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Thirteen smoke jumpers died in the Mann Gulch fire [August 5, 1949]. White crosses below the ridge still mark the spots where the men died. But after several terrifying minutes [Wag] Dodge emerged from the ashes.
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[Mark Jung-Beeman] recommends that, if we're stuck on a difficult problem, it's better to set the alarm clock a few minutes early so that we have time to lie in bed and ruminate.
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One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.
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Concentration, it seems, comes with the hidden cost of diminished creativity. "There's a good reason Google puts Ping-Pong tables in their headquarters," [John] Kounios said. "If you want to encourage insights, then you've got to also encourage people to relax."

"The Eureka Hunt: Why do good ideas come to us when they do?" by Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker, July 28, 2008

Hat tip: Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution

Compare and discuss "terrifying" and "relax".

See "The Big Lebowski."


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July 24, 2008 04:47 PM    Caught Our Eye

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