BBC News – Beauty sleep concept is not a myth, says study

Love the fact that we have to prove that sleep makes us look and feel good! Whatever else? Bags under the eyes, poor focus, squinting because the eyes hurt… Not good signs coming from the sleep deprived, not to mention the ill effects on the health. A rested person = someone who will be less irritable, who has less worries… and who potentially manages his/her time better?

However, these are not all things I do well, btw!

Women suffer more nightmares than Men, new study shows

Painting of Woman sleeping with dreamsA study out of the University of the West of England in Bristol, tracking 193 women and men over 5 years, found that women suffer more nightmares than men. Moreover, the research determines that men and women have dreams of a different nature, too. A small article from the Daily Telegraph (“Women suffer more nightmares than men“) wrote, “[W]hen asked to record their most recent dream, 19% of male students reported having a nightmare compared with 34% of women.” Overall, that seems to me like quite a high level of nightmares. Jennifer Parker, a psychology lecturer at the University, said “I believe these results show women carry over their waking concerns into their dream life more so than men do.” I have a couple of comments to add, based on my own unscientific observations that are rife with generalisations (and where the word ‘women’ could equally be written as ‘those having feminine characteristics’): 1/ As Parker suggests, I would agree that women develop stronger emotional connections with their waking concerns which provides fertile grounds for a sub-conscious negative reveil during the dreams. 2/ In my experience, women tend to live their dreams more vividly and to recall them more frequently. I, as a sample of one male, rarely recall my dreams, nor give much credence to the stories brought up when I do remember them.

Meanwhile, as I found in this ABC report which is much longer and more articulate about the topic than the Telegraph report, I was interested by the notion, you are what you dream. Rosalind Cartwright, dream research and chairman of psychology at Rush University Medical Center, says many of these variables are easy to understand. “They are the ones you might imagine, anything that makes for distress and disadvantage,” she said. “These include low income, unemployment and other factors.”

And, as the ABC article continues, “…past research reveals some surprises. A July 2001 study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggested that Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to experience nightmares when they dream.

‘Half of the dreams of Republicans in my study were classified as nightmares, compared to only about 18 percent of the dreams of Democrats,’ said lead study author Kelly Bulkeley in a university-issued press release. ‘My speculation is that people on the right are very attuned to the dangers in the world, and they’re seeking ways to defend themselves against those threats.'”
In any event, beyond nightmares and political affiliations, I assume that women may also have a different relationship with dreams in general and, by extension, with sleep. Beauty sleep is, with dreams included, for an inside-outside beauty.

Battle for the Soul of Paris…

Paris Battle for the SoulHow can a beautiful Paris keep its soul? This is basically the question posed in this great article in The Guardian: “Battle for the Soul of a City” by Andrew Hussey. Turned onto this article by Notes from Paris (thanks F), I was delighted by the open and in-depth analysis of Paris, complete with a timeline of great events in Paris. Despite living in Paris and thinking I know the city well, there are always many more places to visit. The beauty of Paris continues to entrance me even after off and on 25 years of having lived in Paris. The dusk lights over the Concorde, the pristine sparkling Paris Beautiful PantheonEiffel Tower, the grandeur of the Pantheon…all still impress me as on the first time I saw them.

Mr Hussey clearly is in the know as he enters in the deeper parts of Paris and is able to feel that Parisian conversation (with its well honed art of la Contestation) has moved inexorably to “worldly” topics including property prices such as one might hear in soulless Kensington in London.

And, I was amused to think that Bertrand Delanoë met up with Mayor Bloomberg (of NYC) to discuss the similar challenges between New York and Paris. Where there are lessons (and causes) to be shared are on the greening of the city: more recycling, more bicycling and, why not, more greenery…

The State of Contemporary Art & Ads as New Art

In a world suffering from an overabundance of ‘contemporary’ moder art, is it not possible that advertisements will be the best “representation” of our era? Surely, this is what Firebrand TV is counting on (opens Oct 22 2007). The plethora of new art–exacerbated by new media for content (mashups and the like) as well as the impact of new media on distribution–is creating a new level of noise that makes art as investment near impossible. And there is the issue of the quality of the new art being produced. Today’s art is a reflection of today’s society (as it always is). Yet, the statement is not particularly reassuring. So much of the art is merely gimmickry. In the rush to be ‘new,’ many so-called artists are using whatever new media comes to hand and are pouring out art for art’s sake (at best) and meaningless creations (at worst). Even if there is some good quality art being produced (and I count some talented artists among my friends), it is increasingly difficult to know where to look. Take a glance at this list in Wikipedia of “contemporary artists” which is purportedly vetted at some level. I challenge you to figure out which are the deservedly ‘famous’ ones and which ones may be just a passing fad?

So, if “modern art” doesn’t have the same value to some of us, maybe we can find solace in the ads which, because of the new media possibilities, will have to become increasingly ‘intelligent’ to make it through the noise.

In any event, here’s a site worth visiting if you are interested in marketing and communication: Ads of the World is an archive of ads that also serves as a community for ad freaks, showcasing a selection of ads (including video) from around the world.
Contemporary Art
Two of my favorites: Learning to draw (right). “We teach that tricky area between 2 and 3.” Particularly a propos regarding contemporary art.

Ads as new artAnd, one of the ads where the message is in the detail… from France 24 (on the left). Beyond the news. When you go visit the site, you will see the detail and the beauty of this creation. And, along the ecology theme, check this one out too: just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

After Ads of the World, the other groovy ad site I can recommend is Inventor Spot and a special mention for Tops in Transport. My two favourites for the Transport theme: National Geographic (left) and Canon (right).

Bottom line, there is still plenty of room for great creative. There are lots of opportunities for using new formats inspired by new technologies such as the flexi-double bus (however it may be called technically). And the ads to encourage fitness also got my attention. I add one more just in admiration of the simple conceptual imagination.A blog that gave me some inspiration: Witty Sparks: Countless Creative.

Beauty in the eye of the software

Just as we have Unilever presenting the “real” woman with their Dove campaign, on the other end of the scale, we have digital retouching going democratic. In 2006, an Israeli firm launched a software to allow for perfect retouching of faces. Found this subject courtesy of this now defunct blog (closed down after this ‘famous’ posting). A better site is by Mr Piquepaille (got to love his name) with some more information on the technology. What is hard to imagine is the business model.

“Here, darling, I thought you might like this software.”

“Sir,” the creative director said making the final presentation, “your product did nothing for the model, but you gotta love this software.”

“It’s for my passport photograph. I can’t stand to look at myself for 10 years.”

One of the funny comments left on the site about the photos posted on the left (the redhead) was: “my 3 year old found the photo on the left more attractive.” Personally, about the two photos on the right side (the blonde), I might also have said that the shot on the left was more attractive. And you?

My wife and I have often debated the topic of whether beauty is objective or not… Of course, it would also be appropriate to say that beauty must also then be atemporal.

Any thoughts?