Sleep

I should go to bed soon.  But I probably won’t.  Interesting article in Economix last week about research that finds that most people probably sleep more than they claim they sleep:

A couple years ago I wrote about how people don’t work nearly as many hours as they claim they do. That is, there’s a big gap between how many hours people estimate they “usually” work versus how many hours they log when asked to keep a time diary, especially for people who already keep long hours. (The typical person who reported having worked 40 hours, for example, actually worked about 37; people who claimed a usual week of 75 hours worked 50.) This discrepancy could be due to fuzzy memories, or a desire to sound more industrious, or both.

The same problems may plague self-reports of shut-eye.

A recent Gallup report, based on a survey question about how much time people “usually” sleep, says the average American gets 6.8 hours of slumber a night.

Most recent numbers are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 5-8, 2013, with a random sample of 1,031 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 American states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.Most recent numbers are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 5-8, 2013, with a random sample of 1,031 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 American states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Labor Department’s 2012 American Time Use Survey, on the other hand, reports an average of 8.7 hours…

Long discussion intervenes about what might account for the discrepancy, but suffice it to say, part of it surely is the fact that Americans simply feel the need to systematically underestimate their amount of sleep when directly asked about it.  Much like overestimating work:

Maybe, as with estimated versus documented working hours, people just systematically exaggerate their industriousness when asked abstractly about their daily habits. I suspect that has to do with the workaholic American culture, but people in Belgium, Russia, China and Japan have also been found to overstate their work hours, based on similar metrics. I don’t know whether there’s evidence that people from these or other countries also might understate their slumber time; if you know, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Anyway, pretty interesting.  The major decline over time is really quite stark.  I really wonder how much of that is reality versus what people feel the need to claim.

My personal goal is to be in bed for more than 7 hours every night as that generally seems to do the trick for me (especially if I get a good Saturday sleep-in or weekend nap).   Tonight will be good– 2 hour delay of school tomorrow  (I suspect they’ll actually cancel it in the AM) coincides with my sleep-in (my wife and I alternate) day.  Hooray!

Map of the day

So this is cool (via Mike from Canada) a chronological map of undersea cable, from Egyptian Telecom of all places:

cable

 

Click on the link for an enlargeable, scrollable, map.

Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Animal Photos of the Week.  Too cute.

Pictures of the day: 14 January 2014
This new born lamb, just a few hours old, basks in the warmth of the sun as a ray of sunshine beams into the straw lined barn in County Durham.Picture: Paul Kingston/NNP

Fox News on Obama and marijuana

Okay, actually the Borowitz report.  This is awesome:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama is about to issue an executive order that would force all Americans to purchase a monthly supply of marijuana, the Fox News Channel reported today.

According to Fox’s Sean Hannity, who broke the story, Obama’s initiative is part of a broader plan to make weed available and affordable to every individual in the United States.

Under Obama’s plan, every American would be required to purchase a government-mandated amount of marijuana per month or face a penalty of up to two thousand dollars.

Hannity said that the President hopes to have the mandatory marijuana plan up and running by 2015, “but they’re still working on the Web site.”

Appearing on Fox, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took issue with Obama’s recent remark that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol: “I saw that as an insult.”

And actually, I was curious what the real Fox had to say, and their big headline is “Obama: marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol.”  Of course, if you ask just about anybody with actual expertise in drug use, they’ll tell you that’s 100% true, but Fox presents it as if it’s preposterous on its face.  Naturally, they don’t quote any experts to back up Obama and end with this:

Critics of the new laws raise concerns about public health and law enforcement, asking whether wide availability of the drug will lead to more underage drug use, more cases of driving while high and more crime.

I’d love to see just what evidence these “critics” are relying on to worry about more crime.

Sad map of the day

Via Drum.  Increasing incidence of measles and mumps throughout the world:

Thank you Jenny McCarthy and science-ignoring friends!  Good news?  At least we’re not as bad as Europe?  Drum:

Use of the MMR vaccine plummeted during the aughts, as vaccine-autism hysteria was spread by charlatans and the ignorati. Needless to say, this did nothing to affect the incidence of autism, but it sure had an effect on measles and mumps. To this day, though, I don’t think any of the vectors of this hysteria have so much as apologized. It’s shameful.

Even with modern medical care, people– especially babies– can and do still die from these diseases.  Shameful indeed.

Obama’s sanity on marijuana

How nice to a have a politician, and not just any politician, speak with some reason and sanity on marijuana.  Here’s the key quote from Jennifer Rubin’s disapproving response:

Was he channeling the dope-smoking teen or acting like the president of the United States when he popped off with this one? “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”  [emphasis mine]

And, as I’ve mentioned time after time, here, he’s right.  Rubin, however, freaks out:

Thunk. Not different from cigarettes? Surely the president knows that cigarette smoking is a health hazard but does not impair judgment or induce other psychological reactions. I assume presidential limo drivers can smoke some cigarettes before driving the president but not pot.

As for the alcohol vs. pot debate, as parents, certainly the president and first lady must know how parents strain to make a distinction for their children. Many parents may give a teen a taste of beer or wine, while under adult supervision, but would President Obama suggest that is no different than offering that kid a joint? Do parents want their nightly glass of wine at dinner to be translated into license for their kids to smoke pot?

For one, he didn’t say “not different” he said “not very different.”  As in, we know cigarettes are bad for you, we don’t condone them, and we don’t let minors legally use them.  Sounds about right for marijuana.  And while a lot of pot smoking starting as a kid will likely knock off some IQ points, it probably won’t kill you (though, I don’t know if there’s any studies on lung damage from marijuana smoking).

And as for parents teaching their kids about marijuana instead of alcohol, first Obama is not at all suggesting that, and second, if he was, we’d be a hell of a lot better off as a country if heavy drinkers were heavy pot smokers instead.  The level of violence, domestic abuse, etc., would surely be less.

The Post’s Ed Rogers likewise gives an “oh, no, but marijuana is so bad” freak out:

Claiming that smoking marijuana is a “vice, not very different from … cigarettes” gives the impression that doing drugs is not a big deal. The president’s words were more of a reassurance than a warning about the potential harm of pot use. What he said was dangerous…

My favorite part of the interview is when the president said smoking marijuana is “not something I encourage.” Well, that’s a relief. The president won’t be actively encouraging kids to light one up.

Shrugging off the detrimental impact of drug use, particularly when you are speaking as the president of the United States, is irresponsible. We should all be disappointed that he chose to talk about drug use so nonchalantly in this interview.

Republicans need to be clear: Marijuana use doesn’t lead to anything helpful or productive. The president won’t say so, but Republican leaders should.

Again, according to Rogers’ logic, Obama is basically arguing for cigarette smoking.  Furthermore, I was not at all aware that “doesn’t lead to anything helpful or productive” was the standard by which something should be legal (so much for all those cat videos on youtube; or most reality television programming).   This kind of “hey kids, get off my lawn” response when we know about the huge downside of over-enforcement on marijuana is just plain pathetic.

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