Scotland: Edinburgh kids design January sales hoarding app


Lara Findlay with the Life-Pod app.

By @ShaunyGibson – Used to be @ ShaunyNews Via

Got to love the education system in Scotland. As a Country that invented the TV, Radio, Telephone, Penicillin, Radar and Insulin and 1,000’s more in our history. A group of kids from Edinburgh University have came up with this ‘Anti January Sales’ App, the ‘Life-Pod’ for mobile phones. I hate the January sales so don’t go near town, for those looking for a specific item, this App will tell the user if the ‘Really need’ what they are buying, you can talk to it and it asks you questions. Brilliant App and something I might buy 😀 I am the Worlds worse ‘It was near the till’ shopper 😀 I went for milk once and came back with a laptop, did I need it? No, so this app I might buy, it acts as a voice on your shoulder saying “What you buying this for, you have 2 already” PS: I Forgot the milk 😦

5164VGKZD3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_COMPULSIVE shoppers can seek help for a January clear-out courtesy of the world’s first app dedicated to thwarting hoarding.

A team of Edinburgh Napier University graduates has created Life-Pod, an app that acts like a journal and asks the user questions when they buy something such as when they will use it and how many of the same item they already own. It encourages users to set goals and to establish what triggers they need to make purchases – whether it is to de-stress after a hard day at work or because they cannot find what they are looking for at home as there is too much clutter already.

The designers of the app – named after a Capital-based firm offering expert advice and practical support to those affected by hoarding disorders – had been challenged to create the tool by Linda Fay, the UK’s only certified chronic disorganisation specialist.

The four-strong team underwent a lengthy design phase to make sure the app was clear and concise before creating a prototype.

Lara Findlay, 24, director and project manager, said: “One big aspect of hoarding is when 
people keep buying things that they don’t need. “It’s really to help people at the moment they are about to buy something and they are asked a few questions about whether they actually need to buy that item.”

The festive period can be particularly difficult for hoarders as the pressure to buy extra goods is so high, said Ms Fay, director of Bruntsfield-based firm Life-Pod. She said: “People who continuously acquire do it all year round but for people who just about keep a handle on it then Christmas may make it much more difficult. “What I do mainly is to help people to reduce their clutter and reorganise it but as much as I may try to help people to get rid of the stuff, I also need to help them stop buying things in the first place.”

As Scotland’s only certified counsellor specialising in helping people with compulsive hoarding disorder, Ms Fay has helped people whose homes are stuffed to the rafters with piles of papers, books and other junk.

There are many complex causes for this behaviour, she said, including an inability to let go after trauma or loss or loneliness.

She said: “For some people when they are standing in a shop and looking at what to buy it can feel like a life and death decision. “We try to get them to work through that and rationalise their thought process.”

It is not only compulsive hoarders who might benefit from the app but anyone who is tends to shop too much or needs help curbing their spending. Ms Fay added: “I have tried it with a few of my clients already who say it is a really useful tool for them.”

The app, which was launched in November, is now available for purchase on Apple and ­Android devices.


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Dinosaurs extinct because of ‘colossal bad luck’, study suggests

Extinction of the dinosaurs, artwork

Dinosaurs may have survived the asteroid strike which wiped them out if it had happened slightly earlier or later in history, scientists say.

A fresh study using up-to-date fossil records and improved analytical tools has helped palaeontologists build a new narrative of the prehistoric creatures’ demise, some 66 million years ago. They found that in the few million years before a 10km-wide asteroid struck what is now Mexico, Earth was experiencing environmental upheaval including volcanic activity and changing sea levels.

At this time, the dinosaurs’ food chain was weakened by a lack of diversity among the large plant-eating dinosaurs on which others preyed, which was probably because of changes in the climate and environment. This created a perfect storm in which dinosaurs were vulnerable and unlikely to survive the aftermath of the asteroid strike. Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, said: “The dinosaurs were victims of colossal bad luck. “Not only did a giant asteroid strike, but it happened at the worst possible time, when their ecosystems were vulnerable. Our new findings help clarify one of the enduring mysteries of science.”


Dr Richard Butler of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: “There has long been intense scientific debate about the cause of the dinosaur extinction. “Although our research suggests that dinosaur communities were particularly vulnerable at the time the asteroid hit, there is nothing to suggest that dinosaurs were doomed to extinction. “Without that asteroid, the dinosaurs would probably still be here, and we very probably would not. The asteroid impact would have caused tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, sudden temperature swings and other environmental changes.

As food chains collapsed, this would have wiped out the dinosaur kingdom one species after another. The only dinosaurs to survive were those who could fly, which evolved to become the birds of today. Researchers suggest that if the asteroid had struck a few million years earlier, when the range of dinosaur species was more diverse and food chains were more robust, or later, when new species had time to evolve, then they very likely would have survived.

An international team of palaeontologists led by the University of Edinburgh studied an updated catalogue of dinosaur fossils, mostly from North America, to create a picture of how dinosaurs changed over the few million years before the asteroid hit. They hope that ongoing studies in Spain and China will aid even better understanding of what occurred. Their study, published in Biological Reviews, was supported by the US National Science Foundation and the European Commission. It was led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Birmingham in collaboration with the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Baylor University, and University College London.

Dinosaur museums around the world also contributed to the study.