Let’s Get Some Sleep! Internal Time is Science You Need to Know About

January 21, 2013


What the !@#$ is Social Jet-Lag? What the !@#$ is a chronobioligist? I’m a sucker for such cool terms. My technical mind was “drooling”. I really wanted to get to the meat of this book. I really wanted to know about sleep. I’ve had lots of trouble with it. Others dear to me have had trouble with it. I was very curious. Why do some people sleep late? Others early? Some long? Some short? What’s really natural? What’s not?

The brainpickings blog post Internal Time: The Science of Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired « Brain Pickings is very thorough and captures the detail in this book. It is worth a read. The concepts are very provocative. But sometimes blog posts are too dense for me. Sometimes I’ve got to read the book to really get it. This is one of those books. There is so much good stuff in this book and the author Till Roenneberg tries very hard to make it “popular science”. He’s done a pretty good job at presenting his work for lay people. I think the problem is that this book contradicts so much conventional wisdom. It’s like everything I knew about my bodies’ clock was wrong.

This book goes way beyond what I thought I wanted to know. It is amazing stuff. You can try to dig in via the brain pickings blog. But I’m guessing that the graphs will look cool and whet your appetite to really get the message of the book.

The big message is that my “Internal Time Clock” is extremely important, it is part of me (like an arm), it may differ a lot from others, and it changes significantly as I age. My “Internal Time Clock” may not match the “External Time Clock” that I am trying to live by. I may be many hours out of synch. This lack of synchronization may be from the hours required by my job or even something as simple as “Daylight Savings Time”. That is not good, it’s called – Social Jet Lag. My “Internal Time Clock” manages the timing of my bio-chemistry, or manages my “chronobiology”. Fascinating. Important.

Here’s the Amazon link. Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired « Amazon.ca: Till Roenneberg: Books

Parting Wish

( It would be cool if Jonah Lehrer took a stab at this material for a lay audience.)


Master & Commander – Aubrey-Maturin Series is a Must Read for Sci-Fi Fans

January 20, 2013

“The problem with the Aubrey-Maturin Series is that there are ONLY 20 books. You’ll never want it to end. It’s just not enough.” That was the fanatical introduction I was given when I first started the Aubrey–Maturin series (Wikipedia) series. I’m now on book 18 The Yellow Admiral – Wikipedia and it’s too true, this is a magical book series.

Historical Science Fiction may be a good classfication of these novels. The Aubrey-Maturin series is very similar to reading Neal Stephenson’s Historical Science Fiction books – Cryptonomicon (Wikipedia), Quicksilver (Wikipedia), The Confusion (Wikipedia), and The System of the World (Wikipedia). If you read those then you’ll really like this. They’re all fantastic entertainment.

Enjoy.

Patrick O’Brian

Neal Stephenson


Big Questions – If A Cow Didn’t Fart For A Whole Year And Then Did One Big Fart, Would It Fly Into Space?

January 6, 2013


Big Questions From Little People and Simple Answers From Great Minds was the most popular book over our family’s Christmas Vacation.

The folks at brain pickings have a great review of this book and cover many adult focused topics. For example, they cover Alain de Botton’s exploration of dreams, Richard Dawkins on evolution and cousin marriages, David Eagleman on why we can’t tickle ourselves ( I liked this one a lot ), and more adult-ish topics likes stars and love.

This is a book of kids questions and I was wondering, “Where are the goofy questions?” I was glad to find a goofy gem on page 241 “If A Cow Didn’t Fart For A Whole Year And Then Did One Big Fart, Would It Fly Into Space?” The answer by Mary Roach is fantastic. She talks to Ed DePeters of UC Davis to calculate how much methane it produces. Then she talks to rocket scientist Ray Arons to determine how high it would fly. I’m not giving away the answer.

CowFart