Mar 27, 2013

Larks and owls

This New Yorker article about sleep is pretty interesting. Short version: we don't know much about sleep except that most people don't get enough. 

The article defines "larks," people who like to go to bed early and cannot sleep in very late, and "owls," those who have trouble falling asleep early and like to get up late.

And this affects their lives quite a bit:

During the week, everyone is expected to get to the office more or less at the same time—let’s say 9 a.m. This suits larks just fine. Owls know they ought to go to bed at a reasonable time, but they can’t—they’re owls. So they end up having to get up one, two, or, in extreme cases, three hours earlier than their internal clock would dictate. This is what Roenneberg refers to as “social jet lag”—each workday, owls fall asleep in one time zone and, in effect, wake up in another. By the time the week is over, they’re exhausted. They “fly back” to their internal time zone on weekends and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. Then, on Monday, they start the process all over again.
For larks, the problem is reversed. Social life is arranged so that it’s hard to have one unless you stay out late on Friday and Saturday nights. But, even when larks have partied till 3 a.m., they can’t sleep in the following day—they’re larks. So they stagger through until Monday, when they can finally get some rest.

Mar 26, 2013

Mar 24, 2013

Too old

For my all my friends who enjoy a nice scotch, here is a Slate article about aging spirits for too long.
As a former master distiller for Maker’s Mark in Kentucky for 14 years and the current master distiller for Hillrock Estate Distillery in New York’s Hudson Valley, Pickerell has aged his fair share of whiskeys. “It is possible for a spirit to get too old. Sometimes older is better—but sometimes it’s just older.”

Mar 22, 2013

WTF of the day

It involves hay and running around.

Thanks to UpForAnythingat3AM for the link.

Mar 18, 2013

Don't smile

New research has shown that UFC fighters who smile in pre-fight encounters are more likely to lose.

More here.

Mar 14, 2013

Rent parties

In 1940s and 1950s, Harlem residents hosted "rent parties." They would charge guests for a night of dancing and socialization and the proceeds would go towards the hosts' rent.

They were never advertised as rent parties, instead of using euphemisms like "Tea Cup Party," and often featured lyrics from popular songs of the day.

Read more at Slate.

Mar 12, 2013

Who reads fan fiction?

According to FFN Research, the average user of FanFiction.Net in 2010 was a 15.8-year-old girl from the United States who didn’t write fan fiction herself. Not to say that 45-year-old mothers and adolescent boys don’t also read it, or that fan fiction is only written in English; but the odds are not good. 
Hat tip to The Dish.

Mar 5, 2013

EU vs. US: eggs

I think of the Europe as a place where everything is highly regulated (e.g. grocery store that you own can't be open after a certain time, even if you want it to be) and US as a place where almost anything goes. Not so much:
Commercial American eggs are federally required to be washed and sanitized before they reach the consumer. EU egg marketing laws, on the other hand, state that Class A eggs – those found on supermarkets shelves, must not be washed, or cleaned in any way.
The reason EU forbids eggs from being washing is to encourage healthy practices and cleanliness in its farmers. The thinking is that if an egg is dirty, no one will want to buy it.

In the US, the approach is that cleaning the eggs makes them safer, which is true. It also increases the risk of contamination if eggs are washed improperly. 

More here. It's way more interesting than I thought.

Mar 4, 2013

Ninja angel

From the NYTimes review of a new show:
“The Bible,” might be the first to include an angel skilled in Chinese martial arts.