Upcoming event: MakeFest 19-20th August , 10am-5pm, Museum of Science & Industry

soft electronicsMakeFest is the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual celebration of hands-on, do-it-yourself making. Artists, makers, crafters and coders will take over the museum for a whole weekend to show off their skills and encourage everyone to have a go at making something for themselves.

Entry is free and booking is not required, though some activities may be chargeable. MGG will be there both days, making soft toys using conductive thread, electrical components and felt.

More information

Upcoming event: GGTP#71 Pokémon Go Litter Pick

pokemonSunday 16th July, 1-4pm, Northern Quarter
Tickets £3.50 (including refreshments) – click here to book

For our July event, we’re going out and about in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, with two goals in mind: to clean up the streets, and to Catch ‘Em All.

Yes, that’s right, we’re literally that stupid – our event will be a litter picking walk around Manchester city centre, while simultaneously playing Pokémon Go on our phones. We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of the game’s release, so even if you find you haven’t played on it for… just under a year, or if you never got into it in the first place, now’s your chance to give it a spin.

We’ll be meeting at MadLab on Edge Street at 1pm, with a half-hour intro to Pokémon Go for anyone who needs to learn how to play or would like a refresher, and heading off from there at 1.30pm for an hour and a half of picking and Pokéing around town. We’ll split into small groups, or you can choose your own route, as long as you join us at the finish – Travelling Man on Dale Street – at 3pm. We’ll then collect in all your rubbish bags, and head next door to Nexus Art Cafe for a cup of tea and some cake (included in your ticket).

We’ll provide rubbish bags, litter pickers and rubber gloves, but you’ll need to bring a smartphone with the Pokémon Go app installed – and make sure it’s fully charged, or bring a spare battery pack, as it uses up the battery pretty fast!

We’ll also be awarding cool prizes – generously donated by Travelling Man – to the attendee that catches the most Pokémon during the hour-and-a-half (in order to enter, make sure you’re at MadLab before 1.30pm and show us your current Pokémon tally – we’ll check again at the end) and to the attendee that picks up the most litter (to be judged as we collect in the bags).

Upcoming event: GGTP#65 – Wikipedia Edit Tea Party UPDATE

We have now merged our event with the Voting for Change Edit-a-thon event on November 20th.wiki.png

Sunday 20th November 2016, Working Class Movement Library 10:00am – 4:00pm, free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/voting-for-change-edit-a-thon-tickets-25968895666

Practically everyone uses the free encyclopaedia to find out about the world – but have you ever tried adding to it? Women are sorely under-represented in editing and contributing to Wikipedia articles, and we aim to shift the balance.

We’re teaming up with PHM and WCML to acquire material related to the fight for the vote, and then share this knowledge on Wikipedia. Helpers from Wikimedia UK and Manchester Girl Geeks will be on hand to help you learn and develop editing skills. There will be support on hand for beginners and for those who already have some editing experience.

Feel free to bring along your favourite sources and add to the body of knowledge together!

The library is opposite Salford uni, a short distance away from Salford Crescent train station. There are many bus links, including the number 8 from Shudehill. The day runs from 10am-4pm.

What to bring:

  • A laptop / computer, on which to edit; if you don’t have one you can bring, please get in touch beforehand and we can sort something out.
  • We’re not able to supply lunch this time, but there are a few places to buy food nearby – if you bring a packed lunch there’ll be somewhere to eat it.

To book your place, visit the Eventbrite page.

Geek Mental Help Tea Party: Mood Nudging

As part of Geek Mental Help Week and in more general support of World Mental Health Day, Manchester Girl Geeks put together a  Geek Mental Help Tea Party packed with talks and workshops to help folks better understand and manage our well-being.

I’m Manchester Girl Geeks regular @ZoeEBreen and I ran the Mood Nudges workshop.

[Update: here’s the ‘science bit’ on my blog CheerUpLove.com]

What are Mood Nudges?

bookcoverIn April 2016 Jon Cousins (creator of famed mood-logging tool MoodScope – more about that at the end) published Nudge Your Way to Happiness: The 30 Day Workbook for a Happier You.

A daily mood questionnaire and scoring system to prompt readers to come up with ideas for lifestyle tweaks which might benefit their well-being. 

The 30 day programme focuses on a different area of wellbeing each day. These range from the basics like sleep and nutrition to themes such as getting outdoors, to learning something new and celebrating your successes.

There is also space to note your daily scores to see how your mood fluctuates over the duration of the 30 days as you progress through the workbook.

So each day, one questionnaire, one score. Depending on your score you are directed to complete one of three written exercises around that day’s theme.

Mood Nudges: Warm up

I was keen to see what would happen if I tested the Mood Nudges format out on our Geek Mental Help Week guests.

To get into the swing of things participants were asked to fill out one of the standard daily mood questionnaires. Luckily geeks really love filling out forms!

Depending on their score, each participant were given activity A, B, or C to fill out. The theme I chose was called ‘Exercise Helps’ (they didn’t know this before doing the questionnaire).

I then asked people who did each activity to feed back. In a very short amount of time we had some great suggestions for exercise-related mood nudges from climbing up the stairs, to doing a yoga class and walking more on a lunch break.

Mood Nudges: Experiment

I wanted to see what would happen if we introduced our own theme and applied the Mood Nudges format to it. Another recent discussion for Geek Mental Help Week had identified work stress as a common theme, so I put that out there to get things started.

We came up with three related areas: work stress, productivity anxiety and worries that your work isn’t good enough. I split the room into three groups to generate relevant mood nudges.

In just a few minutes, participants came up with some really amazing nudges for their designated sub-theme. I was blown away with both the quality and quantity of suggestions, so much so that I will share them here:

Work stress

  • Prioritise if too many things to do
  • Take a break – at work, take a lunch break & walk
  • Separating working and relaxing spaces / times
  • Breathing exercises
  • Colouring, doodling to relax

Productivity

  • Make a list of things to do
  • Highlight what you’ve done
  • List achievements at the end of the day
  • Factor in breaks other self-care
  • Put breaks in Trello board
  • Big items – break into tiny tasks
  • Zen habits – one thing at a time – “half your to-do list”
  • Write something nice on a piece of paper and put in a box – opened at the end of the year!

Not good enough?

  • Make a record of your achievements
  • Collect twitter praise – like and remember your achievements – get in perspective
  • Note at least one thing you’ve done well in your career
  • Create a validation corner – visit it
  • Writing weekly what you’ve done right – self-care, e.g. sleep, diet, exercise
  • Focus on the positive

Yay! It worked

This quick workshop, which was around 45 minutes in length, demonstrates how effectively the Mood Nudges technique can be applied to a well-being related problem.

I’d like to thank everyone who took part for their contributions and I know that Jon is very keen to hear the results of my experiment too.

He kindly sent up six copies of the Mood Nudges book all the way from the USA so that I could offer them to anyone who was interested. High demand meant we had to put names in a hat to share the books out fairly. If you missed out, you can get your copy here.

Jon Cousins & Moodscope

Jon is well-known for establishing one of the earliest web-based mood logging websites Moodscope.com, launched in 2010. Since then thousands of people have used the simple system, which involves scoring emotions daily using virtual playing cards to track how their feeling over weeks, months or even years.

Jon devised the system after he’d struggled to find treatments to help his own mood swings. He found that his own awareness of his moods helped him to manage his feelings more effectively, and in 2010 launched Moodscope.com – you can out more about the science that supports it here.

Moodscope and Mood Nudges

After spending time sharing mood-lifting messages on Moodscope, Jon was delighted to hear from people who said these little snippets of advice really helped them. In May 2014 he started posting these daily gems Moodnudges.com. You can also subscribe by email to get a new mood nudge from Jon in your inbox each day.

Resources

Mood Nudges website and daily blog: http://moodnudges.com/

Mood Nudges latest research findings: On CheerUpLove.com

Moodscope (free and paid options): https://www.moodscope.com/

Geek Mental Help website

Geek Mental Help on Twitter
Thanks to Mark Brown aka @markoneinfour and my brother Ellis for helping me develop the workshop format.

[I’m @ZoeEBreen and my blog is:  CheerUpLove.com]

 

Upcoming Event: Girl Geek Dinner: Space Rocks On Ice – Part of MSF16

Tuesday 25th October 6.30pm- Tickets £5 including dinner

NoHo, Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1FB

Join us for our Manchester Science Festival 2016 event, with a talk from Dr Katherine Joy of the University of Manchester.

Meteorites shed light on the origin of the Solar System and on the geological history of different planetary bodies. Antarctica is unique collection ground for meteorites – it very cold so preserves them well, the black meteorites are easy to spot against the white ice, and meteorites samples are often concentrated together on the ice along the Transantarctic mountain range. Katherine Joy will outline her experience in travelling to collect meteorites with the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites Programme, and talk about the scientific reasons we go and collect these stones from space.

Katherine Joy obtained her PhD in studies of lunar evolution from University College London in 2007, where she combined data from the European Space Agency’s SMART-1 mission and studies of lunar meteorites. She then held a postdoctoral research position at Birkbeck College where she studied data from the X-ray instrument on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission. In 2010 Katherine took up a postdoctoral research post in Houston, Texas where she was based at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA Johnson Space Centre as a NLSI postdoctoral research fellow. She studied samples returned by the Apollo 16 mission in order to study the Moon’s impact record. In 2012 Katherine returned to the UK to work at the University of Manchester where she investigates the bombardment history of the Moon and inner Solar System. She has twice joined the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) programme, spending two field season’s on the ice collecting meteorites.

Tickets: http://sciencefestival.seetickets.com/event/girl-geek-dinner-space-rocks-on-ice/noho/1011326/

Please note this is an over-12s event only