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.
By Maria Popova
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.
Better memory and learning capacity
Improved creativity and motivation
Heart and brain health
Stable energy levels
Improved alertness and focus
Between 2 and 3pm is ideal
Napping later makes you more likely to fall into deep sleep and wake up groggy
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
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.
You were that kid in film class. Or you never even took film class and still wish you had. Just so you could be that kid. You can quote any Sundance film on cue and name-drop obscure directors like a top-40 rapper does bling brands. Your knowledge of German Expressionism and Soviet Montage is directly proportionate to your contempt for IMDB, so it’s only fitting that we bring you the top 3 gems by film geeks, for film geeks.
ART OF THE TITLE
In our line of work, we know every touchpoint with a brand is important, every detail of the package matters and needs to work with the contents. And because every film is its own mini-brand, the best of them pay special attention to one very special element of the package: the opening credits.
Which is why we’re head over reels with Art of the Title — a project dedicated entirely to the coolest, the smartest, the most visually engaging of movie title sequences.
We’d love to see them add some more of our favorites: like the opening credits of Mad Men and Weeds, and the end credits of Superbad. Now here’s a final project for your next film class.
MOVIE TITLE SCREENS
Wanna get even more specific and anal about opening sequences? Zoom in solely on the movie’s title. For 11 years now, mega film buff Steven Hill has been doing just that. His Movie Title Screens Page is as far from a mere page as it gets: it’s a fascinating library of 5,301 movie title slides encompassing more than 7 decades of film.
You can see the evolution of title design over the years, compare title screens of alternate releases of the same film, or just gawk at the amount of work that went into this. And to think it all started almost by fluke, thanks to a crappy laserdisc.
A true film buff is nothing if not obsessive. And when they’re compulsive about being obsessive, well, it could either result in institutionalization, or yield a brilliant project. Luckily, Andy Baio over at WAXY has decided to skew brilliant with his Fanboy Supercuts collection of “obsessive video montages” stringing together every utterance of a specific word or phrase in a specific film, TV show or video game.
If you’ve got some of your own, go ahead and post them in the comments to be added to the collection. We’re waiting for someone with more free time than us to finally splice together every “mothafucka” in every Samuel L. Jackson movie.
Reason #138 to stop hating on Canadians: in a 1980 study, they found a neat trick to make toothache go away without even parting your lips. All you need is an ice cube and a loser to sign-diss.
Fine, you don’t really need the loser — you just need to rub the ice cube on the V-shaped area that forms between your thumb and your index finger when you show that dude on the Segway just what you think of him: 5-7 minutes should do.
That V-shaped area contains the nerve endings of neurological pathways connected to brain centers that control the sensation of pain in the hands and face. Rubbing the ice cube on it helps block those centers — 90% of the study participants reported this technique helped nix the toothache. (The other 10% probably owned Segways.)
We love animals. Still, it’s been said before that all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. So today, we take an admiring look at some particularly equal ones out there.
OBEY THE PURE BREED
If you know, or are, a dedicated pet owner — you know, the types who refer to themselves and their pet in the first person plural and address said pet in babyspeak — then you understand the near-worship situation we’re talking about here.
ObeyThePureBreed is meant for just that type of pet owner. The pet-elitist site is a tongue-in-cheek hub of “propaganda for dog & cat world rule,” underwritten by one Chairman Meow, chock-full of hilarious pet-centric political rallying, and complete with its very own “In Dog We Trust” constitutional slogan.
The whole movement is, of course, just a clever front for a good ol’ merch e-store for pet-inclined hipsters who can buy poster art, t-shirts and gifts in the likeness of their favorite breed. And, curiously, Obama shirts as well, complete with a matching “Bark for Obama ’08” doggie shirts.
Big brother is raising an eyebrow.
TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY
Here, we’ll say it: some people love their dog more than their mother. Which they must find quite unsettling given the huge national greeting card and flowers bonanza that is Mother’s Day without even a remote dog equivalent.
Ha — fools! For 9 years now, June 20 has been Take Your Dog To Work Day. The organization, backed by Pet Sitters International, is on a mission to get businesses everywhere to open their doors to canines this Friday and thus help “promote pet adoptions in a positive and proactive way.”
You can get involved by vowing to participate, entering the photo contest, or just spreading the word. (While you’re at it, you may actually win some cool schwag.) And if you’re a Type A overachiever, you can go the extra mile with 10 pro-doggie, proactive initiatives.
They’ve even got your back with a handy list of boss-convincing stats and some… less rational… arguments in case the geek talk doesn’t do the trick.
And while we’re in the spirit of spreading the pro-animal message, why not turn our attention to our closest non-human kindred? The Gorilla Foundation has dedicated a special site to a special gorilla: Koko. Not only does she know the signs for an impressive vocabulary of words, but she also possesses a more uncommon talent: artistic expression.
At KokoMart, you’ll find Koko’s original artwork. And before you go ahead and dismiss it as paint thoughtlessly splattered on canvas, you may wanna consider all her paintings are based on Koko’s cognitive interpretation of certain words and signs. Like the unattributable-to-mere-chance pink, heart-shaped drawing of “love.”
Then there’s Koko’s (arguably even more talented) co-creator, Michael. Sadly, Michael transitioned from the contemporary to the classic section of the art world, after suffering unexpected heart failure in 2000.
The art prints may be on the pricey side, but it’s all for a good cause: all proceeds go towards conservation efforts fighting Africa’s “bushmeat” trade, which kills thousands of gorillas every year. And we, after seeing the rich cognitive and emotional world of Koko’s kind, have a hard time considering this that much different from human homicide.
Having been hit in the face by a pigeon, we can tell you these are some dumb birds. In fact, after the incident, we proceeded to deduce birds in general were pretty dimwitted beings. Boy, were we wrong — a TED talk, always the mind-opener, set us straight thanks to speaker Joshua Klein’s mind-blowing revelation of crows’ intelligence.
Klein, a hacker and writer, reveals a real-life experiment resulting in crow-operated vending machines. We kid you not — the birds use nothing but their (grape-sized) brains to figure out how to insert a coin into a peanut-dispensing machine in the middle of a cornfield. Without training.
And if that doesn’t blow your own (grapefruit-sized) mind, wait until you see a crow teach itself to bend a wire and proceed to use it to take a padlock out of a glass beaker. We know humans who can’t do that. Then there’s the one that navigates traffic lights better than most pedestrians we know.
Watch it, you’ll be amazed. And maybe get a craving for peanuts.