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How to turn small talk into smart conversation

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

Tips from a comedian and a journalist on the art of going from small talk to big ideas — all summer long.

Imagine almost any situation where two or more people are gathered—a wedding reception, a job interview, two off-duty cops hanging out in a Jacuzzi.

What do these situations have in common? Almost all of them involve people trying to talk with each other. But in these very moments where a conversation would enhance an encounter, we often fall short. We can’t think of a thing to say.

Or worse, we do a passable job at talking. We stagger through our romantic, professional and social worlds with the goal merely of not crashing, never considering that we might soar. We go home sweaty and puffy, and eat birthday cake in the shower.

We stagger through our romantic, professional and social worlds with the goal merely of not crashing, never considering…

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Your body’s amazing reaction to water

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

Writer James Nestor explores the science of the “mammalian dive reflex,” the phenomenon by which water triggers an immediate decrease in heart rate.

In 1949, a stocky Italian air force lieutenant named Raimondo Bucher decided to try a potentially deadly stunt off the coast of Capri, Italy. Bucher would sail out to the center of the lake, take a breath and hold it, and free-dive down one hundred feet to the bottom. Waiting there would be a man in a diving suit. Bucher would hand the diver a package, then kick back up to the surface. If he completed the dive, he’d win a fifty-thousand-lira bet; if he didn’t, he would drown.

Scientists warned Bucher that, according to Boyle’s law, the dive would kill him. Formulated in the 1660s by the Anglo-Irish physicist Robert Boyle, this equation predicted the behavior of gases at various pressures, and it indicated that the pressure at a hundred…

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Welcome to SIFT by CLAI

SIFT by CLAI is a news exhibition of smart, interesting, fun, and thoughtful posts about food, drink, work, love, travel, and life. Many articles and posts are courtesy of the New York Times, National Public Radio, Harvard Business Review, and Washington Post. If you find an interesting article to share, feel free to comment with the link anywhere on the blog. As always, happy reading and commenting!

Much love,
CLAI