Scientific tips on how to cram for an exam

ASAP Science provides some excellent tips for intensive, last-minute studying of just about any subject where you need to remember a lot of information. The video covers a lot of ground, from memory palaces and cortisol to metacognition to other things I can't remember because I didn't study enough.

Read the rest

Smart hack to easily hang a picture using a fork

Genius! A serving fork would be useful for taller frames.

(Creative Ideas via Kottke) Read the rest

Why you should store your plastic wrap in the freezer

When I was young, my mom banned plastic wrap from our kitchen because it frustrated her so much when it would invariably cling to itself. Apparently you can avoid this problem though just by storing the plastic wrap in the freezer. The cold temporarily reduces its clinginess. From Mental Floss:

The cold temperature alters the polyethylene at the molecular level, which helps to remove the static and stickiness...

The freezer only temporarily changes the properties of the plastic wrap, giving you enough time to rip a sheet off and cover your leftovers with it while the material is still cool. Once the plastic wrap warms up, it will go back to its old, clingy self.

Carolyn Forte of the Good Housekeeping Institute tried it out and gave the freezer method a thumbs up. "The plastic wrap was a lot easier to unroll and use," she tells Good Housekeeping. "It doesn't stick to itself when it's cold, but still works to cover up a dish. As it warms up, it goes back to being sticky, but it's definitely easier to handle when cold."

Read the rest

Video: life lessons from a 111 year old WWII veteran

At 111 years old (the video is a few years old,) Richard Overton is the oldest living World War II veteran. He still drinks whiskey, smoke stogies and has lived in the same house, which he bought after coming home from war, since 1945. In this short film, Overton talks about his long life and along the way, extols a few important life lessons.

My take away: for a long life, eat a shit-ton of soup and butter pecan ice cream. Read the rest

History's most productive geniuses goofed off like crazy

In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (published in 2016, just out in paperback), Alex Soojung-Kim Pang painstakingly investigates the working lives of the likes of Charles Darwin and finds that history's most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches. Read the rest

This much easier way of threading a needle works like magic

Most of us make several, if not dozens of attempts to stick the wet tip of a thread into a needle's minuscule hole, and what I don't understand is why the alternative method below isn't more popular. Read the rest

Avoid these 9 charisma-killing mistakes

Introduce yourself, introduce your friends, and make sure you don’t talk about things that only interest you. Read the rest

How the "kindly brontosaurus pose" can get you anything you want

If you want a seat on an overbooked plane, access to a closed part of a museum, or to be able to convince a bouncer to let you into a packed club, adopt the ""kindly brontosaurus pose."

From Slate:

You must stand quietly and lean forward slightly, hands loosely clasped in a faintly prayerful arrangement. You will be in the gate agent’s peripheral vision—close enough that he can’t escape your presence, not so close that you’re crowding him—but you must keep your eyes fixed placidly on the agent’s face at all times. Assemble your features in an understanding, even beatific expression. Do not speak unless asked a question. Whenever the gate agent says anything, whether to you or other would-be passengers, you must nod empathically.

Continue as above until the gate agent gives you your seat number. The Kindly Brontosaurus always gets a seat number.

Why does it work?

“The body language of the Kindly Brontosaurus is respectful and nonthreatening,” [body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass says]. “There’s a humility, so you allow the other person to feel empowered. Since you’ve made them feel like king of the jungle, they’re more receptive to you.”

Read the rest

How to practice anything effectively

Educator/musician Annie Bosler and peak performance coach/author Don Greene provide simple tips to optimize the practice of practicing. (TEDEd)

Read the rest

This is the fastest way to alphabetize 1,000+ books (or anything else)

From TED-Ed:

You work at the college library. You’re in the middle of a quiet afternoon when suddenly, a shipment of 1,280 books arrives. The books are in a straight line, but they're all out of order, and the automatic sorting system is broken. How can you sort the books quickly? Chand John shows how, shedding light on how algorithms help librarians and search engines speedily sort information.

Read the rest

Wine hacks to make your weekend even better

Tips for the wine connoisseur (or amateur) in your life. Read the rest

Quick way to clean stove burner grates with ammonia and plastic bags

If you have gunked-up stove burner grates, this might do the trick. I wonder if it works for barbecue grills, too? Read the rest

Guy gives a lifehacks tour of his apartment

Zeos Pantera gives a high energy tour of how he keeps his apartment humming. He's funny and the tips are pretty good! Read the rest

30 more life hacks debunked

John Green of Mental Floss tested 30 different "life hacks" found on the Internet. About 40 percent of them really worked. The others were failures and semi-failures. He didn't test some of life hacks fairly, though. For instance, he tried making whipped cream by shaking cream in a plastic bottle. He only shook it for a few seconds though, which isn't long enough. Read the rest

Defrost your windshield in half the time with a science-backed method

You’d think hitting the defrost button in your car on a chilly morning would be the quickest way to defrost your windshield. But not necessarily so, according to ex-Nasa engineer Mark Rober, who has come up with a way to defrost car windows in half the normal time. In his video, he explains how to speed-defrost our car windows, along with a peppy science lesson that backs his method. In a nutshell, here are the four steps:

 1. Blast the heater 2. Blast the AC 3. Turn OFF the air circulation 4. Crack open the windows a bit.

He also offers tips that involve cat litter and shaving cream so that you, too, can become a defrosting ninja.   Thanks Gizmodo! Read the rest

How to memorize a randomized deck of playing cards

Q: Why is it so hard to remember the name of someone you've just met? A: Because our memories evolved to be associative, and the name of a person doesn't have much of an association with who they are. Mind Hacks offers a way to help you remember names by inventing false associations. The sillier or weirder the association, the better.

I've been using a similar method to help me remember the order of a shuffled deck of cards. My goal is to be able to hand someone a deck of cards, ask them to shuffle it and return it to me. I will then spend a minute or two going through the deck, looking at each card. Then I will hand the deck back to the person and ask them to look at the cards while I call them out one-by-one.

I'm using a memorization method from an e-book called How to Learn & Memorize a Randomized Deck of Playing Cards Using a Memory Palace and Image-Association System Specifically Designed for Card Memorization Mastery by Anthony Metivier. I've been practicing for about 4 days (10-15 minutes a day) and I can remember the mnemonically-derived "names" of 26 cards so far. For example, the 2 of Spades is "tin can." The King of Hearts is "ram." The 9 of Spades is "tape."

To help me memorize the names of the cards, I'm using a free cross-platform flashcard app called AnkiApp. It keeps track of the cards that you easily remember, and focuses on the ones you have difficulty remembering. Read the rest

What do you do when you've got a plumbing clog?

We live in an older house and the plumbing clogs up frequently (usually an hour before a dinner party). I rarely get good results from Draino or other lye-based clog dissolvers. I end up with a sink full of caustic swill that splashes on me when I vigorously agitate it with a plunger. A Drain Weasel works well for bathroom sinks, provided the clog is near the drain opening. The clog problem I had this morning, though, required more powerful clog-busting technology. Read the rest

More posts