Famous authors and artists are commonly photographed alongside a trusty mug of coffee, but that cup of joe is more likely to help the Great American Manager. Caffeine, it turns out, does not improve creativity, but it significantly enhances problem-solving, according to a new study.
This is news, given how strongly we associate coffee with creative occupations and lifestyles. The study, published today in Consciousness and Cognition, followed 80 participants after they consumed either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of 12 ounces of coffee—and then tracked their problem-solving, creative idea generation, working memory, and mood. While problem-solving abilities improved significantly, the caffeine had no effect on memory or creativity. Subjects also reported feeling “less sad.”
Previous studies have shown that caffeine improves alertness, focus, attention, and motor skills, but little research existed on creativity.
This means that caffeine helps some kinds of thinking, specifically convergent thinking, such as when you need correct answers, for instance, while taking a GRE or MCAT or recalibrating a budget.
From the arts to activism, here are five Latina Woman that are making strides, breaking boundaries and that you should be paying attention to.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is an American labor organizer and author. On August 12, 2019, Ramirez announced her intention to challenge incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 United States Senate election in Texas. Tzintzún began organizing with Latino immigrant workers in 2000 in Columbus, Ohio, and then moved to Texas. At graduating from University of Texas, Austin, she helped establish the Workers Defense Project (WDP), serving as its executive director from 2006 to 2016. Following the 2016 election, Ramirez launched Jolt, an organization that works to increase Latino voter turnout. Her bid for the Senate has been endorsed by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas representative Joaquin Castro, and actor Alec Baldwin.
A rising star in the male-dominated world of urbano (Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny), Mariah Angeliq, who goes simply by her first name, is here to prove that the girls can be bosses, too. On debut single “Blah,” the Miami-born and raised singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent lets the men know that their money (and their bragging) don’t impress her much, while her latest track “Perreito” is dripping with swag as she boasts about stealing the show with her flow as the one that shoots and never fails.
Lineisy Montero Feliz
Lineisy Montero Feliz is Dominican model known for her work with Prada. She is also known for her natural Afro hair. She currently ranks as one of the “Top 50” models in the fashion industry by models.com, including Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Céline.
Rico Nasty is one of the leading voices in the current style of hip-hop that adopts elements from hardcore and punk rock. Rico released a new song in January titled “IDGAF;” it’s built around softly echoing electric piano sounds and finds the DMV rapper in melodious sing-song mode.
The singer announced the summer launch of her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, via Instagram on Feb. 4. The cosmetics company shares a title with her most recent album of the same name.
“Guys, I’ve been working on this special project for two years and can officially say Rare Beauty is launching in @sephora stores in North America this summer,” she captioned in the Instagram video.
“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand,” the singer says in the video. “I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and start embracing our own uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like, or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you. It’s about how you see yourself.”
Marie Kondo makes room for meaningful objects, people, and experiences.
The organizational guru behind her #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Kondo prescribes a simplified approach to organizing space.
The intention behind her decluttering philosophy is to “end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity into your life.”
Her emphasis on achieving serenity and inspiration sets her apart from other approaches to organizing space, rather than organizing for organizing-sake.
How She Got Started
Kondo began her tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo, where she wrote her capstone project about tidying. For a time, she was an assistant at a Shinto shrine.
By her mid-twenties, her consulting business had a waitlist. It was these prospective clients who encouraged her to write a book, which would become The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
In 2010, Kondo’s book proposal won first prize in a publishing training course called “How to write bestsellers that will be loved for ten years.” Tomohiro Takahashi, an editor at Tokyo self-help and business publisher called Sunmark, made the winning bid.
Coupled with savvy marketing and a TV spot tidying the space of a well-known comedian, Kondo propelled herself into the hearts and minds of what are now considered her “Konverts.”
Today, she is a globally renowned tidying expert. Her journey represents a story of female empowerment, that pursuit of your passion can lead you to remarkable places.
Why is Kondo so popular?
Kondo’s approach encourages moving away from things that do not serve us, things which ultimately induce stress, in favor of a simplified, serene way of living.
Stress By Mess
Kondo knows mess causes stress in people’s lives.
She also knows there are simple things we can do to exert control over our mess, especially in areas such as our living and work spaces.
For example, the physical characteristics of living and work spaces, including features like crowding, clutter, noise, and artificial light, have been shown to affect mood and health in populations ranging from young children to senior citizens, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
In the same study, researchers found women who described their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative.”
Kondo’s KonMari Method addresses these effects head on with her emphasis on tidying and simplifying space, to maximize its manga, or magic.
“The KonMari Method is the foundation of all my work,” Kondo says. “It teaches people that the act of tidying your home will help you identify your values and what sparks joy in you. When you’re equipped with this knowledge, you will begin to improve all aspects of your life.”
Kondo’s mindful approach to organization offers six basic rules of tidying:
Commit yourself to tidying up.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Kondo asks her clients, What does the beginning and end of your day look like? Having a clear image of your ideal life will help you stay motivated and you will begin to create the life you’ve longed for.
Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
Tidy by category, not location.
Follow the right order. Begin with clothes, followed by books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items.
Ask yourself if each item sparks joy. Thank them with gratitude for their service – then let them go.
Kondo reiterates the definition of what “sparks joy” varies across individuals. The KonMari Method as a practice does not require living a minimalistic lifestyle.
In an interview with Man Repeller, Kondo addresses the concept of having a lot of stuff.
“It’s not a good or a bad thing, it just stems from a difference in sensitivities and value systems,” Kondo points out. “If you’re someone who owns a lot of things and doesn’t want to let anything go, I would suggest trying to organize your drawers by folding your clothing in the correct way – just once! – and see how you feel. You might be surprised to find that having an organized space actually sparks joy.
“The ultimate goal of tidying is to discover how you’d like to live in your home.
“Less stress, more joy.”
Kondo uses a zoom-out-zoom-in approach as it relates to optimizing productivity. First, and critically, she considers how she wants to spend her time, starting with years, then narrowing in on quarters, months, week, all the way down to daily routines. This approach lends itself to aligning how she spends her time with her priorities at any given point in her life.
“Currently, my goal is to work as efficiently as possible so I can spend more time with my children,” Kondo says. She shares five tips that help balance time between family and work:
Start your morning with good energy – Kondo’s morning rituals include opening her windows to let fresh air in and burning incense.
Make a daily to-do list – She includes everything on this list, including laundry and email correspondence.
Coordinate with your partner – Sharing what each person undertakes helps you realize the number of tasks necessary to live comfortably together, and what kinds of tasks are best suited for each person, Kondo believes.
Clear your mind – When she needs to reorganize her thoughts, Kondo writes down everything that’s on her mind using a blank sheet of paper. She identifies what she calls tangled feelings, and clarifies which issues she can and can’t control.
Create a nighttime routine – Kondo’s nighttime routine consists of spending time with her children, returning items to their designated home, thanking them for their work that day.
“For me,” Kondo says, “work-life balance is about being aware of what you’re currently working toward and communicating that with your loved ones.”
Kondo has two young children and is married to Takumi Kawahara, whom she met during his college years. They married in 2013. Together, they established KonMari Media, Inc. in 2015, of which Kawahara assumed the role of CEO. He led the global expansion of the business, including the distribution of books, media channels, and the KonMari Consultant program, which is active in over 30 countries. He’s also an executive producer of their Netflix show.
Kondo and Kawahara blend their personal and professional relationship in such a way that balance and happiness are at the center: their kids.
Even their kids participate in tidying.
On her website, Kondo explains using the KonMari Method to expose children early on to the concept of tidying. She suggests to narrate as you tidy, so that the children can learn from you as they’re taking part. Show the children that tidying and playing go together, than after you play, everything has a home to return to. Don’t forget to be mindful that space is finite, so be aware of new toys, diapers, etc.
Applying the KonMari Method
The KonMari Method can be applied to many aspects of life, such as your finances, your career, and your mind.
The common theme? Imagining what you want your life to look like, making a plan, prioritizing, and forgoing anything that doesn’t spark joy.
“After tidying, my clients are more mindful about what they purchase, and they avoid buying in excess,” Kondo said in a special with NBC News. “I do believe it is important to use this self-awareness to guide your spending habits and let go of any tendencies or habits that are hindering you from meeting your financial goals (and your ideal lifestyle, overall).”
In a piece with Her Money, the KonMari Method is applied to streamlining your career trajectory. Some tips include being mindful of taking off-time from your devices, learning to say no to projects or tasks that add stress, making to-do lists, and finally, finding a way of doing more of what brings you joy at work, and off-loading or delegating the things that aren’t consistent with your career goals.
Kondo sat down for a conversation with best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic Liz Gilbert about tidying the mind. Kondo asked Gilbert to share any advice she has for people who want to come to terms with difficult realizations related to living a life you don’t want for yourself.
“You can’t do work on yourself and not do work on the space you live,” Gilbert said. “And you can’t do work on the space you live and not do work on yourself. So, if you’re too afraid to look into the scary attic in your mind, look into the scary attic in your home. It will be a portal, a doorway, that will take you into the parts of yourself that you’ve been afraid to look at.”
Gilbert believes your home is a portrait of yourself; it needs to be treated accordingly.
Kondo has garnered over three million followers on Instagram, where she shares “tidy hacks” that help optimize the use of space. One such hack: emptying your dishwasher before guests arrive, so clean-up following their departure is more efficient.
She has nearly 400,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. Her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was viewed over one million times within two weeks of its launch in January 2019. She also has a free app her fans can utilize.
Kondo recently launched The Shop at KonMari, which includes products ranging from décor and living, tidying and organization, tabletop and entertaining, cooking and kitchen, bath essentials, aromatherapy, and books.
In response to her rise in popularity, Kondo’s company employs over 200 consultants – all certified in the KonMari Method – to meet the demands of clients who seek her organizational expertise. She herself is no longer available for hire due to her commitments running the business.
Ultimately, Kondo believes expressions of gratitude will lead to a joy-filled life.
“I think you should always be honing your sensitivity to joy and letting go with gratitude of anything that doesn’t contribute to your happiness.
The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.
A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.
Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.
The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.
Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.
“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.
Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.
Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.
In October, variety stores fill with a wide assortment of fantastic get-ups, both for kids and for adults. But throughout the year, comics events feature a vast array of costumes on display, worn by both kids and adults.
That year-round pop culture feature is relatively recent, mind you. Though science fiction conventions included costume competitions over the decades, “hall costumes” were not the norm. Might it have been comics and similar pop culture conventions that introduced the tradition of cosplay throughout a show’s duration? (The portmanteau word “cosplay” has become the accepted term for “costume play.”)
In any case, as Batman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman outfits hang on store racks before Halloween, their presence sparks thoughts of comics character garb in general—including whys and hows.
Simple to Complex
In the Golden Age, crime-fighting characters didn’t have to get super-fancy. Even Denny Colt didn’t need to wear a domino mask and live in a cemetery (though that certainly set him apart); he could have just worn a business suit and snap-brim fedora most of the time.
But he was part of the whole “identity” aspect of comics adventures—a feature shared by good guys and bad—that caught the eye. It was a tradition that had existed long before comics: the idea that ordinary folks could interact with fantastic characters who were often in disguise. Such pop-culture figures as the Count of Monte Cristo (1844, Alexandre Dumas), Scarlet Pimpernel (1903, Baroness Orczy), and Zorro (1919, Johnston McCulley) expanded on the tradition, some in costume, some not.
But the whole hanging-around-in-costume gambit to beat the baddies, solve the mysteries, help the helpless, and/or save the endangered? In fact, today, we have many protectors whose clothing identifies such roles to the public: police, soldiers, and firefighters among them. What they wear lets us know the ways in which they help us.
But in some fiction (see Pimpernel and Zorro), there’s an added aspect of hiding identity: High-schooler Peter Parker can fit in; crime-fighting Spider-Man stands (and swings) out.
But Also …
In addition to hiding identity, the costume can be an identity in itself.
Whether in the Golden Age, the Silver Age, or these days, when a bunch of characters are shown together (whether chatting or fighting), readers can tell, for example, Hulk from Thing and Superman from Batman.
When a story is told in pictures, costumes clarify that sort of identification. The Lone Ranger was created in 1933 for audio storytelling; when artists began to picture him, he soon donned a domino mask, but exactly what he wore varied. In the 1938 Republic serial, his mask wasn’t the simple domino known to later fans, but—what with pulps, comic strips, and comic books—his familiar mask and costume soon evolved. And then we knew who he was, whether or not he was calling his horse Silver.
Readers can spot such characters in whatever comics panels they inhabit. Heck, readers can even identify the same character as he or she exists in different eras. You know the heroes’ time period from what they wear. I have a set of three “Unemployed Philosophers Guild” licensed cups from 2015 decorated with costume evolution through the years: one each for Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman.
Those cups reveal another aspect of costumes: Whatever the necessities of storytelling may be, costumes—and changes thereof—can also bring in licensing cash.
Again, look around stores in October. And look at the kids at your front door, as they celebrate Halloween by wearing what they’ve bought in those stores. You validate the success of their choices when you identify their super-identities because they’re wearing licensed outfits.
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One of the most revered books out there, comic or otherwise, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the inspirational touchstone for HBO’s newest TV drama from The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof.
The Watchmen TV show is a current-day sequel to the original tale, though taking place in a different location and centering on mostly different characters. Regardless of the differences, a plethora of comic-friendly references and easter eggs were infused throughout Watchmen’s premiere as plot-setting connective tissue.
Below is a list of all the big Watchmen comic references that showed up in the TV show’s premiere episode, titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” From follow-up weirdness to the main story’s shock ending to the appearance of a certain blue superhero, Watchmen was a smorgasbord of “Wait, did you catch that?” moments that deserve quick rewinds. And without further ado, here’s a mostly sequential order of the biggest comic-inspired highlights. (Check here if you need a new copy).
The Blood On The Boy’s Face
Once the orphaned boy wakes up in the field, following that harrowing opening, he has a splotch of blood on his head that definitely feels like a reference to the blood on The Comedian’s button that kicks off Watchmen and serves as one of its most identifiable symbols. This particular reference comes up very obviously at the end of the episode, but it’s worth pointing out that Damon Lindelof also found a way to work a bloodied face into the start of his story. Metaphors abound.
The millionth reason Watchmen remains a celebrated and respected work is because Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were so meticulous about filling the comics with reflected and repeated art, dialogue and situations; examples include Chapter 5’s palindromic nature, Doctor Manhattan’s photograph obsession, the somewhat prescient Black Freighter text and much more.
Beyond all of the Rorschach masks that don’t move, HBO’s Watchmen already made some use of this narrative style in its opening episode. The biggest example, of course, would be the episode starting off with a celebratory film strip of a heroic black man roping up a foul white dude, and then ending with a potentially wicked black man looking very much like he hung a white lawman from a tree. To top it off, the guy in the wheelchair was holding the same note as the kid from the beginning, indicating that this is either a near-impossibly old version of that kid, or perhaps his son. Who’s the hero here?
Within the alternate world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, it would appear that all vehicles are powered electrically, with zero reliance on gasoline for fuel. Though the TV premiere doesn’t take viewers into an assortment of planes, trains and automobiles, it looks like the world help steady with electric car power since the main narrative’s timeline, without the need to revert back to cruder forms.
Rorschach Mask And Journal
Yes, this is one of the most obvious entries on this list, and it won’t be the last one. It’s still worth mentioning that the Seventh Cavalry was founded on the basis of Rorschach’s worldview, and the white supremacist cult uses his signature mask as a unifying symbol (and disguise). Is his journal their Bible, or more of a manifesto?
Masks As “Faces”
Throughout Watchmen’s comic story, Rorschach refers to his mask only as his “face,” particularly whenever he gets arrested and has it taken from him. On the Watchmen TV series, Don Johnson’s Judd tells Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass, “Pull your face down,” in reference to the latter slipping his reflective mask back on. It’s interesting that Damon Lindelof has the authorities using that wording, as opposed to only the Seventh Cavalry adopting it.
Doctor Manhattan Appears
Watchmen’s mystery-laden build-up kept fans in the dark on how many original characters would appear on the HBO show, and thankfully, the pilot doesn’t get too far before dropping some concrete proof that Doctor Manhattan is still on Mars, and has been for the past 30+ years.
Doctor Manhattan showed up on a news program via satellite footage, in which he could be seen destroying a large and elaborate castle he’d created. (Find out more about that from my interview with director and EP Nicole Kassell.) In general, the situation echoed the blue being’s Mars structure in the comic, although in the TV show, Manhattan’s castle appeared to be a mock-up of the dwelling that Jeremy Irons’ character (almost definitely Adrian Veidt) lives in. Very interesting.
Vietnam, Robert Redford And More
It would have been strange had HBO’s Watchmen changed things up here, but it was confirmed early on that Vietnam is still the 51st state in the U.S., and the American flag represents that with an alternate look. Regina King’s Angela was born outside of Saigon, which is a somewhat deeper connection to the country than the brutal scene in the source material with The Comedian and Doctor Manhattan.
Robert Redford (currently sorta retired in our world) is still the President of the U.S. in Watchmen’s universe after a slew of successive terms, and his predecessor Richard Nixon is part of Mouth Rushmore’s quartet. Redford has his detractors for sure, earning him the name “Sundance-in-Chief.”
As mentioned already, The smiley face button is an iconic symbol within Watchmen’s pages, with The Comedian’s yellow button echoed in a variety of ways. The same goes for HBO’s Watchmen, of course. Beyond a few arguable examples, the most overt visual smiley reference occurred when Regina King’s Angela showed her class how to make moon cakes. With the camera below a glass mixing bowl, Angela cracked a bunch of eggs, and after the yolks initially resembled a yellow Rorschach design, they quickly settled into the smiley face layout. Notice that “bloodied eye,” too.
The Doomsday Clock is another one of Watchmen’s central visual anchors, and the TV show picks up where the comic book left off. Nine times out of ten, if a clock appears on the screen, it’s going to be set between 11:00 and 12:00, in reference to the atomic age catastrophe monitor. In the school, for instance, It looked as if the clock was somewhere around 11:25 a.m. Everyone should be probably be worried when we start seeing times much closer to 12:00.
It’s also no coincidence that the Seventh Cavalry uses adopted a clock’s sounds as its troubling chant: “Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.” (Though I do wonder why maybe-Veidt’s pocketwatch didn’t follow suit.)
Squids Are Everywhere
Watchmen’s comic book conclusion remains bizarrely surreal all these years later, and Damon Lindelof addresses the Veidt’s squid catastrophe in a big and mysterious way. Though it was one gigantic squid creature that Veidt transported to New York, the TV show’s characters dealt with a temporary rain storm, only with tiny living squids serving as the raindrops.
A squid storms seems like one of the most hilariously disturbing events that could happen in any given day, but Watchmen’s characters are clearly used to it. Angela is quick to get out and wipe the windshield, and there are city cleaning vehicles that were created specifically for removing squids from the streets. But how did things get to this point?
Within the Watchmen mythos, the first team of vigilante heroes was called the Minutemen, which is with whom The Comedian made a name for himself, both as a hero and as a rapist. (The first versions of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre were also involved.) Much controversy swirled around the various Minutemen members, and within HBO’s Watchmen, those more sordid stories are being showcased through the dramatized TV anthology American Hero Story, a distinctly different AHS than the one airing on FX.
One of the more curiously unexplained details within Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the pronounced use of skybound dirigibles, often with ads emblazoned. The transportation method made an appearance in HBO’s Watchmen, too, promoting the American Hero Story series.
Rosario Dawson stars as Wonder Woman in the new Warner Bros. Animation film, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.
This is Dawson’s sixth time portraying the Amazon superhero in a film and that is not even counting her role as Artemis in the 2009 Wonder Woman animated movie. Dawson’s success in the role is an important one coming from a Latina actress, but the star made a point to tell reporters at New York Comic-Con that she is not the first Latina to play Wonder Woman.
Instead, Dawson wanted to pay tribute to an earlier Latina actress who took on the iconic role and the impact that it had on Dawson and her family.
One of the things that Dawson made clear for reporters was how much she respected the history of the iconic superhero that she gets to play. She acknowledged that every version of these characters in film today are based on a number of earlier versions of those character that were developed by many different creators over a number of decades.
One particular earlier iteration of Wonder Woman has a special place in Dawson’s heart because it starred the actual first Latina to play the Princess of the Amazons. Dawson explained, I…feel that Wonder Woman has been pushed in a lot of different spaces that I will never put down. I remember when I began voicing Wonder Woman and people were like, ‘Finally, we’re getting a Latina Wonder Woman.’ And I was like, Lynda Carter was Latina. I grew up with her and I thought that that was super awesome. It was a different iteration of her, but it was very inspiring and it meant a lot to my grandmother, my mother and me.”
On her official website, Carter explains her family history, “I grew up in a house filled with music. My mother, who is of Mexican and Spanish descent, used to sing to my English-Irish father, and between the two of them I was introduced to a diverse array of music, ranging from country to blues to classical.”
It is impressive to see Carter’s legacy live on in Dawson’s Wonder Woman portrayal.
The film arrives on Digital HD Oct. 5 and Blu-ray and 4k Ultra HD Oct. 22.
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