March 26, 2014
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Sure, those sweaters and hats your grandma knits you are great. But a new case study suggests that the process of knitting is even better than the result.

Sarah Huerta, who was diagnosed with PTSD after her brother died, found a creative outlet in knitting that relieved her pain and sadness. Huerta isn't alone: In a recent study of more than 3,500 knitters by The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81 percent of knitters with depression reported feeling happy after knitting.

Recent studies have also shown similar effects in subjects who participate in other forms of crafting and creative activities, including quilting or crossword puzzles. "Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain," said Jacque Wilson at CNN. "It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging."

Participating in crafts isn't a replacement for grief therapy, but it may help those in pain find an outlet to deal with their sorrow. And as an added bonus, you'll be the one giving homemade gifts next holiday season. Meghan DeMaria

March 19, 2014

It's a fairly well known fact that Spotify pays musicians mere pennies for making their music available on the streaming service, and big names like David Byrne and Radiohead's Thom Yorke have spoken out against the company (Yorke rather memorably called Spotify "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse"). But one Midwestern funk band has found an ingenious way to expose Spotify's disservice to musicians while making money in the process.

Ann Arbor, Michigan quartet Vulfpeck just released their new album, Sleepify, on Spotify, and they're encouraging people to stream it as many times as possible. This is actually a fairly easy task, considering Sleepify is made up of 10 short tracks of complete silence. To stick it to Spotify, "listeners" are encouraged to stream the silent album on loop overnight. By Vulfpeck's estimation, steaming Sleepify repeatedly over an eight-hour sleep period will earn the band $4 in royalties. All the money will help to fund a special tour of free shows, in which Vulfpeck will visit the cities that provide the most streams.

While the Sleepify album is likely as much of a publicity stunt for the band as it is a knock on Spotify, you've got to hand it to these guys for keeping a straight face throughout the album's release. "Please don't 'shuffle' sleepify," the band tweeted. "I know this might come of [sic] snobbish, but we spent a lot of time on track order."

Spotify, for its part, has acknowledged the stunt and seems to be playing it off well. "This is a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums," a Spotify spokesperson told Digiday.

Watch Vulfpeck explain Sleepify's premise below. You can stream Sleepify here. --Samantha Rollins

March 12, 2014
Flickr CC By: N Wong

With its cruel winds and bitter temperatures that hover around -40 degrees, Barrow, Alaska isn't situated in the most hospitable of climates. But brave soul Aleksandar Joksic works in these chilly conditions, day in and day out — he's one of the town's few pizza delivery guys.

Joksic told the Wall Street Journal that contrary to our belief, he doesn't deliver pizzas on a snowmobile equipped with 100 heat lamps, but instead uses a souped-up Hynudai Accent that requires a lot of TLC:

Gas costs over $6 a gallon in Barrow, and the Hyundai is very economical. Every morning first thing I start the car (it takes an hour to get up to temperature) and unplug it (electricity keeps the engine and fluids from freezing at night). If I turn it off for 10 minutes, it would freeze and die, so I don't turn it off until the end of the day. [Wall Street Journal]

Joksic said his day-to-day wardrobe consists of two pairs of pants, three hoodies, and a "very big jacket." Now we just feel silly complaining about which pair of jeans we're going to work everyday.

Read the rest of his harrowing description at the Wall Street Journal. Jordan Valinsky

March 4, 2014

Those kale salads aren't the secret to living forever — it's actually sushi and sleeping. Take it from Misaw Okawa, a Japanese woman who is celebrating her 116th birthday tomorrow, and who just revealed the secrets to living an eternal life. The oldest person in the world follows a surprisingly simple routine of eating three large meals a day and taking a nap when she's tired. How revolutionary.

"Eat and sleep and you will live a long time. You have to learn to relax," Okawa said, adding that she consumes sushi at least once a month. Born in 1898, she's a great-great-grandmother of six and has resided in a retirement home for nearly two decades. Her daughter is 94 years old.

Here's to another 116 years, Misaw. Jordan Valinsky