Messy: a celebration of improvisation and disorder as the keys to creativity, play, and work

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Tim Harford's Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives plays to Harford's prodigious strengths: the ability to tell engrossing human stories, and the ability to use those stories to convey complex, statistical ideas that make your life better.

How to Pack for Any Trip is like a Marie Kondo book for travelers

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

How to Pack for Any Trip Lonely Planet 2016, 160 pages, 7 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches (softcover) $12 Buy a copy on Amazon

I’ve bought many a travel guidebooks from Lonely Planet before jumping on a plane, but this is the first I’ve seen from the adventure publisher that guides you before you leave the house. Reminding me of Marie Kondo and her magical ways of tidying up, How to Pack for Any Trip helps the traveler learn to pack efficiently and clutter-free. (The packing section even says, Kondo-style, that “the liberation of decluttering is magical.”)

With modern clean graphics, this pocket-size book (about the size of my wallet) teaches us how to choose our luggage, decide what to bring, pack lightly, fold – or roll up – our clothes, organize a backpack, and how to pack with kids. It also has a section on how to pack for different landscapes, such as large cities, the snow, campsites, beaches, the mountains, jungles, and deserts. Fun, useful, and just released last week, this book is a no-brainer for anyone planning to pack for a weekend trip or a month-long adventure.

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Parent Hacks: 134 truly useful tips that parents of young kids will use

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest Workman 2016, 272 pages, 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches (softcover) $36 Buy one on Amazon

In 2005 Asha Dornfest, a new parent, launched the blog Parent Hacks as a way for parents to share tips that make raising young children less nerve-racking. This book has the 134 best tips from the blog. Here are a few examples from the On the Go section:

#116 Write your phone number on your kid’s belly.

#113 Strap ankle weights to a lightweight stroller to keep it from tipping.

#110 Line your car’s cup holders with cupcake liners.

#118 Use adhesive bandages to baby-proof hotel room outlets.

Other tip themes include pregnancy and postpartum, sleep, food and mealtime, organizing time and space, and getting dressed. Craighton Berman’s clear illustrations make it easy to understand most tips at a glance. If you or someone you know is pregnant, this book is essential reading.

(Read Cory's review of Parent Hacks, too!) Read the rest

How to remember the top 10 things to bring when you leave the house

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One of my all-time favorite books is Ron Hale-Evans' Mind Performance Hacks, by Ron Hale-Evans, which has 75 practical tips for becoming a better thinker. I highly recommend it, as well as his follow-up book, Mindhacker (co-written with Marty Hale-Evans)

The first tip in the book is a classic, but I suspect many people don't know it. It's a way to make a mental list of ten things. You can use this method to create a shopping list, a packing list, an errand list, or anything else that has ten things or less.

To start using this technique, you first have to remember 10 key words. Once you memorize these words, you can use the same ones for the rest of your life. Here they are:

1 :: gun

2 :: shoe

3 :: tree

4 :: door

5 :: hive

6 :: sticks

7 :: heaven

8 :: gate

9 :: wine

10 :: hen

Notice that the words rhyme with the number they are associated with. You probably have them memorized already.

Now, take each item on your list and pair them with a keyword by visualizing the two words in a weird (and therefore memorable) way . Here's how Ron uses the keywords to remember what he needs to bring with him when he leaves his house:

1 :: gun :: medication

I never leave the house without this. I imagine a gun firing pills scattershot in all directions.

2 :: shoe :: keys

I imagine the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe trying to open the front door of her giant shoe with her keys while dozens of her children are tugging on her skirt.

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How to ripen a rock-hard avocado in 10 minutes

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According to this video, you can ripen a avocado by wrapping it in foil and putting it in a 250 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

[via]

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Awesome tips for getting cheap airfares with Google Flights

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I'm a hardcore traveler and Google Flights is my tool of choice for figuring out my weird, complex, ever-changing plans. Read the rest

100 useful tips from a bygone era

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The Gallaher How to Do Its were a set of British 100 cigarette cards, each depicting and describing a 19th (?) century life-hack (the collection is undated). Read the rest

How do I handle people who have a bad opinion of me?

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One person said, "if you were right in front of me I'd cut off your penis and force you to eat it."

Tie your shoes the Ukrainian way

The "Ukrainian lacing" method puts a pair of loops in both sets of top eyelets, cross-laces to the bottom, and anchors the laces with a pair of hidden knots, so that you can slip your foot into a "tied" shoe, then tighten it and tie a perfect bow with no loose ends. Read the rest

People who take tiny doses of LSD and other psychedelics every day say it's wonderful

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A strong dose of LSD is 500 micrograms. Some people are taking daily microdoses of 10 to 15 micrograms, which is not enough to feel trippy, but provides a sense of well-being and mental clarity. A typical microdoser says these tiny doses "increase my focus, open my heart, and achieve breakthrough results while remaining integrated within my routine."

One 65-year-old Sonoma County, California ... told AlterNet she microdosed because it made her feel better and more effective.

"I started doing it in 1980, when I lived in San Francisco and one of my roommates had some mushrooms in the fridge," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. "I just took a tiny sliver and found that it made me alert and energized all day. I wasn't high or anything; it was more like having a coffee buzz that lasted all day long."

This woman gave up on microdosing when her roommate's supply of 'shrooms ran out, but she has taken it up again recently.

"I'm very busy these days and I'm 65, so I get tired, and maybe just a little bit surly sometimes," she admitted. "So when a friend brought over some chocolate mushrooms, I decided to try it again. It makes my days so much better! My mood improves, my energy level is up, and I feel like my synapses are really popping. I get things done, and I don't notice any side-effects whatsoever."

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What is the fastest check-out line?

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There happens to be a branch of mathematics that deals with this issue. It’s called queuing theory, and it deals with the behavior of waiting lines.

41 home improvement tips

Here's yet another list of "DIY hacks." Some are silly, such as the tip to "Use a drink dispenser if you’re tired of looking at that ugly Tide bottle." Read the rest

Prevent car windows from steaming up with cat litter and a sock

This fellow says a sock filled with silica crystal cat litter will absorb moisture inside a car and keep the windows from steaming up. Read the rest

Indispensable lifehacks to thrill and amaze

"For perfectly cooked burgers every time, go to a restaurant."

"How to tell if your avocado is ripe: squeeze it, then cut it open and see if it is ripe."

" No time to boil water? You must be incredibly busy if you don’t have time for that. I think you might be overextending yourself. Take a look at your schedule and see if there are some things you could re-prioritize. You may be headed for a burn-out."

{hacks} 13 Amazing Food and Life Hacks You Need to Know Right Now Read the rest

Walking for 5 min/hour prevents negative health effects of sitting

In "Effect of Prolonged Sitting and Breaks in Sitting Time on Endothelial Function," forthcoming in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers from IU Bloomington report on a study that holds out hope for anyone worried about the health effects of prolonged sitting. Read the rest

Beat your brain's stupid hyperbolic discounting

Dispassionately, we know that cheating on our diets or procrastinating on our stupid deadlines isn't worth it, but our stupid brains treat most future consequences as if they're worth nothing, while treating any present-moment benefits as though they were precious beyond riches -- so how do you get the "hyperbolic discounting" part of your brain to shut up and listen to reason? Read the rest

Habits for living a more rational life

From the Center for Applied Rationality, a "Checklist of Rationality Habits" intended to help you spot when you're tricking yourself. One of my favorites is the next-to-last: "I try not to treat myself as if I have magic free will; I try to set up influences (habits, situations, etc.) on the way I behave, not just rely on my will to make it so." Read the rest

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