Monthly Archives: March 2011

How Language Shapes Thought

The languages we speak affect our perceptions of the world
People communicate using a multitude of languages that vary considerably in the information they convey. Scholars have long wondered whether different languages might impart different cognitive abilities. In recent years empirical evidence for this causal relation has emerged, indicating that one’s mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of the world, including space and time. The latest findings also hint that language is part and parcel of many more aspects of thought than scientists had previously realized.

Read the full story at Scientific American’s website


Moonwalking with Einstein

On average, people squander 40 days annually compensating for things they’ve forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories. Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top “mental athletes,” he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories. At a time when electronic devices have all but rendered our individual memories obsolete, Foer’s bid to resurrect the forgotten art of remembering becomes an urgent quest. Moonwalking with Einstein brings Joshua Foer to the apex of the U.S. Memory Championship, and brings readers to a profound appreciation of a gift that we all possess, but that too often slips our minds.

Buy it at

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular?

By Charles L. Mauro: The usual question: Over the past 30+ years as a consultant in the field generally known as human factors engineering (aka usability engineering), I have been asked by hundreds of clients why users don’t find their company’s software engaging. The answer to this persistent question is complex but never truly illusive. This question yields to experience and professional usability analysis.

Read the full story here

Need a Good Night’s Sleep? Turn Off Your Devices

If you haven’t woke up feeling refreshed in who knows how long, you can blame your gadgets from ruining your slumber. A new study by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that people are overwhelmingly using technology before sleep, which has proven to disrupt sleeping patterns. Ninety-five percent of the people surveyed admitted to using some sort of device in the hour before sleep – and that doesn’t even count the people woken up by text messages, phone calls or emails during the night.

“Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep,” Doctor Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital explained in the press release. “This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.”

Lack of sleep is a problem for everyone since sleepiness can affect work and school performance, mood, driving habits, sex life and your health. It’s especially bad for the younger generation because they are still developing. Interactive technologies, such as games, surfing the Web and talking on a cell phone can be particularly disruptive because they stimulate the brain and stop you from beginning the sleep onset process.

The study revealed:
– One in ten said they were woken up by a text message or call, with 20 percent of those people saying it happens more than once a week.
– Sixty-seven percent of baby boomers surveyed admitted they watched TV in the hour before bed, with only 49 percent of people aged 19 to 29 tuning in.
– Six out of ten people used their laptop before sleeping at least once a week. Most guilty of this were the 13- to 18-year-olds: 55 percent copped to the deed.
– Only one-third of people 13 to 29 played video games before bed. The number drastically drops in the older age groups.
– The average American copes by taking naps and drinking caffeinated beverages. We’re averaging three 12-ounce caffeinated beverages per weekday. Slightly more than half of the people under 29 said they take at least one nap during the work week or school week, compared to 40 percent of people 30 and 64.

Scientists suggest doing wind down activities before bed, sticking to a strict sleep schedule and exposing yourself to bright light in the morning, but avoiding it at night. Try not to take late night naps or drink caffeinated beverages right before bed. If you’re someone who constantly worries, keep a physical – not on your computer – worry journal that you can jot things down in the middle of the night if you wake up.

And, don’t be afraid to turn off your cell phone: Whatever it is, it can wait until the morning.



NoteSlate is low cost tablet device with true one colour display, real paper look design, long life battery (180h !), together with very handy usage and very simple and helpful interface for pen and paper. This easy, compact and portable gadget is used anywhere you want to make any notes, drafts, sketches, any ideas for future reference. Paper for everyone! Write a note and check it later, save it, or delete it. Maybe send it after. Just one colour is enough to express the basics.

NoteSlate page