Month: June 2014

Day of an American: Sleeping, Commuting, and Working

Curated by CLAI

MAPS OF DAY-TO-DAY AMERICA: Alabama and Mississippi are the nation’s sleep capitals, averaging 9+ hours each. New York and New Jersey spend the most time commuting.

  • North Dakota employees work the longest days. The average employed North Dakotan reports spending 8 hours and 16 minutes at work each day. This is probably related to that state’s Bakken Shale boom and the influx of petroleum industry jobs, where armies of mostly male workers spend long hours on the job site.
  • Maine’s low reported working time — 6 hours and 54 minutes — may be related to a preponderance of seasonal and temporary jobs in the tourism industry in that state. They don’t call it “Vacationland” for nothing.

 

Map of Sleeping America

Alabama and Mississippi are the nation’s sleep capitals, averaging 9+ hours each (WAPO)

AMERICANS WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK: On Tuesdays we work the hardest, and have the hardest time falling asleep. We really don’t like running errands on Wednesday. We devote our weekends to our friends and our pets. We watch a ton of TV every day, but especially on Sunday. The 10 charts below reveal these trends and more.

Chart of how Americans spend their time each day

Everybody really is working for the weekend. (WAPO)

 

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Your body’s amazing reaction to water

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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6 Iced Coffees, Domino’s Smart Slice, and Canned Craft Beer

Curated by CLAI

6 ICED COFFEES: Inventive, refreshing and delicious in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY

  • Kenya Cola, Mockingbird Hill in Washington, D.C.: Kenyan coffee with a little sugar is chilled in an ice bath, mixed with three kinds of bitters (tiki, Spanish and black walnut), then poured in a glass with ice and topped with soda water.
  • Thunderbolt, Smith Canteen in Brooklyn: First came the freshly made lemonade, a taste of the Arkansas childhood of Rob Newton, the chef and an owner. Then came a shot of Haru, a citric coffee with gingery flavors that is grown in Ethiopia and roasted by Counter Culture Coffee. The two partner beautifully for a captivating flavor that’s part iced Americano, part American South.
Coffee

The Black & Blue from Cuvée Coffee (Phil Kline, NYTimes)

DOMINO’S SMART SLICE: Domino’s is delivering a pizza it calls the Smart Slice to more than 3,000 lunchrooms in 38 states, up from 3 states in 2010.

  • Compared with the standard Domino’s pizza, the Smart Slice has 1/3 less fat in the pepperoni, 1/3 less salt in the sauce, and cheese with just half the usual fat — all changes made to fit the new standards.
  • Domino’s uses a brand called Ultragrain, made by the food giant ConAgra; it makes up 51 percent of the flour in the crusts. Ultragrain is derived from a hard winter wheat called Snowmass, developed in 2009 by food scientists at Colorado State University, and the brand is showing up as an ingredient in an increasing variety of foods aimed at the school market, including Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.

CANNED CRAFT BEER: More and more fancy craft beer is showing up in aluminum cans. For decades, canned beer was the stuff you bought cheap — the PBR or Natural Ice — bottom-shelf beer. But the number of craft breweries putting their beer in cans has more than doubled since 2012.

  • Can advocates and brewers who are choosing cans say there are clear advantages over bottles: The beer in a can cools faster. The can protects from beer-degrading light. Beer cans are portable and take up less space, advantages both for retailers and for consumers who want to take them camping, hiking or fishing. There’s also more space on a can for wraparound design and decoration.
  • The biggest selling point for the bottle, though, is flavor. There’s at least a perception that cans impart a metallic taste, whereas liquid stored in a bottle comes out tasting pure. However, Most aluminum cans these days are lined with a polymer coating that protects the beer from the metal.

Climbing the Career Ladder? (And School Dress Codes)

Curated by CLAI

CAREER LADDER: Careers, like life, do not move in a straight line. I’ve accepted that there is not only one answer, and that the “perfect job” may not exist for me. Rather than a ladder, I see my career as a pond of lily pads extending in all directions. There is no one way “up,” just a series of opportunities and mini-experiments that get you closer and closer to discovering what’s meaningful.

  • Where do you get on the ladder? Is there one in each city in the world? What happens if you want to try two different ladders at the same time? If you hop off for a detour, do you have to start back from the bottom, or do you get to return to the rung where you left off?
  • Only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their college major, and more than 90% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years.
  • Yet 20-somethings are still erringly being told to figure out their (single) calling, find the perfect first job in that field, and then maintain a linear career trajectory.
  • 90% of college students are optimistic about their ability to find a good job when they graduate.
  • 70% said it was important find a job that allows them to do what they love, while only 20% said it was important to find a job that pays well.
Career Ladder

Career Ladder (BEWFAA)

SCHOOL DRESS CODE: If you’re wondering whether dress code policies disproportionately govern what female students can — or can’t — wear to school, you’re right. Our informal survey showed that regulations are more restrictive for women than for men.

  • Almost half the public schools in the country now have a dress code. That number has increased from 21% in 2000.
  • Shorts/Skirt Length: Most schools we surveyed have some rules on how long skirts and shorts must be, and how short is too short. Some go with the “fingertip rule” (shorts and skirts must extend beyond the fingertips), while others require only an “appropriate length.”
  • Bare Shoulders/Midriffs: Navel-baring blouses are a no-go at nearly every school we surveyed. Most also put some regulation on shirt sleeves. Spaghetti-strap tank tops are a common target. So are halter tops — but some schools ban sleeveless shirts all together.
  • Illegal/Profane/Suggestive Content: Clothing that suggests or portrays violence, illegal acts or illegal substances are almost an unequivocal no. Mostly, we’re talking T-shirts here.

Better Handwriting Means More Creative? What Does 100 Years Old Feel Like?

Curated by CLAI

DOES HANDWRITING MATTER? Most states call for teaching legible writing, only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard. But children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.

  • When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.
  • When these children were asked to come up with ideas for a composition, the ones with better handwriting exhibited greater neural activation in areas associated with working memory — and increased overall activation in the reading and writing networks.
  • Students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard.
  • For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information.
What stage in life do you remember most fondly?

What stage in life do you remember most fondly? (Source: United Healthcare)

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A CENTENARIAN: Only 3% said they were lonely, sad or burdened. They remember their 30s most fondly. And feel like they’re only 83 …