"You have a limited number of decision-making ‘points’. Starting your day with an unprioritized to-do list can also undermine your ability to make productive decisions as the day goes on. Ego depletion refers to the amount of decision-making ‘points’ we have. As we use up our points our ability to make “smart” decisions becomes impaired"
Beware techies talking gobbledegook
But while those dramatic stories grab public attention because they cost millions (if not billions) of pounds and dollars and cause political embarrassment, computing failures in our offices, homes or on our tablets and phones are also pervasive – and pernicious. We rely on computers more than ever, which makes us increasingly vulnerable when they let us down.
Oxford University apologises after list of low-grade students is made public
How would you feel if your worst exam results were emailed to hundreds of your coursemates? Students at University College, Oxford had to put up with just that when a list of the 50 worst performing students was sent around one of the colleges.
“Who needs the politics and mindset of “jam tomorrow”, asks Will Self, when you can adopt a sensibly pessimistic attitude and live by the principle of “shit happens, but until it does, make hay”?”
“Remembering and forgetting are the twin sisters of our life. What we remember and what forget rule us and shape us; sometimes it is better to forget completely, but overall, it is better to remember, if only to know why we want to forget at all.”
New UK high-speed rail to require 6,000 sacrificial goats
Enter HS2, the proposed high-speed rail line connecting London to Birmingham. At 49,814 pages, its bill is the longest bill ever to come before the U.K. Parliament. And once it’s signed into law, printing all those pages (twice!) is going to take a lot of goats.
Something else I came across when researching records management was this list of records management resources on the web. It’s been compiled by Paul Duller via JISCMail and whilst I’ve added a couple of links of my own to this, I obviously aren’t taking any credit for this. I’m copying it here really for my own reference.
Here’s a PDF listing 22 university records management websites that people might find useful. Titles and section headings are listed to provide an indication of how the universities organise records management issues. Relevant staff titles are shown, where these are available, and an indication or best guess of where this work fits in the organisation structure is also shown in the table.
Buddhify – mobile mindfulness meditation app for iPhone and iPad
Despite being a very modern approach to mindfulness in terms of presentation and delivery, buddhify is not superficial or frivolous. It is based on years of meditation experience, and a deep understanding of how mindfulness can be best expressed in the 21st century.”
Something to try, as I really need to crack on with my practice, but I’m a little sceptical of shortcut lines like it “teaches you mindfulness while you are doing the everyday activities of your normal day.” But then again I guess that’s the idea, to be mindful all the time, not just when you’re sitting. Interesting.
"As to whether the distractions of the internet are stopping people from reading… well, I dunno. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who do not want to read have always found something else that they would rather do; and those who love books will always find the time for them, no matter what is happening elsewhere, virtually or otherwise."
"This sudden head jerk is how people commonly know they’ve had a micro-sleep as the brain doesn’t remember such short naps. "Sleep has to last beyond a minute or two for your brain to remember it," says Prof Horne, who studied driver tiredness for 10 years. "With micro-sleep, you are just left with a feeling of not knowing if you are coming or going.""
Shocking news story! I had no idea that micro-sleep was caused by fatigue or that the best way of tackling it is the practical advice to "safely park then have a drink containing about 150mg of caffeine. It will not kick in for 20 minutes, so have a 15-minute nap and then freshen up for five minutes before continuing your journey."
Mindfulness: a beginner’s guide
Gradually we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over, and realise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us. Most of us have issues we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively.
Saving the lost art of conversation
Her methods are contagious; once you start noticing what Turkle notices, you can’t stop. It’s a beautiful day, and we walk past boutiques, restaurants, and packed sidewalk cafés. The data are everywhere: The pair of high-school-age girls walking down Boylston Street, silent, typing. The table of brunchers ignoring their mimosas (and one another) in favor of their screens. The kid in the stroller playing with an iPad. The sea of humans who are, on this sparkling Saturday, living up to Turkle’s lament—they seem to be, indeed, alone together.
Alain de Botton on Art as Therapy
“Founder of The School of Life Alain de Botton believes art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas: Why is my work not more satisfying? Why do other people seem to have a more glamorous life? How can I improve my relationships? Why is politics so depressing? In this secular sunday sermon he introduces a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy, providing powerful solutions to many of life’s dilemmas.”
Here’s another take on this project, from The Spectator. A little sniffy, perhaps, but I guess Ben’s writing for his audience there in the way that Alain is here.
Elaborate new portraits drawn on vintage maps by Ed Fairburn
Using a wide variety of canvases including railroad blueprints, star charts, geological and street maps, Welsh artist Ed Fairburn uses additive and subtractive techniques to create portraits that seem perfectly integrated with the topography of streets, mountains and rivers.
An amazing visualization of global weather conditions. You can rotate the globe and watch the wind patterns at different altitudes.
Wikipedia states that "according to founder and former editor Denis Dutton, Arts & Letters Daily was inspired by the Drudge Report but was meant to reach the kinds of people who subscribe to the New York Review of Books, who read Salon and Slate and The New Republic — people interested in ideas."
It’s been bugging me all day but I’m still not sure if my response to this should be “How could I have not known about this website?” or “God I remember this from a g e s ago.” I can’t remember if this is something I’ve forgotten.
"He takes especial issue with the very notion of self-improvement — something particularly prominent in the season of New Year’s resolutions — and admonishes against the implication at its root: I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good "I" who is going to improve the bad "me." "I," who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward "me," and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently "I" will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make "me" behave so badly."