Have Problem? Sleep on it

desert and stars

When confronting a problem, or looking for creative inspiration, people get told “to sleep on it”. This turns out to be useful advice not just because it’s based on years of smart people saying that, but also because modern neuroscience research is proving it to be true. We can benefit a lot from sleeping more (on average people don’t get enough sleep) and dealing with complex issues is one more thing that sleep is good for.

Sleep, Walker suggests, is crucial to problem solving. When my students are stuck on a math problem, sleep on it is often the only wisdom I have to offer. This adage has served me well in the past and now, thanks to Walker’s research, it enjoys a strong neurological basis. Walker demonstrates that problem solving can seamlessly occur in the REM phase of sleep. It is in this critical stage of unconsciousness that we form novel connections between individual chunks of knowledge. In a REM sleep is where our ideas crystalize and recombine into new, creative thoughts. The link between sleep and inspiration is so pervasive that the phrase sleep on it exists in most languages.

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Low Income Housing Doesn’t Negatively Impact High Income Housing


The graph above shows that the introduction of low income housing into a neighbourhood does not negatively impact the value of other homes. Real estate agents perpetuate a myth that social (or public) housing destroys local housing prices. Clearly this myth is based on no reality.

If you’re a homeowner that dislikes people who earn less than you please stop fighting efforts to house others. Hopefully the linked research provides more evidence for people working to bring affordable housing to cities around the world.

In the nation’s 20 least affordable markets, our analysis of 3,083 low-income housing projects from 1996 to 2006 found no significant effect on home values located near a low-income housing project, with a few exceptions

There is no statistically significant difference in price per square foot when comparing properties near a low-income housing project and those farther away when examining projects across all 20 metros. Likewise, at the metro level, the majority of markets yield no significant difference in prices between the inner and outer ring after a project is completed. However, a few housing markets revealed significant differences in price per square foot near low-income housing projects after they were placed into service.

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Don’t Disregard Kierkegaard’s Advice on Busyness


The popular way of thinking is that your work life needs to always be busy. We all know at least one person who is always busy and looking productive. You might be one of those individuals who pride themselves on always working. Let’s rethink that.

A long dead Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, can help us rethink the value of always being busy.

How then might people escape busyness? Kierkegaard’s discussion of busyness in Works of Love may provide a clue. By contrast with the busy people who harvest repeatedly, the person who wills the good has no immediate gains to rest on. Their action—unlike that of the busy people—is in pursuit of something meaningful, even though they receive no apparent reward for it. However, there may be other benefits.  As recent psychological research also suggests, helping others can result in helping oneself. Pursuing particular goods—like striving to help the particular people you see, as Kierkegaard recommends elsewhere in Works of Love—might thus provide us with the specificity we need to escape indeterminacy and the phenomena like anxiety, boredom, and busyness that accompany it. 

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Here’s What Individuals can do to Help Stop Climate Change


This past week UN scientists released a statement which basically says we’re doomed unless we dramatically change our climate policies now. That sounds stressful, and it should be. So how can we as individuals make a bit of an impact to help curb climate change? There are many things we can do to improve the world with the best thing being to stop buying stuff you don’t need.

3. Set some rules

Most of us don’t want to damage the environment deliberately. We just don’t have the right habits installed in our daily life. It’s normal to produce waste which is why everyone is doing so.

Start by carrying a reusable straw and a coffee mug with you every day. Set a reminder on your phone for your shopping day to carry a reusable bag with yourself. Then start reminding your housemates and your colleagues too.

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Ways to Cool Cities

The urban heating effect is a very real threat to how we cool our cities. The concentration of cement and machinery generates and stores a lot of heat that natural systems can’t see cool. Unless we purposefully design our cities to incorporate natural cooling techniques. The video above explores three ways that cities can start to cool their local environments.

Over at Reddit user megalomania summarized the video:

Method 1 – White asphalt emulsion on pavement
Method 2 – Rooftop Gardens
Method 3 – “Placement of buildings” to create shady canyons block not to block natural wind corridors.

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