Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’

How Stress And Sleep Loss Are Shortening Your Life – Forbes

AASM pillow

AASM pillow (Photo credit: jepoirrier)

Would you prioritize sleep if you knew it kept your immune system strong? That’s the question the American Academy of Sleep Medicine wants you to ponder this week. Lost in the hoopla surrounding Independence day was the publication of some eye-opening or eye-shutting research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine showing that the immune system responds sharply to sleep loss.

In the study, intimidatingly named “Diurnal Rhythms in Blood Cell Populations and the Effect of Acute Sleep Deprivation in Healthy Young Men,” Researchers at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the University of Surrey in the UK measured white blood cell counts in young men who sleep eight hours and men whose sleep was restricted, and found a spike in white blood cells, particularly those called granulocytes, released in response to immune system threat.

The researchers’ conclusion: Severe sleep loss jolts the immune system just as stress does read on for more on stress.

Sleep Loss Quadruples Stroke Risk

In addition to shocking your immune system, lack of sleep also raises your stroke risk – even if you’re relatively young and healthy. New research, presented last month at SLEEP 2012, found that those who cut back their sleep to less than six hours of sleep a night are at 4.5 percent greater risk of having a stroke compared with those who slept 7 to 8 hours a night. Though researchers don’t know the exact mechanism, it seems that chronic lack of sleep causes inflammation, elevates blood pressure and heart rate, and affects glucose levels, leading to a much higher stroke risk in the sleep-deprived.

Most concerning, though, is that the 5,000+ people studied were healthy, middle-aged adults with a body mass index in the normal range — not those typically considered at high stroke risk. And their sleep loss wasn’t as extreme as in the immune study; these folks reported getting less than six hours of sleep a night – the amount that 30 percent of the American population reports getting.

For some tips on getting to sleep more easily, see 5 Foods to Help You Sleep

via How Stress And Sleep Loss Are Shortening Your Life – Forbes.

Strange Random Sleep Quote:

“People say, ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. ‘For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.’

If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you’d seen.


So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself.” ― George Carlin, Brain Droppings


Book Review: ‘How to Sharpen Pencils’ – Businessweek

Is How to Sharpen Pencils a joke? Well, was it a joke when, in the summer of 2011, Brooklyn-based Mast Brothers Chocolate announced it would be getting its coming year’s supply of cocoa 20 tons’ worth delivered by three-masted schooner? It costs $8 for a bar of Mast Brothers chocolate. Although there is a store and website and there were published pictures of the schooner arriving in Red Hook, it does feel a bit like it might have been a joke. The home page shows two brothers in beards who appear to be perfect parodies of the Williamsburg mode. Was it a joke when, in 2008, an Austrian group announced they would be reopening the Polaroid film factory in the Netherlands? A pack of the film, which can produce eight pictures—after just a few minutes of waving each around frantically—costs $23.49. This might have been a joke, too, but maybe not, given the strange needs of art. So it was maybe only partly a joke when, in the fall of 2010, David Rees, who lives in Beacon, N.Y., opened a business sharpening pencils for customers. Send $15 to Rees and he will sharpen any pencil by hand, slip it into a protective tube with a certificate of authenticity, and return it, along with the shavings. He wears a smock and safety glasses, and never, ever uses an electric pencil sharpener. He likes the old ways.

Rees claims to have had about 500 customers over the life of the business, which is not too bad considering the economics of the concern. Pencils cost about $3 a dozen. A hand sharpener is about $1.50. This is something like a [500 x $15/$125 for pencils + $1.50 for sharpening + $500 shipping] 1,200 percent return on capital. There are also lecture fees, and Rees has a busy touring schedule.

via Book Review: ‘How to Sharpen Pencils’ – Businessweek.

Strange Random Pencil Tool:

“I have owed you this letter for a very long time – but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.” – John Steinbeck (American Novelist and Writer, Nobel Prize for Literature for 1962, 1902-1968)

Divorce Hotel: Netherlands’ New Way For Married Couples To Break Up | Strange News | Sky News

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.

In the Netherlands a weekend break can become a weekend break-up for couples hoping for a swift and cheap divorce.

It is a concept called the ‘Divorce Hotel’ and helps husbands and wives to arrange all the necessary legal documentation to end their marriage over the course of just two days.

They meet a mediator and series of lawyers behind closed doors who will split assets, agree alimony payments and arrange visitation rights – all for a fixed fee.

It is the brainchild of entrepreneur Jim Halfens, who said he spotted a gap in the market in a country where the average divorce can easily run into five figures and take months to complete.

“When they leave the hotel, all work is done,” he told Sky News.

“The only thing that happens then in Dutch law is that they have to show the agreement to a judge in the Netherlands and that takes a couple of weeks.

“They walk divorced out of this door and to make it official takes a couple of weeks.”

He uses a number of high-end boutique hotels around the country, including the smart Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague.

Sales manager Ninke Bons explains that the couples, who often check in together, but mostly choose to stay in separate rooms, are handled with care by the staff.

“We treat them as any other guests, we just try to keep a closer eye on them or make sure they are not wandering around by themselves,” she says.

“Just as an example – we would normally enquire if a guest enjoyed their stay at the hotel. Well, obviously that’s not very appropriate in the case of the Divorce Hotel.”

via Divorce Hotel: Netherlands’ New Way For Married Couples To Break Up Is Brainchild Of Jim Halfens | Strange News | Sky News.

Strange Random Divorce Quote:

“I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.” – Zsa Zsa Gabor (American Actress, one of the glamorous Gabor sisters, b.1917)

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Looks familiar, Arles as Van Gogh saw it

July 27, 2011 1 comment

Here’s a nice selection of Arles sights, as they are today and as they were depicted by Vincent Van Gogh.

One of his most famous works, Café Terrace at Night is a romantic depiction of the Place du Forum after dark. The painting is on exhibit in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands. (Joerg Wittenberg, image courtesy the Van Gogh Museum)

via –

Strange Random Travel Quote:

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. – Benjamin Disraeli

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What price fame?

June 1, 2011 1 comment

This advertisement has been on several very large banners around the Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre here in Barcelona for the past few weeks. It offers people the chance to take part in a competition and win modelling prizes. Which is great, despite the fact that yours truly will not be taking part for humanitarian reasons.

Unfortunately, the people that wrote the copy may wish they had consulted their dictionaries first of all.

Whereas a SHOOTING is:

Noun 1. shooting – the act of firing a projectile; “his shooting was slow but accurate”
2. shooting – killing someone by gunfire; “when the shooting stopped there were three dead bodies”

the word they were probably looking for is SHOOT, which is defined, among other things, as:

Noun. […]
6. A session in which something is photographed, filmed, or videotaped


So if someone approaches you in a shopping centre for a shooting opportunity, just decline politely!

Strange Random Shopping Centre Quote:
We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls. – Bill Bryson

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