How we showed ‘sleeping on it’ really is the best way to solve a problem

sleeping smiley

By Padraic Monaghan, Lancaster University

Have you ever struggled to finish a level of Candy Crush or complete a Sudoku puzzle in the evening but breezed through it the following morning? The reason may please anyone who’s been told they spend too much time in bed asleep.

We tend to think of sleep as a period of recuperation, giving us enough down-time to enable our muscles and thought processes to operate effectively. However, sleep can also have an active function. As far back as Aristotle, the fact that we dream has suggested to people that sleep could enhance the mind’s self-communication. And, more recently, there’s been a surge of research into the consequences of sleep as an active process, rather than just a rest. Read more…

The most famous watches and clocks in history

Grand Central Terminal Clock

We all need to tell the time – but some watches and clocks have gone down in history as devices or monuments that do that little bit more. From showpiece devices that dominate a city’s social and cultural landscape, through to the watches sported by film heroes and villains, to the real-life icons, these are timepieces that do far more than just tic along.

These are the most famous watches and clocks in the world. Read more…

How the digital age has changed our approach to death and grief

In the days and weeks leading up to the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor and director most known for playing the gravel-voiced Vulcan Mr Spock in Star Trek, knew he was dying. He used Twitter as a means to make peace with this fact, and to say goodbye to his friends, family and fans around the world with sayings, poetry, and wise words. Read more…

Bankers have a moral compass, it just may not look like yours


We’re getting rather used to revelations about sharp practice in the banking sector. The row about HSBC’s tax services to rich clients has raised, yet again, crucial questions about the business culture which allows such scandals to emerge. One common idea is that those involved have lost their “moral compass” and succumbed to the imperative of pure greed as they employ subterfuge to do things which end up doing harm to the general public. Read more…

10 things you didn’t know about becoming a teacher

You might be absolutely sure what career path your degree will take you on but have you considered teaching?

After completing your degree you can then sign on for an extra year of education and practical training in teaching – this is known as a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education).

So if you’ve thought about inspiring and educating the next generation of bright minds – as cheesy at that sounds it’s true – then read on for some interesting facts about becoming a teacher: Read more…

Simple ways to heat your home for less

Warm house

You might think that cranking up the thermostat is the simplest way to heat your home, but there are plenty of other ways to ensure your living space stays toasty – and they can also save you money.

1. Don’t hang clothes over radiators. It might make them dry quicker but it makes the radiator work harder and so use more energy.

2. Turn the thermostat down by one degree. This is a message that keeps rearing its head in a money and heating advice context; some experts believe that you won’t feel the difference and that the ideal temperature to set a thermostat at is between 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F). Read more…

5 Common Hearing Myths Busted

International symbol of deafness or hard of hearing

There are many myths surrounding hearing that sometimes it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not, particularly when it’s something you don’t want to believe. You don’t have to second guess, or rely on what others have to say; there are specialists and experts to consult who can provide answers and all the advice you should need. For a start though, here are some common myths….busted! Read more…

Privacy Tools: Mask Your Location

No WiFi

A person’s location can be hugely revealing. Here are some tips on how to mask the information your computer and phone transmit automatically.

In the course of writing my book, Dragnet Nation, I tried various strategies to protect my privacy. In this series of book excerpts and adaptations, I distill the lessons from my privacy experiments into tips for readers. – Julia Angwin.

“Where R U?” There’s a reason that is among the most common text messages of the modern age. Read more…

Baby Boomers vs Generation X vs Generation Y

Let’s compare the work performance: Baby Boomers vs Generation X vs Generation Y.

Quick reminder: baby boomers are those born after WWII (after 1945) up to the 1960s. Generation X is the generation born between the 1960s and early 1980s. Generation Y – also known as Millennials – were welcomed into the wonderful world between the mid-1980s and early 2000s.

Ernst & Young did a study on the different work traits of these generations and The Economist displayed the results in a very interesting videographic.  Read more…

2014 Super Bowl Top Rated Commercial

Budweiser Puppy Love

With the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl in 21 years, the Seattle Seahawks trumped the Denver Broncos by 43 to 8 at Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 at the MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey.

As has become usual, the Super Bowl commercials attracted a huge amount of attention, even before they were flighted in any of the 58 ad spots on the Fox network or on the ad breaks on the 44 international broadcast partners. With an average cost of $4 million per television broadcast, the ratings obviously are very important to the advertisers.  Read more…