When you’re alone in a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, the simplest question becomes the most complicated: How do you fill a day?
Inspired by recent research on how boredom and mind-wandering contribute to creativity, public radio show New Tech City is launching a pro-boredom project. Bored and Brilliant invites participants to track how they use their phones to prevent moments of mental idleness, to try to reclaim free brain space and find oases of time, complete a week of creativity challenges, and contribute their responses to the conversation. BrainPickings' Maria Popova and artist Nina Katchadourian (who both joined the project's launch party to talk about how they"owe their careers" to boredom)and RadioLab's Jad Abumrad.
Bored? Like Adventure Time? Try playing one of these many, many Adventure Time games.
This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it. I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
Erin Faulk (@erinscafe on Twitter) tells the surprisingly compelling tale of going on a quest to find Matt Damon in Morocco, just cuz. (SLStorify)
"This week, I'm a ..." Christopher Livingston (aka notmydesk) plays mundane PC simulations so you don't have to! Read, heart-in-mouth, as he masters the art of Being a Wolf in WolfQuest, treats objects like women as a furniture-fixated Hugh Hefner in Playboy: the Mansion, makes a thrilling escape from the life of a simple cruise ship captain in Ship Simulator: Extremes, disappoints the masses in Circus World, and performs routine adminstrative tasks and dates a cartoon lawyer in the frankly terrifying-sounding Love & Order. [more inside]
The Boredom Proneness Scale† is the best-known of the various metrics for quantifying one’s propensity to ennui. High-scorers who are ‘understretched, unmotivated and bored in the world of work in the 21
st century’ may in danger of ‘boreout’ [PDF]. While boredom needn’t be perceived in an exclusively negative light (one might imagine a perfect boredom akin to the notion of dolce far niente), ‘boredom [PDF] and boredom proneness […] have been linked to a long list of negative outcomes in adults, including, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and loneliness […], impulsiveness […], elevated rates of alcohol dependence […], negative affect […], pathological gambling […] and higher rates of psychopathology in general.’ Historians of boredom have noted the relatively recent advent [NY TIMES] of the term, coinciding with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but our more distant ancestors were not free of the related afflictions [PDF] of horror loci, tædium vitæ, acedia, mal du siècle, etc. [more inside]
Economics blog VoxEU debates Why do we need a financial sector? Serious, important and very dull articles discuss the trade-offs and myths of innovation, and whether the sector is overrated, critical or a contributor to the wider economy.
Proust is a way for you and your family to share and preserve your stories, one question at a time. The site takes its name from the Proust Questionnaire. Stories can be viewed in several different ways and be set as private or public.
This is what the cultural elite wants us to believe: if our writers don't make sense, or bore us to tears, that can only mean that we aren't worthy of them. [more inside]
Joseph Brodsky: In Praise of Boredom -- from his Dartmouth College commencement address in 1995. " Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one's mental equilibrium. It is your window on time's infinity. Once this window opens, don't try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open. For boredom speaks the language of time, and it teaches you the most valuable lesson of your life: the lesson of your utter insignificance. It is valuable to you, as well as to those you are to rub shoulders with. "You are finite," time tells you in the voice of boredom, "and whatever you do is, from my point of view, futile."
Illustrated Notes from Computer Science: Tom Murphy VII gets more bored in class than you. And thanks to his free fonts, your boredom can look just as snazzy. (Previous Tom7-related action here. This guy keeps busy. I blame the 80/20 rule.)
Pen spinning is very cool. Have a look at Pentrix, with guides to help you learn, videos of some very nice looking variations, basic tricks and combinations. A word of warning though, trying these things in an open environment may well annoy your fellow humans; but this may be the only distraction for the bored and restricted office worker.
Nobel Prize Winners Hate School. Not that it takes a genius to figure out that 'school is a lot like prison but worse' (George Bernard Shaw) or that it "smothers every truly scientific impulse" (Einstein)....
Media Conspiracies Revealed! Ever notice unusual references to "creamy thighs," "okra," or the phrase, "it was as if an occult hand had. . . " in your daily newspaper? From The Poynter Foundation website, candid confessions from journalists about how they fight the boredom of writing daily news. It's a conspiracy, all right--"right down the cock."
Killing Time Shamelessly. How to kill time before leaving your job. This article explains how to fill the endless hours of tedium that make up many working days, with suggestions that include breaking into secure areas of your firm, writing a novel with the contents of your inbox and even...God forbid...doing your job Guess what? MeFi made the list of sites to browse shamelessly...
I am sitting here watching a grown man cutting raw potatoes. Yes I have no life. Do you watch, or am I more pathetic than usual? [more]