Rabu, 30 September 2009

0 The Death of Multitasking and Rebirth of Unitasking

How many times have you heard someone say, "I get so much done because I am able to multitask"? Usually said with a smug little grin. Whilst it has been a popular thing to be able to attempt, multitasking is on its way out of our lives, that is if we really do want to become more efficient and productive.

It has been shown in numerous studies that people who try and multitask actually lose efficiency and productivity levels drop. The guy on the phone, checking his emails whilst telling their work colleague what to do maybe be doing three things at once however he is doing three things at once very badly and not efficiently enough to be doing the job correctly.

by Professor David Meyer at University of Michigan showed that young adults who had to perform two math tasks, back and forth, showed that it took longer doing the tasks this way than it would have if they had done them separately.

Unitasking is the new way
Whilst unitasking has always been advocated in the past, it kind of died out when the birth of multitasking came into popular culture in the last 10 - 15 years. Multitasking was a phrase first used in 1966 to describe a computer performing more than one task at a time. Since then it has come to be synonymous with busy people on the go with a phone stuck to their ear, a baby on one arm, reading email and stirring a pot of pasta. It just doesn't work and it's only recently that scientists are telling us the same thing.

Our brains are wired to focus on one task at time. Professor Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, carried out a study whereby he scanned volunteers’ heads while they performed different tasks. He found that when there was a lot of visual objects in front of volunteers, only one or two objects tended to activate the brain. This means that the volunteers could only focus on one or two objects at any given time.

Stress caused by multitasking
Multitasking can literally cause stress. Due to the amount of time multitaskers take to flit between one job and another, they become less efficient and their brain literally slows down. So now we have a situation when all the tasks have not been completed, due to the brain slowing down, which causes stress levels to rise, which in turn leads to mistakes being made and stress levels rise even more. So it's no wonder that we feel frantic when we try to do too many things at once.

5 Ways to clear your head and start unitasking
Now the science bit is out of the way it's time to concentrate on unitasking.
  1. Clear your space
    Tidy desk - tidy mind, that's my motto. It's a strange thing but when our work desks are cleared, our minds seem clearer and become more focused on the task at hand. If your desk is very untidy and has paper, reports, books, magazines, stats lying all over it, your brain momentarily picks this up when you are not working. So when you get to working you could be thinking 'I've got that report to finish, I need to finish those stats, I need to show Steve that article in the magazine'. We still have lots of information to contend with in our minds. Whereas if our desk is completely free from clutter we are much more likely to focus and get the task at hand completed. This is also true at home, tidy house - tidy mind.

  2. Clear your desktop
    Another great clearing exercise is to clean up your desktop. Get those pdf files in one folder, get the word documents in one folder or categorize them and put them in a folder. Be sure to give your files good memorable names so you can search for them in the future. Don't name a file '1' as you will never be able to find it again in a year's time, give it a proper name like 'stats for week beginning 24th august 2009' and name all subsequent, similar, files in the same way. Put all your downloads into one folder as well so you don't clutter up your desktop.

    Put a calming picture as your background. This is easy, just go onto Google type in a scene you have in mind into the search field, hit enter, click on images, go to advanced image search and choose the dropdown 'large file sizes' and you will get a decent sized photograph to put on your desktop as your background.

  3. Don't open any programs that are not necessary
    If you have to finish a report in Word make sure you only have Word open and no other program. The other programs, like your email client or browser, will distract you. Just have your main program open and reward yourself by checking your emails and web browser when you have completed the task at hand.

  4. Turn off the phones and instant messaging
    If you can divert your phones to another number or turn them off altogether and make sure you have voicemail on so callers can leave a message. Again, intrusions like the phone can cause you to lose track of what you are doing and it takes time for you to re-focus on the task at hand. Constant interruptions like this will almost guarantee that the report you were trying to complete will not get done until tomorrow and by that time you will feel a lot more stressed.

  5. Tell others your intentions
    If you have a lot of work colleagues coming up to your desk, tell them in advance that you need to finish an important task and for them not to interrupt if possible. Make light of it but make sure they know you are serious. Better yet, hide yourself in a room where they won't usually look for you, this way you will get a lot more done.
That's it, no longer will you be the brunt of 'I'm superior to you because I can multitask.' Multitasking is dead, unitasking is reborn!

Written on 10/01/2009 by Steven Aitchison. Steven is the Author of Change Your Thoughts and works as an alcohol and drugs counselor. He has a BSc in Psychology and has a passion for studying belief formation, thought processes and values and principles. His blog focuses on personal development through changing your thoughts but covers the whole personal development field.Photo Credit: CarbobNYC

Selasa, 29 September 2009

0 Manual of Architectural Possibilities

As many people who attended my book launch this past weekend in New York will already know, I had on hand a fantastic new publication by architect David Garcia: the Manual of Architectural Possibilities, or M.A.P.

[Images: M.A.P. by David Garcia].

I had the pleasure of meeting David back in Sweden earlier this month at the ASAE conference; David's presentation and our subsequent conversation – ranging from the architecture of déjà vu and haunted house novels to the possibility of sonic archives and the work of David Gissen – were more than enough to show that he is pushing forward through some incredibly interesting ideas and is already someone worth keeping an eye on now, not just in the future. He's even just completed a cool children's playground in suburban Denmark.

Issue One of M.A.P. – or poster #1, really, as it all unfolds into a double-sided A1 sheet – is about Antarctica.

[Image: M.A.P. by David Garcia].

Open the poster up and there are habitats excavated directly from the ice, their dimensions and size based on the carving radius of industrial digging machines; there are seed archives entombed throughout the polar glaciers, marked only by GPS; there are abandoned airplanes all hooked together into a grounded megastructure and reused as research labs; there is a catalog of snow crystal geometry; and there is a photo-survey of exploratory housing for visiting scientists.

Look for M.A.P. at an architecture bookstore near you, or get in touch with David Garcia Studio directly to order some copies.

M.A.P. #2 – which is, incidentally, open for suggestions – will be about "Archives." And future M.A.P.s are impossible not to daydream about: a M.A.P. for prisons, gardens, earthquakes, architecture school, the moon...

0 The Windowless Hall of Tides

[Image: The wastewater treatment plant at Roseville, California, unrelated to the poem discussed below].

For nearly four years now, without access to a good library, I've been looking for a poem called "Staines Waterworks" by the English poet Peter Redgrove; it's impossible to Google and, though I knew I'd actually photocopied it for myself nearly a decade ago, I had apparently lost the photocopies.

But, then, amidst the weird rolling peaks of recovery and amnesia that come with cleaning through your old books and papers in the family basement, I found a sheaf of old photocopies in a box about an hour ago – and inside it was "Staines Waterworks" by Peter Redgrove.

The poem is incredible for a variety of reasons; but its most basic impulse is to describe the water purification plant at Staines, west London (the hometown of Ali G), as a kind of previously overlooked alchemical process.

It is water "in its sixth and last purification" that "leaps from your taps like a fish," Redgrove writes.
    Rainwater gross as gravy is filtered from
    Its coarse detritus at the intake and piped
    To the sedimentation plant like an Egyptian nightmare,
    For it is a hall of twenty pyramids upside-down
    Balanced on their points each holding two hundred and fifty
    Thousand gallons making thus the alchemical sign
    For water and the female triangle.
The poem is a stimulatingly odd collision of occult – many might say openly New Age – symbols and present-day civic infrastructure. In the process, it raises some amazing and fascinating questions of how we might more interestingly interpret the built structures surrounding us.

Redgrove describes the movement of water through its various steps of industrial filtration, saying that it "reverberates... like some moon rolling / And thundering underneath [the] floors," passing through a "windowless hall of tides." It is a surrogate astronomy, surging through the replicant gravity of pumps and steel holding tanks.

The processed river water is then decanted, surveilled by automata, and "treated by poison gas, / The verdant chlorine which does not kill it." Beyond life, it is pushed through "anthracite beds," where Water meets Earth in an engineered encounter between the elements.

[Image: A wastewater treatment plant in Macao, via Wikimedia, unrelated to the poem discussed in this post].

Later, in what Redgrove might call its fourth purification, the water at Staines flows past an underground structure that resembles "a castle," complete with "turrets / And doors high enough for a mounted knight in armour / To rein in." Dials here are read "as though [they are] the castle library."
    There are very few people in attendance,
    All are men and seem very austere
    And resemble walking crests of water in their white coats,
    Hair white and long in honourable service.
Civic water-filtration takes on the air of a Druidic ritual, with bespoke costumes, arcane electrical equipment, and the dull roar of the inhuman echoing both above and below. Thames Water or, for that matter, Brita become strangely occult organizations obsessed with ritual actions and weird geometries, like something out of Aleister Crowley. It is sustainability by way of the B.P.R.D.

Redgrove's poem – and I refer only to "Staines Waterworks" here, as I am not that familiar with his other work – shows the transformative power of description: give something an unexpected context and whole new, extraordinarily vibrant worlds can be created. This is more important, more lasting, and more interesting than much of what passes for architectural criticism today.

Finally, the baptized liquid at Staines reaches a point of biological and chemical clarity, after which it is re-introduced to the city through a labyrinth of pipework that extends in wild curlicues, a machinic Thames beneath western London. Scalded, filtered, purified, made artificially natural and ready for drinking, it is water born again for future uses.

Senin, 28 September 2009

0 Random photos - a lot of Wongsie being disgraceful

WJust realised I got a collection of photos!! No theme, just pics.

Here's a shaggy-looking Pumpkin getting her head stuck in an Ikea plastic bag while watching me pack clothes in the new house!

Looking ridiculously cute as she struggles to get out. I'm not helping her, she has to learn to be independent!

Little menace got out and started to mess up my piles of neatly folded apparel.

Dinner with Lewis and Eekean at Newton before we go watch H is for Hantu. Shengrong was late!

And check out Lewis's mad-huge SLR!

Om nom nom.....

Wongsie loves freaking parsley ok! The evidence on her plate as she chows Lewis's orh lua's parsley!! Gross to the max.

My cousin's daughter Chloe sitting in an Ikea swing. Gorgeous colours!

Dinner with Mike

At our favourite restaurant

My crabmeat linguine... Would kill for a plate now!

Mike's seafood pasta... Not as fab as mine!

New wallet!! So chio!!

Here's Nanolove, the fattest, laziest hammie puff ever! This is her default position. Lying on her back and snoozing!

I took this shot because she was actually EATING in her sleep. That's right! She regurgitated a seed from her cheek pouch, and was chewing on it!

All while being plopped on her back and eyes closed!

Greediest hammie EVER.

At my friend's pool. Fallen flowers look so gorgeous!

I love tanning!

Check it out! Fucking hilarious! My friend's mom found these saucy pics in their maid's drawer and fired her.

Apparently she keeps going missing during the night and THIS is what she has been up to - some pole-dancing competition or something!!

Complete with total sleazebag taking a video of her somemore.

Hmmm... The video must be SOMEWHERE!

I shall search youtube for "Gremlin-looking woman dancing sluttily in leopard prints." **

Alas. No such result.

(I will NOT succumb to making low-brow Ris Low jokes!)


Supper with Rozz at 126. We planned for pigging out dim sum, then on to DURIANS! I was so happy that day.

Sharing the century porridge...

Love in a bowl

Rozz's fav: Tender beef strips with a touch of lime.

Deep-fried yam puffs!!

Crispy on the outside, wet, soft and gooey on the inside.

The yam mixed with hot char siew is fab.

Here's Rozz blowing away at the food coz she says smoke makes her photos ugly.

My absolute favourite there: Garlic steamed prawns!
So simple yet SOOOO yums.

Chee cheong fun!

And onwards to durians:

There's Rozz snapping a pic of the young durian seller with his goods. -_-

He loves it!

How can anyone not love this? Creamy, sweet, melts in your mouth... I don't see how the smell is pungent either!!

The closest thing to durians I can think of is Creme Brulee - which everyone loves!!

Anyway I have a new pact with Mike. He can never again cook parsley at home, and I can never again bring durians home.

Very sad right? But worth it for no parsley smells at home again, ever!


Another pic at the pool - found this cute little dinosaur toy!!

I gave it to a cute little girl at the pool but I'm a bit sad coz I really like the dino!! :(

Safra Mount Faber and a bit of SR's ass.


Centipede we saw...

Afterwards, dinner with the rest of them...

Only took one picture: Here's eekean glaring at something Lewis said while he nonchalantly continues eating.

Dinner with Alyssa (who wants to remain anonymous. Bleah.) and BFF.

What's with friends wearing fedoras nowadays?

Had dinner with Eekean again and the restaurant was closing, so they gave us two bowls of peanut cream dessert...

Eekean pointed to the bowl of spring onions I took out from the fish dish, and told us to dare her to put the peanut paste into the bowl and eat it!

So I said, "Ok lor, I'd give you 1 dollar if you eat that."

And she said "On!"

Gross can? It may not be very gross to most people but I HATE spring onions. So...

Can tell she's loving it.

Urgh!! Eating with gusto!


And the end result, she gets..........


Change! Not even a dollar coin lor!! WTF.

She happily took the money.

Here's my nails, sponsored by Celab Nails!

Gorgeous, right?

Happy! My nails before the manicure was atrocious.

More of Eekean's disgracefulness, as promised:

Never will I ever eat squid ink pasta again.

One more pic from the LG advert...

At the live TV and web interview for Blog TV!

The topic for that day was Plastic Surgery and they invited Dr. Martin Huang and Rozz and me!!

It was like a Girls Out Loud reunion!!

Hosts were Flying Dutchman (anyone knows his real name at all??!) and Phin.

It was pretty fun. Dr Huang is so funny!

They gave him a picture of the Flying Dutchman and asked him to circle where he should get plastic surgery.

You'd think that most people would be polite and circle one or two areas, but the whole picture was full of red circles!

Damn funny lah!

The hosts totally took it in stride though.

Anyway I was informed that BlogTV has gone on for 4 seasons and this is the first time I've agreed to do an interview with them despite being asked several times before.

I didn't even realise lor!

The last time they asked was quite some time ago, and the reason why I rejected them was coz I was STILL pissed with fucking Lin Xue Ling!!


I don't forgive and forget easily. Took me 3 years!

Lin Xue Ling, huh? Where are you now, bitch?

(Ok fine her LinkedIn profile says she is still working for Mediacorp as a presenter/producer. Still!)

With Rozzie who's donning on a damn chio Adidas jacket.


That's all for now!

I'm preparing my Nomination speech post so be patient! Will take photos tonight, probably published by tomorrow.

(Yes I said tonight and it's 3.15am. Terrible.)

Meanwhile remember to vote!!

Thank you! Totally appreciate it! :D

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