Sunday, November 1, 2009

Odds and Ends, Sun 1 November 2009

1. Mystery Service
* "Mystery Google"
  Get what the person before you searched for
* "Kashiwa Mystery Cafe"
  Get what the person before you ordered

2. "Reading Kafka Improves Learning, Suggests Psychology Study"
"'The idea is that when you're exposed to a meaning threat -- something
 that fundamentally does not make sense -- your brain is going to
 respond by looking for some other kind of structure within your

3. "Play Tetris, Get a More Efficient & Thicker Brain"
"Three months of Tetris playing had two distinct effects on the brains
 of research subjects ... This, says the doctors who undertook the
 study, shows that focusing on a 'challenging visuospatial task' like
 a videogame can actually alter the structure of the brain, not just
 increase brain activity."

4. "The Mediocre Multitasker"
"a study showing that the most persistent multitaskers perform badly in
 a variety of tasks. They don't focus as well as non-multitaskers.
 They're more distractible. They're weaker at shifting from one task to
 another and at organizing information. They are, as a matter of fact,
 worse at multitasking than people who don't ordinarily multitask."

5. "Think yourself a better picture"
"Want to enjoy the benefits of a super-sharp high-definition screen
 without buying a new TV? Simply tell yourself that you are watching HD
 and put up a few posters to transform your experience."

6. "Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to
    Know Why."
"The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat
 sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis. The stakes could
 hardly be higher. In today's economy, the fate of a long-established
 company can hang on the outcome of a handful of tests."

7. "Kurt Vonnegut explains drama"
"He said, 'People have been hearing fantastic stories since time began.
 The problem is, they think life is supposed to be like the stories.
 Let's look at a few examples.'"

8. "The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies"