Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 10th, 2008

The way we sleep: weird

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Not the experience of sleep, but using a giant sleep machine:

When I flew down to Atlanta to interview Carol Worthman, the director of the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology at Emory University, she greeted me in her office, among the stacks of research monographs and the photos of her with beaming tribal groups from several continents. I asked why she had first thought to study sleep, and she smiled. “It was a true ‘aha’ experience. I was sitting in my office when a friend of mine who was studying mood disorders called me up and asked me what anthropologists knew about sleep.”

She laughed and paused for a moment of dramatic emphasis. “Nothing!” She widened her eyes behind the thick lenses. “We know nothing about sleep! I think of all the places I’ve slept around the world, all the groups I’ve studied. . . I mean, here I was, part of this discipline dedicated to the study of human behavior and human diversity, and yet we knew next to nothing about a behavior that claimed one-third of our lives. I was stunned.”

So Worthman began to comb the literature, interviewing ethnographers, sifting through fifty-odd years of published work. What she found, she said, shouldn’t have surprised her: “The ecology of sleep is like the ecology of everyday life.” Sleep, it seems, comes in many cultural flavors.

Worthman flipped open a book and showed me photographs of big families piled into large, sprawling huts, little kids peeking up from the arms of Mom, older generations wrapped leisurely around the fireplace. “Forager groups are a good place to start, because for much of human history we’ve been occupied with their mode of existence,” she said. “There are the !Kung of ­Botswana and the Efe of Zaire. For both of these groups, sleep is a very fluid state. They sleep when they feel like it—during the day, in the evening, in the dead of night.”

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Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2008 at 8:06 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Zorrik! Blade of Champions!

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There’s something about the name Zorrik that brings to (my) mind comic-book superheroes, and it certainly is a good blade—so far. Stainless rather than carbon steel, but for me it has the same characteristics as the Treet Blue Special (which is carbon steel): sharpness combined with smoothness and a disinclination to nick. This first shave is extremely promising, so I’ll be using it over the next few days.

I used familiar—tried and true—prep and razor. The wonderful D.R. Harris shaving soap (Arlington, in this case), the G.B. Kent BK4 shaving brush, the combination resulting in (again) an exceptional lather. Then the Edwin Jagger Georgian with the Zorrik blade.

As noted above: very smooth, easy shaving because it’s quite sharp, and no inclination to nick or cut. Excellent results, and I finished with Floid Blue aftershave, which comes in a wonderfully stout glass container.

I got the Zorrik (along with some other new brands to try) from Razor and Brush, where they run 20¢ a blade—not bad.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2008 at 7:43 am

Posted in Shaving

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