New York magazine has by-the-numbers look at shoplifting, including a list of the most frequently stolen items.
Your sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a protein called PER. The protein level rises and falls each day, peaking in the evening and plummeting at night. When PER levels are low, your blood pressure drops, heart rate slows, and thinking becomes foggier. You get sleepy.
If you follow a diligent sleep routine—waking up the same time every day—your body learns to increase your PER levels in time for your alarm. About an hour before you’re supposed to wake up, PER levels rise (along with your body temperature and blood pressure). To prepare for the stress of waking, your body releases a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol. Gradually, your sleep becomes lighter and lighter.
And that’s why you wake up before your alarm. Your body hates your alarm clock. It’s jarring. It’s stressful. And it ruins all that hard work. It defeats the purpose of gradually waking up.
Mental Floss answers the question of why some of us frequently wake up five minutes before our alarm clock goes off, and that answer is basically that our body’s internal clock is made of magic (and proteins and hormones). Having a sleep routine helps with this, which means going to bed at a different hour each day will still make it hard for you to wake up before your alarm so you can get out of bed and go to work, or whatever it is you want to wake up for in the morning (i.e. exercise, children). My problem is that when my internal clock wakes me up and I see I have five minutes before my alarm will go off, I think “Yes! I have five more minutes of sleep.” So I go back to sleep. And then my alarm goes off five minutes later and it’s not pleasant.
Photo: Rob and Stephanie Levy
Kristoffer Koch spent $27 on bitcoins back in 2009 and forgot about them. He just remembered about them, and apparently they are worth $886,000 four years later, which, what a windfall (is this how currencies should work?). Koch used some of his money to buy a new apartment.
Police Lt. John Pike became infamous for using military-grade pepper spray on student protesters at UC-Davis who were sitting in their campus plaza with their arms linked. The students were protesting some campus issues, including a proposed 81 percent tuition hike. UC-Davis settled a lawsuit with the three dozen protesters who were pepper-sprayed for $1 million earlier this year.
They’re not the only ones who got a settlement. Pepper-sprayer John Pike received a $38,055 settlement in workers’ compensation for the suffering he experienced after videos of him spraying the students went viral. The internet got mad at him and sent him 17,000 angry or threatening e-mails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters, according to the police union. Pretty sure the internet is going to get mad at him again.
Alert, alert! Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin, of beloved Who Pays Writers fame, have launched a magazine! It is called Scratch, as in money, and also as in writing, and it will be have interviews, reportage, and personal stories about the economics of being a writer.
A free preview of their first issue is online now, and it’s definitely worth checking out. My favorite part so far is their Transparency Index, which details not only how much everything that went into the magazine costs (hosting, design, contributor pay, et al), but all of the personal relationships that led to the different pieces in the magazine.
“In the world of art & illustration, you can use the artwork of artists on your products as long as you ask permission, sign a licensing agreement with the artist, and agree to compensate them. I sell my images to companies all the time, companies who ask my permission and compensate me for my intellectual property. In this case, I was never contacted, asked permission or paid. That is called copying. It’s also called stealing.”
Apparently, there are people who feel like paying 25 cents for extra dipping sauce is outrageous! Thankfully, the 68-year-old man was not seriously injured.
An update on the story of Glen James, the homeless man in Boston who found a backpack with more than $40,000 in cash and travelers checks and turned it in to authorities: A fundraiser for James on GoFundMe raised more than $150,000, and the money is being given to James to pay for housing, medical care, and other bills. James’s sister will be the fund’s trustee.
Not anymore! But at one time, maybe! Stan Fedun explains why alcoholism is so rampant in Russia (1 in 5 Russian men die from alcohol related illnesses): “Stalin used vodka sales to help pay for the socialist industrialization of the Soviet Union. By the 1970s, receipts from alcohol again constituted a third of government revenues.”
Let’s start this morning off with a feel-good story: A Boston homeless man named Glen James was honored at police headquarters for turning in a backpack he found that contained $2,400 in cash, $39,500 in traveler’s checks, and a passport and various papers. The backpack ended up belonging to a Best Buy employee who worked at the mall (it remains a mystery why the employee was carrying around so much cash, and I’m very curious as to why and whether he offered any kind of reward to James after having his backpack returned to him). [via]
Here’s something to be angry about, in case you have nothing to be angry about this weekend, which I doubt because there’s just so much to be angry about right now.
“The 21-year-old and his partner, 33-year-old former venture capitalist Deven Soni, recently kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 for Sprayable Energy, which plans to sell topical caffeine spray. Yup—topical caffeine spray. Meaning you spray it not in your mouth but on your skin (ideally your neck, Yu says) as if it were perfume.”
So this is going to be a thing now.
An Albany parking meter repair man stole $210,000 worth of quarters from old parking meters he rigged, which he says he used to fund a gambling addiction. The city’s parking commissioner noticed something was amiss when he noticed that the digital pay stations were making a lot more money than the quarter-fed machines. I’m bracing myself next for a story about a 14-year-old hacker who figured out how scrape credit card information from the digital machines.
Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Rolling Stone story about two kids who are part of the Duke family fortune (Duke, as in the tobacco tycoons who established Duke University) and were horribly neglected and abused is pretty jaw-dropping. The kids were often locked in basements and forced to fend for themselves while their parents were binging on drugs, and despite numerous visits by the police and complaints by former nannies who were fired for complaining about the abuse, were never placed in protective custody.
Winning $3.8 million is certainly enough to buy a new house, but is it enough to quit your job? What about $10 million? According to a new Gallup poll, 68 percent of American workers said they’d continue working even if they won $10 million in a lottery.