Ricky Gervais is a great comedian, and I love his stand-up. A couple of years ago, he did a show called “Animals“, in which he made fun of the biblical Genesis account of creation, the flood myth and the fact that god only made light on the fourth day to see what he was doing.
Now, I had a bit of an eye-opener when I was reading the transcript of John Scopes’ attorney Clarence Darrow’s famous cross-examination of the prosecutor William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Sound familiar? Continue reading
I read of this recent study where participants were exposed to tablet PCs with backlit display for up to 2 hours, and the effect this had on their melatonin levels was measured. The aim was to find out whether such exposure can interfere with melatonin production, and thereby sleeping patterns and circadian rhythm. After 2 hours, both groups( watching through goggles with blue light-emitting diodes or just looking at the screen) were found to have statistically significant decreases in their melatonin levels.
The idea with the blue light is that light of 460-480nm wavelength physiologically causes melatonin suppression in the pineal gland, usually this happens when it gets dark outside. And while melatonin does form part of the sleep-wake cycle, other parts of the CNS are also involved in this, with input received from a variety of sensory organs and areas in the brain. Continue reading
Posted in Health, Science, Skepticism
Tagged backlit, brain, display, melatonin, pattern, rhythm, sleep, study, tablet
This nifty little compilation contains Mencken’s articles covering the Scopes Monkey Trial, held in Dayton, Tenn. in 1925.
I am learning an enormous amount from this book, about how very rooted Protestant fundamentalism is in American society, and how the US has been afflicted with and effected by those Evangelicals for the last 200 years.
It is worth keeping in mind that Mencken’s language is that of 1925, so there are a few terms we would not be using today, but apart from that, his account of what makes a fundamentalist and how important education is that I’m going to reproduce here for you, is just as spot-on and relevant today as it was then, when he wrote this for the Baltimore Evening Sun on June 29, 1925: Continue reading