I started an information diet about a week ago, based on the advice in Timothy Ferriss' book Four-Hour Workweek. Gone from my diet are the usual reddit and digg snacks. No news on TV or radio or "the Internets", not even NPR. It's all too much information--too much noise--that clutters my mind AND interrupts my day.
It's the interruptions that are the time killer. I'm accomplishing so much more, both at work and home. At work, not because of reddit or digg, but because I'm focusing on not letting myself get interrupted by email or instant messaging. Instead, I set about a task, and complete it before checking email or replying (for the most part) to instant messages. It's worked extremely well. It's the interruption that kill productivity. Many think multi-tasking is a good and admirable thing. Bullocks! Multi-tasking reduces productivity (if that's an important measure) and greatly increases stress. Interruptions disorient you, take your attention away from your task, so that you have to waste time re-orienting yourself to where you left off. Nuts to that.
Here are a couple things Ferris said that really struck me...
Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle
By Freya Manfred
I spy his head above the waves,
big as a man's fist, black eyes peering at me,
until he dives into darker, deeper water.
Yesterday I saw him a foot from my outstretched hand,
already tilting his great domed shell away.
Ribbons of green moss rippled behind him,
growing along the ridge of his back
and down his long reptilian tail.
He swims in everything he knows,
and what he knows is never forgotten.
Wisely, he fears me as if I were the Plague,
which I am, sick unto death, swimming
to heal myself in his primeval sea.
- Select a plump and fresh looking pineapple
- Shell color is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness. A pineapple can be ripe when it is practically all green outside.
- Smell it. It should smell fragrant but not too sweet. Smelling too sweet may indicate the pineapple has begun to ferment.
- Fresh, green leaves in the crown are a good sign.
- The body should be firm, but not too firm. Avoid soft pineapples or ones containing soft spots.
- Bigger does not mean better tasting.
- A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking. It is sugar that makes pineapple sweet after ripe. The sugar comes from the conversion of starch reserves in the stump at the time of ripening.
Creative Canine Crossbreeding - Here’s what you get when you cross a......
- Collie + Lhasa Apso = Collapso: A dog that folds up for easy transport.
- Spitz + Chow Chow = Spitz-Chow: A dog that throws up a lot.
- Maltese + any other breed = Maltese Cross
- Pointer + Setter = Poinsetter: A traditional Christmas pet
- Kerry Blue Terrier + Skye Terrier = Blue Skye: A dog for visionaries.
- Great Pyrenees + Dachshund = Pyradachs: A puzzling breed.
- Irish Water Spaniel + English Springer Spaniel = Irish Springer: A dog fresh and clean as a whistle.
- Pekingnese + Lhasa Apso = Peekasso: An absract dog.
- Labrador Retriever + Curly Coated Retriever = Lab Coat Retriever: The choice of research scientists.
- Newfoundland + Basset Hound = Newfound Asset Hound: A dog for financial advisors.
- Terrier + Bulldog = Terribull: A dog that makes awful mistakes.
- Bloodhound + Labrador = Blabador: A dog that barks incessantly.
- Malamute + Pointer = Moot Point: Owned by.... oh well, it doesn’t matter.
- Collie + Malamute = Commute: A dog that travels to work.
- Deerhound + Terrier = Derriere: A dog that’s true to the end.
Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss - Status-quo shattering book. I read it through once, and am starting over. The concepts are simple. Deferred living (retirement) is the worst kind of insurance. Live now. Forget abstract goals. Go for what excites you. In fact, go for specific, unreasonable goals that excite you. There's too much competition for the mediocre goals. Less competition for the unreasonable goals (John Nash was wrong; in a pick-up bar, everyone is pursuing the 8's, not the 10's.)
Ferriss makes a four hour workweek seem attainable. It takes discipline. It takes a low information diet and focusing on two principles or laws...
A terminally ill girl wrote this poem...or so the story goes. I picked the poem up from the status-quo-shattering book The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. Whether a terminally ill girl wrote it or not, it does make you think...
Walking Robot Powered by Wind - Fascinating video, it's actually a commercial for BMW, but...Wow! This contraption doesn't look like it should work. Have a look...
Walking Robot Powered by Wind
Creative Attitude - Found these suggestions about becoming more creative in blog post: 9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People. I distilled the original list of nine tips into seven. Not terribly profound, but good reminders.
- 1. Curiosity
- Learning to ask ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder…’ are great questions t build into your life if you want to be a more creative person.
- 2. See Problems as Interesting and Acceptable
- Instead of seeing problems as obstacles and unacceptable, see problems as natural, normal and fascination.
How Men and Women Shower - Totally love this short video explaining/demonstrating the differences in how men and women take a shower. Cute, funny, safe-for-work.
How Men and Women Shower
"The new science of resuscitation is changing the way doctors think about heart attacks—and death itself."
"In an emergency department, you work like mad for half an hour on someone whose heart stopped, and finally someone says, 'I don't think we're going to get this guy back,' and then you just stop--The body on the cart is dead, but its trillions of cells are all still alive."
Assumption: After a heart attack, the heart stops beating and heart muscle cells start dying. Wrong. The heart cells live for hours after someone is pronounced dead. What kills heart cells immediately is a profusion of oxygen. When high levels of oxygen are introduced into oxygen starved (not dead) heart cells, the cell basically commit suicide. Very strange. For some reason the high concentration of oxygen triggers a suicide response in the cells.
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb - Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written a mind-blowing book! Totally contrarian and terrifically clear in explaining the fallacies followed by journalist, investors, traders and, sadly, many scientists.
Example: Failing to notice the difference between probability and expectation, famous commodity trader/investor Jim Rogers made this astounding statement.
Rogers confused probability with expectation.
Had Nassim Taleb been born in any other period, he would have certainly been put to death.
~ Carine Chichereau, co-translator of TBS.
Black Swan and Nassim Taleb - Listened to Nassim Taleb on KQED's Forum program, and the ideas about randomness and luck drove me to his recent book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
A read it once, then started over, this time going a bit slower, trying to commune with his counter-intuitive ideas and wonderfully illustrative thought experiments. This books is such a colorful pallet of ideas that somehow connect without falling into a grand theory or trite advice. Indeed, that's part of the Taleb's message in The Black Swan. That theories are contrived and can lead us to a false sense of security or doom. Skeptical empiricism reigns over theory, narrative, and other often misguided simplifications.
Get One's Goat - Heard about origin of this phrase on NPR. The story starts with a horse's ass...actually, it involves the whole horse--a thoroughbred horse to be exact. Because of breeding, thoroughbred horses tend to be very jumpy, nervous animals. Goats are the exact opposite, tending to be calm and unshakable. Someone noticed this contrast and wondered if the goat's demeanor would have a calming influence on the horse. As a test, a goat was put into the stall of a thoroughbred horse. As hoped, the horse calmed a bit AND, most importantly, the horse ran better in the next race.
Next thing you knew, all thoroughbreds stalls had a companion goat.
Soon some unscrupulous owners began kidnapping (pun?) the goats of competitor's horses, hoping the disruption would help their still goat-calmed horses to win their races.
Out of this practice came the phrase "to get one's goat."
Miller Ad About Beer and Makeup - This advertisement (photoshopped?) had me grinning for quite a while...
Miller Ad About Beer and Makeup
The Importance of Punctuation
An English professor wrote these words on a blackboard:
Then directed the students to punctuate it correctly.
The men wrote: "A woman, without her man, is nothing."
The women wrote: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."
Children of Men - Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the film seems to be shot almost entirely with a hand-held camera, and most scenes play out without any cuts (single shot sequence), so you get the feeling your walking through the events as a participant or observer. Very cool. That climactic scene at near the end looks like it's entirely one shot, no cuts, and it goes on for many minutes, all with bullets, sfx, movement, action, dialog...amazing accomplishment for a single shot...though it turns out they did use CGI to blend some cuts and elements, but still...the impact is substantial. You feel like you're right there.
What It Feels Like to Be Shot - Found this on Google answers. It was written in response to a question about what happens to a person if he is shot. Does he fly back from the bullet's force and drop dead/unconscious like a rock, etc. (as portrayed in movies)? Or does the victim writhe in agony as he bleeds out? The answer is...very sad.
My name is Jesse (online name Danny Bishop). I myself was shot--in the chest--on November 27th, 1994, at point-blank range with a .22" magnum revolver (single-action, convertable--to.22" LR with alternate cylinder). The bullet was likely 40-grain; the type: .224 caliber high velocity (WMR--Winchester Magnum Rimfire, MAxiMag), with a nominal muzzle velocity of 1,550 fps, from a likely 6.5" handgun barrel (applied pressure, point blank: 324 foot pounds per sq. inch). --not from watching it happen--but from actually experiencing it, exactly what it was like...
Remote Control for Men
I wonder what women want on a remote control. And notice the apple logo...Is this a reference to the apple in Adam and Eve?
Our Justice system is NOT a good method for finding the truth. If it were, in the O.J. trail we would expect all possible juries to produce the same verdict. But we know that is not true. We know a trial verdict always depends on the composition of the jury, which is why trial attorneys fight so vigorously during jury selection (and why our system has the double-jeopardy rule).
In this piece, famous atheist/biologist Richard Dawkins offers his analysis of our justice system. His conclusion:
The bad thing about Dawkins' admission is that if he's ever charged, we'll easily be able to tell his guilt or innocence.
Dean Ornish Says Omega-3 Fats Could Kill You!! - Yes, you read that right. Recent studies by Dr. Alexander Leaf of Harvard Medical School and others confirm many benefits to Omega-3 fatty acids for most people. However, for a sub-population who have had a heart attack or have congestive heart failure, consuming Omega-3 fats could kill them.
When heart muscle cells are starved for oxygen (as during heart attack or congestive heart failure), those heart cells become "hyper-excitable." Hyper-excitable cells activate or contract with less stimulus than healthy cells. This increased sensitivity is probably what keeps the weakened cells constricting at all. However, omega-3 fatty acids are "effectively removing these hyper-excitable cells from functioning." And if a significant proportion of the cells pumping your heart are hyper-excitable cells, omega-3 fatty acids could seriously reduce your heart's ability to pump, and in some cases that can cause a lethal heart attack.
What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life? - If you had to assign a movie rating to your life, what would it be? Is your life R rated? G rated? Do live G rated lives?...I guess some have NC-17 sins.
As recipes for life, the movie rating system takes on a whole new meaning...
Namaste Yoga by Kate Porter - Saw a gorgeous yoga program on FitTV called Namaste Yoga by Kate Porter. Appears to be a Canadian series. Absolutely gorgeous throughout. Seems to emphasize creating a series of poses in each program that focus on moving with the breath (Hatha Vinyasa). Very much like the power yoga (ashtanga yoga) series approach, but this isn't aggressive at all. Very relaxing with slow movement coordinated with the breath.
In the series, Evangeline Duy is so far my favorite instructor. She's been featured in the programs I have viewed. Her favorite pose is the triangle, and she appears to be quite aware of her beauty. As stated on her page at the Namaste Yoga website:
I'll second that, but all the instructors are gorgeous, as are the settings used in the program, the music, the lighting. Really top-notch "production values" and what appears to be an excellent, well thought out program designed by Kate Porter.
Perfect Power Naps - Sara Mednick, a napping specialist, offers these suggestions on taking power naps:
Power Nap Hints
- Recognize you're not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
- Nap in the morning or just after lunch; human circadian rhythms make late afternoons a more likely time to fall into deep (slow-wave) sleep, which will leave you groggy.
Funny Words in Court - From a little book called Disorder in the Court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History. Here are about 30 things people actually said in court, word for word.
No Running Barefoot - On advice I'm sure I found somewhere on the Internet, I tried running barefoot on a treadmill. Nothing special. My usual routine. But the next day my knees where killing me!!! Been a couple weeks now, and I'm still recovering.
NEVER run or jog barefoot. I speak from experience. It's bad for your knees. Horrible for your knees. If you like your knees, don't run or jog barefoot.
But why? Do the shoes really help cushion impact--I thought those claims were all marketing and no science...but I guess I was wrong.
"Scientists have uncovered the first concrete evidence that playing music can significantly enhance the brain and sharpen hearing for all kinds of sounds, including speech."
Music and the Brain - Interesting research results suggest that learning to play music early in life (especially before age 12) can affect the brain stem (and cerebral cortex) and lead to enhanced hearing and sound processing.
Hillary 1984 - The instantly famous parody of the Apple Computer commercial and the Hilary Clinton campaign for President of the U.S.- Hillary 1984.
Absolutely love this image. Something about the color of Bluebells contrasting with other hues....Enjoy!
Ken Douglas has a wonderful eye. Do see his other photos.
Notes for creating cheap video light kit. Below are notes and quotes from the excellent articles by Director of Photography Scott Spears
A cheap 500 watt tungsten work light makes a good key light. Can be found at hardware and car parts stores. It comes with its own stand; however the stand is usually short. Setup gives a lot of power, but it's hard to control, so don’t aim them directly at your actors--bounce them off a wall or ceiling to create a nice soft light.
Panasonic PV-GS320 MiniDV Camcorder - After playing with the Panasonic PV-GS320 MiniDV Camcorder for a good while, I have to say I'm impressed.
The 3CCD processors (one for each primary color range) make an enormous difference in recorded color.
The OIS (optical image stabilization) is excellent; seems as good as Canon, which I think of as the image stabilization standard bearer. (I think Sony, for example, has an inferior image stabilization system to Canon).
The revered Leica lens further adds to the quality of the image. The camcorder's buttons take some getting used to, but I can't say I find it that complicated, though I don't think my hand/finger size is quite right for their arrangement.
What a Teacher Makes by Taylor Mali - Found this video recently, and the performance knocked me out of my PJs. Below are both the and of Taylor Mali's poem/rant. Absolutely fantastic. BTW, there are a couple performances available online. IMHO this one is the best.
Happiness by Matthieu Ricard - Started reading this a bit ago. Nice primer on Buddhism. Absolutely loved the book that traces a dialog with his father, The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life.
Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.
~ Luca and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza
Found this somewhere recently...I think by email. At first I just found it funny. But then I thought it was sad. Now I'm not sure how to take it.
These are real notes written by parents in a Tennessee school district...(spellings have been left intact.)
1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take PE today. Please execute him.
2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and i had her shot.
3. Dear school: please ecsc's john being absent on jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.
4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.
Fresno Barbie - Having lived some of my formative years in Fresno, California, this Fresno Barbie bit had me in stitches. Perhaps only a Fresno native would appreciate the humor.
Rec'd via email--Thanks Sharene!
River Park Barbie
River Park Barbie
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Physical Trainer Rocky. You won't be able to afford any of them.
Choosing Medical Specialty - Medical Students must choose a medical specialty at some point, and here is clever decision tree to help.
Med Student's Decision Tree for Choosing Medical Specialty
Rec'd by email...VERY funny...even wise.
1. If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out.
2. Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.
3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
4. It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.
5. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Found this burglar's advice on a link that has since died. Most of the advice seems to serve the burglar more than the potential victim, so consider the source.
Best Place to Hide Money - Short answer: The bank. Aside from that, here is a burglar's best advice:
Understand a burglar's motivations:
- To steal your money and valuables
- To get out of the house quickly with these goods
So, don’t hide all your money and valuables too well. To quote the burglar...
- Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right and. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
- Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in right arm (To avoid wound on left arm) and repeat process.
- Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.
From Dion in Idaho
Are you tired of all those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that really speaks to true friendship: