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“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” says psychologist

People don’t procrastinate because they are lazy, says Dr. Piers Steel, author of The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done. “It’s self-harm,” he told The New York Times.

Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield, agrees. “This is why we say that procrastination is essentially irrational,” she told the Times “It doesn’t make sense to do something you know is going to have negative consequences… People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.”

From the article:

Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.

In fact, there’s an entire body of research dedicated to the ruminative, self-blaming thoughts many of us tend to have in the wake of procrastination, which are known as “procrastinatory cognitions.” The thoughts we have about procrastination typically exacerbate our distress and stress, which contribute to further procrastination, Dr. Sirois said.

But the momentary relief we feel when procrastinating is actually what makes the cycle especially vicious. In the immediate present, putting off a task provides relief — “you’ve been rewarded for procrastinating,” Dr. Sirois said. And we know from basic behaviorism that when we’re rewarded for something, we tend to do it again. This is precisely why procrastination tends not to be a one-off behavior, but a cycle, one that easily becomes a chronic habit.

Image: New Africa/Shutterstock


Source: “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” says psychologist

Let’s Talk About Hagfish and Their Wondrously Soft Slime

Hagfish are an eel-like sea creatures with the ability to excrete a teaspoon of slime that almost instantly expands to 10,000 times the volume. The slime, a combination of mucous and protein threads, is magical, too! Surprise, it’s not sticky, and it’s actually incredibly soft. Think about the softest thing you can think of. WRONG, this is softer. Hagfish slime is so soft, scientists had to create new ways to measure it when traditional instruments couldn’t hack it.

The proteins threads that give the slime cohesion are incredible in their own right. Each is one-100th the width of a human hair, but can stretch for four to six inches. And within the slime glands, each thread is coiled like a ball of yarn within its own tiny cell — a feat akin to stuffing a kilometer of Christmas lights into a shoebox without a single knot or tangle. No one knows how the hagfish achieves this miracle of packaging, but Fudge just got a grant to test one idea. He thinks that the thread cells use their nuclei — the DNA-containing structures at their core — like a spindle, turning them to wind the growing protein threads into a single continuous loop.

But that’s not all! Hagfish don’t have a jawbone, they’ve got kind of a sandpaper on their face, which is not the scientific way to describe it at all. They eat by burrowing into carcasses and rub their face around to get their fill. The skin of a hagfish is more efficient at processing nutrients than their intestines, so needless to say the burrowing really works for them. While hagfish use their slime to defend against attacks — the excreted slime clogs the gills of attackers — they also use their ridiculously squishy bodies as a defense. If a shark bites them, the important bits squish out of the way like one of those water wiggly toys. (Do you know how hard it is is to google the name of a toy you’ve played with your entire life without ever having known the name of? “Squishy squiggly water snake” is what worked for me.) Lastly, hagfish tie themselves in knots to rid themselves of slime AND to help them eat when they’re inside the dead bodies of recently passed sea friends. Now you know.

As a hagfish cleanser, sea otters hold hands while they’re sleeping so they don’t drift apart.

(Allow me an aside. The last time I wrote about the wacky world of sea creatures on Kottke.org, it was a post about the first known case of the sperm of cooked squid implanting in someone’s mouth. (At the time, of course, everyone knew the sperm of raw squid could implant, but this first case of cooked squid doing the same was big news).)

Tags: video


Source: Let’s Talk About Hagfish and Their Wondrously Soft Slime

Finally, a t-shirt fit for the Scots

H&M makes a T-shirt with a sequinned message that changes depending on the nap. It says “Skate”, and with a swipe of one’s hand, it says “Chill”. Catriona Black, however, noticed that you can, of course, choose to swipe only some of the sequins, thereby creating the ultimate Scottish t-shirt.

Don’t think H&M thought this through. My children did. You can take the child out of Scotland… pic.twitter.com/3uYw3Tlq6z

— Catriona Black (@CatrionaBlack) March 3, 2019


Source: Finally, a t-shirt fit for the Scots

Satanic Panic 2.0: The Momo Challenge hoax [TW: Self-harm/suicide]

According to reports from gullible parents’ organizations, police departments, and media outlets, Kids on the Internet are spreading memes featuring an image of “Momo” (actually a sculpture called “Mother Bird” created by Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese SFX studio Link Factory) that includes explicit self-harm and suicide instructions (the “challenge” in “Momo challenge” is allegedly to get kids to hurt or kill themselves).

It’s a hoax, though. There are no verified sightings of Momo Challenge memes in the wild, and this isn’t even the first time this hoax has gone around; it circulated in September 2018 as well.

As Taylor Lorenz writes in The Atlantic, this is part of a genre of hoaxes that rely on parental anxiety about kids’ use of technology to spread incomprehensible cultural ideas, from the Satanic Panic over backmasked secret messages in heavy metal lyrics to the “eating Tide Pods” hoax to the fictional deaths linked to the “cinnamon challenge.”

As it happens, there is someone who — unrelated to the Momo hoax — appears to have inserted at least two self-harm messages in kids’ videos.

These trends are “part of a moral panic, fueled by parents’ fears in wanting to know what their kids are up to,” Benjamin Radford, a folklorist and research fellow at the Committee for Skeptic Inquiry, told Rolling Stone. And spreading them can actually end up causing harm. “These stories being highly publicized, and starting a panic means vulnerable people get to know about it and that creates a risk,” the U.K.-based suicide-awareness charity Samaritans told The Guardian. Some kids can also end up hurting themselves by participating in the trend ironically.

Momo Is Not Trying to Kill Children [Taylor Lorenz/The Atlantic]


Source: Satanic Panic 2.0: The Momo Challenge hoax [TW: Self-harm/suicide]

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch

Welcome to the town with the longest name in Europe: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales. It was, originally, a name contrived to draw tourists. But that was 150 years ago, it’s legit, and it’s long been enjoying the consequences.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch recently achieved viral fame after Channel 4 producers decided to drop it on meteorologist Liam Dutton, who nailed it effortlessly. Which stands to reason, him being Welsh? Anyway, it’s a joy to watch and hear:

His flawless pronunciation of the 58-letter place name – the longest in Europe – garnered a total of more than 20 million views on YouTube and Facebook within a week and dominated the media around the world.

Liam was interviewed by Wales Online, BBC Radio 5 Live, Canadian breakfast television and beyond, as well as featuring in Time magazine, the New York Times, MTV and Perez Hilton.

He was praised by Catherine Zeta Jones, and TV anchors around the world were so impressed by his mind-blowing effort that they tried to outdo him, but with little success.


Source: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch

Mother tries to shame daughter for using robot to do her homework, but public comes to the rescue

When a teenage girl in China was traveling over her Lunar New Year break, she shocked her mother. The resourceful student somehow managed to squeeze in a ton of homework, including the grueling work of essays and copying passages from textbooks, all while packing her days with holiday festivities. And the work was amazingly accurate and neat, with perfect handwriting.

Her suspicious mom, Zhang, went through the girl’s belongings and found an explanation: a strange device with a “metal frame and pen,” that turned out to be a “copying robot,” according to South China Morning Post. The teen had bought it online for approximately $120. Furious, the mother destroyed the robot and went straight to social media to complain.

Via Oddity Central:

After her daughter admitted to using the device to complete her holiday homework a lot faster, the woman reportedly broke it and took to social media to complain about the girl’s deceitful tactic. “It can help you with homework, but can it help you on tests?” Zhang was quoted as saying.

Perhaps surprising to her mother, a rush of commenters came to the girl’s defense. From South China Morning Post:

Most of the comments on the newspaper report’s social media posts enthused about the robot. Some said they wished they had owned such an item when they were younger, while others compared the girl’s short cut to their own, including tieing three or four pens in a row so they could write multiple words at once.

Some argued that the girl should no longer be made to copy texts at her age, while one called for education reform allowing teachers to set challenging and creative homework rather than boring the pupils and adding to their burdens.

Another asked: “Sometimes educators need to reflect on this issue, why is it we still need to do a task that can be completed by a robot?”

Good question. When my daughters get robotic work to do at home, I’m all for giving it to a robot so that they can do what humans do best: think.

Image: By Simon Shek from Los Angeles, USA – Homework, CC BY 2.0, Link


Source: Mother tries to shame daughter for using robot to do her homework, but public comes to the rescue

A neo-Baroque fugue based on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”

Italian composer and arranger Giovanni Dettori based his “Lady Gaga Fugue” on her 2009 hit “Bad Romance.” In this video, his friend Vincenzo Culotta plays his neo-Baroque piece on the piano. Dettori writes, “To give a “modern feeling” I used a special treatment of fourths, fifths, suspensions and rythm [sic].”

Ok, full disclosure: this video was posted on YouTube way back in April 2011 and was a big hit back then apparently. It was the first time I had seen it though. I enjoyed it and figured many of you would too.

Sheet music is available.

Incidentally, just this year, the original video for “Bad Romance” surpassed 1 billion views.

(Nag on the Lake)


Source: A neo-Baroque fugue based on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”

Ted Danson learning to floss

On the set of The Good Place, Ted Danson (or is that “Ted Dancing”?) got a lesson from his co-stars on how to floss. Not “floss” as in dental care, but as in the dance craze that’s sweeping the nation™.

Ted Danson learning to floss is the only video I’m interested in watching for the rest of the year. pic.twitter.com/SKTMKZKvM3

— Justin Kirkland (@justinkirkland4) November 16, 2018


Source: Ted Danson learning to floss

Fendi accidentally made a ‘vulva’ scarf

Fendi is taking a beating online after creating a pink scarf that resembles female genitalia, bush and all.

The Italian luxury fashion brand took down their £750 vulva-like “Touch of Fur” shawl after the internet got wind of it (blue and red versions are still available).

It get really real when you flip it over 😭pic.twitter.com/eqfNVeoru0

— Eartha Kitten (@ginandtectonica) October 13, 2018

The Guardian humorously notes, it “makes you look like you’re being born.”

If you like the look of labia, are ok with wearing real fur, and have $990 to kill, this scarf is still available from online retailer Farfetch.

Fendi’s £750 ‘vulva’ scarf makes wearers look like they’re being born


Source: Fendi accidentally made a ‘vulva’ scarf