British Airways, the airline that pioneered the flat-bed seats in the 1990s, has taken the business of in-flight sleep to its next (logical? absurd?) level: The airline has developed a blanket to analyze the “meditative state” of premium cabin fliers. The wool “happiness blanket” is embedded with tiny fiber-optic LEDs that change color based on brainwaves transmitted via Bluetooth from a band worn on a passenger’s head. Blue signifies calm, peace and relaxation, and is seen most often when the person is sleeping deeply. The blanket displays crimson when the passenger feels stressed or anxious.
The high-tech blanket isn’t for direct customer use at this point, but dozens of volunteers will try the blanket on trans-Atlantic flights. BA plans to analyze the data from the blankets to make an already good in-flight experience even better. The color patterns may inform changes to in-flight services from, for example, the timing of meals, the menu and the movie options.
The airline’s ultimate goal is to further distinguish its cabin service and amenities in an era when everyone else has added flat beds and posh linens. “The hard product can always be copied and emulated,” says Alan Eley, a BA executive based in New York. The blanket is aimed at helping improve the squishier factors that nonetheless affect a passenger’s opinion of the flight and propensity to return. Sleep is a critical component, which is one reason most premium airlines have migrated their dinner service from airplanes to airport lounges — many passengers are eager for shut-eye as soon as they board.
“People are traveling longer and longer distances, and the ability to get good rest is more important,” says Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco. “To be successful, you have to be rested and alert, and what the airlines have found is, people will pay for it.”
In service of rest, British Airways has proven it’s willing to experiment. It’s already launched a paean to boredom on many long-haul flights: footage of a seven-hour train trip through Norway. The relaxation effect is similar to how many people enjoy videos of a burning fireplace log or goldfish or how millions of airline passengers like watching the moving position maps during flight. The video was an online hit in Scandinavia. “There’s a hypnotic, calming and entertaining quality to Slow TV that is perfect for in-flight entertainment,” Richard D’Cruze, BA’s on-board entertainment manager, told Bloomberg News last week.
It’s still unclear how much change the blanket will bring about on BA flights. We do have some predictions: Alcoholic spirits, restful sleep and funny films are likely to correlate to more blue than red. Missed connections, heavy turbulence and a gaseous seat mate are likely to yield crimson.
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This article originally published at Businessweek
Run into the apartment in full panic because of how bad we have to pee, realizing how fast this fact hit us once we got out of the cab.
We pry the shoes off of our swollen feet and throw those torture devices as far away from us as possible (unless we walked in already carrying them).
We take our two sizes too small bra off that makes our boobs look great and throw it while still standing in the living room.
Realize we’re not ready for that kind of commitment and close it.
Have a minor heart attack that we lost our phone and our purse because we don’t remember coming in with it because we were too preoccupied with peeing.
Realize we took Snapchat while peeing and find the phone in the bathroom *crisis adverted*
Look down at our phone, notice how much we’re really wobbling and how fuzzy the screen is, and thank god that we sent ourselves home from the bar because we’re NOT GOOD.
Try to answer the “WHERE ARE YOU?!” and “R U ALIVE” texts, realize that even autocorrect can’t help you at this point, and convince yourself “the screens broken and isn’t working right” and give up on that
Realize we need to be comfortable and throw giant sweats on over our skirt because we don’t have the balance to actually undress and redress.
Head back to the kitchen and decide that a leftovers combination like Mac n Cheese with Doritos is a great idea, and tear the entire kitchen apart in the process.
Drink a glass of water because we’re convinced that doing so will really help prevent the hangover from 6 Vodka Sodas and 3 Fireball Shots.
Turn on the TV, but have no idea what was on because we had tunnel vision focusing on our drunk munchies.
Finish food and realize we don’t even remember eating it – decide it’s time to send ourselves to bed.
Take a look in the mirror before heading to bed, realize how HOT of a mess we are, but face plant into bed without washing our face or changing.
Before you stuff your face-hole with buttery wads of starch this holiday season, you should give thanks for this week’s episode of #5facts, in which we unearth the shocking truth about Thanksgiving food.
Did you know that cranberries aren’t really berries, botanically speaking? Or that before potatoes were domesticated, they were highly poisonous?
Enjoy this heaping bowl of trivia and comedy, and if you dig the show, subscribe to our YouTube channel for new episodes every Wednesday. We’ll see you next week!
On last week’s episode of 5 Facts…
5 Adorable Facts About Dogs
Molly Antopol, recently named one of The National Book Foundation’s top “5 Under 35” authors, makes her short story debut with her collection The UnAmericans. The collection follows a multiplicity of voices ranging from a teenager coming of age during the Red Scare to a former dissident writer from Prague reflecting on his negligence as a father. As Antopol navigates from story to story, she explores a global and multi-generational Jewish identity with so much heart, wisdom and tenacity that this story collection is bound to resonate with readers of all ages.
Be sure to follow @mashlifestyle to discuss The UnAmericans, using the hashtag #MashReads throughout the month. You can also join our Goodreads group to stay updated on MashableReads, and let us know what you think of the book.
Want to hang out with the author in person? Join our MashableReads San Francisco Meet Up for our event on March 26, at 6:00pm. If you’re in New York and want to get together with people to discuss the book, join our MashableReads New York Meet Up.
Also, we’ve created some discussion questions and a suggested reading guide to keep you on track throughout the month. We encourage you to grab some friends and get together to discuss The UnAmericans some time in the month of March. And as always, tweet at us or post in our Goodreads group to let us know what you think of the book!
Below, we spoke with Antopol about being a “5 Under 35” recipient, her advice for young writers and the influence of social media on storytelling.
Q&A with Molly Antopol
Mashable: You were named one of The National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35 Authors,” but the stories in The UnAmericans span generations. How did being such a young writer influence your story collection?
Antopol: It’s an extraordinary honor to get this kind of recognition — I was thrilled to get the news, and to be in such incredible company. Writing is often such a solitary pursuit; it was very nice to be acknowledged by people who aren’t related to me!
When I began writing these stories, I was blissfully ignorant of all things publishing-related. Reading was, at that point in my life, an entirely personal and haphazard experience. I’d stumble upon a book, fall in love with it and obsessively read everything by that writer, then read interviews with them to discover which writers they admired and go search for those books, and so on.
The book took me ten years to write. It was really important for me to keep my blinders on the whole time. Because I teach in a writing program, a lot of my friends were publishing books. For some reason, the excitement of seeing close friends publish never pushed me to write faster — instead, it just made me want to tune out any noise so I could focus entirely on the book I wanted to write, regardless of whether or not anyone would ultimately be interested in publishing it.
As to being young, you know how sports commentators sometimes say that young guys who’ve never been in the playoffs before can just go in and play without nerves because they’ve never been there before and don’t quite understand the magnitude of things? I started writing this book in my early twenties; I think that being so young, I didn’t quite recognize how tough it was going to be, which allowed me to jump in without all the nerves and self-doubt. That all came later!
What advice do you have for young writers?
When I was first writing stories, an older writer gave me a piece of advice that really resonated over the years: You only get one chance to have a first book, so make sure you stand behind every one of your sentences. That feels so true to me — there’s no rush to get published, and there’s something so amazing and rewarding about devoting those early years to reading and writing and messing up, until a writer feels truly great about the work they’re putting out.
I also think it can be incredibly useful to seek out other people who like to talk about books, and a few who are interested in swapping work. But it’s so important to be picky about readers, especially with new writing — I heard Philip Roth talk once and he said something that really stuck with me: Never let anybody read your early drafts unless you’re sure they’re on your side.
In each of the stories in The UnAmericans, your characters grapple with a hard truth about themselves, whether that be shame for being a negligent parent or ennui after returning home from abroad. What do you want readers to take away from reading your book?
I just hope readers get swept up in the stories the way I’ve gotten swept up in so many books. I’ve missed my subway stop any number of times because I was so wrapped up in what I was reading, and felt disoriented when I had to put the book away and was no longer in the world of my characters. One of the main reasons I write fiction is to try to understand what life might be like for other people. Writing a story is pretty all-consuming for me. I’ve always seen it as a form of method acting — for the year or two that I’m working on a story, I’m constantly thinking about how my narrator would react to whatever messy or strange situation I’m in, and it’s the moment I begin to see the world through their eyes that I know my story’s headed in an interesting direction.
I love the feeling of trying to explore what it might have been like to live in another place or during a different time, or even to live here in the present day, but as a man, or a person much older than I am — I often find that I’m able to access certain emotional truths about my own life by exploring things from different angles. I haven’t written any stories about female writers living in San Francisco, but I do feel that my stories are autobiographical in the sense that they capture what I questioned and obsessed over during the decade I was writing them. And the theme I found myself circling back to, again and again, was the complicated — and sometimes devastating — impact one person’s quest to improve the world can have on the people closest to them.
Several of the characters in your book are Jewish-European dissidents, smuggling art from Russia, writing oppositional journals in communist-era Prague, or fighting as child soldiers in Belarus. How do notions of identity play into the stories you tell in The UnAmericans?
I kept thinking about this notion of “Un-Americanness” for my East European characters — as you said: dissidents, art smugglers, political writers, child soldiers — who, after risking their lives for their politics in their mother countries, then have to reinvent their identities in the United States, a country where they’re treated as anything but American.
I thought about the complicated emotional impact the fall of communism might have had on my characters during that time, and what it might have felt like to dedicate oneself to a cause that, in the course of world events, ultimately comes to an end. I wondered whether some people might have had a nagging feeling of nostalgia for that bleak time, simply because they held a significant place in it.
For so many of my characters, their entire sense of self is shaped by their politics, and I wanted to explore how having lived under surveillance in Eastern Europe influences their lives once they immigrate to America, where they quickly realize that not only are they no longer being watched — they’re no longer being noticed.
How do you think social media has influenced storytelling?
Oh, in every way imaginable! As a teacher, I love thinking about how to integrate social media into the ways in which I talk about storytelling. So often my students come into my office and tell me how worried they are about their stories seeming “real,” about finding their voices. I tell them to narrate the story the way they’d write an email to someone they’re close to — that casual, off-the-cuff confessional voice we use when emailing close friends is about as authentic as a voice can get.
At Stanford, our department now offers a Twitter Fiction class, and even in my regular writing classes I integrate things like Twitter and Instagram into the way I talk about narrative. I’ve always loved Joan Didion’s 1966 essay “On Keeping A Notebook,” a beautiful meditation on note-taking and memory, in which she looks back on past journal entries. I have my students do the same thing with Twitter, searching early tweets and trying to uncover their meaning — and what was happening at that particular moment in time, both in their lives, and in the world at large.
A fifth star has emerged among the four leading ladies of HBO’s Girls.
We speak not of Adam, Ray or even the soon-to-be absent Charlie, but of Shoshanna Shapiro’s whimsical hair.
Each episode, Shoshanna surprises us with intricate braids, oddly-placed buns and daring hair accessories. Though some border on ridiculous, her ‘dos never fail to get us talking.
To gear up for season three of Girls, use these simple hair tutorials to channel your inner-Shosh.
Intense desire for money, food, fame, power, or sex. All of the above, please. In reality all betches want in life is money to buy food and become famous to be powerful to have sex with whoever we want. That’s a pretty simple request, right? You might like (or even love) your boyfriend, but you lust Ryan Gosling.
Most people think that lust can only be tied to sex, but that’s not the case. You lust what turns you on. Corporate betches get hot and bothered over the idea of the corner office and an executive position. Foodie betches drool for the idea of traveling the world and tasting all of Europe one gelato shop at a time. Kimmy K fame whore betches get turned on by the flashing lights and glitzy dresses of a red carpet.
Excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. Betches loving material possessions? Noooo. They don’t call us label whores for nothing. Bros are notorious for spending their money on intangible things like gambling. No thank you. I like my money where I can see it, in my closet. Handbags, watches, and shoes, OH MY.
In a world of hierarchy – the royalty of greedy betches can be defined by any girl who has a walk in closet or entire room dedicated to shoes. As a kid watching MTV cribs, baby betches chose their role models baed on who had the most fur coats, Louis Vuitton and wardrobe changes (Mariah you still win.) Shout out to the OGB (Original Greedy Betch) – Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka. That Daddy’s Girl got what she want, when she wanted it (NOW.)
Over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. You probably didn’t need that ENTIRE small pizza when you came home from the bar and a salad for lunch doesn’t necessarily justify a giant ice cream sundae after dinner. But this sin tastes too good to apologize. Betches single handedly built the empire that is food related Instagrams, because when we’re not eating food we are looking at food we want to eat.
We have managed to put on a great front to guys that we aren’t food obsessed creatures always thinking about our next meal. We are. Every betch knows the real judgement free zone isn’t the gym – it’s the kitchen. Yeah I ate an entire buffalo chicken dip by myself, and no I’m not sharing my party size bag of Cheetos.
Inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred or anger. The betch who likes your hookup's Instagram with the heart eye emoji should probably go into hiding because you’ve put a bounty on her head. How dare the cute guy who talked to you at the gym go talk to that other skank in spanx too. Every motorist on the road is out to personally get in your way and drive like an ASSHOLE. And if a guy EVER has the audacity to claim you’re crazy, he better be ready for you to go Carrie Underwood on his ass with a slugger in both headlights.
Betches have a gold medal in the sport of irrational and overzealous hatred or anger. It’s not our fault – the mix of estrogen and alcohol with a splash of PMS makes our emotions go haywire and our logic nonexistent.
Believing that one is essentially better than others. What do you mean believing? We are…No but seriously there is a fine line between being proud and being completely self absorbed and shallow, and betches have a PhD in flirting with that line on a daily basis. In todays technological world, social media allows us to compare ourselves against other individuals based on statistics such as Instagram likes, Twitter favorites, Snapchat best friends, and number of bros pining for our affectation via iMessage.
Just as athletes are able to see the stats their opponents produce to compare accordingly, prideful betches todays might not know each others salaries, but they’ll most likely compare themselves to the competition based on the ratio of followers to following.
Physical or spiritual laziness. Yes – when you are on your seventh hour of binge watching Netflix in sweatpants with no bra on, you’re guilty of sloth. Fucking duh I’m still watching. But if lounging is wrong you don’t want to be right. After a weekend of abusing your liver with alcohol and your feet with death trap stilettos, you have earned the right to become an immobile creature that only leaves the couch for more chips and dip.
There is nothing wrong with a lazy Sunday, and it’s the only way to cope with the bitch of Monday up ahead. The only time sloth is a problem is when you choose your bed over Thirsty Thursday or only wear sweatpants because fitting into skinny jeans has become overrated in your mind.
Insatiable desire. Betches will never admit that they envy other women, because that would require admitting that someone is better than us. But in some cases, we envy women for what (and who) they have. We envy the Kardashians for getting paid to do absolutely nothing of substance, we envy Jesse Decker for having the best eyebrow game to date, and we envy those fitchicks we follow on Instagram for the abs we’ll only get if we spray tan them on.
It’s usually not that we want to be that person, we just want some aspect of their life to be our own without having to do any of the work to get it.
Robin Raskin is the founder of Living in Digital Times, a conference and events program that looks at the intersection of life and technology. She is the former editor of PC Magazine (when it was printed), FamilyPC and Yahoo!Tech. Book author, TV and radio personality, and magazine and web blogger, Robin has never met a media she didn’t love. Follow her @robinr.
Is your social media behavior cringe-worthy? Will you look back on your 140 characters today with remorse tomorrow? There’s no one arbiter of good taste on social media. In fact, ‘experts’ have been doling out advice since the Internet came into being. From Ann Landers writing about Internet addiction in 1998 to manners maven Emily Post and her kids and grandkids who are trying to bring good mannered sensibility to the Internet.
My credentials aren’t impeccable manners but the school of hard knocks, beginning with a 300 baud modem and a BBS connection. I’m no Internet native, but I have learned a few things about social media manners which I’m happy to share. In fact, let’s make it a group effort, so feel free to chime in below.
Googling: Try not to indulge more than you have to; your brain gets rusty from lack of use. Really think about who starred in Mary Poppins before you race to look it up. You’ll be better for it.
Tattling: Are you your brother’s social media keeper? The photo with too much cleavage, the beer bottle shot? Limit the pictures you post of other people, especially their past. If someone is posting old pictures of you, the first line of attack should be to talk directly to the offenders about over-sharing. If they de-friend you, you’ve tried. If they tell you “you overshare, too,” they’re probably right.
Relationships: Tell your good friends about your breakup before you change your relationship status. They hate feeling like they had to learn it online. And don’t be the first in your relationship to rush to status change — doing it together shows maturity.
Posting Family Photos: If they’re old enough to answer in the affirmative, then ask permission before posting. Be especially mindful of bathroom, bikini or paunch shots they’ll loathe you for.
Bragging: Vacations, weddings and other shared family photos probably bore your OWN family. Edit judiciously before sharing.
Mobile Photography: You’re “in the moment”. They’re not. Make sure the photo is focused and recognizable before hitting the share button.
Sympathy: Posting a notice about a death of a friend or relative is alright. The outpouring of support is fantastic. As for offering condolences, it’s fine to memorialize on Facebook — even helpful.
Social Media — In General: As they said about after-school activities when I was applying to college: Limit yourself to three — do one really well.
Have your own set of rules? Share away.
While finding a new job can be difficult for anyone, it can be especially hard on veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce.
A new study from the Military Benefit Association revealed that half of the veterans recently separated from the U.S. military and are currently unemployed have not had a full- or part-time job since leaving the military. Among those, 40% have been out of work between four and 12 months.
Roy Gibson, a retired U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant and president of the Military Benefit Association, said one critical aspect to landing new work for veterans is ensuring they are well-prepared for the job search process, including any interviews they may go on.
1. Identify Your Skills
When going on an interview, it is important that veterans can accurately describe their skills and what they can bring to the table. Gibson said research shows that more than 70% of hiring managers find it difficult to ascertain recent veterans’ skill sets based on their resume alone.
“There is an obvious disconnect there,” Gibson told BusinessNewsDaily. “Eventually, they are going to have to sync up with the hiring managers that are reviewing their resumes and interviewing them.”
Gibson advises veterans use one of the numerous online military-skills translators to help them describe their experience in a way that hiring managers can better understand. Veterans can find skills translators online at Military.com, Home Depot and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Career One Stop.
“They need to take advantage of the resources that are available to them,” he said.
2. Keep Your Options Open
Veterans also shouldn’t go into an interview with a limited scope of what they can do. For example, Gibson said veterans who spent their time in the military working on jet or helicopter engines shouldn’t focus solely on those types of jobs.
“They should market himself or herself more broadly as a mechanic,” Gibson said. “That will open up a lot more doors than if they tried to stick to what they’ve been doing.”
With that in mind, it is also important that veterans clearly understand the job for which they are interviewing. Gibson advises veterans to clearly dissect the job description for the position they are interviewing so they can best frame their skills to match what the employer is looking for.
“Be thinking, ‘what I can do for this employer,’ not ‘here is what I do, take it or leave it’ and hope it fits,” he said.
3. Find a Mentor
Finding someone who has gone through the process to mentor veterans and help them prepare is also an excellent way for veterans to get ready for an interview. Gibson said the best mentors are those who have military experience and were successful transitioning into the civilian workforce.
In addition to helping them understand the civilian job search process, mentors can also help veterans run through practice interviews to ensure they are getting out the right message to hiring managers.
“Have a mentor to help you practice interviewing,” Gibson said. “There is no substitute for practice, especially if you are doing something as foreign as I think interviewing for a job is for most of these folks that are getting out of the service.”
4. Stay Positive
Knowing that most veterans won’t land a job after the first interview, Gibson said it is important veterans try to stay positive as the job search process extends beyond what they were hoping for. He said the key is having a strategic plan to find work and finding a network of people that can help out in terms of looking for potential jobs that might be a fit.
“I understand that it can be very discouraging if that job doesn’t pop right up and in most cases it does not,” he said. “If you network, have a plan, keep working your plan and using your resources, it will come.”
5. Get a Head Start
In the end, Gibson believes the most critical thing veterans can do to improve their job search efforts is to start the process early. Rather than waiting until they are officially out of the military, he thinks making a job search plan and working on their resume and interview techniques well before that time would best serve them.
“The worst thing is to wake up on your first day as a civilian and say, ‘OK, now I have to find a job,’ because it has to start long before then.”
Image: Dave Bledsoe
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This article originally published at BusinessNewsDaily