All of life’s problems have been solved!

Posted by Roger

I came across the blog Stuff My Mom Sends Me this morning and learned some really innovative solutions to everyday problems that will leave you wondering,"Why didn't I think of that?!" I feel it would be wrong to keep these solutions to myself so I've decided to share a few of my favorites. I guarantee you'll want to try at least one of these ideas soon as you're finished read this.

I've always been told that a little bit of lemon juice will keep sliced apples from browning but, although this works, I don't like it when my apples taste lemony. Prevent your apple from browning by slicing it and then putting it back together! Keep the pieces in place with a rubber band.

No matter how hard one tries, it's near impossible to keep your linen closet neat and tidy. Try folding your sheets and then placing them within one of the set's pillow cases. Don't worry, if you keep reading I'll tell you how to get that fitted sheet nice and flat.

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to play the music on your iPhone louder than its tiny speakers would allow, but there were no iPhone speakers on hand? I have. Place your iPhone in a bowl for a makeshift sound amplifier!

Storing wrapping paper is no easy feat. It's awkwardly shaped and you can't cram it somewhere or you'll ruin it. Try hanging some wire at the top of a closet and place the wrapping paper on the wire as shown.

Finally! The secret to neatly folding those clumsy fitted sheets. Your mother will be proud.

We've all been there. You squeeze behind your desk to unplug your mouse only to find a snarled mess of black cords and you can't tell what goes to what. You yell for your spouse and while they jiggle the cord above the desk you crouch below the desk watching for movement. This little dance is then followed by a brief game of tug-o-war to ensure that you have, indeed, grabbed the proper wire. Save yourself some frustration and label your wires with bread bag clips!

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In a Time of Destruction, Create Something

Posted by Jennifer

Natural disasters seem to bring out the best in Americans. Of course, it's sometimes a pity that it takes earthquakes, tsunamis and other such devastation to get us to think about people other than ourselves, but I digress...

After the tornadoes that hit the southern U.S.  in early April (April 14-16), a bleak picture was painted with more than 150 tornadoes touching down in a three-day period, dozens dead and thousands displaced from homes. Just a few weeks later (April 25 - 28), it got worse. More than 400 tornadoes were reported in the southern, midwest and eastern portions of the country, and early estimates put the damage near $5 billion. Hundreds were killed and hundreds more are still missing. However, with all this doom and gloom, there is a positive note on the horizon...and social media is playing a huge role.

Those interviewed after fires, tornadoes, floods, etc. are often heard to say they don't care about the house or the furniture...it's just "stuff." But the things they mourn are the pictures, family videos and birth/marriage certificates that chronicle and define the riche lives the person - and their ancestors - led up to the point of the storm. Enter, Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes.

This is just one of many such sites that have popped up in the last few days/weeks....and I'm sure more are to come. Take a look through the site at the photos, birth certificates, paychecks and other documents that have been lost and found...and returned to their rightful owners thanks to Facebook. If this isn't a brilliant use of this tool, I don't know what is.

As a side note...in case you hadn't heard, Japan has pledged 10 million yen ($125,000) worth of blankets and plastic sheets for people left destitute after the tornadoes. Love it!
"In a time of destruction, create something."
— Maxine Hong Kingston


Bubble Ball

Posted by Roger

Never before in history has creativity and free enterprise been on a more exciting path. A 14 year old from Spanish Fork, Utah named Robert Nay has created the #1 most popular free iPhone app on iTunes. His game, called Bubble Ball,  already has more than two million downloads, surpasssing the very popular Angry Birds game. Had he charged just 99 cents he would have more than $2 million in his account. He found the software to create his idea from a book at his local library.

Today’s tech environment has opened the door for anyone with a creative notion and initiative to take an idea globally. There is no longer any distance between creators and users. Market acceptance or failure is determined by the free market. No experts, research, marketing gurus or agents required. Never before has there been a more perfect time for ideas.


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Lee Iacocca, best known as the CEO of Chrysler from 1979 - 1992

You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere. ~ Lee Iacocca.


Which Brain Do You Think With?

Posted by Terry

These Left/Right Cufflinks are actually available for sale at Geeky Gadgets.

Mattias Konradsson wrote a great article on left brain/right brain function and how to use it. In part…


Eggheads believe our two brain halves control different "modes" of thinking. This hypothesis was spearheaded by Roger Sperry, who won a Nobel Prize for his research in 1981. The "modes" are roughly divided like this:

Left Brain

  • Logical
  • Sequential
  • Rational
  • Analyzes
  • Objective
  • Parts

Right Brain

  • Random
  • Intuitive
  • Holistic
  • Synthesizes
  • Subjective
  • Wholes

The left brain (don’t get delusions of grandeur; you don’t have two brains) is concerned with logical thinking, analysis and accuracy, while the right focuses on aesthetics, feeling and creativity.

When you're in the idea business, this seems like the right half is our creative friend, while the left is plotting against us. New ideas come from breaking out of the norm, ignoring limits and facts, venturing where no one has gone before, to seek out new galaxies and civi…err, sorry.

The left brain, on the other hand, analyzes, sorts stuff, and dwells in details, generally sabotaging our creative thinking. This is bad news for all who weren’t blessed with left-handedness, since that means you don’t have a dominant right brain. That's right: left-handed = right-brained; right-handed = left-brained. Confusing, eh? But before you decide to start doing everything left-handed, try this.


Basically, we want to involve our right brain and numb the left one as much as possible. Remember, this is brainstorming, we’re not in production, so things don’t need to be perfectly logical at this point. We need to extract stuff from the brain and put it on some more tangible medium – to find the seed of the idea that will put a Ferrari in our garage. The trick is to teach yourself to ignore rules, conventions and "must-be" statements.

If you’re creating art, just doodle. If you’re writing, just scribble. If you’re a lawyer, change occupations. Even if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, you can’t escape your unconscious. It moves in mysterious ways.

After a while, nice ideas will start to surface. This might not happen right away; often, you need to train your brain into this sort of thinking (especially if you’re right handed). So keep at it. If good ideas were cheap we’d all be filthy rich.

In time, you’ll have a bunch of ideas. Some might work, some would shred your reputation into tiny pieces.

It has been said that everyone is creative. If you haven’t challenged yourself with the exercise outlined above (and you don’t sell ideas for a living), give it a shot. This right brain/left brain approach to being creative does work. And, with a little practice, you might surprise yourself at how innovative you can be in bringing new solutions to bear on old approaches. Think good thoughts!


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Paula Poundstone, stand-up comedienne

Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas. ~Paula Poundstone


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Howard Aiken, the original concetual designer behind IBM's Harvard Mark computer.

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats. ~Howard Aiken


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Elbert Hubbard, an American writer, artist, philosopher and publisher, is probably best known for his essay, "A Message to Garcia."

The brain is a commodity used to fertilize ideas.  ~Elbert Hubbard


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Linus Pauling was an American chemist, peace activist, author and educator. He is one of only two people awarded two Nobel Prizes in different fields (the Chemistry and Peace prizes), and the only person awarded two unshared prizes.

The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away. ~Linus Pauling


Plop a Plant in Your Office

Posted by Roger

Flexing your green thumb may help fend off an afternoon slump. Texas A&M researchers found that volunteers who kept a vase of vibrant flowers on their desks, along with green plants elsewhere in the office, generated more creative ideas than those in a vegetation-free setting.

In a separate study, Kansas State University researchers used brain scans to analyze 90 male and female typists; some tapped keys next to plants, while others worked at bare desks.

The result: Women exposed to flowers were less stressed. (Oddly, men didn't experience the same benefits.) Look for hybrid varieties of azaleas, cyclamen, and kalanchoe, which flourish in small pots. While you're at it, add a few dracaenas, an easy-to-care-for floor plant, to accent empty corners.


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