Life Hacks – Spoken Edition
Summary: Daily weblog on software and personal productivity recommends downloads, web sites and shortcuts that help you work smarter and save time. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com
Next week is National Park Week, which means free entry for you to national parks for the next two weekends. If you have a national park near you, here’s what you can do to get the most out of your free visit. If you’re not sure whether there’s a national park nearby, check Find Your Park, which is run by the National Park Service. Even if you aren’t near a popular park like Yosemite, there are a lot of smaller gems that might be in your area.
We all have an invisible bubble around us we like to call our “personal space.” If someone hovers inside too long, you feel uncomfortable. But everyone’s bubble size is different from culture to culture. Here’s what those bubbles look like around the world. A recent study, published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, shows that culture plays a significant role when it comes to personal space.
If you live in a large city with traffic and cars, you’re likely exposed to air pollution on a daily basis. That can have detrimental effects on your health, especially your lungs, and the surgical masks you often see in smoggy cities actually don’t do a ton to protect you. Here’s what to do instead. The best ways to protect yourself from air pollution in a city are all variations on simply avoiding it, especially on days it is bad (which tend to happen as the weather warms up).
Restaurant meals cost a lot more than meals you make at home—you know this. But what you might not realize is those add-ons, like that oh-so-delicious guac on your burrito, can be some of the most costly offenders. Long gone are the days where adding cheese to your burger cost 50 cents. Now it cost you about three times as much. As the data-crunching folks at Priceonomics explain, most restaurant add-ons tack on an additional $1 to $3, depending on the item.
If you’ve ever shopped for sports sunglasses for running, cycling, hiking, or whatever else, you know there are tons of different colored lenses to choose from. From copper to rose to yellow, these do make a little bit of a difference in what you see. The Wirecutter digs into when and why this might matter. Tint on sunglasses is are referred to as base tint, which is what you see from the inside of the lens.
Wine stains suck, especially when it’s red wine on your brand new white shirt. There are lots of ways to banish such stains, but think about pouring yourself some milk next time it happens to you. I found this tip, courtesy of Christophe Jasmin, owner and manager of Thazard, while reading about some other great wine stain removal tips at Wine Folly. Here’s what Jasmin recommends: .
Next week on our podcast we’ll be talking with Planned Parenthood to learn all about women’s health, how you can take advantage of their services, and what you can do to show support and take part in activism. Let us know what questions you’d like us to ask! Health care in America is on unnervingly unstable ground. The Affordable Care Act remains in place along with all its benefits, but there are still many in Washington fighting to find ways to diminish if not repeal it.
Farewell, Dandelion. Crayola has decided to retire that particular shade of yellow, even sending “Dan D.” on a month-long farewell tour around the country. For some of us, this is not a big deal—in my kids’ 128-pack of crayons, there at least five other yellows and oranges; and if the sun now has a little more red-sky-at-night feel to it, who cares? If you’re in the “oh well” camp and have a 64-color box, Goldenrod is pretty close.
It’s Equal Pay Day, a day dedicated to bringing awareness to the wage gap. It’s narrowed since the ‘60s, but there’s still progress to be made, especially considering naysayers still believe the gap doesn’t exist. The gap has narrowed quite a bit since 1963, the year the Equal Pay Act was signed into law. But women, especially women of color, still earn less than men.
Spring means getting your garden or yard ready for the most lively time of the year for your plants, but stormy spring showers can drown your green thumb efforts. A “rain garden” can help divert overflows of water from spring showers so the rest of your yard stays in shape to bloom.
The newest Humble Book Bundle is now available and this time around it’s all about learning the Python programming language, which happens to be one of the best places to start learning programming, and one that’s always had a special place in my heart because of its popular on the Raspberry Pi.
When I was 16, my French class was fortunate enough to visit France. We immediately went to the Louvre upon arrival in Paris, but I was so wiped out by jet lag, I sat down and fell asleep. The spot I had chosen, however, was actually an ancient work of art. Here’s what would have happened had I broken it. It’s a nightmare scenario. You wander through a gallery of gorgeous artwork only to trip and accidentally punch a hole through a priceless painting. It actually does happen.
If you’re having trouble getting calls through to your member of Congress, an app called Stance says it can help. You just record a message, and it keeps trying until it can deliver that message to voicemail. There’s a big caveat on that, though.
You’ve probably heard of Global Entry as a faster way to get through customs, but it only works when you’re coming back into the U.S. of course. Luckily, the U.S. isn’t the only country that has a program aimed at making customs go more quickly—some European countries do, too. Given that tourism is a major industry for many European countries, they want to make it as easy as possible for you to visit.
Getting into the habit of hitting the gym a couple times every week isn’t easy, but a new report suggests there are two things that will help get you off the couch: convenience and quality. The report, from New York-based firm Dstillery and featured in the Wall Street Journal, is based on anonymized information from 7.5 million mobile devices that were taken to fitness centers all over the country throughout February and March.