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FACT: Parking says a lot about who we are as a society
By Amanda Reed
My partner recently read a really interesting book…Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World” by Henry Grabar, and he told me all about it over dinner and NA Beers. It turns out that people go crazy as soon as they get into a vehicle and try to park, and there is a lot to unpack.
There are social and psychological reasons behind parking and road rage. Many traffic rules are self-imposed. (e.g., “The left lane is the passing lane, don’t hog it.”) People get angry when they see other people not doing something “socially acceptable” and they take it upon themselves to correct the other person, sometimes violently.
Parking theorist Sarah Marusek says parking follows what she calls “frontier law,” where people find a public space and claim it as their own in 19th-century style. However, they don’t need to do that: there are between 1 billion and 2 billion parking spaces in the United States. A study of 27 mixed-use neighborhoods found that parking was 65 percent oversupplied. Neighborhoods with “parking shortages” reported by residents were still 45 percent oversupplied.
Drivers are practically little children who don’t want to share their pencil for fear of losing it and never getting it back, even though there are many other pencils in this world. We, as a society, struggle with sharing and discomfort, something we see in everyday life through so many things, like the COVID-19 response, college debt relief, healthcare… and now, the parking lot.
FACT: Some penguins take 10,000 naps a day
As we have discussed in previous episodes, The dream is very mysterious and very important.. All animals do it, even those without a brain or central nervous system (I’m looking at you jellyfish). And many single-celled organisms have circadian rhythms, meaning they have biological functions that follow roughly 24-hour cycles.
We know that sleep is essential, but we don’t know exactly what it does or how it evolved. One way to start learning more about napping is to watch how other animals do it, since most of the really solid research we have focuses on primates and rodents.
That is where a recent study on chinstrap penguins enters. Researchers discovered that these flightless birds in Antarctica sleep about 11 hours a day, which doesn’t sound all that remarkable at first glance. But the real trick is how they do it: in increments of approximately four seconds.
The scientists were with a colony of thousands of breeding chinstrap penguins, keeping a close eye on 14 of them in particular. From the outside, it looked as if the penguins were slowly blinking and shaking their heads as would be expected from sleep-deprived new parents. Us We already know that these animals go weeks without sleeping to protect their nests from predators and other penguins looking to steal stones or eggs, and the parents trade time spent hunting or guarding. The researchers had to place electrodes on the birds to even know if they were sleeping. But they were: all those little blinks and head movements were brief periods of sleep. They did it about 10,000 times a day, apparently adding up to 11 hours.
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the study and what it means (and doesn’t mean). for humans who depend on micronaps to survive. Plus: some additional fun facts about others strange sleeping habits of animals!
FACT: This Medieval Torture Device Was Actually a Myth
By Jess Bodydy
I’ve been thinking a lot about Iron Maidens lately. Not the band, but the legendary torture device of yesteryear. They were (supposedly) these giant human-sized cabinets with spikes inside. You open it, put the tortured and close it. Oh!!
What made me think of Iron Maidens? Well, Resident Evil 4 did, of course. He enemies called iron maidens in that game They are some of the scariest horror games I have ever played. But it turns out that the “real life” Iron Maidens were probably just as fictional as the ones in RE4.
According to the 18th century German philosopher Johann Philipp Siebenkees proposed the idea of Iron Maidens used for torture., the idea spread like wildfire in the 19th century. People from the Victorian era kept pointing the finger at the people from the medieval era who preceded them, saying that they were the barbarians who used these pointed cabinets (among other devices, including chastity belts) torturing is never good. But this seems to be a classic case of juicy gossip and well-crafted misinformation trumping good sense. Listen to the episode to hear all about how the Iron Maiden myth began (involves a barrel of shame!), proliferated, and was eventually debunked.