Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s that time again, midterms are here.

One of the most dreaded time of the quarter/semester is back again. It’s the grade that can make or break you in a class. So this time, let’s study right. Whether its your midterm week or you are coming closer to you finals here are some study tips that may help you improve your test scores.

Keeping Yourself Alert

Red Bull, coffee, or tea? Many wonder which will help them concentrate the best while trying to study for a big test. Although drink preferences vary research has shown that green tea is the best drink to have while studying. It packs the perfect amount of caffeine to help keep you alert but also doesn’t cause you to have the jitters or become too hyper to concentrate.

As far as snacks go try and stick to healthy foods. Nuts are said to improve your brain power and mood. Fruits are also said to help boost your brain power. Avocados increase blood flow to your brain which will definitely improve your study session.

Cram Studying vs. Studying Over Time:

Both have they’re advantages and disadvantages. If possible, do both. This will be the best way to retain the knowledge but also have it fresh in your mind. However, many times we find ourselves in a place where the test is suddenly two days away and we haven’t reviewed our notes or opened our book.

Here are some tips to help with cram studying:

1. Find out what’s on the test:

There are many ways to do this. First off, if there is a study guide or practice test available, USE IT. This will be the best way to find out what the professor thinks is important and get an idea of what will be on the test.

2. Get organized:

Trying to take in all of the information at once can be extremely overwhelming. A good way to avoid this is to break up what you have been working on into multiple sections and try to tackle one at a time. If you do not think you have enough time concentrate on what you think is the most important or what the professors has emphasized the most. Lastly, organize your time. A study at the University of Kansas showed that it is best to take a 10 minute break every 50 minutes while studying.

3. Flashcards:

Flashcards are a great way to help you memorize important vocabulary, events, or people. If you have time this will definitely help you. Work on the hardest flashcards early while your mind is still fresh and alert. Create a pile of cards you know, this will allow you to focus on learning what you don’t know and allow you to see the progress you're making.

4. Take it easy:

Keep a positive attitude! Every minute you are  studying you're closer to mastering the material and aceing your test. Make sure to get a decent amount of sleep (at least 8 hours) to keep your mind fresh and ready for the exam!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ever Wondered What Makes People Happy? Or What Makes People Sad?

We found some interesting studies recently, and thought we'd share! What do you think about what they found?

Happiness and Genetics?

According to psychologists from Edinburgh University, half of the personality traits that make a person happy are due to inherited genes. After studying 1000  pairs of twins with researchers from Australia and looking at each person's personality in regards to factors such as how "sociable or outgoing" he or she was, or how "anxious or angry they feel" (1). Through their research they discovered that those who were more outgoing and didn't worry as much tended to be happier, and that these characteristics were due partially (about fifty percent) to one's genes. They found that the remaining fifty percent was due to other factors found in daily life, such as one's health, work, relationships, etc.

Also, ever wondered about a possible link between money and happiness? 

According to a survey of Forbes, 400 most affluent Americans and another group of less wealthy Americans the group found that the wealthier group was "only modestly happier" (2). Another interesting thing they found was that "37% of the Forbes 400 respondents reported less happiness than the average non-wealthy American" (2). Interesting research, huh?

Hours of Sleep and Teen Depression? 

Another study which came out recently in the media was on the relationship between how much sleep a teen gets and likelihood of depression. One might find the results a little surprising... See below.

According to a study done in New York of 15,659 teenagers (ages 12 through 18), Columbia University Medical Center researchers found that those who went to sleep after midnight were much more likely to be depressed than those whose parents made them go to bed by 10 p.m. In fact, teens who stayed up until midnight or after were 42% more likely to be depressed. Furthermore, teens who are permitted to have later bedtimes were 30% more likely to have considered suicide this year.

As James Gangswitch, head of the Columbia University research team said, "We feel like we can just eat into our sleep time, but we pay for it in many different ways." One of the things he believed about the results of his team's study was that in comparison to the past he felt that one sees a greater difference between teens who have a required bedtime and those who don't today due to new technological distractions such as Facebook or texting.

What do you think about these studies? Any thoughts?

The National Post. "Money Can't Buy Happiness. Really." 23 Jan. 2010. 7 Feb. 2010.
The Daily Record:
BBC News:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fml, Mlia - what's your favorite?

Judging from the growing popularity of websites such as “Fmylife” and “Mlia”,internet memes (concepts/ideas spreading rapidly through the internet via email, blogs, social network sites and instant messaging) have become an incredibly popular way for people to share their day to day thoughts and experiences.  Each site has its own focus, ranging from passionate rants to awkward, cringe-worthy situations.
On “My Life is Average”, users send in blurbs about what makes their life less than exciting. Many posts often relate to random discoveries where the user has discovered that their life is, well, average. 
"Today, someone asked me for the time, so I got out my phone and told them. They then pointed out the watch on my wrist. MLIA"
“Fmylife” users send in posts describing daily moments and situations which most would rather not be in, with stories covering the funny-awkward happenings of life to the more horrifying, avoid-at-all-costs experiences. Many more subject-specialized websites have been created with the format of “Fmylife” in mind.
A spin-off of “Fmylife”, this site shares various unpleasant experiences from college users. On the site are links to “Fml” websites for a variety of colleges, including Ivy Leagues, the UC schools, all girl/boy schools, local and East Coast schools and more. Though its fun to note the differences between that majority of what is posted on each college’s site, make sure not to judge a college by its “Fml” page!
Similar websites include:
“Love my life”---a site with more positive user comments
“My life is Jewish”---the title says it all
“My life is Twilight”---for those of you team Jacob/team Edward fanatics
So just how factual do you think the stories posted via comment/text to each site are? Some seem just too insane to be real, yet one never knows- check out the sites and judge for yourself!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flash Mob/Spontaneous Art?

A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. The term is generally not applied to events organized by public relations firms or as publicity stunts.

Flash mobs, like this pillow fight flash mob in downtown Toronto, are designed to surprise passers-by.

How it gets started

"Hundreds of people hopped aboard the No Pants! train Sunday afternoon, showing off their skivvies to some startled Link Light Rail passengers."

Promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music".

On Wednesday 14th March, 2007 around 50 people attempted a mass freeze frame in a Manchester supermarket lasting four minutes. Five cameras captured the event.

100 Single Ladies stop traffic with Beyonce's famous leggy dance in Piccadilly Circus.

Flash Mobs can be highly choreographed...

Or completely silly and chaotic in nature, like this "spontaneous" pillowfight...

Some are done in the form of a tribute...

And of course when something "viral" gets really popular, the commercial world jumps on it:

And on TV (not exactly a flash mob, but kinda close - no one expected it...)

Interested in participating? Check out the Urban Prankster Network at: where you can watch more videos, get tips on starting your own group or get connected to other groups all over the world who are creating these spontaneous acts of fun and confusion in very public places.