Archive from June, 2008
Jun 16, 2008 - observations, opinion, science    No Comments

(Don’t) Sleep on It!

Accord­ing to a study con­ducted by the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota, if you don’t have a con­sis­tent, reg­u­lar sleep habit (i.e. same num­ber of hours, same level of relax­ation, same time of night, etc.) you’re more likely to have “aging issues” (i.e. you’ll die).

There’s a part of me that went “duh!?!” when I heard this (it seems intu­itively obvi­ous), but then I had to take a step back and rethink things.  Is it really your screwed up sleep­ing habits that adversely affect your health (and, poten­tially, lead to your death) …

OR … is it the wak­ing early and stay­ing up late that affect your health … or the dri­ving while drunk (because you’re out later) and dri­ving hung over (because you were out later the night before) that kills you?

OR … it that (accord­ing to another sur­vey) too lit­tle sleep leads to snack­ing … which leads to weight gain … and fat gain, and cho­les­terol gain … which leads to health issues?

OR … is it because we’re all get­ting fat­ter, and being over­weight (which appar­ently ups the changes of short­ened sleep­ing) has it’s own mor­tal­ity issues?

Bot­tom line:  You can’t draw sig­nif­i­cant con­clu­sions from a study unless the study addresses all pos­si­ble vari­ables and vari­a­tions that may affect the outcome.

Oh, and don’t go think­ing that all you have to do is get a lot of sleep.  Too much sleep can also lead to rest­less nights … which puts you right back in the same leak­ing boat.

As for what this all really means, I’ll have to get back to you … after I take a nap.

Things that make you go “WTF?”

There was a lit­tle buzz among blog­gers, kicked off this week by Pod­nosh (and picked up by Bad Sci­ence) around a report pub­lished by the Char­ity Com­mis­sion stat­ing that (to para­phrase) “wikis and blogs have no edu­ca­tional value”.  I’m not going to go into a detailed stance here (I’ll let the dis­cus­sion on Pod­nosh and Bad Sci­ence do that for me, they’re doing a won­der­ful job), but I am going to make one obser­va­tion:  What does this mean for the BBC? Let me explain.

If you take a look at who makes up the Char­ity Com­mis­sion, you’ll find Sharmila Nebhra­jani is one of the com­mis­sion­ers.  Sharmila is also COO of BBC Future Media & Tech­nol­ogy, and this is where I get con­fused.  The com­mis­sion has a mem­ber who runs the BBC depart­ment that han­dles its dig­i­tal con­tent, web­site, and (I would assume) blogs and pod­casts.  The com­mis­sion doesn’t see blogs as edu­ca­tional, yet the BBC con­tin­ues to sup­port Sharmila’s depart­ment in spite of a £36 mil­lion overspend.

Did I for­get to men­tion that Sharmila also has a Face­book account?

Does this strike any­one as mildly … well … odd?

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