in reply to Eureka!

Without a doubt, pretty much every single one of my "Eureka" moments has come from one of the following:
1) The shower
2) The toilet
3) A long run
4) Sleeping
5) Heavy drinking (alcohol)

Every single one of those is a result of relaxing and letting my conscious mind drop the problem and let the rest of my brain toss it around.
(number 5 happens a lot less in programming for me - esp since I rarely drink now - but it was big in college when I was working on architecture projects and had been up for some time. the two downsides to #5 are that if you aren't near your project, you aren't likely to remember the Eureka, and also that it might seem like a great idea, but is actually alcohol induced junk - and I suppose the same could be said of other mind altering substances)

There are some odd things afoot now, in the Villa Straylight.

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Re: Re: Eureka!
by halley (Prior) on Apr 29, 2003 at 13:21 UTC

    There's a charming children's book series called "the Great Brain," where a boy in the early 1900s recounts the amazing mental feats of his unusual older brother.

    The older brother had a strategy for the tough problems: he'd think about the question just before going to sleep, to engage his subconscious. It always worked for him. It's often worked for me, too.

    Step away from the problem. Walk to the vending machine, to the parking lot, to the corner market, or just sit on the couch at home for a little while. No paper, no pen, no books. Just let your brain cruise.

    [ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

      Several times I've awakened in the morning with a solution after going to bed thinking about a particular problem. I'm starting to think I might do my best work while sleeping.

      90% of every Perl application is already written.
      Off topic, I really loved those books as a kid :> Probably cos of all the schemes the "Great Brain" came up with...
      If this was a series and some of the stories were similar to some of Mark Twain's work, then I think I may have read those.

      The things I remember from it (or if not it... something) are brothers, a small town, a cave, a swimming hole, candy (I think licorice specifically), and one brother trying (successfully) to get the mumps from the other brother.

      There are some odd things afoot now, in the Villa Straylight.