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Mouse @ Flickr

I stayed the same this week. I’m happy with that, because I lost 4 last week. I got Slimmer of the Month, for a total of 11.5 lb in March, and I’m very pleased about that. :-)

This week in group we talked about our attitudes to ‘food optimising’, which is what SW calls the plan, and whether we were doing all we could to focus on weight loss. The plan allows you to eat as much as you like of certain foods, and the risk/temptation is that one keeps hold of eating habits from before. Eating for comfort, to reward myself or others, or simply through boredom are the sorts of behaviours that got me into this situation, and SW doesn’t remove them from reach as long as I change the foods I use to those ends. However, that will only get me so far; to achieve and sustain weight loss, I need to work on the default ways of thinking, and tackle some practical issues like portion control and snacking.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the science behind both willpower and happiness, and the two feed into healthy eating in the ways I expected. The unexpected thing (for me) about both strands is that it is possible to work on both with some fairly simple techniques. I may post about both at some stage, once I have had a chance to read more, and digest some of it better. In the meantime, I leave you with an observation: I use food-related words quite a lot, even when I am not talking about food – ‘digest’, ‘feed into’ – is it just me? :-)

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. :-)

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.”

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

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