What I Learned Today, Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes or Less

from The Art of Manliness

It’s quite a knack to be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, regardless of where you are and what’s going on around you. To steal some shuteye at airports and on flights, on break times and car rides, in public places and private spaces — in all the interstices of life. Not to mention how grand it is to be able to go out like a light as soon as your head hits the pillow each night.

It probably seems, however, that this is simply a knack that some folks have and others don’t, with the latter group being much larger than the former.

Yet the ability to fall asleep in two minutes or less, anywhere, anytime, is actually a skill like any other, and one anyone can learn. The technique for how to do so was in fact developed for Naval aviators during World War II, and today we’ll share it with you.

When I was a kid, I always had terrible problems with insomnia. It was a curse.

In college, on my own at last, I decided that I would conquer this evil. I started reading all I could (it was the 1970’s – that meant books) about insomnia and set out to systematically learn to fall asleep. It worked, I was successful and to this day (and to this decade) I can fall asleep, almost always, when I need to.

But learning to fall asleep in 2 minutes or less? That’s a pretty bold statement. Have to check it out.

Dallas Zoo sets 46 horned lizards loose with its first-ever wildlife release

from The Dallas Morning News

For decades, the reptile has been vanishing from Texas landscapes. About 10 years ago, Texas zoos, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials and Texas Christian University researchers partnered to try to learn how to bring the critter back to certain pockets of the state.

When I was a little kid and living in Kansas, we had neighbors with a kid about my age. They would go to somewhere in Texas every summer and come back with Horned Toads. I was fascinated with these things. Cool ugly little bastards.

Now I live in Texas, fifty years later, and I’ve never seen a horned toad here. Where have they all gone? It doesn’t take much research to find out what happened. It’s a bit complicated… but really, it’s the fire ants. This introduced species are deadly to the lizards (they aren’t toads) and have wiped them out where ever they go. Every Texan hates fire ants and now there is another reason.

So the Dallas Zoo are breeding horned toads and releasing them to try and re-establish the population. I think this is admirable but it isn’t going to work, is it. What they really need to do is to breed horned lizards that eat fire ants.

 

Ida Kohlmeyer, Rebus 3D-89-3

2 responses to “What I Learned Today, Wednesday, June 26, 2019

  1. I saw one at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve about 10 years ago. It was the first, and last, one I have ever seen. I never knew that fire ants were an introduced insect here. It is sad to learn such a thing. It is a shame that the more “urban” sorts of the human population do not work a little harder at nature conservation. I have always tried to enter and leave an area the way I found it. I wonder at my level of success :-/

    • I’m glad you saw one – I figure there has to be some out there but that they are hard to find.

      Wikipedia has an interesting entry on “Red Imported Fire Ants.” One paragraph:

      Red imported fire ants are among the worst invasive species in the world. Some scientists consider the red imported fire ant to be a “disturbance specialist”; human disturbance to the environment may be a major factor behind the ants’ impact (fire ants tend to favour disturbed areas). This is shown through one experiment, demonstrating that mowing and plowing in studied areas diminished the diversity and abundance of native ant species, whereas red imported fire ants found on undisturbed forest plots had only diminished a couple of species.

      It says they were introduced in the 1930’s in Mobile Alabama, on shipping crates from Argentina.

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