You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

Goingslo @ flickr

I love my sleep, and can get a bit twitchy when I don’t get a good eight hours. Ask my OH. :-) It seems, though, that I’m doing it wrong. I ought to be sleeping for four hours, getting up in the early morning for an hour or two, then going back to sleep for another four hours.

In the 1990s, Thomas Wehr, a psychiatrist, experimented with making subjects experience 14 hours of darkness every day for a month. His research, published in 1992, showed that, after adjusting, they fell into bi-modal sleep quite naturally.

This type of sleep pattern was commonplace until the 17th century, apparently, but has receded completely from our collective social memory. At about the same time as references to segmented sleep start disappearing, sleep maintenance insomnia starts to appear. That’s where you sleep, wake and have trouble getting back to sleep again. If we once again recognised first and second sleeps as normal, perhaps those who can’t get back to sleep would feel less anxious about it?

(c) Feversham Lens

After the BBC published their article, people who sleep like this wrote in with their accounts of what they do in their waking section. They watch TV, eat, pray, draw, do yoga, or just lie and look forward to their next dream. My OH, whilst not a segmented-sleeper or a regular night owl, has been out and about in the early hours, grabbing some night photos, and I think this is one of the best shots he’s taken. :-)

Advertisements

L. Marie @ flickr

Last week I forgot to blog about weigh-in – a very creditable two pounds off. This week, I lost four. I haven’t done anything different this week, although I have stuck to the plan. I’ve had a very busy week at work, so maybe I have been burning nervous energy. :-)

A work colleague has just started Lighter Life, and she’s lost nine pounds in her first week. I’m really pleased for her – is it wrong that it’s tinged with a little jealousy, too? Not that I envy her the all-liquid diet in week one, and not much else for the rest of the time. I suppose I just feel a bit like a tortoise next to her hare. :-) I am pretty sure that, despite the faster losses, the meal replacement route wouldn’t work for me. I need to be on a plan that makes me get into a routine of eating sensibly, and embedding it. I’ve lost loads and put it on again, so I know it’s hard to stick to even when you are in the habit of healthy eating. I have no idea how I’d manage if I hadn’t had the chance to practice it all the time I was losing.

L. Marie @ flickr

By the way, the pic this week comes from a series taken of a dismantled Nixie tube. I picked the photo because it’s very stylish, without recognising the name of the thing it came from. Out of curiosity, I followed the link on L. Marie’s flickr page to find out. Once you see the photo of the four in its original setting, then of course you recognise it. This is nowhere near any of my usual fields of interest, but I did enjoy reading about it. :-)

An interesting article on research being done in the US to improve the identification of suspects in police id procedures.

Identification is notoriously difficult, and has frequently been proved wrong by other decisive evidence, such as DNA. Human beings are just not that good at picking the person we saw commit a crime, or even at recognising people we know. How many times have you seen a person walking down the street, and thought it was someone you knew really well, only to discover on closer checking that it was not them? That kind of “fleeting glimpse” identification is the most dangerous.

There’s a Code of Practice for police as to when and how to carry out identification procedures, backed up by a whole body of criminal case law. Many police forces here use VIPER, which shows a series of images on DVD – stills or videos – and asks the witness to pick the person. The possible choices are shown sequentially, but the witness does not have to make a decision about whether they are or are not the right one before moving on to the next. That appears to be the big difference between VIPER and the system Gary Wells has designed. Also, Gary Wells’ process is significantly different, it seems, from usual practice in the US, which appears to be to show the selection simultaneously in an array.

I don’t know what the data is for successful identifications from VIPER procedures, and it’s harder to assess outside the lab, of course, when you may not know who the real culprit is. The stats from Wells’ research are described in Ben Paynter’s article: “Overall, simultaneous and sequential methods proved equally (if not highly) effective. Witnesses to real crimes picked the prime suspect 26 and 27 percent of the time, respectively. That difference isn’t statistically significant. For Wells, it’s the first indication that there actually might not be any downside to the sequential method: If the suspect is there, witnesses will pick him or her out, no matter which lineup procedure gets used. Even better, while witnesses viewing simultaneous lineups chose fillers 42 percent of the time, witnesses viewing sequential lineups picked fillers only 31 percent of the time. In other words, witnesses shown sequential lineups are 25 percent less likely to rationalize their way into bad choices.”

From the always-interesting Mind Hacks (and they got it from overlawyered.com):

In 1995, New Mexico state senator Duncan Scott introduced a legislative amendment providing that:

When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant’s competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong…

The amendment, which was intended satirically, was passed unanimously but removed from the bill before it became law.

If you want to know more, there’s a good post by Karen Franklin Ph.D. here expanding on the story.

BLOOM by Anna Schuleit. White Tulips

In 2003, the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) was to be demolished, after 9 decades in operation. As a memorial, artist Anna Schuleit was invited to create an artwork, and chose this incredibly vibrant installation, entitled “Bloom”.

BLOOM by Anna Schuleit. Blue Hallway

In an interesting interview (with some great photos) on Colossal, she talks about the project: “Twenty-eight thousand flowers arrived on trucks in the span of a few days, all needing to be watered as they came in, all having to be placed in the building, unwrapped, arranged, watered again. I had a team of about eighty volunteers to help me with this, all spontaneous helpers”

BLOOM by Anna Schuleit. Orange Tulips

“After four public days of Bloom, the building was closed for good and we delivered all twenty-eight thousand flowers to shelters, half-way houses, and psychiatric hospitals throughout New England … Bloom was a reflection on the healing symbolism of flowers given to the sick when they are bedridden and confined to hospital settings … Here, patients receive few, if any, flowers during their stay. Bloom was created to address this absence, in the spirit of offering and transition.”

There are more photos here and more info here.

(c) My OH :-)

This is a really easy and delicious dessert, and it’s SW-friendly. :-)

Take two nectarines per person. The riper they are, the easier they are to de-stone, but make sure they’re not too ripe, or they’ll just collapse. I find the easiest way to remove the stone is to run my knife from the stalk all the way round, then twist gently to separate the two halves. Take out the stone, and use a teaspoon to scrape away any remaining fibrous bits.

Bring a griddle or frying pan to a medium heat on the hob, and spray with Frylight. Place the nectarine halves cut side down in the pan, and leave to soften and caramelise. This takes about ten minutes or so. Keep moving them every so often to make sure they don’t stick.

I serve these with yoghurt. My OH likes the full fat Greek yoghurt with honey, which does work very well with the fruit, but I go for Total 0% and add some sweetener. You can sprinkle over some cinnamon, which is lovely, but I’m going through a phase of having them with crushed green cardamom seeds.Yummy! :-)

This is equally good made with peaches or plums, and I guess you could use apricots, although I’ve not tried those.

It’s been two weeks since my last confession …

Smabz Sputzer at Flickr

I gained a pound and a half two weeks ago, and lost seven last week, so overall, a loss of five and a half pounds. The gain was pretty good going, considering that the final day at Betty’s (dessert day) was included, and I didn’t get back on plan until two days after that. Last weekend, my OH and I visited my family in Surrey, which would ordinarily have led to another gain, no doubt. However, I had to fast for two days earlier this week in preparation for (hopefully) the final of my various medical tests (see my previous post) so I got a loss that I would otherwise not have achieved. It’s definitely a silver lining, and the test showed nothing significant. Good results all round. :-)

Copyright protected

2012 by Eau de Nil. Please do not use my original text, recipes or photos without obtaining my permission in advance. Many thanks.

Email me at

eaudenil@mailhaven.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.