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Curiosity: Reasons Why You Should Have It

Curiosity: Reasons Why You Should Have It
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Curiosity killed the cat, but we all have to go one day. Curiosity is the basis of all great science and art in human history. Without it, we’d all be sitting in a cave somewhere eating whatever we could hunt and scavenge, hoping not to be attacked by our neighbor. Curiosity fuels innovation, and it’s what drives hackers, trolls, pirates, and other great human explorers to continue pushing the boundaries of human civilization. Here are some random facts you can learn if you’re curious…

Curious Facts about Love

  1. Although most wedding planning services are geared toward women, modern wedding rituals are mostly based on barbaric Germanic tribal rituals. Women didn’t start having equal rights in most places in the world until within the last half century, and even today, they don’t have all the rights they should. They have taken over the symbology of wedding ceremonies, though, so score one for the ladies.
  2. Even in the ancient Mayan days, chocolate was considered the drug of love. Cocoa and its many extracts have been used in love potions, lotions, elixirs, and other concoctions meant to stir people’s loins.
  3. Roses, with their variety of scents and colors, have also symbolized love for a very long time. Valentine’s Day, however, has been associated with several acts of violence.

Curious Facts about Nature

  1. Synthetic grass is actually better for the environment than a natural lawn. Studies have shown synthetic grass lowers your carbon footprint by eliminating lawn mower emissions, water usage, chemical fertilizers, and more. Advances in artificial turf technology have made synthetic lawns even more comfortable to walk on than natural grass.
  2. Big cats are one of the most hunted animals on the planet. Nearly every cat species in the wild is endangered and on the brink of extinction. Although cats are arguably the world’s most dangerous predator, human beings used invention to decimate big cat numbers. Unless something is done soon, big cats will stop existing in nature within a generation.
  3. Insects are consumed around the world as a viable source of protein. In fact, insects are ground up to make much of the junk food consumed in the US. The majority of your favorite syrups, cookies, candies, etc. contain some form of insect. Even without the help of major corporations, you’ll swallow dozens of creepy crawlers during your sleep.

Curious Facts about Technology

  1. The internet is the largest database of information ever collected in human history. With a wide array of drones already developed, technology has far surpassed humanity, and a computer-human war is a potential prospect, although it’s much more likely that a human being will be behind the next world war. Honda, Google, and many other companies are hard at work building cyborg versions of the most powerful animals on earth.
  2. Any device you have with a Wi-Fi or data antenna can be accessed by a third party without your knowledge, even if it’s turned off. Many governments and corporations have back doors in their software and databases to allow access to any of your private communications. Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald have released a trove of data to the public regarding web security.
  3. Vegetable glycerin, the main component of the juice vaporized in electronic cigarettes, is also used by corporations to make cough syrup, dilute eggs, and more. Any drug can be dissolved in vegetable glycerin, so many municipalities have banned the devices. eCigs are healthier than cigarettes, though, as they release no carcinogens and can be used without the addictive nicotine.

Curious Facts about Law

  1. In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty; however, it’s very easy to prove you guilty. You violate over a dozen laws on any given day. All a police officer has to do to find probable cause is follow you for a few hours. The US is still one of the best places to live for police responses, though, as many countries imprison, kill, or torture citizens with no provocation.
  2. Even though you’re the creator of a product, song, work of art, etc., until you register the copyright and/or trademark you can’t pursue someone else for infringing on your rights regarding your creation. Even if you protect your creation within the US, it’s very hard to pursue copyright infringement across international borders and your creation, if successful, could be copied and sold at will.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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