Looking for The Creative Spark That Fuels Innovation? Take a Shower

How personal hygiene, blue paint, and laughing babies might help you think up the Next Big Thing.

In a creative rut? That lightbulb just not burning so bright? "Creativity is just connecting things," Steve Jobs said famously. Well, that sounds simple enough, but what about when you find yourself bumping up against a wall. There are ways to take action to get you back on the road towards those Big Ideas, points out NPR's Sarah Zielinski. Showering, she writes:

might help spur creative thoughts, as the mind wanders from "lather-rinse-repeat" to a recent problem, and then back again. There's even history to back this up. As the ancient Greek engineer Vetruvius told us, Archimedes was lounging in a public bath when he noticed the water level go up and down as people got in and out. He suddenly realized that water could help him calculate the density of gold.


Zielinsky makes the case for other creativity boosters, among them: work in a blue room (it triggers calm and tranquility) and stamp your passport (people who have lived abroad perform better on creative tasks). Also, don't forget to watch a funny video. Apparently YouTube clips of laughing babies are really good for creativity. If only that tool had been available to Archimedes, who knows what his mind would have accomplished.

Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works has his own short list of tips for generating the creative spark, including playing ping-pong and diversifying your social network. But at the top of his list, just like Zielinsky's, is taking a long shower. "Creative minds are rarely tidy,"goes the old adage. Perhaps, but apparently the bodies carrying around those creative brains are squeaky clean.

Photo (cc) Flickr user espensorvik

via National Nurses United/Twitter

An estimated eight million people in the U.S. have started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for their own or a member of their household's healthcare costs, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The poll, which was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, also found that in addition to the millions who have launched crowdfunding efforts for themselves or a member of their household, at least 12 million more Americans have started crowdfunding efforts for someone else.

Keep Reading
via Library of Congress

In the months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the military to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps to defend the West Coast from spies.

From 1942 to 1946, an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans, of which a vast majority were second- and third-generation citizens, were taken from their homes and forced to live in camps surrounded by armed military and barbed wire.

After the war, the decision was seen as a cruel act of racist paranoia by the American government against its own citizens.

The internment caused most of the Japanese-Americans to lose their money and homes.

Keep Reading

Step by step. 8 million steps actually. That is how recent college graduate and 22-year-old Sam Bencheghib approached his historic run across the United States. That is also how he believes we can all individually and together make a big impact on ridding the world of plastic waste.

Keep Reading
The Planet