You Don’t Know What’s Good For You

A power blackout. Yes. Power blackouts can prove to be the most calming, connected, productive and creative silence that you’re forced into. I recently found myself in a 2.5 hour blackout at home on a windy night. Usually at this time, my family and I would have finished dinner. I’d be sitting in the dining room in front of my laptop with my mum sitting in the kitchen in front of her iPad. The TV would be on to fill in the background but no one would be watching. That night the electricity went, we rang the electricity company and they said it’d be an hour’s long wait (that ended up being 2.5 hours). Great, I thought. With no internet, no TV, my mum and I sat there busily lighting up candles around the room, looking through the windows to see if by chance any of our neighbours had any electricity, checking the door was locked. After that, there was nothing to do. We sat together around the dining table surrounded by candles and the sound of the wind outside. And that was a moment I won’t forget. The sheer silence, the absence of having to do something but just sitting there in silence in each other’s company. I felt a connection to my mother that I hadn’t felt for years. We talked but it was not in the usual hurried way, there was a calmness and sincerity that felt so comfortable.

This was brought to mind after one of our followers Magna drew that beautiful and inspiring picture below, the result of a power blackout. So bring on the blackouts! Or make your own ‘blackout’ by shutting everything down and lighting candles around the room. It’s quite magical without all that noise.


Photo courtesy of Magna Chan.


Map Some Noise

Using your smartphone, you can help with noise pollution in your city. NoiseTube is a research project in the form of a mobile app available on the iOS and Android platform which you can download and use to measure the amount of noise in your locale, tag it and upload it to the online server to create a collaborative noise map which others can view. Using a participatory approach through the input of the general public, the app creates a huge array of data that can be far more detailed than official versions.

So far the app has been downloaded by 10,000 people with 2,700 registered on the NoiseTube website. The website provides users a place to look up their locale and find more information about the noise levels in their neighbourhood.

Watch a demo of the app here:

10 Things That Can Happen When You Actually Listen

1. You show that you care about a viewpoint other than your own.

2. You demonstrate patience.

3. You become a team player.

4. You prevent yourself from making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.

5. You broaden (rather than narrow) the discussion.

6. You ask better questions.

7. You show support.

8. You become genuinely interested in other people.

9. You become more connected with others.

10. You become ‘present’.