August 26, 2016

Friday Diversions: End of August

Today, I am a little short on sleep. Some of this sleep deprivation comes from the kitten, who continues to bite my toes and dance on my belly while I rest, and some of it can be attributed to a small cold I am fighting right now, but much of it, I admit, is directly due to my poor sleeping habits.

I don’t prepare” for sleep, like so many experts recommend, but instead crawl into bed at a certain time—whether I am tired or not—and stare at my phone until I doze off. This, I know, is not healthy. I am slowly working on making my pre-bedtime routine more conscious, more conducive to rest, but this, as all habits do, will take time.

Perhaps we all need to learn to fall in love with sleep, again. Sure, we relish slumber after a long day, but our culture is fascinated with being awake:

Great philosophers have taught that most of us mistake the limits of our own perception for the limits of the universe. Nowhere is this conundrum more relevant than in our contemporary take on sleep. We are mired in a pre-Copernican-like, wake-centric era regarding consciousness. We presume waking to be the centre of the universe of consciousness, and we relegate sleeping and dreaming to secondary, subservient positions.

Looking at sleep solely through waking-world eyes is like looking at a glorious night sky through dark sunglasses. We are caught in wakism, a subtle but pernicious addiction to ordinary waking consciousness that limits our understanding and experience of sleep.

Falling in love with sleep again. Sounds good to me.

Random, unrelated miscellany, gathered in short list form:

A good chunk of science is being at the right place at the right time to see something briefly.

The creator of the Super Soaker water gun was a Black engineer who worked for NASA and was constantly discounted because of the color of his skin. Gives a whole new perspective to all those years I spent at picnics chasing after friends with my triple-barreled Super Soaker, and getting soaked myself.

I have no clue how to describe this essay on drinking alcohol and on being a woman, but I can say that you definitely should read it.

Not something I’ve thought of before, but now I can’t stop thinking about it as I stare up at the night sky: the constellations are sexist.

This is the problem with public proposals. They are, at heart, an act of intense coercion and humiliation, made by men apparently too insecure to ask their loved one to spend the rest of their life with them without a baying mob complicit in the weird slushy sting operation.”

America (and many parts of Canada, too) is enveloped in a culture of fear around Islam, leading to patients declining treatment from Muslim doctors. It’s heartbreaking to be a Muslim anywhere in the world these days.


Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION was one of my favorite albums of 2015, much to the ridicule of many. This reflection, one year since the album release, is an excellent articulation of what makes the album so great.

The Tragically Hip weren’t in my consciousness growing up, and I didn’t know any of their music. Still, last weekend, I watched their last concert, and tears streamed down my face. These articles by Stephen Marché and Eric Koreen do a good job of encapsulating why this band means so much to Canadians. Conversely, this discussion on not being a fan of The Tragically Hip while still being unabashedly Canadian is also quite poignant.

We all depend on Wikipedia for quickly looking up facts, but the underbelly of the online encyclopedia is marked with mental illness and suicide that the community is working hard to manage

More and more people are using online communities and tools to find solace when our current mental health system fails them. How can the system use these online communities more effectively?

Nearly every city has tried to build its way out of traffic congestion, but the approach hasn’t yet worked.” Building more roads to deal with traffic congestion doesn’t work. We need to think of other ways to move people around our cities.

I had a delicious lobster roll for dinner on Monday night, so it’s only fitting that I thoroughly enjoyed this oral history of the lobster roll and its origins in Maine.

Important reading for our current political climate: how technology disrupted the truth.

In the project Ornitographies, photographer Xavi Bou captures the motion and stillness of flying birds, all at once:

Ornitographies, by Xavi Bou

Ornitographies, by Xavi Bou

Ornitographies, by Xavi Bou

Ornitographies, by Xavi Bou