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Monday, May 11, 2009

Science News! (plus a wee bit of sci-fi)

The news story I've talked about most in the past few weeks is about night owls versus morning people. There are two reasons we go to sleep - circadian rhythms and sleep pressure. While night owls and morning people have very different circadian rhythms, what's more interesting is how they respond to sleep pressure - controlled by how long someone has been awake already. As it turns out, night owls are able to resist sleep pressure far better than morning people. As a true night owl, I can attest to that. If I'm engaged and busy, I can stay awake as long as I need to, well past my usual bed time. Anyway, interesting evolutionary adaptations behind that.

Then there's the little article about marital success. For both dating couples and married couples, "the primary predictor of happiness is your perception of whether your partner motivates you to live up to your aspirations and supports you in pursuit of your dreams." But for long term marital happiness, the other thing that's required is "support for the more mundane and immediate obligations." No really, it actually is all about the dishes in the sink, the trash that needs to go out, and picking up something from the store on the way home. Wacky, but true.

Meanwhile, if I had all the money I could ever use and could go study something really arcane, I'd probably study utopian and dystopian fiction and what it says about the fears and expectations of the time it was created and how those visions have changed over time. So imagine my glee when I stumbled on a list of the top 50 dystopian films of all time! I could add quite a few more to this list, and I've watched the lion's share of these already, but having this list is like a little checklist of things I can add to Netflix. Fun!

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