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Mardi, 22 Novembre 2011 12:30

Wired's Lab-Tested, Muppet-Vetted Formulas for Smartifying Your Life

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  • 12:30 pm  | 
  • Wired November 2011

Swat flies! Swat flies!
Photo: Art Streiber; set stylist: NickTortorici.com

Swat Flies

Flies are like little ninjas, dodging even the most skillfully wielded rolled-up magazine. Michael Dickinson, a neurobiologist at the University of Washington, wanted to know how they pull this off. He got flies to climb through a tiny tube ending at a 5-millimeter-wide stage. Over it loomed a black disc that would descend from various angles when triggered. Meanwhile, a video camera recorded the encounter at thousands of frames per second. The flies, which have a nearly 360-degree field of view, are always on guard, and within 200 milliseconds of spotting a threat, they began a series of postural adjustments in advance of, well, flying. You can’t beat that speed. So to crush flies professionally, you have to predict their moves. —Judy Dutton

Method #1
From the front

If the crushing blow approaches head-on, the fly shifts its middle legs forward so it can push backward. Anticipate the backward jump by angling the swatter to arc over and then behind the fly.

Method #2
From behind

Perceiving a threat coming from behind, the fly moves its middle legs backward in preparation to launch forward. To land the swat, you have to lead the fly “like a quarterback leading a receiver,” Dickinson says.

Turn that crap down! Playing your favorite music in the background may make it harder to study or acquire a new skill.
(Applied Cognitive Psychology)

Get in Shape

We could all use a little exercise. The question is, just how little? A recent study at the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, found that everyday movements can contribute significantly to healthy heart function. So do a little more housework. Instead of sending emails to coworkers, get up and walk over to their desks. Take the stairs. Or just stand up and sit down a lot. There. You’ve worked out. —Erin Biba

“I don’t mind crowds… it’s just people I can’t stand.”
“Don’t worry about this stuff. Just remember my motto: ‘Every day is the first day of what’s left of your life.’”

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