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A Publication of WTVP

CONNECT with Other Athletes

The “largest and most complete results database for endurance races on the planet,” Athlinks.com
is also a social networking site created specifically for the endurance
athlete community. The site tracks over a million results each month in
categories such as running, triathlons, swimming, cycling, mountain
biking and more, and puts athletes in contact with each other, training
partners, club and team members and vendors. Membership is free.

A Happiness Boost

Happier.com encourages you to track and improve your happiness by using its gratitude journal, a mobile application that can be downloaded to an iPhone or purchased through iTunes. Each day, users enter three positive things that happened to them, and a 24-question assessment then informs them of their happiness score. The gratitude journal helps people track milestones and increase their happiness over time.

Hand-Write Your Thank-Yous

These days, people take notice of nicely written thank-you notes. The next time a coworker or client does something you appreciate, take the time to thank them with a short, simple note, using advice from Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Business Class.

 


Exercise in Pill Form?

New research suggests that two drugs, AICAR and GW1516, can mimic the effects of exercise by working at the cellular level to increase endurance and burn fat. Ronald Evans, a hormone expert, is leading a team of scientists at Salk Institute near San Diego, which found that mice that took one of the drugs for one month with no other exercise increased the distance they could run on a treadmill by 44 percent. Due to these findings, Evans has warned the International Olympic Committee to test athletes for AICAR and GW1516, and has even come up with tests to do so.

Dr. Evans says the pill could help fight human metabolic syndrome, which often results from obesity, and may also help the obese lose weight and have an easier time exercising. The pill could also help those who cannot exercise due to medical conditions such as congestive heart failure.

While popping a pill might make it possible for you to run farther than usual, it is no replacement for regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, and using such a pill to do extraordinary things—like run a marathon—will not improve your health. Our bodies need to be trained in order to exercise properly, and sporadic spurts of exercise can leave your body exhausted. In addition, proper exercise doesn’t just build strength and burn calories, it also improves circulation.

All our lives, we hear how important it is to exercise and eat right, but many of us make excuses to avoid doing so. It’s no surprise that this pill has caused a stir, but it’s no antidote for laziness and no shortcut to avoid hard work.

 

Recycle Your Computer for Reuse

Your empty fast food containers and disposable diapers are not the only items filling up our landfills. About 2.63 million tons of electronic waste pile up in landfills every year, thanks to the swift obsolescence of today’s electronic gadgets. This e-waste can be extraordinarily dangerous to your health, as toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic and mercury—commonly found in computers, televisions and other electronics—seep into the ground, the atmosphere, and possibly, your water supply. Recycling your old electronics is, quite simply, the right thing to do, and several area companies are making it easier to do so.

Peoria’s Retro-Tech, located at 625 W. Main Street, recycles all kinds of electronics, accepting items of any age and most conditions. Retro-Tech refurbishes old computers for troubled students, single parents who can’t afford computers for their children, and disabled persons with limited income, replacing as many as 200 systems a month. They also have an in-store Community Technology Center with free internet access that’s available on weekdays. Recycling fees range from $1 for inkjet printers to $10 for computer monitors, and $15 and up for old television sets. Current fees and more information is available at retro-tech.org.

Here are several other places you can bring your old electronics or appliances:

 

A Community of Innovation

InventHelp, America’s leading inventor service company, has launched a new resource for open innovation. Companies are now able to tap into new ideas and creativity via OpenInnovationResource.com, which provides access to white papers, testimonials, interviews and new product announcements at no cost.

According to the website, “With access to so many knowledgeable groups and individuals across the globe now at our fingertips, it’s become foolish to think that all the best ideas are primarily inside company walls.” By using open innovation, companies don’t have to rely solely on their own research and development, but can seek out and buy or license innovations from outside sources. Other benefits include the ability to develop new products more quickly, built-in market research and diversity of ideas.

Large companies like IBM, General Mills, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Hasbro and Microsoft have already embraced open innovation and its many benefits. Joseph Lininger, director of information technology at InventHelp said, “As one of the largest inventor service companies, we have over 5,000 ideas already in our database and are adding hundreds of new inventions and innovations each month.”

For more information, visit OpenInnovationResource.com.


My Favorite Flicks

Bill Ciardini has been at the Hotel Pere Marquette for 23 years. He served as director of catering for 15, and currently focuses on bridal and social events. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and blogging, and can often be found on the stage of local theatres or at the movies. 

1› Limelight
Charlie Chaplin has always been a favorite actor. It was the first film of his that I saw that had a soundtrack (he made very few talking films), and I was delighted to find that he did not disappoint when speaking

2› Before Night Falls
An amazing “tour de force” by Javier Bardem and perfect performance that may well endure as Julian Schnabel’s masterpiece. I immediately recognized Bardem from two films I had seen several years earlier and was amazed at the transformation he is able to achieve with each new role. This is my ‘new’ favorite actor.

3› The Quiet Man
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara together in one of the most beautiful films ever made by the great master, John Ford. Ford made five films that paired O’Hara and Wayne, and I love them all, but this is their masterwork.

4› The Letter 
Bette Davis, even when “mannered,” pulls off perhaps her most perfect performance outside of her matchless Fannie Skeffington in Mr. Skeffington. The Letter has one of the best opening scenes ever filmed, with Davis unloading her pistol into a cheating lover with relish. She meant business, too…she just kept squeezing that trigger even after all of the chambers were empty!

5› Two Women 
Sophia Loren’s greatest performance. This film is one of the grittiest and most draining I’ve ever seen, and Loren fully deserved her Best Actress Oscar for a film that was shot completely in Italian.


The Truth About Multitasking

These days, everyone feels the pressure to get more done in less time. A lot of us increase the number of things we try to do at once, buying into the hype of multitasking. But as research shows, this not only doesn’t make us more efficient, it may actually slow us down.

We’ve been led to believe that we can focus on multiple tasks simultaneously, when in fact, we are really switching focus from task to task very quickly. As neuroscientist Earl Miller said on NPR, “People can’t multitask very well, and when they say they can, they’re deluding themselves.” According to Miller, humans can’t focus on more than one thing at a time; instead, we shift focus.

David E. Meyer, cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, was quoted in The New York Times, saying, “Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”

A study of Microsoft workers proves this to be true. On average, it took participants 15 minutes to get back on track after being distracted by emails, instant messages or phone calls. Once removed from their initial tasks, many workers veered into other random activities, like searching the web.

Not only is this detrimental to personal productivity, but in the case of workers, multitasking costs the American economy approximately $650 billion a year, according to Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex, a business-research firm.

So the next time you think about trying to accomplish more than one thing at a time, think about that cost, and ask yourself if it’s really worth it. You may find that getting things done, one at a time, is actually more efficient. iBi

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