Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘how-to’

28 DECEMBER, 2010

How To Pick The Shortest Line

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How queueing theory and early 20th-century Dutch mathematics can help cut your wait time.

Do you ever feel like you have a special talent for picking the slowest-moving line at the store or at airport security despite your most calculated efforts to pick the speediest one? Relax, there’s no mystical curse at work. Let Bill Hammack, a.k.a. Engineer Guy, explain why it only seems like you’re destined for slowness and show you how to navigate the mechanisms of line efficiency like a pro, using queueing theory and the work of early 20th-century Danish mathematician Agner Erlang.

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04 NOVEMBER, 2010

How to Fold a Newspaper Sheet Hat

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Newspapers may be dying, but we might as well have some fun with our funeral attire. Because one must know: How to fold a newspaper sheet pressman’s hat.

via Coudal

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18 JULY, 2008

Friday FYI: Itchy Throat

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Doing what you couldn’t the way you should.

It could’ve been that not- quite-ripe kiwi. Or your overcarbonated caffeine fix. Or a cat hair from your roommate’s annoying feline. Whatever it was, your throat is itching and it’s driving you crazier than said cat’s dry-humping habit. Worst part: you can’t exactly scratch it.

Well, actually, you can.

Pull on your earlobe and massage it between your thumb and index finger. This stimulates the nerves in the ear, which creates a reflex in the throat, which in turn causes a tiny muscle spasm. That spasm does what your hand can’t — or shouldn’t — and “scratches” that maddening itch.

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27 JUNE, 2008

Friday FYI: The Legal Performance-Enhancer

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How you can get a job promotion, finish the Tour de France, become an art icon and discover electricity in just 20 minutes between 2 and 3pm.

SHEEP AT WORK

Da Vinci took it. Edison took it. Lance Armstrong takes it any chance he gets. We’re talking about the power nap. Research in recent years has confirmed the tremendous recuperative value of power naps in improving our everyday quality of life. Here’s the low-down on how to go down.

WHY

  • Less stress
  • Higher productivity
  • Better memory and learning capacity
  • Improved creativity and motivation
  • Heart and brain health
  • Stable energy levels
  • Improved alertness and focus

WHEN

  • Between 2 and 3pm is ideal
  • Napping later makes you more likely to fall into deep sleep and wake up groggy

HOW LONG

  • Ideally, 20-30 minutes — the perfect duration to recharge both muscles and memory capacity, purging your brain of useless information build-up and opening up more space in your long-term memory tank
  • You can also try a nano-nap (10-20 seconds, just putting your head down) or a micro-nap (2-5 minutes) for a quick kick at sleepiness

BONUS TIPS

  • Avoid high amounts of caffeine, fat or sugar 60-90 minutes before your nap time (and at all times, really, but we won’t judge)
  • Try to darken your nap area or put on one of those dorky eyeshades — helps your body produce melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone
  • Don’t forget to set an alarm — if you oversleep on a nap, you may end up less Energizer Bunny and more Easter Bunny from The Shining

And don’t forget to pass this on to your boss — that way, you can point the finger our way when she raises a could-be-disapproving-could-be-inquisitive eyebrow at your eyeshade. Now, go. It’s almost nap time.

>>> via Ririan Project

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