A. Roger Ekirch

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pages: 367 words: 102,188

Sleepyhead: Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night by Henry Nicholls

A. Roger Ekirch, Donald Trump, double helix, Drosophila, global pandemic, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, placebo effect, Saturday Night Live, stem cell, web application, Yom Kippur War

Kalsbeek and others (Elsevier, 1996), 321–42 <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079612308604161> [accessed 14 November 2016]. p. 33 Jane Rowth had a particular impact Roger Ekirch, Interview with author, 7 February 2017. p. 33 a couple of days later A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime (Phoenix, 2006), p. 307. p. 34 between light and light The quotations from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Robert Louis Stevenson appear in A. Roger Ekirch, ‘Sleep We Have Lost: Pre-Industrial Slumber in the British Isles’, American Historical Review, 106.2 (2001), 343–386. p. 34 premier sommeil A. Roger Ekirch, ‘Sleep We Have Lost’. p. 35 getting out of bed A. Roger Ekirch, ‘A Social History of Sleep – Looking Back to What Was “Normal Sleep”’ (Royal Society of Medicine, 2017). p. 36 a 24-hour period National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times, 2 February 2015, <https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times> [accessed 23 October 2017].

‘Consequently, humans have increasingly insulated themselves from the natural cycles of light and darkness that have shaped the endogenous rhythms of life on this planet for billions of years.’ Thanks to artificial lighting, the human brain has become ‘perpetually clamped in a long-day/short-night mode,’ he wrote. Implicit in Wehr’s thesis was the prediction that in the past, when winter nights were long and dark, we might have slept in two discrete stints. When social historian Roger Ekirch chanced upon a write-up of Wehr’s work in the New York Times in 1995, he was stunned. He was researching sleep as part of a book on the history of night-time, and though he had no prior knowledge of Wehr’s research he’d arrived at much the same conclusion. In the mid-1980s, Ekirch had spent a portion of his summer holidays in London, delving into the archives at the Public Record Office on Chancery Lane.

More recently, there have been several excellent popular books on sleep, including The Mind at Night by Andrea Rock, Night School by Richard Weismann, The Mystery of Sleep by Meir Kryger and Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. When it comes to specific aspects of sleep and sleep disorders, there is plenty of further reading to be had. A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter is a little known book about a year spent among fur-trappers in the Arctic and contains magical descriptions of light and darkness. Roger Ekirch’s discovery of a biphasic pattern of pre-industrial sleep first appeared in his stunning article ‘Sleep we have lost’, American Historical Review 106.2, (2001), p. 343–86 and then in At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime. For more on the science of the circadian rhythm, see Rhythms of Life by circadian biology pioneer Russell Foster and look out for Our Solar Bodies by Linda Geddes. When it comes to narcolepsy, it’s well worth dipping into William Adie, ‘Idiopathic narcolepsy: A disease sui generis; with remarks on the mechanism of sleep’, Brain 49.3, (1926), 257–306 and Luman Daniels, ‘Narcolepsy’, Medicine 13.1, (1934), 1–122.


pages: 238 words: 75,994

A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

A. Roger Ekirch, big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, off grid, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning

This was not motivated by aesthetics, however, but was explicitly a police project, a deliberate—and quite successful—effort to redesign the city so that the streets would be too wide to barricade, the back alleys no longer winding or confusing enough for insurgents and revolutionaries to disappear or get away. The urban landscape of Paris became a police tool, its urban core reorganized so aggressively that popular uprisings would henceforth be spatially impossible. This is not the only police project for which Paris is widely known. As historian A. Roger Ekirch explains in his 2005 book, At Day’s Close, the idea of lighting the streets of Paris back in the 1600s originally came from the police. Streetlights were one of many new patrol tools implemented by Louis XIV’s lieutenant general of police, Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie. De la Reynie’s plan ordered that lanterns be hung over the streets every sixty feet—with the unintended side effect that Paris soon gained its popular moniker, the City of Light.

The “Haussmannization” of Paris has been exhaustively covered by other writers; for an explicitly architectural focus, see Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition by Jeff Byles (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005) or even The Kill, a great novel by Émile Zola set during Haussmann’s demolitions, originally published in serial form in 1871 (New York: Modern Library, 2005, translated by Arthur Goldhammer). In his book The Insurgent Barricade (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), historian Mark Traugott disputes the notion that Haussmann’s renovations were explicitly directed at preventing street barricades, claiming that their counterrevolutionary effects simply came from pushing the working class out of central Paris. For more on the history of urban lighting programs, see A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005). For more on predictive policing, see, among other articles, “Predicting Crime, L.A.P.D.-Style” (Nate Berg, Guardian, June 2014). The “Lamm technique” seems to be a favorite topic of crime writers; references to it are legion. I found Herman “Baron” Lamm, the Father of Modern Bank Robbery by Walter Mittelstaedt (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012) and This Here’s a Stick-Up: The Big Bad Book of American Bank Robbery by Duane Swierczynski (New York: Alpha Books, 2002) particularly useful.


pages: 709 words: 191,147

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

A. Roger Ekirch, back-to-the-land, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, Copley Medal, desegregation, Donald Trump, feminist movement, full employment, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, land tenure, mass immigration, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Hutchinson, The Population Debate: The Development of Conflicting Theories up to 1900 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 37, 44, 52, 123–24; Timothy Raylor, “Samuel Hartlib and the Commonwealth of Bees,” in Culture and Cultivation in Early Modern England, eds. Michael Leslie and Timothy Raylor (New York: St. Martin’s, 1992), 106. 19. Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 1607–1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1947): 5, 7, 12, 20, 67–85, 136–51; A. Roger Ekirch, “Bound for America: A Profile of British Convicts Transported to the Colonies, 1718–1775,” William and Mary Quarterly 42, no. 2 (April 1985): 184–222; Abbott Emerson Smith, “Indentured Servants: New Light on Some of America’s ‘First’ Families,” Journal of Economic History 2, no. 1 (May 1942): 40–53; A. L. Beier, Masterless Men: The Vagrancy Problem in England, 1560–1640 (London: Methuen, 1985), 162–64; Tomlins, Freedom Bound, 21, 76–77; Farley Grubb, “Fatherless and Friendless: Factors Influencing the Flow of English Emigrant Servants,” Journal of Economic History 52, no. 1 (March 1992): 85–108.

Fears of the high rates of importing slaves began in the 1690s, and the recruitment of Leet-men, to offset this imbalance, was still part of the equation; see Brad Hinshelwood, “The Carolinian Context of John Locke’s Theory,” Political Theory 4, no. 4 (August 2013): 562–90, esp. 579–80. 14. Noeleen McIlvenna, A Very Mutinous People: The Struggle for North Carolina, 1660–1713 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 1, 13, 162; Kirsten Fischer, Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002), 24; A. Roger Ekirch, “Poor Carolina”: Politics and Society in Colonial North Carolina, 1729–1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), xviii–xix, 24. For “useless lubbers,” see Hugh Talmage Lefler, ed., A New Voyage to Carolina by John Lawson (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967), 40. 15. See “From the Gentlemen’s Magazine,” Boston Evening-Post, February 5, 1739. Italics in the original. 16.


pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner

A. Roger Ekirch, Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Shoshana Zuboff, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

Terril Yue Jones, “Face Off. Sit on It,” Forbes, July 5, 1999, 53; Scott Leith, “Chair vs. Chair,” Grand Rapids Press, June 13, 1999. 54. Sue Emily Martin, Flexible Bodies: Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of AIDS (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994). 55. Dan Logan, “Home Office Thrones,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1999. 56. “Science of Easy Chairs,” 638. CHAPTER SIX 1. A. Roger Ekirch, “Sleep We Have Lost: Preindustrial Slumber in the British Isles,” American Historical Review, vol. 105, no. 2 (April 2000), 343–87; Peter N. Stearns et al., “Children’s Sleep: Sketching Historical Change,” Journal of Social History, vol. 30, no. 2 (Winter 1996), 345–66; Jerome A. Hirschfeld, “The ‘Back-to-Sleep’ Campaign Against SIDS,” American Family Physician, vol. 51, no. 3 (February 15, 1995), 622ff.; Bruce Bower, “Slumber’s Unexplored Landscape,” Science News, vol. 156, no. 13 (September 25, 1999), 205. 2.


pages: 442 words: 127,300

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

A. Roger Ekirch, active measures, clockwatching, Dmitri Mendeleev, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, impulse control, lifelogging, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, placebo effect, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method

A further criterion is that depriving the organism of what looks like sleep should result in an increased drive for more of it when you stop the annoying deprivation assault, reflecting “sleep rebound.” II. It was once thought that sharks did not sleep, in part because they never closed their eyes. Indeed, they do have clear active and passive phases that resemble wake and sleep. We now know that the reason they never close their eyes is because they have no eyelids. III. A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006). CHAPTER 5 * * * Changes in Sleep Across the Life Span SLEEP BEFORE BIRTH Through speech or song, expecting parents will often thrill at their ability to elicit small kicks and movements from their in utero child. Though you should never tell them this, the baby is most likely fast asleep. Prior to birth, a human infant will spend almost all of its time in a sleep-like state, much of which resembles the REM-sleep state.


pages: 505 words: 137,572

Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-Houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-Gangs, Freakshows and Female Education by Liza Picard

A. Roger Ekirch, clean water, double entry bookkeeping, joint-stock company, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, South Sea Bubble

Abstract from Mr Howard’s Account of the English Prisons and Hospitals, London, 1789. 53. The Gentleman’s Magazine, September 1764. 54. The Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1765. 55. London Evening Post, 23 October 1764. 56. The Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1763. 57. The Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1771. 58. William Alexander, The History of Women, London, 1779. 59. Radzinowicz, op. cit. 60. A. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies 1718–1775, Oxford, 1987, on which the following section is based. 61. This word is not in Johnson’s Dictionary. It means ‘a line of animals, slaves, etc. fastened together’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary). It is startling to find it used of English men in London. 62. The Gentleman’s Magazine, June 1750. 63. The Gentleman’s Magazine, December 1750.


pages: 243 words: 65,374

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce

And when that sun goes down, it’s pitch-black: there are no streetlights, flashlights, lightbulbs, fluorescents—even kerosene lamps haven’t been invented yet. There’s just a flickering glow of a fireplace, and the smoky burn of the tallow candle. Those nights were so oppressive that scientists now believe our sleep patterns were radically different in the ages before ubiquitous night lighting. In 2001, the historian Roger Ekirch published a remarkable study that drew upon hundreds of diaries and instructional manuals to convincingly argue that humans had historically divided their long nights into two distinct sleep periods. When darkness fell, they would drift into “first sleep,” waking after four hours to snack, relieve themselves, have sex, or chat by the fire, before heading back for another four hours of “second sleep.”


pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

A. Roger Ekirch, Atul Gawande, big-box store, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, post-work, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

For one month, try winding down to quieter activities an hour and a half earlier and going to bed an hour earlier at night. Compare how you feel, physically and mentally, at the beginning and end of the month. You may never go back to cutting short your zzzs again! While you’re at it, though, don’t stress too much about nighttime wakefulness. It’s totally normal for humans, according to Virginia Tech University sleep historian Roger Ekirch (as cited by Natalie Wolchover in LifeScience). Regard it as “segmented sleep” instead of “insomnia.” Relax, and use those moments for quiet activities: think deep thoughts, fantasize, meditate, and enjoy doing nothing for a bit until your body is ready for sleep again. You have permission not to run yourself into the ground Go slow. Be kind, especially to yourself. Unknot your knots. Recognize that life is a marathon—not a sprint—and create regular distraction-free times to restore your energy, calm, and focus.