Saturday, June 30, 2012

You can probably make yourself happier.

To my many and important blog followers, I thought I would share a great thing. Grateful160 is a free website that sends you a text or email one to four times a day. All you do is respond quickly with something you are grateful for and it records it. It keeps a record online for you. It will send you a record every week too.

It’s great to have a record. But the best part is definitely the reminder to be thankful each afternoon.   (Thanks to TannerTimes for reminding me to share this sentiment!)

But why should we all start recording our thankfulness?

Research continues to show that a major portion of individual's happiness is derived from their attitude, and that being grateful for the good things in your life is one way to have a better attitude.  Check out the various sources here.

Try it!  Sign up here and see how things go!

While we're on the subject of happiness, I should really point out that there's an entertaining documentary that I watched on WORLD HAPPY DAY back in February; here's the trailer for Happy!:

(HAPPY (and here) is now available on DVD and iTunes in US and Canada!)

Finally, there's a few TED talks that you can watch on the subject, here.  You'll see some common themes throughout all the research - one of which is to be grateful.

So take the first step, and sign up for this awesome daily text message service!

 Sign up here!  (Free)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

HB's Birthday - Explore LA!

I've really been enjoying a bit more free time lately to enjoy all the great happenings that LA has to offer.  Last week I enjoyed sunset at the Griffith Observatory, including seeing the Tesla Coil fire, camera obscura 360, and their awesome foucault's pendulum.

View of historic "Hollywood" sign from the Griffith

Telsa coils are awesome.  So was Tesla, himself.

Then a few days later we watched the sunset from the top of Mount Wilson, while eating a snack and taking in the great views of the greater LA basin.  Super beautiful.

For my birthday, I explored LA's new Metro EXPO line which transports passengers from downtown (7th St. Metro Center) towards (but not quite yet to) Culver City.  We took our bikes and explored all over, though our main attractions were right next to the Expo line itself.

First stop was the California Science Center.  We had a superb afternoon with all of the hands-on science, though some 'hands-on' stuff didn't really teach WHY or HOW things were happening (no cause-and-effect).  Maybe the folks at Iridescent Learning have some lessons that the Science Center could use?

Super simple physics game to motivate balls into a goal, with mechanical claws, controllable ramps, and bursts of air.

Far-Infrared camera showing cold-blooded animals crawling around (tortoises, lizards, etc.)

We also went into the Butterfly Pavilion - a spring/summer exhibit outdoors in a netted area where many, many (hundreds?) of butterflies hang out, get fat and happy on flowers and fruit, and also some caterpillars and cocoons, etc.
Sorry for the lack of focus on these -- there were tons (okay, not literally), everywhere!

Then we went to the LA County Museum of Natural History Museum and saw and touched real dinosaur bones, as well as learned more California history.  Super awesome.

We came on the last "First Friday" of their season to host speakers and musicians.  It was an excellent use of space, and we'll be back next year!

The music was provided by KCRW DJs (Thanks Garth, and Anthony!) as well as Cut Chemist and Superhumanoids.  We danced out a bundle of energy, and then returned home via the Expo Line, Red Line, and Gold Line, followed by a mini-bike ride.  Long, awesome birthday!

The speaker was Jonah Lehrer, who is an excellent writer and speaker, and had some fun insights into how humans find solutions to problems, based on academic research.  Reminded me a bit of Malcolm Gladwell - just as engaging, and applicable.