely disagree on what it means.

The Mind Meld

Very cool article on brains syncing up whilst their owners converse.

I just love that we're finding the mechanics that go with the way we describe our experiences.


Why not?

Mostly I just need someplace to "talk" about all the cool stuff I read and the crazy things that run through my mind.