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From Publishing Perspectives: Chocolate Might Save Barnes and Nobles

by | Posted August 2nd, 2013

Attention Borders Books: if you had only permeated the delicious aroma of chocolate throughout your store, combined with the undeniable smell of new books, you might still be in business. Too soon? A study conducted by a group of Belgian researchers found “that the ever-so-alluring aroma of chocolate not only inspires bookstore shoppers to stay in the store longer, it also boosts sales of certain genres of books.”

The “enticing smell” was sent through the store at two locations, not strong enough so it was noticeable right away, but when pointed out, customers recognized it as the scent of chocolate. Sales for a specific category of books also rose 40% when the smell of chocolate was present, and customers “were less likely to search for one specific book and take it directly to the register to immediately check out.”

You can read more at TheInquisitr.com.

Source: Publishing Perspectives

From My Modern Met: Little House on the Dramatic Landscape

by | Posted August 1st, 2013

My Modern Met recently featured Italian artist Manuel Cosentino’s new series of paintings: a little house set against giant, dramatic landscapes. In the series, Cosentino paints the same house atop the same hill, but almost the entire painting is taken up by the sky and backdrop behind it.

The large prints, currently exhibited at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York are paired with a book filled with prints of the house set against a white sky.” Cosentino invites viewers to create their own imagery against the little house. He says, “The project intends to start a conversation with the public; its nature is purposefully left mutable, open to chance and to change.”

Do We Actually Learn from Videos?

by | Posted July 31st, 2013

A new study led by a professor from Iowa State University shows that difference between watching fluent and “disfluent” videos might not make a difference on whether viewers learn more or less.

Most of us enjoy watching TED talks and the speakers on the TED videos are nothing if not engaging, expressive, and fluent. The study presented two groups with videos – one fluent and one disfluent – and asked each to predict how much they would remember after watching them. The group with the fluent video predicted they would remember more based on the engaging speaker (“the instructor stood upright, maintained eye contact, and spoke fluidly without notes”). The result found that both groups remembered about the same amount regardless of the speaker.

One author begged to differ on this result and explained why we do learn and remember things from watching videos. One is that it gratifies “our preference for visual learning.” How many times have you found yourself more engaged in a PowerPoint presentation when it has been heavy on the visual side versus the text side? They also allow the viewer to choose what they want to watch, or “enable self-directed, ‘just-in-time’ learning,” giving them the choice of videos they watch to what interests them most for their educational needs.

Aside from spiraling into a black hole of YouTube videos, I enjoy watching TED talks and find that I do learn things from them that I never thought would interest me. Check them out for yourself sometime and see if you learn a little more than you thought.

Source: MindShift

From Creative Bloq: New Logo Designs from July 2013

by | Posted July 30th, 2013

MailChimp’s new logo.

Human beings are not very susceptible to change, especially when it comes to favored brand logos that they’ve grown accustomed to seeing the same year after year. Creative Bloq recently released the top five logo changes that occurred during July 2013. They include the Penguin/Random House merger, Glasgow Airport, YouSendIt (which includes a new name entirely), MailChimp, and Hooters.

Penguin Random House logo merger.

Many companies choose to update their logos after completing extensive consumer marketing research and/or to fit their updated social media and modern communications strategy.

Popular Blogging Platforms

by | Posted July 26th, 2013

Apartment Therapy recently asked, “Do You Still Blog?” With the proliferation of microblogging platforms like Twitter and Instagram, this seems a relevant question to consider. The impetus to document our lives remains, but for specifically blogging Apartment Therapy offers an overview of currently popular blogging platforms, some you’ve heard of like WordPress, and some you may not have, like the open-source Ghost. If you’re thinking about getting back into blogging, read on. Or rather, write on.

From Lifehacker: 6 Resume Issues and How to Fix Them

by | Posted July 25th, 2013

Lifehacker offers useful solutions to common resume issues in this post. The overall strategy they suggest is: “get creative, be upfront, and do a little rebranding.” For example, in how to deal with an excessively long resume they suggest only including relevant experience as a way to cut down on the content. In a pinch, this post offers common sense solutions to better your chance of landing the job you’re after.

The Standing Desk: A Writer’s Perspective

by | Posted July 24th, 2013

The typical, or maybe fantastical, writing set-up usually involves a desk, a chair, a clear surface, paper and pens (plural cause you’ll be burning through them), or maybe a laptop, no powercord of course, pristine. I don’t know anyone who writes like this. Most writing usually involves a cluttered desk stacked with books, papers, cups, bills, junk mail, a million pens buried underneath it all, and that one sock you can’t find the match to. Or maybe a tiny table at a coffee shop with your laptop next to your latte next to your muffin next to your notebook next to your smartphone. Or maybe you write sitting on the couch with syndicated TV shows on in the background, a kitten curled next to you and nag champa wafting through the air. Now, have you ever imagined writing at a standing desk, your feet free to dance to the latest too-embarrassed-to-admit pop star’s album?

standing desk

My standing desk – a workbench with wooden bed risers. Total cost: about $150.

I’ve been using a standing desk at work and at home for the last couple of years as a component of better back health. However, this post is not a rage against sitting and whether or not that’s good or bad for you. In fact, this might just be the first body-positive blog post about standing desks ever to appear on the internetz! I’ve found there are two types of blog posts about standing desks; first, SITTING IS SO BAD FOR YOU WHY WOULD YOU EVER, and second, Be More Productive By Getting Off Your Ass. Both of these fall into that preachy health morality genre that I find repulsive. But they also offer tips for building or buying a standing desk, as well as what your body might experience at first. To be fair, there’s also a “Sitter’s Manifesto” out there too.

As a writer, the standing desk engages my creativity in a much different way than sitting at a desk or on the couch. I can move around, I can pace, I can walk away from the monitor to gather my ideas or work through a thought. I can stretch. I can dance! The world around my body is much more alive and tactile when I’m standing and writing. However, introducing a standing desk to my workflow definitely took a few months. Standing is hard on the feet if you’re not used to it, and I knew from my many previous retail jobs that my feet were gonna hurt. So I started with an hour, then slowly increased my time. I also invested in an anti-fatigue mat, which is a dense foam mat used in commercial kitchens, pharmacies, and at check-out lanes in convenience and grocery stores.

Lifehacker recently featured DeskHacks’ four-week Stand Up and Work Challenge. While the overall tone of this challenge preaches to that health morality, I like the idea of a four-week challenge to get people who are considering a standing desk started in the process. Jesse Noller, a programmer/writer, wrote about his experience after 5 months, finding, “I feel more refreshed; and switching “into work” and “out of work” (meaning, in and out of a task) is easier/more approachable.” Don’t get me wrong, I still sit and write, just not as much. And most (if not all?) public writing spaces like coffeeshops, offices, and libraries, are designed for sitting. And mama needs her lattes.

The Giving Tree, Narrated by Shel Silverstein.

by | Posted July 23rd, 2013

Oh, The Giving Tree, such a beautiful and heart-wrenching story that’s still absolutely relevant. In 1973, Shel Silverstein’s book was made into an animated film with Silverstein himself providing the narration. Take a moment to check back in with this timeless classic.

Source: Open Culture