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Boost Your Brainpower – Easy Ways to Improve Mental Performance

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Struggling in school? Need a boost to your brain? Despair no more; we’ve put together some great ways to support your mental performance that you can start doing today! Each method is super simple, so you can try them out with very little preparation.

Take a Catnap

A short rest during the day can really help your memory and productivity. This is true even for naps that are less than 10 minutes long, and if you aren’t tired! It’s very common for entire offices in East Asia to take a 20 minute power-nap during lunch, then come back raring to go. Bear in mind that you should keep naps below 30 minutes, as anything more might cause sleep inertia that could be counterproductive to your cognitive performance.

Almost anybody’s mental performance can benefit from a short sleep, regardless of any other techniques or methods you might be using to help cognition. And it’s dead easy to try: Just find a comfortable position, lay down your head and close your eyes (use a sleeping mask and earplugs for extra tranquility). You’ll hopefully nod off quite quickly – but if you don’t, fear not! The sensory deprivation will still work to rejuvenate your brain.

And, if you struggle to get to sleep at night, try some mindfulness techniques. Focus on your breathing, and on taking long, unhurried breaths. More on mindfulness later in the article!

Eat Right

Overdosing on sugary foods can impair cognition. This is because higher levels of fat and sugar in your blood have been found to be cognitively impairing. Additionally, an Australian study[2] on the impact of fat and sugar on cognition came to the conclusion that unhealthy foods also hurt your mental performance. So, if you want a brain boost, stay away from sugary foods! However, this can be a little tricky. It’s very easy to grab a chocolate bar rather than taking out the time to prepare a healthy meal. The key is to find similarly convenient foods that are lower in sugar, that you still enjoy eating. Fruit such as apples and bananas are great options. If you like eating any veggies raw (such as celery) then those are even better. Get chomping!

Get a little exercise

Frequent exercise is another healthy, easy way of supporting cognition according to a metastudy from UCLA[2]. A brief workout will help your mood, cognition and your overall physical health, as well as stimulating your brain and helping it produce new brain cells. Something as simple as a few sit-ups, push-ups or jogging on the spot can help. In fact, any exercise that boosts your heart rate for 8-10 minutes, undertaken daily, will work towards helping both body and mind.

Meditation and Mindfulness

There are some super quick and easy mindfulness techniques you can try out, which will help to relax and energise your mind. Our favourite one goes as follows: Close your eyes, breathe nice and slowly and count towards the number 10. Inhale, and as you inhale, count ‘1’. Then exhale. Inhale, count to 2, then exhale. Repeat this, and focus on your breathing. Make sure it’s slow and measured for the best effect. As you reach breaths 5 or 6 your breaths should be nice and slow, giving you something really concrete to focus on. This will help to clear your mind. Concentrating on your breathing while counting (and not thinking about other things!) goes a long way towards banishing disquiet thoughts and helping to refresh your brain. There’s plenty more techniques out there – but it’s suggested that even short periods of meditation can help cognition markedly.

Apps or Games to Train Your Brain

In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the number of brain training apps, games and programmes that you can carry with you. As smartphones have become ubiquitous, it’s easy to spend an hour a day playing around with your phone to procrastinate. Why not replace your usual game with a brain training app, which might help to strengthen your mind while playing? In addition to that, if you’re a fan of puzzles, why not try sudoku or a crossword? You could time yourself to see how much you improve week by week!

Conclusion

We really hope that this article helped! There’s plenty of ways out there to improve your mental performance, these are just some of the quickest and easiest we could find. If you keep at these techniques consistently, you’ll definitely see an improvement in your cognition and performance.

References:

1 = Gomez-Pinilla & Hillman, 2013. ‘The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities.’ Comprehensive Physiology, January 2013. 3(1), pp. 403-428. Accessed online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555146/

2 = Beilharz et al, 2015. ‘Diet-Induced Cognitive Deficits: The Role of Fat and Sugar, Potential Mechanisms and Nutritional Interventions.’ Nutrients, August 2015. 7(8), pp. 6719-6738. Accessed online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951958/

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Are Loaded Longboards Right for Me?

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Although the longboard style of skateboarding has been popular for quite some time Loaded longboards are an enticing possibility for riders who have moved beyond the beginner level, and have started to learn about features that are most advantageous for their type of longboard riding.

Types of Loaded Longboards to Consider

The company is based in California and currently has six skateboard models to choose from. Some of the differences between the models include the overall length, and the size of the wheelbase. The boards are also designed with eye-catching patterns so riders can glide in style.

All of the boards are built for high-performance, but some have features that cater to specific types of riding or environments.

For example, some skateboarders prefer to spend most of their time at nearby skate parks. These areas feature large pavement spaces and hills that are perfect for achieving impressive speeds. Another advantage of skate parks is that they allow people to share tips and get encouragement from other riders. The skateboarding community is generally very close-knit and supportive of each other’s efforts. People who want to ride Loaded longboards at a skate park might prefer the Fattail model. It’s perfect for paved areas and parking garages, and also has a large tail to promote quick turning ability.

Alternatively Loaded longboards that focus on the freestyle discipline have shorter wheelbases for extra responsiveness while performing tricks and staying secure through tight turns.

Purchasing Loaded Longboards

Understandably, the cost of longboards is of great concern to many riders, especially if their income is limited. As with most other types of investments, it’s well worthwhile to consider the personal significance of the purchase, and also consider how the enjoyment of the skateboard continues over time, especially as a rider’s skills develop.

Also, keep in mind that the ultimate cost will depend on which Loaded model riders choose, and whether they wish to make their own customizations to the board after buying it.

To aid in the purchasing process of your own Loaded longboards, start by making a list of certain characteristics that are most important. Then, do research to see which model of longboard offers all or most of those features. Whether you’re looking for a commuter board, or a compact deck, Loaded has a model to suit your needs.

If you need help, consider asking your chosen retailer about the most commonly selected model among other riders who also perform your favourite discipline. Although the board types look similar at first, they’re designed with features that excel for certain needs.

Even though a methodical purchasing process takes more time and effort overall, it will help you get a board that’s more fun to ride, and can bring years of satisfaction.

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Inspirational Quotes for the Disheartened Soul

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You sometimes hurdle times where in you feel extremely down that you just want someone to throw you some inspirational quotes. Here are some selection of inspirational quotes and ways to apply it in real life.

1. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present. – Babatunde Olatunji

Most people, they set their future goals too high that it is almost impossible to reach it at a realistic timeframe. Stop complaining about the past. No matter what you do, time will never rewind itself on that day you made a mistake. So cherish the moment now. Who knows, you may regret the time that you never took a chance to ride that roller coaster when you still can.

2. Do not let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do. – John Wooden

This inspirational quote tells us that everyone has a weakness but that does not mean you do not have strength. You must be good at something and that is what you should cultivate.

3. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

This inspirational quote says that the heart of a champion always pursues his goals. That is why when they reach their aim, they often reap the sweetest glory for the reason that they rose after the fall.

4. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

True indeed, most people are solely on earth for mere extinction. The bible even tells us that we should do things in the name of the Lord. At the start of the day you should say, “I dedicate my work to you, oh Lord.” That way, you do not just exist, you are living. One distinction between living and existing is HAVING A PURPOSE.

5. The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt

Of course, how can you achieve something if you do not act on it? You are a human being, not a thing who does not move or breathe.

6. Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting. – Elizabeth Bibesco

This inspirational quote tells us that when we give or share something, we oftentimes expect something in return. But it is indeed always better to give than to receive. You may not be compensated here on earth, but God will not forget that good deed you just made.

7. If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy

Most people wallow in sadness because they choose to. If your lover left you for another person, why mourn over them. There are more than 6 Billion people around the world and one of them can appreciate you even more and will be afraid of losing you. So choose to be happy instead.

8. Never tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon. -Anonymous

This is the real world and as crazy as it is, you are only limited by how far you think you can achieve. So do not stop achieving your dreams.

9. Everything is okay in the end, if it is not ok, then it is not the end. -Anonymous

This is one of the inspirational quotes that tell us not to give up. Challenges are already part of life what you need to do is keep going until everything falls into the right place.

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The Different Types of Modern Ferry

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The simple task of carrying passengers and sometimes cargo across a body of water might not seem that remarkable, but it is something that dates back centuries. There are various writings and published works from ancient times that suggest the profession of a ferryman was a crucial aspect of former cultures and civilisations.

Today, ferryboats remain an essential means of transport all over the world. In several waterside cities and destinations, these vessels form part of the public transport system, providing the means to travel over water without the use of a bridge or tunnel.

What’s more, ferries are also commonplace in larger seas or oceans, connecting countries and even continents. Although the manufacturing and construction of these colossal vessels is staggering, each and every component, no matter how tiny they may be, can be crucial. Therefore, we like to think our range of high quality products, from BSP adaptors to NPT fittings, might come in handy.

But what is the history of the ferry? How many different types of vessel are there? And what are the biggest ferries and busiest routes in the world?

History of the ferry

In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman of Hades, who carried newly deceased souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron, which separated the worlds of the living and the dead. You still had to pay a fare to Charon though, usually a coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. In the days before steam and diesel, this ferryman’s chosen method of propulsion was a long pole held in his right hand, while receiving the deceased with his left.

In Anonymus De Rebus Bellicis, a piece of 4th century Roman literature, there is speculation that a pair of oxen once propelled a ferry. This principle could theoretically work, especially when you consider Kevin J. Crimson’s booked entitled When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-Powered Ferries in Nineteenth-Century America.

But the first steam-powered ferry was said to be the Juliana, invented by John Stevens. It began operating on 11th October 1811 between New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. However with the advent of diesel engines in 20th century, steam-powered ferryboats have become a rarity and are reserved for special occasions or tourist routes.

While the majority of modern ferries still use diesel as their primary fuel source, the shipping industry is constantly looking at cleaner alternatives, which won’t damage the environment as much. Studies have found that vessels running on Liquefied Natural Gas are slightly more efficient, while electric and hybrid alternatives have also been developed in recent years.

Types of modern ferry

Despite the fact there are several different types of ferry in operation today, each one usually shares certain characteristics. However, the length of the route, the passenger or vehicle capacity, speed restrictions or requirements and the weather conditions will determine what ferry is used at a particular location.

Double-ended

The front and back of this kind of ferry, known as the prow bow and stern, are interchangeable. Therefore, they can travel back and forth between two ports of call without having to turn around. While this saves a great deal of time, it is sometimes absolutely necessary due to the size and area restrictions of certain terminals.

Famous double-ended vessels include the Staten Island Ferry, Washing State Ferries, Star Ferry and numerous boats on the North Carolina Ferry System and the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. There are also double-ended ferryboats in operation in the Norwegian fjords, British Columbia and Sydney, Australia.

Hydrofoils

Even though hydrofoil ferries might seem like a fairly advanced concept, prototypes date back over 100 years. Essentially, a hydrofoil is a boat that initially floats on the surface, but when velocity is increased the hull lifts out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing for greater speeds. The benefit of this type of vessel is that passengers can be transported quickly while minimising fuel costs. For this reason, they are commonplace on the English Channel and compete against Eurostar trains that use the tunnel.

However, they have their disadvantages too. Due to their technically complex nature, they are expensive to build and require ongoing maintenance. What’s more, a hydrofoil’s sharp edges that reside in the water during operation can also injure or kill marine mammals such as whales.

Hovercrafts

The development of the modern hovercraft is typically attributed to British mechanical engineer Sir Christopher Cockerell. In the 1950s, he developed a seagoing vehicle that used blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull. The difference in air pressure above and below the hull generates lift and allows a hovercraft to float above the water surface.

Due to their adaptability and cost-effectiveness, they soon became a commercial success, predominantly around the UK and in the English Channel. Before long, hovercrafts were also adopted by the military and even used for recreational purposes.

But just like hydrofoils, they require a great deal of maintenance and can be susceptible to damage from adverse weather conditions. On top of that, hovercrafts are constrained to a given payload and their sea keeping ability is dependent on size.

Catamarans

These ferries feature two parallel hulls of equal size, which are geometry-stabilised. Due to their lightweight nature, thin hulls that reduce drag and no ballasted keel, a catamaran has a shallow draught and can travel at fast speeds. They also heel much less than a monohull, allowing for a more comfortable and efficient ride.

Traditionally, they relied on the wind for power and their sails would spill less than alternatives. But modern-day catamaran ferries combine the features of a motor yacht with the characteristics of a multihull.

Due to their countless advantages, catamarans are the ferry of choice for several high-speed services. They can replicate the speeds of a hydrofoil without suffering the effects of strong waves or foul water.

Roll-on/roll-off

Mainly used to transport wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks and trailers, roll-on/roll-off ships have built-in ramps that allow vehicles to effortlessly embark. When the vessel reaches its destination, the cargo can exit the other end just as easily.

In the past, vehicles had to be specially prepared before being hoisted into a ship’s hold, which was a time-consuming and expensive exercise. On top of that, the cargo was subject to damage as well. But in 1849, Thomas Bouch came up with the idea of a train ferry featuring an efficient roll-on, roll-off mechanism to maximise efficiency.

While these were used extensively in World War I, purpose-built landings ships capable of carrying military vehicles were developed for World War II. Today, they are still widely used for passenger and commercial purposes.

Cruiseferry

The combination of a cruise ship and a ‘Ro-Pax ferry’, this kind of vessel is typically used by holidaymakers on seagoing vacations or simply as a means of transportation. They are like a cruise ship in that they have numerous on-board facilities such as restaurants, bars and even entertainment or accommodation. RoPax ferries are those with a large garage intake and substantial passenger capacity.

Cruiseferries are typically found across Europe in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and Mediterranean. However, they also operate between China and Australia.

Pontoon ferry

Not the most advanced or modern vessels in the western world, but pontoon ferries are widely used in less-developed countries. Due to their inexpensive yet versatile nature, pontoon ferries are often used to carry people and vehicles across large rivers or lakes where the cost of a bridge is too expensive.

The most common pontoon ferries borrow design ideas from a catamaran. But instead of featuring two narrow hulls, they usually have pontoons either side of the platform or raft. Ramps will be installed on either side of the vessel to increase the efficiency of passengers and vehicles getting on and off.

Cable ferry

Also known as a chain ferry, swing ferry, floating bridge or punt, this type of vessel is guided and often propelled across the water by cables connected to both shores. Traditionally, rope or steel chains were used, but by the late 19th century, more stronger and durable wire cable became commonplace.

A reaction ferry uses the power of the river to tack across the current whereas a powered ferry has an engine or electric motor to wind itself along. Cogs or drums on-board pull the vessel, but the cables or chains have a fair amount of slack, as they have to sink below the surface and allow the vessel to pass.

Fast-disappearing hand-operated ferries are also still in existence, such as the Stratford-upon-Avon Chain Ferry in the UK and the Saugatuck Chain Ferry in Michigan, USA.

Modern ferry facts and figures

World’s largest car ferry in service – The MS Ulysses, operated by Irish Ferries between Ireland and Wales. Launched in March 2011, this vessel stands 12 decks high, but six are specifically designated for vehicles. In total, the Ulysses can carry 1,342 cars and 240 trucks.

World’s largest passenger ferry in service – The Stena Hollandica and Britannica, operated by Stena Line between the Netherlands and Great Britain. This ship features 1376 beds, 538 cabins, an on-board cinema, lounge, bar, buffet and a la carte restaurants, a sun deck and free Wi-Fi throughout.

World’s fastest car ferry in service – The Luciano Federico L, operated by Buquebus between Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Capable of a maximum speed achieved in sea trials of 60.2 knots, it holds a Guinness World Record. The boat can also carry 450 passengers and 52 cars along this 110-nautical mile route.

Oldest ferry service in continuous operation – The Mersey Ferry between Liverpool and Birkenhead or the Rocky Hill to Glastonbury Ferry. This is a contentious record, as a couple of different ferries claim to be the oldest service still operating today. In 1150, monks from the Benedictine Priory in Birkenhead used to charge a small fee to row passengers across the Mersey Estuary. However, there may have been a break in service following the dissolution of the monasteries. The ferry between Rocky Hill and Glastonbury, Connecticut, which has been running ever since 1655, only stops operating when the winter freezes over in winter.

World’s largest ferry system – On Scotland’s west coast, Caledonian MacBrayne operate a fleet of 29 vessels, which call at 50 different ports. Elsewhere is the world, BC Ferries in British Columbia have 36 ships that visit 47 terminals, while Washington State Ferries own 28 boats, which go to 20 destinations around Puget Sound.

Even though jumbo jets and high-speed trains have replaced ferryboat routes in some areas, they remain an incredibly important and crucial means of transportation for millions of people worldwide. The most modern vessels are also incredibly quick, very efficient and can transport scores of passengers in comfort and style.

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