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Cell Phones Distract You Even On Vibrate, Study Says

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Not answering your phone might be nearly as distracting as picking it up. Even if you wait to read a text or look at a notification, the act of knowing they're there is enough to place strain on your memory and disrupt your performance on a task, according to a new study by Florida State University researchers in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

The study asked 212 university students to complete a basic computer task to measure their attention. Some of them received either text messages or phone calls during the task. They hadn’t been given any instructions about silencing their ringers or avoiding checking their phones prior to the task. (Later, students who did read their messages during the task or who had their cell phones off were excluded from the results, for a total of 166 participants.)

The students who received phone notifications during the study performed worse on the sustained attention task than students who didn’t hear their phone go off, even if the student didn’t actually pick up the call. The researchers hypothesize that the decrease in attention was due to “the tendency for cellular notifications to prompt task-irrelevant thoughts, or mind wandering, which persist beyond the duration of the notifications themselves.” The effect was similar to those seen in studies of distracted and not-distracted driving.

If just the act of noticing your phone is ringing and making a mental note to check it later makes you significantly worse at the task at hand, it indicates that driving with a cell phone—even if you don’t take any calls—might be more dangerous than previously thought. As a phone-addicted Millennial, I’ll testify that the brain power it takes to resist the compulsive urge to check my phone can sap a lot of my attention. Moreover, if phones are this distracting, wearing an Apple watch that vibrates against your skin every time you get a text may not be the best path to focus. Push notifications are ruining the world.

[h/t: The Science of Us]

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Spéciale
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Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
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Spéciale

Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

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Retro Games Limited
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The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
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Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]

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