Being Productive Means Knowing When to Stop

hemingway at his writing desk

Regulating your own work schedule is an incredibly important part of being active and productive. Knowing what you need to do and doing them is just as important as knowing when to take a break so you can function at the best of your abilities.

I found an interesting post with a quote from Ernest Hemingway on the topic of writing:

The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.

This is applicable to most tasks and work in general. And it brings to mind something I’ve heard from a Yoga instructor years ago. She told me that you have to have a reason to go back to the mat and do Yoga again.

If you over-exert yourself too much you’ll end up hating the practice of Yoga and will dread the thought of returning to the mat. It’ll become a chore and that’s the worst way to make sure that you develop a regular Yoga practice.

So people, know when to stop. Stop near the top. Give yourself some a reason to come back again.

4 Ways to Get Updates on Web Pages Without RSS

awr rss

I’ve always been a little annoyed when I want to track a web page or website and there’s no RSS feed to be found. You can’t just pop the feed in your feed reader and let it receive updates quietly. I mean its 2010, there should be RSS for every single website, right? No. Apparently this convenience is still lacking in most places on the internet.

But there are a few ways around it. 4 of them in particular. They work really well for most people and they can help you to track changes in any webpages that don’t have a ready made RSS feed.

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Evolution: Men Like Women With Small Feet Because…

female-feetFor most men, women with small feet look dainty and cute, while women with big feet tend to look clumsy or ungraceful. But what if the feet were covered by shoes, will men will prefer women with small feet even though they can’t see the feet with their own eyes?

Apparently, yes. An interesting study by evolutionary psychologists discovered that for men, women with smaller feet have prettier faces:

Atkinson and his colleague Michelle Rowe measured hand length, foot length, thigh length and hip width on 60 white female college students, then adjusted each measurement to account for individual differences in overall height. For each of 16 body-part measurements, they selected the eight women with the shortest lengths and the eight with the longest, and constructed morphs of their faces. These morphs were then rated for attractiveness by 77 heterosexual male students.

The men were three-and-a-half times as likely to pick the short-footed morph as more attractive, and almost 10 times as likely to say it was more feminine, Atkinson and Rowe found.

Similarly, they were more than 11 times as likely to pick the narrow-hipped morph as more attractive, and eight times as likely to choose the long-thighed morph..

Atkinson goes on to suggest that the features of having long thighs, narrow hips and small feet indicate that one has a healthy childhood. Poor stress and nutrition being causes of short or stunted growth.

The ability to predict the size of the feet just by looking at the face is fascinating. And its because our faces and bodies are shaped by the same hormones.

I can understand the part about longer thigh bones and smaller feet but narrow hips? I always thought that according to evolutionary science, human males were drawn to females with a certain hip to waist ratio with big hips being a sure sign of fertility and sexual vigor.

The Locavore Movement – An Experiment in Living

locavoreThe ‘Locavore movement’ is an interesting set of socio-environmental principles which focus on eating only food that is locally produced. This means eating food in home gardens of food grown locally by groups or communities.

A rough definition is food that is grown within a distance of 100 miles from where you live although others apply greater or lesser leeway to this. The goal here is to minimize the ecological footprint of growing and shipping food long distances.

It’s not an easy way to live as a man in Brooklyn, New York discovered. In a fascinating article in NY Mag, a man decides to see how far he can go with the locavore movement by following its principles exactly for a few days. Here is his conclusion:

In three weeks of eating nothing but Farm-fresh food, I lost 29 pounds, down from my pre-Farm weight of 234. Abs: That’s the upside of only two meals a day. The downside is the expense. Not counting my own labor, which was unending, I spent about $11,000 to produce what, all told, is barely enough to feed one grown man for a month. But I did learn something about food: Unless you really know what you’re doing, raising it is miserable, soul-crushing work. Eating food fresh from the farm, on the other hand, is delightful.

Eating local is expensive and time-consuming, which is why this consumerist movement will not easily trickle down into mass society. It requires a willful abstinence from convenience and plenty, a core promise of the modern world. Our bountiful era is predicated on the division of labor: We don’t sew our own clothes, we don’t build our own houses—and we certainly don’t farm—because we’re too busy doing whatever it is we do for everyone else.

But locavores also preach the importance of valuing all the time and energy and care that go into producing good food, and there I’m with them. So, too, in the end, is Lisa. As I joined her and the kids for supper one night, after finishing my own, Lisa remarked that after seeing how hard I’d worked to put a simple plate of chicken on the table, she’d never shop the same way again. It wasn’t just a matter of buying regionally, or seasonally, or organically—the important thing was to consume responsibly. “I’ll never be as wasteful,” she said. “We throw away more food than we eat.”

Make Your Own Steampunk Watch

arduino-watchThis looks like something from a Mad Max movie. An analog + digital steampunk watch with a really sweet design. It’s kinda got an 8-bit vibe to it for some odd reason. Very geeky but manly at the same time. Must be the brown leather.

The Arduino Watch provides augmented sensing of temperature and range, 16-bit color drawing program, Breakout game, and also tells the time in your choice of digital, binary, or analog. Additional sensors, devices, and programs are easy to add as any standard Arduino.

Via instructables

The Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson

Massive sculptures are fascinating and Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty walks the fine line between nature and the artificial. In 1970, he built a 1500-foot long, 15 foot-wide counterclockwise coil out of mud, salt crystals and rocks at the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Like most land art, the Spiral Jetty is a part of its landscape and its affected by the elements: It exists to eventually erode under natural conditions. Since its creation, the jetty has been completely covered and uncovered by water several times, being dependent on fluctuating water levels.

When Smithson set out to build ”Spiral Jetty” in 1970, he hired a contractor and another worker who used two dump trucks, a tractor and a large front-loader to move 6,650 tons of rock and earth from the shore into the water. At 1,500 feet long, the giant spiral is large enough to be seen in photographs taken from space.

Smithson had a precise vision for the project and supervised every step, making sure individual rocks fell in the right spots. ”He would raise each rock up and roll it around, then he would move this one, change that one until it looked exactly right..He wanted it to look like it was a growing, living thing, coming out of the center of the earth.”

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Self-Surveillance: Monitoring Yourself 24 Hours a Day


Here’s an interesting device, particularly because it offers you the ability to reflectively record and examine your life. Right now it seems to be only limited to movement tracking but I like the idea of using self-surveillance to gain knowledge about oneself. Lifestreaming on the web has already taken a step in that direction.

The simple pedometer has been given a makeover. Fitbit, a startup based in San Francisco, has built a small, unobtrusive sensor that tracks a person’s movement 24 hours a day to produce a record of her steps taken, her calories burned, and even the quality of her sleep. Data is wirelessly uploaded to the Web so that users can monitor their activity and compare it with that of their friends.

The Worst Ever Opening Sentences for a Novel

novelThe Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest is a writing competition sponsored by San Jose State University. Entrants are supposed to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The poorer and more cheesy your metaphors the better your chance of winning.

Interesting how most of the grand prize winners involve sex.

Some of the ones I found funny:

“The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably–the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.”


“Professor Frobisher couldn’t believe he had missed seeing it for so long–it was, after all, right there under his nose–but in all his years of research into the intricate and mysterious ways of the universe, he had never noticed that the freckles on his upper lip, just below and to the left of the nostril, partially hidden until now by a hairy mole he had just removed a week before, exactly matched the pattern of the stars in the Pleides, down to the angry red zit that had just popped up where he and his colleagues had only today discovered an exploding nova.”

“Ace, watch your head!” hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn’t you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips if he really tries, but he appreciated her warning.”

“On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet-paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained.”

“Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you’ve had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.”

Castlerigg Stone Circle: One of the Earliest Prehistoric Monuments in UK

Castlerigg Stone Circle Borrowdale Keswick Clive Hirst

One of the most impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain, the Castlerigg Stone Circle is located in Cumbria, a shire county in the extreme North West of England. While not as well known as the Stonehenge, the Castlerigg circle is a remarkable artifact from the past that was constructed around 3000 BC, making it one of the earliest stone circles in Britain (and maybe Europe).

It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the 38 stones in the circle are quite large. The heaviest stone is around 16 tons and the tallest is approximately 2.3m high. The diameter for the circle is approximately 30m (100ft). A collection of 10 smaller stones are arranged in a rectangle on the south-east side of the ring (something not present in other stone circles).

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