Monday, June 29, 2015

New York Magazine's Guide on How Not to Do Things

From New York Magazine, the "lazy" man's guide on how not to do things. Although written with a sense of humour, this guide gives some great suggestions in how to make your life richer.

This is how editor David Marchese finds time to meditate:

A great many extremely successful and presumably fully actualized people, from billionaire hedge-funder Ray Dalio to pop goddess Katy Perry, are advocating these days for the life-changing benefits of Transcendental Meditation. TM, they say, will sharpen your decision-making, unlock your creativity, amplify your you. Science is also onboard. Studies suggest that TM practitioners are at reduced risk for heart attack and stroke. All this from just sitting there and focusing on your secret mantra. When I mention this sort of stuff to people—I’ve been doing TM for six or so years—I normally get an interested nod in return. When I say it involves meditating twice a day for 20 minutes a pop, the nod turns into something more skeptical. Where am I supposed to find the time?

I find it on the C train. As long as your commute is long enough, the subway offers a great opportunity for achieving profound inner stillness. First off, you need to find a seat, which is why I opt for the less crowded local, rather than express, train. Then, with your back straight, head tilted slightly down, and eyes closed, do about 30 seconds of deep breathing before you begin silently repeating your mantra—the secret word, supposedly custom-chosen, that your TM instructor (find a nearby class and instructor at will have given you. Don’t try to clear your mind, just favor the mantra. Repeat it. Keep repeating it. Favor it above all other thoughts and sensations. If other thoughts do bubble up—and they will—just come back to the mantra. You’ll be amazed how quickly the ambient MTA blare fades away as you transcend toward pure consciousness. A sort of whole-body inner joy takes over, as if your heart were gently laughing. Hard-core TMers say 20 minutes is mandatory—I use the timer on my iPhone—but if you’re diligent about the mantra, you can transcend after a few minutes, so it’s okay if the train starts running express. Even ten minutes of TM is a nice psychic boon, and, I promise, infinitely more satisfying than another level of Candy Crush.

Featured image: Illustration by Joe McKendry.

Via @kenchawkin.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Smoking Kitten

That kittens guilty look when caught "smoking" a cigarette, is priceless:

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Scho-Ka-Kola Chocolate: German Food Engineering in a Tin Can

I have a soft spot for beautiful tin canisters. To celebrate it's 80th anniversary, the German chocolate brand Scho-Ka-Kola, created by the Hildebrand, Kakao- und Schokoladenfabrik in Berlin, 1935, is now being sold in a classic retro tin.

The chocolate has three ingredients; cocoa, coffee and cola-nut, which makes for an energy booster:

SCHO-KA-KOLA has always been sold in the famous round tin with the striking red and white ray design. Each tin contains 16 melt-in-the-mouth wedges of SCHO-KA-KOLA, available in the classic dark chocolate variety or in a milk chocolate version. Whether light or dark: both varieties share the same unique recipe, which contains natural caffeine extracted from cocoa, cola nuts and coffee, and provide a mental boost for more energy and concentration. The cola nuts make SCHO-KA-KOLA such an energy booster. They are the fruit of the cola tree, which grows mainly in West and Central Africa and contains considerably more caffeine than ordinary coffee.

Photo credit: Image via my favorite army shop Varusteleka.

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Wearing High Heels All Day is Easy Peasy, or Is It?

BroBible's Brandon Cohen wanted to prove that wearing high heels isn't actually that bad:

To me, there’s nothing quite as disgusting as a girl walking barefoot on the street with her heels in hand. It just screams trash. I don’t care how much pain I’m in, only a vile derelict would let their bare feet touch a sullied city sidewalk. My face has scrunched up many-a-time after witnessing a drunk girl stumbling around barefoot on the street, disgusting feet as blacked out as they currently are.


In an effort to prove that girls are huge complainers, and wearing heels isn’t THAT bad, I decided to buy myself a pair and change the heel game forever.

Well, ladies, it looks like Brandon and the rest of us need to be a lot more understanding and compassionate from now on, if you for no apparent reasons, happen to lash out on your fellow beings.

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For the Love of Scotland: A Video Homage

Enjoy the magnificent scenery of Scotland in these two video homages. First out is Josh Brine with "Go, and Be", in which he has captured the Scottish Highlands:

And we continue with Edinburgh-based filmmaker John Duncan's film "Beautiful Scotland":

Featured image: Still from "Go, and Be" by Josh Brine.

Via Swissmiss.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hoffmaestro's Kaliffa is Back with the New Single 'Spontanitet'

Kaliffa's newly released single "Spontanitet" is refreshing and upbeat. Lyrics is in Swedish, but I'm sure non-Swedes will appreciate the song as well.

Don't miss out on listening to Kaliffa's "Det Strålar Så Om Dej".

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Meditation is Taking Off Big in Silicon Valley

Meditation is taking off big in Silicon Valley. Not only does it enhance the workplace environment and personal relationships, it's also a tool to get ahead of competition:

But Googlers don’t take up meditation just to keep away the sniffles or get a grip on their emotions. They are also using it to understand their coworkers’ motivations, to cultivate their own “emotional intelligence”—a characteristic that tends to be in short supply among the engineering set. “Everybody knows this EI thing is good for their career,” says Search Inside Yourself founder Meng [Chade-Meng Tan, software engineer and motivator at Google]. “And every company knows that if their people have EI, they’re gonna make a shitload of money.”

Meng has had quite a career himself, joining Google in 2000 as employee number 107 and working on mobile search. But for years, his attempts to bring meditation into the office met with limited success. It was only in 2007, when he packaged contemplative practices in the wrapper of emotional intelligence, that he saw demand spike. Now there are dozens of employee development programs at Google that incorporate some aspect of meditation or mindfulness. And Meng—who was born in Singapore and was turned on to Buddhism by an American nun—has slowly ascended to icon status within the company. More than one Search Inside Yourself student has asked Meng for his autograph.

And for creating more mindful and user friendly technology:

After hearing Kabat-Zinn [Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the wonderful mindfulness book "Wherever You Go, There You Are"], Bejar [Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar] began looking for ways to bring some of that compassion to Facebook, where bullying and flame wars were all too common among users and the tools for reporting offensive content weren’t terribly effective. Bejar set up a series of “compassion research days” at Facebook and brought in Buddhist-inspired academics from Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford to see if they could help.

The researchers’ advice: Make the tools more personal, more conversational, and more emotional. For instance, let people express their vulnerability and distress when asking for a problematic picture or status update to be removed. The changes were small at first. Instead of tagging a post as “Embarrassing,” users clicked a new button that read “It’s embarrassing.” But those three letters made an enormous difference. It turned the report from a seemingly objective classification of content into a customer’s subjective, personal response. Use of the tool shot up 30 percent almost immediately. This in a field where a change of a few percentage points either way is considered tectonic.

Featured image: Meditation teacher Kenneth Folk. Photography by Brian Finke.

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Artist Andreas Lie's Double Exposure Photo Series of Wild Animals

Norweigan artist Andreas Lie has put the double exposure effect to good use when creating his series of animal portraits.

Night Bison:

Snow Fox:

Polar Bear:


Visit Andreas' shop over at Society6 to buy prints, and/or get artwork printed on different objects, such as pillow cases and clothes.

Via ignant.

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The Happiness List from the Film 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' (2014)

In the film "Hector and the Search for Happiness" (2014), psychiatrist Hector (played by Simon Pegg), lives a very secure and punctuated life back in London. One day, he decides to step out of his comfort zone and begins a journey in search for happiness, a journey that takes him all over the world.


The film has met some mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and give the film four out of five.

The Happiness List

In the movie, there's a nice set of lessons and insights that Hector learned, that will lead to greater happiness. The following list differs somewhat from the one found in the film, since this list is taken from François Lelord's novel of the same name:

  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
  2. Happiness often comes when least expected
  3. Many people only see happiness in their future
  4. Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
  5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
  6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
  7. It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
  8. Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love
  9. Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
  10. Happiness is doing a job you love
  11. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
  12. It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
  13. Happiness is feeling useful to others
  14. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are (People are kinder to a child who smiles)
  15. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
  16. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
  17. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love
  18. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
  19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy
  20. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
  21. Rivalry poisons happiness
  22. Women care more than men about making others happy
  23. Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy

Photo credit: Poster via Flickering Myth.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Watch the Documentary 'The Director Who Disappeared, The Story of The Ninja Mission'

The Swedish documentary "Regissören som försvann – historien om The Ninja Mission" (The Director Who Disappeared, The Story of The Ninja Mission), is an interesting watch about the making of the action film "The Ninja Mission" (1984), directed by Mats Helge. The film was shot entirely in Sweden (and Norway), and while it wasn't particularly well received in its native country, the movie became a major success in the U.S and other countries. It grossed a staggering 250.000.000 Swedish crowns (30750000 USD), proceeds that never reached Mats Helge and his team, but mysteriously went elsewhere. Rumour has it, that a large chunk of the proceeds went to the production of New Line Cinema's Freddy Krueger movies.

Mats Helge continued to direct and produce movies, but none of them became as successfull as "The Ninja Mission". Helge made his last public appearance during Sweden's leading film awards "Guldbaggen" in 2000, and has since then choosed to stay out of the limelight.

Full documentary:

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Johann Sebastian Bach Composition Brings Life to This Beautiful Light Show

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach's "Prelude and Fugue in C Major" (BWV 846), from the book "The Well-Tempered Clavier", brings life to this beautiful light show installation, inside a museum and an underground car park.

Read more about the project here.

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The Opening Visuals for the Technology and Creative Conference FITC Toronto 2015

The opening visuals for FITC (Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity) Toronto 2015, convey FITC's evolution from being a simple Flash conference, to becoming an international meeting place for people who create things in the digital space.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Elgin Park: The Miniature Town of Artist Michael Paul Smith

Elgin Park is the name of artist Michael Paul Smith's miniature town, inspired by his own upbringing and childhood memories, growing up in America. With small scale models, he creates incredible optical illusions of everyday scenes ranging from the 1920s to the mid-1960s.

The buildings are constructed of resin-coated paper, styrene plastic, and basswood, plus numerous found objects. The vehicles are from Michael's collection of 300+ commercially produced, diecast models.

No Photoshop was used in these images; they're all composed in the camera. It is the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background, then photographing it.

1958 Edsel Station Wagon:

The Giant Hand:

Open Late:

Hudson in the Snow:

1961 Ford Wagon:

1951 Pontiac:

The Rivers Edge Vacation Home:

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff's Personal Secretary Speaks Out in the Documentary 'In God We Trust' (2013)

The documentary "In God We Trust" portrays Eleanor Squillari, who was stockbroker and investment advisor Bernard Madoff's personal secretary for twenty-five years, until the day his massive Ponzi scheme unraveled in 2008. Coming to grips with the situation, Squillari starts to go through documents in an attempt to assist the FBI with valuable information.

Eleanor Squillari went to work every day believing she was working for a great company, a great man. For twenty-five years she sat 15 feet from Bernard L. Madoff as his personal secretary. She never imagined that he was perpetrating the largest financial crime in history. On December 11th, 2008, her life as she knew it was destroyed…until she decided to do something about it.

She became obsessed with unearthing the truth. Through this film we experience this journey with Eleanor, as she examines how she unwittingly participated in the massive Ponzi scheme, which operated right under her nose. Years of Eleanor's files and personal memories begin to unwind the crimes as she aids the FBI investigation, and struggles to determine which of her formerly trusted co-workers were involved. As she probes deeper into the deceit, Eleanor finds that Bernie's Ponzi scheme was only the beginning, a small fraction of the criminal activity that took place everyday for decades, right under her nose.


I don't know when the documentary will be available for the general public, but Al Jazeera America has showed the documentary back in december.

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Russell Simmons Brings 'Light' Transcendental Meditation to the Masses with a Free Meditation App

Russell Simmons has released a new meditation app to accompany the book "Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple" (2014), which he wrote together with Chris Morrow. The app will learn you how to meditate using a mantra, a process Simmons' previously has referred to as "light" Transcendental Meditation.

Russell Simmons recently launched a mindful app called 'Meditation Made Simple,' which is aimed at helping people practice Transcendental Meditation. The successful hip-hop mogul has already conquered the music world and he is now turning his attention to more spiritual pursuits.

The app is essentially an audio book companion for Simmons' new book titled 'Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple.' While you can simply read about the motions and procedures of transcendental meditation in the book, the app enhances the overall experience by providing a human voice to guide you through your practice. With step-by-step guidance, this mindful app promises to help you de-stress, refocus and achieve true zen. The idea is that the app will help serve as a primer for people eager to start practicing Transcendental Meditation.

Currently, the app is only made for iPhone and iPad. You find it in the iTunes App Store.

If you can't use the app (me included, since I don't own an iPhone/iPad), watch Russell's and Chris Morrow's mantra meditation workshop at Google.

Via TechCrunch.

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