This Night Owl Gene Mutation Turns People Into Sleep Martians

This Night Owl Gene Mutation Turns People Into Sleep Martians

Researchers have found a genetic mutation that turns people into Martians — at least when it comes to sleep patterns.

People with the mutation tend to be night owls because it keeps them on a perpetual 24 ½ hour schedule — close to the Martian 24 hour, 39 minute day, researchers reported in the journal Cell.

With their body clocks always running a little longer than everybody else’s, it’s like having perpetual jet lag, the researchers at the Rockefeller University report.

“Carriers of the mutation have longer days than the planet gives them, so they are essentially playing catch-up for their entire lives,” said Alina Patke, who headed up the research effort.

Related: Night Owls Are More Likely to be Jerks

About 1.2 percent of people carry one or two copies of the mutation, so it doesn’t explain why so many people are night owls. But it’s one of many known to change the body’s internal clock, the so-called circadian rhythm.

It’s one of several causes of delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD).

“It’s as if these people have perpetual jet lag, moving eastward every day,” said Michael Young, who oversaw the study. “In the morning, they’re not ready for the next day to arrive.”

“It’s as if these people have perpetual jet lag, moving eastward every day.”

The mutation is in a gene called CRY1 and when people have it, every cell in their body runs on the wrong time. They can end up being night owls but often, the effects are much more disruptive, Patke said.

“For some, it causes a fragmented sleep. They actually went to bed rather early. They only slept for about two hours. Then they took long naps throughout the day.”

Related: Cancer Hijacks Cells’ Internal Clocks

Circadian rhythm affects more than just sleep patterns. The people with the mutation also have disrupted cycles of body temperature, and Patke’s team wants to study other effects — such as the risks of various diseases.

The team found six Turkish families affected by the mutation. It didn’t matter whether people had one or two copies of the mutated gene, it affected circadian cycles in the same way.

Patke described the case of one 46-year-old American volunteer who stayed in her team’s sleep clinic for three weeks to be studied.

“Her internal clock is one closer to one from another planet.”

She stayed in a studio apartment with no outside cues about time — no windows, no clocks, no television or internet access.

“They didn’t know what time of day it was,” Patke said. “The idea was to see what they lived like when they were just controlled by their own clock.”

Related: Here’s Why Coffee Keeps You Up at Night

The volunteers, including the woman, didn’t sleep eight hours straight. Instead, she slept in fits and starts, although the normal sleep brain wave rhythms were typical, with the usual transitions into and out of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Left to their own natural devices, they had a 24 ½ hour daily schedule.

“Her internal clock is one closer to one from another planet,” Patke said.

That might help some people who want to work at NASA, Patke joked. “I remember reading that for people who control these Mars rovers at JPL (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), they have to work on a Mars sol (day) cycle. The rovers are only active when the sun shines on Mars,” she said.

NASA may even want to recruit people with the mutation to eventually travel to Mars, so they’d be less prone to the jet lag that will almost certainly affect Mars visitors.

Related: Teens Need to Sleep In

“Somebody who has that mutation might be well suited as a volunteer but there may be more factors that go into that,” Patke said.

Patke is herself a night owl and tested herself for the genetic mutation. She doesn’t have it.

Other genetic mutations almost certainly underlie tendencies to be morning larks or night owls. And there are ways to cope.

“An external cycle and good sleep hygiene can help force a slow-running clock to accommodate a 24-hour day,” Patke said. “We just have to work harder at it.”

France and the UK top WWF list of countries for low carbon policies — Le WWF classe la France, 1er pays en UE pour sa stratégie bas-carbone

France and the UK top WWF list of countries for low carbon policies — Le WWF classe la France, 1er pays en UE pour sa stratégie bas-carbone

C’est la France qui arrive en tête de ce classement avec une note de 78% devant le Royaume Uni (71%) et la Finlande (68%).  Le WWF identifie deux points d’amélioration pour la France : son niveau d’ambition (son objectif de réduction des émissions (75% d’ici 2050) pourrait être revu à la hausse) et la transparence des procédures.


Pascal Canfin, directeur général du WWF France : « Nous nous réjouissons de voir que la France arrive en tête du classement des pays de l’UE et de leurs stratégies bas carbone grâce à sa loi sur la transition énergétique et les dispositifs associés. Cela renforce l’idée que le prochain gouvernement doit appliquer cette loi et non la remettre en cause. Nous rappelons néanmoins que de bons objectifs ne suffisent pas à eux seuls à faire une vraie politique ! Preuve en est le retard important que la France accuse dans le développement des énergies renouvelables. »

Chypre figure à la dernière place avec une note de 25%, note qui s’explique en partie par le fait que le pays avait seulement présenté une ébauche de stratégie.

Imke Lübbeke, responsable Climat et Energie du bureau des politiques européennes du WWF : « Une bonne stratégie bas-carbone devrait être alignée sur les objectifs inscrits dans l’Accord de Paris et être également réalisable, transparente et développée avec les entreprises et la société civile. Quelques pays y parviennent, tout au moins partiellement et certains, comme l’Allemagne par exemple, ont déjà réalisé des mises à jour de leur stratégie, plus ambitieuses que la stratégie remise en 2015. D’autres, à l’inverse, ont encore beaucoup à faire ! »

Man helps amputee up stairs, then returns to build ramp

Man helps amputee up stairs, then returns to build ramp

After spending days in the hospital, Jennifer Austin was just happy to be heading home after her husband Don underwent a partial leg amputation.But as they reached the front door, Don quickly realized he had not yet regained the strength or balance he needed to hop up their front steps with his crutches. Defeated, Don sat down on the front steps – and Jennifer wasn’t strong enough to help him back up.They didn’t know what to do next, but then a stranger driving by saw them struggling and circled back around. A man named Steve pulled up and asked if he could help, then lifted Don up and helped him into the house and onto the couch. Calling him an “angel,” Jennifer was stunned by his random act of kindness.”I hope he realizes how much his thoughtful act is appreciated. He was a hero today, and we are so grateful that he was willing to stop and take the time to help people he has never met before,” she wrote on Facebook.But Steve Smith’s work wasn’t done yet. As it turns out, he was a welder, too. He returned to their house the next day – with some extra hands – and built a wheelchair ramp to the Austin’s front door.”Brought Don, his mom, his nurse and myself to tears,” Jennifer wrote on Facebook. “We just couldn’t believe it. Wow. To be on the receiving end of such kindness is so humbling.”———-

College President tells students he doesn’t deal with demands

College President tells students he doesn’t deal with demands

The white president of a college in Virginia just gave a Black Lives Matter group a real hard pill to swallow when they showed up in his office with a list of demands.

“I don’t deal in demands,” said College of William & Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III. “I don’t make demands of other people. I don’t expect to receive demands from people. I love to get suggestions, recommendations, strong arguments.”

“When you approach other people with a demand, instead of their ears opening and their spirit being unusually receptive, you get defensive walls erected,” he continued in the live video streamed on Facebook. “So, I think you all need to think about it.”

A student spoke up after this and said Reveley made an “interesting point” about making suggestions and added, “But I’m going to disagree.”

Reveley wasn’t fazed and reminded them, “That is the beauty of the First Amendment.”

In typical BLM fashion, the students saw their president as clueless and tried to tell him that making suggestions is too nice and makes them “not necessary.”

“No, no, no, that’s not the way the world works,” Reveley retorted. “It is not effective, in my opinion, to approach other people and say ‘we demand’ unless you have the capacity to demand.”

“We are students, and we pay tuition to be here,” someone said. “That is the reason why we are able to write these demands.”

Another said, “So, you have an issue with the way that we are phrasing this? … I think you’re missing the point … We’ve tried to be nice … It’s not working.”

They demanded he listen “to students of color when they tell you this is what needs to happen.”

Unlike those in the room, you will LOVE Reveley’s response:

The disgusted group left the meeting disheartened, with one of them posting the video to Facebook and complaining:

This is what being censored looks like. This is what white supremacy looks like. This is what patriarchy looks like. This is what condescension looks like. This is what being told “you, your issues and your life don’t matter” looks like. THIS is why we say #BlackLivesMatter… [He] is not a benevolent grandpa, he is a man with an agenda that excludes students of color. Call it what it is.

We will call it what it is: a college president with balls big enough to confront a group of anti-American bullies. Let us hope more follows his lead.

Meet the Rollettes: The wheelchair dance team that will wow you

Meet the Rollettes: The wheelchair dance team that will wow you

Chelsie Hill always imagined a career as a professional dancer — she just didn’t know she would be in a wheelchair once she got there.

At 17 years old, Hill was part of her high school dance team and had been dancing competitively for more than a decade. She was three months away from graduation in Pacific Grove, California when she got into a car accident with a group of friends, leaving Hill paralyzed from the belly button down.

In an instant, everything changed. Suddenly Hill, now 25, couldn’t move — let alone dance — like she used to.

“In the beginning, I thought, well, when someone breaks a bone, they heal,” she told TODAY of the weeks after her accident. “It takes a little bit, but they get back to their life. I didn’t really understand the extent of what had happened (to me). I knew there was a car accident, and the doctor said, ‘You’re not going to be able to walk again,’ but I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know what the future looked like.”

Hill spent 51 days in the hospital, but it took much longer for reality to sink in: The doctor was right. But while Hill was starting to realize she wouldn’t ever walk again, she refused to give up dance.

“When it first happened, I was like, ‘OK, how am I going to get dressed? How am I going to do this?'” she said. “But I always knew I would dance again.”

Two years after she was released from the hospital, she organized a dance showcase with some women she had met in the wheelchair community, and from there, the idea for a wheelchair dance team was born.

She launched the Rollettes (formerly known as Walk and Roll, and before that, Team Hot Wheels) in 2012. The group of six women performs across the country at various abilities festivals and expos, and will dance at the upcoming Wings for Life World Run in Santa Clarita, California, which raises funds for spinal cord research.

Hill, who also appeared on SundanceTV’s reality show “Push Girls,” considers the crew “family” and often leads practice each week, teaching new choreography or training for an upcoming performance.

“I have built my whole life these last seven years basically normalizing my situation,” Hill said. “Of course I’m still in touch with friends from before the accident, but my favorite part about this team is knowing that I have a group of girls who are my best friends, my sisters. Being able to travel with them and not feeling different.”

RELATED: When these parents couldn’t find a wheelchair for their baby, they built their own

On social media, the Rollettes show off moves to hits from Selena Gomez and Ed Sheeran — they even experiment with burlesque and ballroom dance. The women jerk, sway or rock their upper bodies, and use their hands to swerve their wheelchairs or, in one case, “shuffle” to the beat of LMFAO’s “Party Rock.”

Dancing is “second nature” to Hill, but learning how to move in a chair was entering a whole new world.

“Half of my body was taken away from me and I have to move it with my hands now,” Hill said. “It definitely took a lot of learning and patience.”

Five years later, Hill has accepted her new normal. In fact, she embraces it.

“Of course there are things I miss being able to feel — leaps and kicks and backflips,” Hill said. “But when I’m performing, I still feel the same rush that I used to. And when I go on stage, I don’t feel my chair. I don’t feel different. I’m just dancing, and that’s where my heart is.”

A Young Cancer Patient Only Wants Letters. Can You All Help?

A Young Cancer Patient Only Wants Letters. Can You All Help?

KSP Trooper Robert Purdy (center) helped arrange the new mailbox for teen cancer patient Aaron Stamper’s wish of receiving as many birthday cards as will fit in it. (Source: @TprPurdy/Twitter)

IRVINE, KY (WAVE) – An Estill County teenager who’s battling cancer got an early birthday gift just days before he turns 16: A large mailbox to accommodate his other wish — as many birthday cards as will fit inside of it.

WLEX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, reported that Aaron Stamper’s family has experienced its share of tragedy over the last three years.

“There’s days I don’t know if we can get through it or not,” Aaron’s mother Diane Stamper told the news station. “But we just have people pray for us.”

In April 2014, Aaron was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic t-cell 2 leukemia just two days before his 13th birthday.

One year later, Aaron’s 19-year-old brother Ethan died in a car crash.

“I’m dreading it very much because we need to celebrate Aaron’s birthday, but at the same time, we’ll be celebrating the anniversary for (Ethan’s) death, too,” their mother said.


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+ VIDEO: IN girl asks stepfather to adopt her

Kentucky State Trooper Robert Purdy heard about the boy’s wish and Thursday, he took matters into his own hands, and tweeted out the result:

Diane Stamper said she wants to make Aaron’s 16th birthday special on Sunday by granting his small request for cards.

“I just like to collect them,” Aaron told WLEX. “When I get older, I want to put them in a book so I can remember them all, remember how hard things were.”

His mother said each card gives Aaron the courage to keep fighting.

“It would mean a great deal to know it would bring him joy,” Diane Stamper said.

Birthday cards can be sent to Aaron at his home at 2795 Pea Ridge Road, Irvine, KY 40336.

Peggy Whitson—First woman to command ISS—will make her 8th spacewalk today, the most by any female astronaut

Peggy Whitson—First woman to command ISS—will make her 8th spacewalk today, the most by any female astronaut

Dr. Peggy Whitson, the first woman to command the ISS, might soon also hold the record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut. She’s scheduled to step out of the ISS today (March 30th), and once she does, she’ll have eclipsed the number of times current record holder Sunita Williams floated around in space outside the orbiting lab. Williams still holds the distinction of being the astronaut who fixed the ISS with a toothbrush, though.

Human Conditions Improving at a Remarkable Rate

Human Conditions Improving at a Remarkable Rate

On a number of previous occasions, I have written about the extent of human progress around the world, but the remarkable speed of improvements in the state of humanity should not go unnoticed. To that end, I have looked at some of the most important indicators of human wellbeing, especially in the poor countries, over the last decade (or, when the latest data is not available, ten years prior to the last data point). The results are encouraging and ought to give us reason for 7:00 am

3.14.17 7:00 am

3.07.17 8:50 GDP per capita in real 2010 dollars (2005-2015)
Global: $8,858 → $10,194 or a 15.1 percent Africa (SSA): $1,363 → $1,660 or a 21.8 percent increase
India: $982 → $1,751 or a 78.3 percent increase
China: $2,738 → $6,498 or a 137.3 percent increase
2. Infant mortality (i.e., children under age of 1) per 1,000 live births (2005-2015)
Global: 44.3 → 31.7 or a 28.4 percent decline
SSA: 80 → 56.4 or a 29.5 percent decline
India: 55.8 → 37.9 or a 32.1 percent decline
China: 20.3 → 9.2 or a 54.7 percent decline
3. Life expectancy (2004-2014)
Global: 69 → 71.5 or a 3.6 percent increase
SSA: 52 → 58.6 or a 12.7 percent increase
India: 64.2 → 68 or a 5.9 percent increase
China: 73.4 → 75.8 or a 3.3 percent increase
4. Depth of the food deficit, kilocalories per person per day (2006-2016)*
Global: 129 → 88.4 or a 31.5 percent decline

Cats Are Actually Nice, Scientists Find

Cats Are Actually Nice, Scientists Find

Let me tell you about my handsome son, Mizue. He’s a cat. He cuddles up beside me and pushes his little furry head against me when he wants to be petted. He purrs and rubs up on everyone he meets. He’s the best dude, is what I’m saying here, and I am goddamn sick of people saying that cats aren’t nice.

But don’t take my word for it. Thanks to new research from Oregon State University, published on Friday in Behavioural Processes, there is scientific evidence that cats are, according to empirical study, nice. In fact, the study concluded, cats like interacting with humans more than they like eating food. Let that sink in: more than food. I don’t like anybody more than food.

The motivation for the study was to apply cognitive tests that have already be tried out on dogs and tortoises on cats, in order to clear up some misconceptions around cats’ bad reputation for being unsociable.

“Increasingly cat cognition research is providing evidence of their complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities,” the authors wrote in the paper. “Nonetheless, it is still common belief that cats are not especially sociable or trainable. This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for.”

The test took 50 cats both from people’s homes and from a shelter and deprived them of food, toys, and people for a few hours. Then, researchers presented the cats with different stimuli within four categories: human socialization, food, scent, and toys.

The researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the homed and the shelter cats, and that most cats preferred human socialization to any of the other categories. Half of the cats preferred social interaction to every other stimulus type, while only 37 percent preferred food.

“While it has been suggested that cat sociality exists on a continuum, perhaps skewed toward independency,” the authors wrote, “we have found that 50% of cats tested preferred interaction with the social stimulus even though they had a direct choice between social interaction with a human and their other most preferred stimuli from the three other stimulus categories.”

So, what does this mean? Basically, that cats are nice. But, the authors write, individual cat preferences for socialization may be influenced by life history or even breed.

A study of a few dozen cats might not be grounds for concrete conclusions, but this rings true for me. My cat doesn’t spend every minute of the day with me when I’m around. More often than not, he’s skulking around or chilling out on a sofa. But he’s friendly with everybody and we have our moments. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to spend every waking moment with the person I live with, either. And for the people who think cats are standoffish—are you immediately open and friendly with random humans you meet?

Your cat loves you. Love it back.

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This nana had her nursing home install speedy Wifi so she could Snapchat her grandkids

This nana had her nursing home install speedy Wifi so she could Snapchat her grandkids

Doreen Thew (92) moved to Ireland from London two years ago to be closer to her son Peter, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren after the death of her husband. The iPad loving granny made sure, however, that her nursing home had an adequate Wifi system in place before her arrival.

The pensioner regularly Facetimes with her friends and family in the UK and keeps up to date with her grandchildren on Snapchat.Doreen, who lives in TLC Nursing Home in Maynooth, also loves a bit of online shopping and said Google is really handy to help identify the types of birds that find the way into her garden.

Speaking of the awards, held this afternoon in eir HQ, Eamon Timmins, CEO of Age Action Ireland said 92-year-old Doreen is an inspiration.“Doreen is an amazing woman, inspiring all of us to know that age is no barrier to taking advantage of the thrilling opportunities presented by the internet and new technology.  The majority of older people in Ireland have never been online. We hope Doreen and all of our Silver Surfers encourage anyone with a computer sitting unused in the kitchen, or a tablet still in its wrapping paper, to get online and open up new worlds of information and entertainment”.

Speaking of the award, which was presented by TV presenter Baz Ashmawy and his mum Nancy, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee said the internet can open up new opportunities for elderly people in Ireland. “Going online can have enormous benefits for older people and I would encourage everyone to embrace technology. If we do it can open up a whole new world of opportunity, helping to reduce social isolation, allowing us to develop and pursue new hobbies and interests, as well as making new friends,” she said.