Why you should make useless things | Simone Giertz

Please check out Simone Giertz’s TED Talk about her experiences with making useless gadgets. She has found a way to express her creativity which is unique, whimsical, and which caught the attention of YouTubers everywhere.

Knit Knack

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Image ID : 69123108
Copyright : sebboy12

 

There was something about knitting that always appealed to me as a child.  I was enchanted by women who were in the midst of knitting something, and would watch them as they wielded their handiwork on a skein of yarn.   By the time I was eight years old, I was dead set on learning the art of knitting, and since my mother did not know how to knit, I ended up going to the library and borrowing a book on knitting.  I then asked my mom to take me to the local hobby shop, where I purchased three skeins of acrylic yarn: one pale yellow, one ivory, and one navy blue.
I remember studying the illustrations which accompanied the instructions for casting on stitches, knitting, and purling, and I caught on quickly.  And since I was reading a book with right-handed instructions, I learned to knit right-handed even though I am left-hand dominant with crocheting, writing, drawing, painting and eating.  To this day, I knit right-handed.
When I was in my teens and 20’s, I knitted scarves, afghans and a sweater which I proudly wore until the oppressively hot 100% acrylic yarn made wearing it next to impossible.  I didn’t pick up knitting needles again until February of this year.  For whatever reason, I suddenly missed the meditative, repetitive motion of knitting, and decided to tackle a project.  I purchased yarn and circular knitting needles, downloaded a knitting pattern for a cardigan sweater, and started knitting.
I had my heart set on a long sweater duster, so I extended the lower body pattern to accommodate the longer length.  I used the exact brand and weight of yarn which was used in the pattern, but because the extra length was so heavy, the panel stretched out so much that it looked warped.  My hopes dashed for a long sweater coat, I stared at the panel, trying to figure out how I was going to salvage it.  Was I going to use it as a throw blanket?  No, it was slightly too small for that.  I draped the panel over my shoulders and toyed with the idea of a poncho, when I came up with an idea.  What if I fashioned the corners into sleeves?  I began pinning and measuring, and once I figured out a design, I sewed up the panel, creating sort of a kimono sleeve coat.
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What do you guys think?

Shut Up, I’m Trying to Concentrate! (Revised Repost)

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There are times when I need absolute silence in order to concentrate. Since I spend a lot of time at home writing, I deal with the constant challenges of coming up with new material, and allowing the creative process of writing to develop. Perhaps the most distracting thing I face when I am trying to focus is NOISE. Whether the noise is from people talking to each other, exercise equipment banging against the floor, car horns blaring, cats playing, doors opening or closing, or people constantly trying to talk to me, any noise except music will get me to the point where I get close to losing it. I am well aware of the fact that I suffer from misophonia, and have dealt with it since med school days, when I had to wear earbuds whenever I sat for exams.

I recently read that a group of psychologists at Northwestern University discovered that highly creative people tend to be more sensitive to noise than the average person. I digested this information with relish, since I certainly hope the fact that I can be easily annoyed by noise when I am in a creative mode is indicative of creative genius, or at least something close! The assertion that creative types are more easily distracted by noise is demonstrated by great novelists like Proust, who apparently would sequester himself in his small apartment, donning earplugs and drawing the blinds while he wrote.

Cat shutting dog up

Basically, I think the general rule of thumb should be that if someone tells you to pipe down, and the person is clearly trying to focus, then SHUT UP!

Get Creative To Stump Cyber Criminals

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There has been a precipitous rise in cybercrime over the past several years, which has caused many companies and individuals to tighten up their security measures. According to information on the Norton website (http://us.norton.com/cybercrime-definition), cybercrime has surpassed drug trafficking as a criminal moneymaker. A person’s identity is stolen EVERY THREE SECONDS these days. Cybercrimes include identity theft, fraud, bullying, pornography, and cyberstalking. Though there are distinct advantages to having greater connectivity across massive sea of computers and other electronic communication devices, we are more at risk of cybercrime than ever before.

Though changing our passwords constantly can be a nuisance, doing so can confer a bit more security. Many of us are getting far more creative and cryptic with our passwords, but there are people who apparently still use common passwords which are easy to guess. I saw this article on Yahoo! today and want to share the list of most common passwords for 2015. Thank you, Daniel Bean, for posting this information!

Here’s the link: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/123456-tops-yearly-list-of-most-common-passwords-073731649.html

And here’s the list:

Splash Data's list of most common passwords for 2015

Splash Data’s list of most common passwords for 2015

Splash Data has some tips for password selection:

1. Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters.
2. Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites.
3. Use a password manager such as SplashID to organize and protect passwords, generate random passwords, and automatically log into websites.

Just think of it. You can get truly creative with numbers, letters, and special characters. How nice of all those cyber criminals to drum up all those creative juices in your noggin! The only real problem with coming up with unique and cryptic passwords for countless websites is that you may forget your password. There are password managers such as SplashID which keep your passwords nice and safe, and which also generate passwords for you, but what if someone hacks into the password manager? Yikes.

I’m not trying to be cynical, but it almost seems impossible to generate a password which stumps experienced hackers. A frightening article by Dan Goodin, entitled “Anatomy of a hack: even your ‘complicated’ password is easy to crack”, was posted on wired.co.uk (link is: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-05/28/password-cracking/viewall). The article reveals that even when we create long, complex passwords, most of them can be cracked.

If you think you’re being cute by typing patterns on the keyboard (qwertyuiop for example), just be aware that those types of passwords are embarrassingly easy to crack. If you make things personal, you are also setting yourself up for attack. So you might want to avoid using the name of your first dog when creating a crack-resistant password. Create something without rhyme or reason, try to remember it, and hope and pray that expert hackers don’t crack your code.

Music Performance and Cognitive Function

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Please check out my original post at:

http://xactmind.com/xc/articles/music-performance-and-cognitive-function/

By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

Play For Your Brain

Not all of us are able to play musical instruments well, but the challenge of learning to play one can be a fun hobby. Recent research suggests that people who play a musical instrument regularly, even if they aren’t musically gifted per se, are reinforcing their brain’s function at the same time.

Musical training is thought to increase neural connections in the brain which are associated with decision making, complex memory, and creativity. Musical education can even boost cognitive function in people who have suffered from strokes, and equip the brain to adapt by using intact brain regions.

Musical Brains

Numerous studies have proven that the brains of musicians differ functionally and structurally from the brains of non-musicians. Skilled musicians are like athletes, because they need to coordinate multiple senses, and focus on complex elements like melody and tempo, while performing a piece.

There is also research which suggests that the areas used in musical performance are closely linked with other important cognitive functions. One study by Schaug discovered that musical disorders such as tone deafness affect about 4 to 10 percent of the population, which is the same percentage range seen with disabilities such as dyslexia and dyscalculia (math difficulties).

Another study, performed by Wang, examined the brains of 48 young adults who had studied music for at least one year between the ages of 3 and 15. The subjects who had begun musical training before the age of 7 had greater development in the areas of the brain associated with language and executive function.

Shut Up, I’m Trying To Concentrate!

I-like-the-sound-you-make-when-you-shut-up

There are times when I need absolute silence in order to concentrate. Now that I write content almost daily, I deal with the constant challenges of coming up with new material, and allowing the creative process of writing to develop. Perhaps the most distracting thing I face when I am trying to focus is NOISE. Whether the noise is from people talking to each other, exercise equipment banging against the floor, car horns blaring, cats playing, doors opening or closing, or people constantly trying to talk to me, any noise except music (which I listen to through earbuds) will get me to the point where I get close to losing it.

I recently read that a group of psychologists at Northwestern University discovered that highly creative people tend to be more sensitive to noise than the average person. I digested this information with relish, since I certainly hope the fact that I can be easily annoyed by noise when I am in a creative mode is indicative of creative genius, or at least something close! The assertion that creative types are more easily distracted by noise is demonstrated by great novelists like Proust, who apparently would sequester himself in his small apartment, donning earplugs and drawing the blinds while he wrote.

Cat shutting dog up

Basically, I think the general rule of thumb should be that if someone tells you to pipe down, and the person is clearly trying to focus, then SHUT UP!