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There's much to be said about the benefits of travel. At the surface level, change is good, and vacations and trips are the best and easiest way to embrace it, however temporary. Different scenery, new people, a break from your routine - all wonderful. Watch this video:

Buzzing? Feel a little travel pang in your chest? Us too. Being visually stimulated releases the same hormone (adrenaline) as physically doing the activity.

Though we could watch YouTube videos all the livelong day, nothing compares to physically being in a new place.

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It creates a structured adrenaline experience. New, exciting activities and environments create a mixture of being uncomfortable, afraid, and excited, all of which stimulate the release of quick bursts of adrenaline, a hormone usually released in a fight-or-flight situation that increases the oxygen flowing through your blood. More oxygen to your brain = exhilaration.

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New places break up your brain patterns. Your gray matter is a creature of habit, an efficient beast that searches for repetition so it  can maintain an orderly system of processing. Once you've established habits (if you work full-time, you probably have many), your brain knows what it needs to perform the activity and what it doesn't need, so the next time the activity arises less brain power is needed to process it. But this means exactly what it sounds like - your brain is less devoted to these activities, so if your habits involves creating things on a regular basis, you're a bit out of luck. Creativity is tossed out in the window in favor of efficiency. An efficient brain evolved for survival, but we don't want to survive, we want to LIVE!

Got a bit carried away there.

Removing habits (any habit, even waking up with the same view every day) when you travel gives the brain challenges - new situations to adapt to and new problems to solve. From a simplistic, metaphorical standpoint, it's like when you go to a new yoga class and use muscles you've never used. They hurt, but it's kind of a wonderfully "new" feeling.

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New connections in the brain lead to not even "creative" thoughts, just different ones. We're not going to sit here and flat out explain that being a new place means you're automatically creative. Do you remember the first time you went to a new state? You started thinking about things you've never thought about. How did a river dig through a huge rock? George Washington must have been really tiny? Why does the Gulf of Mexico have clearer water than the Atlantic? Putting your brain through new questions and curiosities sets it on paths it hasn't taken before. It puts a fresh look on the mundane and the everyday, making new connections and spinning new threads while the creative problems you brought from work simmer in the background. In a smaller sense, it's similar to how showers and sleep seem to bring up good ideas. Your creativity becomes the secondary function, and while your brain accepts new stimuli, the thoughts and sparks filter through and solve problems underneath.

So do it! Go somewhere. Go here. Go there. Just do it, and blame it on your need to break up your established brain patterns.

Posted: 6/25/2014 3:48:48 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


It's Friday! You made it! Let's take a little music break then, shall we?

If you haven't heard of OK GO, you've probably heard about their videos, as they've mastered the art of the single-take music video. Even the videos interspersed with the single-takes have a common thread of continuity to them, a style that OK GO seems quite comfortable with, and an aesthetic that resonates with music lovers and non-lovers alike. Though they avoid any special effects or computer manipulations, their videos are just magic.

They began with the simplest video, one involving treadmills and taken with a single stationary camera but with the band members executing some incredible specifically-timed moves.

Moving on to something a bit more challenging... ok, a LOT more challenging, they tried out a Rube Goldberg machine for their song "This Too Shall Pass."  Word is, it took months to plan and about 60 takes to get it right, so these dudes are dedicated.

After a complicated machine like that, why not try their hand at an epic 18-hour time lapse video? 18 HOURS. Shortened to four and half minutes (meaning they needed to mouth the words at a slower rate). Apparently they made good friends with a goose while filming, which you'll notice in the video.

Then they tried dogs.

And a non-single take but wonderful video involving Muppets.

But perhaps the most elaborate of all is their newest video, just released this week:

Full of optical illusions accompanied by an awesome song, this video is the most logistically challenging video yet. Placement had to be perfect, timing and panning had to be perfect, there were costume changes that needed to happen quickly. LOTS going on, but it's a masterpiece.

Will OK GO ever disappoint? They've mastered the art of the single-take, and it's fascinating to watch music videos with so much preparation involved. Their videos could stand alone, but the fact that they're matched up to music is the most magnificent part. Keep doing what you're doing, guys!

Posted: 6/20/2014 11:58:29 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Last week we touched on some of the best and biggest changes Apple made to its operating system for desktop devices. But what about mobile? Surely there are some major changes for the most popular mobile devices in the world, right?

You got it.

Apple_iOS8

iOS 8

InteractiveNotifications_ios8Interactive Notifications: Respond to texts and invitations directly from the lock screen, no need to unlock and open the message.

Predictive KeyboardPredictive Keyboard: It learns your typing habits with different people, predicting the next words you'll use. Apple also now allows users to install and use third party keyboards.

iOS8_permissionFamily Sharing: Up to six family members can share apps and iTunes purchases made on the same credit card, also sharing access to all the same calendars, reminders, and photos. A handy new feature to avoid kid-related overspending is the ability for parents to approve or deny purchases made on their children's devices.

AppleHomeKit

HomeKit: Gives your mobile devices the capability to control home devices like lighting, garage door openers, and security cameras.

iPhone's camera: Though currently available in some third-party apps, Apple users no longer have to leave the basic apps on their phones for the ability to adjust the focus and exposure separately.

The new iOS 8 update will be available this fall. Get excited!

 

Posted: 6/13/2014 3:00:34 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments