31 May 2012

Time for an ´e-mail vacation´?

The University of California, Irvine found that being cut off from work e-mail leads to a better concentration, less multitasking, less stress and a more natural heart rate. The effect was especially clear after being cut off for a minimum of 5 days.

27 May 2012

Underwater Modern Art

Never heard of The Museum of Underwater Modern Art, until today...I would love to go there one day! A good reason to visit Mexico... Jason deCaires Taylor made beautiful underwater sculptures, check the website: http://jasondecairestaylor.com/


A most interesting interview by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize who coined the concept of "emotional intelligence".
I found specially interesting what he says about how memory works: it builds itself not on time but on moments (peaks, both bad or good).


26 May 2012


Some people pay a greater attention to the past, others live looking at the future. "Presentists", however, seem to be stuck in the present.
Have a look at the interesting article Jeffrey Israel wrote for BigThink:


24 May 2012

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

A beautiful poem in the unmistakable voice of Morgan Freeman.

Because, more often than we would think, words can change the world.


22 May 2012

How to improve our body image

Now that summer has arrived, I found this research quite interesting: researchers of the University of Maastricht (NL) are focusing on the concept of body image. Preliminary findings show that depression and eating disorders could possibly be prevented when women could see their body in a more masculine kind of way. A negative body image could be prevented by teaching women to learn to experience their body more in a manner of what they can DO with it (the masculine interpretation), instead of focusing on how the body looks like (the feminine interpretation).
Final conclusions from this research are expected later this year!

20 May 2012


This NASA photo shows what they call a stellar homicide by an old black hole.
Dramas that are played far far away. In fact, they were played long ago.
Closer to us, the Greek drama unfolds. The future of the European dream, dreamt by my generation and the previous one is about to be played in that old that has seen so many dramas before.

16 May 2012

High financial reward doesn´t always lead to better performances

Most people think that the higher an expected financial reward is, the harder people will work (and the better they will perform). Fact is, this is only the case when rewards are moderate.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) found that when people get too much money for performing a certain task, they will be afraid of losing this reward and they will perform worse...
The perfect amount of reward differs per person however (and is related to the amount of fear they experience of losing money).

Read more about this research at http://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13512

13 May 2012


Isabella Rossellini explains all about sex among animals.
Hilarious short movies produced by the Sundance Channel. Bees, earthworms, you name it!



An American company produces toys based on child drawings. You can see their products here:


A bit upsetting, isn'it? What's left of that space that Winnicott called the "transitional space" that is neither fantasy nor reality?

Lowering kids´ academic pressure

The American Psychological Association (APA) published an interesting research about the effect of academic pressure on kids´school performances. It turns out that lowering the pressure, by telling them learning can be difficult and failures are normal, will raise their self-esteem, lower their fear of failure and improve their school results.

Read more here: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/03/academic-pressure.aspx

9 May 2012

Platonic friendship: possible or not?

Since I started to come more regularly to Portugal, I started to notice how easy and natural male-female friendships seem here. A recent research performed by the University of Wisconsin (400 men and women participated) found however that men tend to be sexually attracted to their female friends more often than the other way around. And this could get in the way of their friendship. A Dutch research performed by 'Psychologie Magazine' (5000 participants) showed the same results.
I wonder: is my impression of Portuguese mixed friendships based on reality? Are there cultural differences?

6 May 2012


Who would have guessed, uh?


Another interesting study on creativity and insight on Big Think:


I quote:
"Numerous studies (...) are honing in on inspiration as a function of the right hemisphere of the brain – the less literal half that exceeds at making associations between things that don't obviously go together.
It turns out that sitting around waiting is definitively the wrong way to trigger right-brain creative activity. What gets the alpha waves flowing, facilitating the semi-dream-state in which we're best able to connect those unlikely dots, is a change of scenery"


Spring at last!
I took this photo while strolling under the sun. Life seems better with sun and flowers, doesn't it? It's all a question of perception - see my previous post of Rory Sutherland's TED Talk.


Let's make Lisbon as cool as Copenhagen!
Esther posted about joggers, this one is about cycling.




A brilliant TED Talk by Rory Sutherland.

Jog to live longer

A long-term research project, in which 2000 Danish joggers were followed since 1976 by cardiologists (amongst others), shows that jogging for a minimum of 1 hour a week could increase our lives with years. Also interesting is that slow or average paces seem to be enough!
Read more about this Copenhagen City Heart Study at http://www.escardio.org/about/press/press-releases/pr-12/Pages/regular-jogging-increases-life-expectancy.aspx

3 May 2012

Bhutan supports Gross National Happiness (GNH)

Last month there was a UN conference about happiness hosted by Bhutan, the country that supports the idea that the Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a more important measurement for the quality of life than the Gross National Product (GNP). A list of the happiest countries in the world was presented here (created by the 3 economists John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs, and based on several recent research reports). The top 5 exists of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Holland and Canada. Least happy country is Togo.
Read the whole World Happiness Report at http://issuu.com/earthinstitute/docs/world-happiness-report.

Who are the happiest kids of the Western world?

The recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study called 'Health Behaviour in School-aged Children' shows that Dutch children are the happiest in the Western world (39 countries: Europe, Canada and the US). Other happy kids are living in Armenia, Finland and Iceland. Children in Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Romania feel least happy. Read more here: http://www.hbsc.org/news/index.aspx?ni=1064.

1 May 2012


A beautiful and poetic animation with words by Edar Allan Poe



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