This is a new and small blog. I usually get about 30 hits per day, and I like it that way. This is a place to jot down my thoughts, to save them for myself for the future, to see how my mind changes on various topics over the years. If anyone comes by and reads it and likes it, great, I'm flattered, but I think of this blog as my diary without a lock.
Today, hoewever, the counter went wild, over 150 hits so far, so I went to check the referral page to see where is all this traffic coming from. I discovered three big sources.
Majikthise (http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2004/10/freelance_chron.html) linked to my post about Bush's circadian profile (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/10/early-to-rise-early-to-bed-makes-bush.html) and hopefuly people will read the other one, too (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/09/candidates-circadian-profiles.html). I love the way she put it: Owl versus Lark - we'll see some predation tonight! Also "circadian handicaaping" sounds like a good name for a rock band! Thanks, Majik!
I noticed that Bush has been in the West for the last few days. That is the BEST way to shift the clock. Nothing beats natural daylight, coupled with scheduling meals, exercise, and campaign events on local time. Switching lights on and off is crude. Our photoreceptors are also tuned in to gradual changes of light intensity, as well as spectral composition, that occurs during dawn and dusk. Simulating such changes in intensity and spectrum is very difficult artificially even if Bush could be held indoors at all times.
The science is not good enough yet to devise a way to shift a clock artificially (e.g., in Washington D.C.) and have Bush fresh in Arizona immediatelly after a flight. I am assuming that the trip to the West was designed primarily to hone Bush's message to the Hispanic population and the West-specific issues. If they asked a chronobiologist (e.g., someone from Circadian Technologies Inc.), that would have been the best advice to do, but I doubt they did that.
Still, larks are at best form in the morning and owls in the evening, so Kerry retains slight advantage, as the debate starts at 6pm local time (9pm ET).
Update: Both seemed fine and fresh. More on psychological aspects of chronotypes here:
Guys at "Gene Expression" blog (http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/002865.html?entry=2865) have discovered my earlier post (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/10/god-genes-and-conservatives.html) in which I use a couple of their posts as an illustration of the point I was trying to make. To be fair, it is a group blog, and many different views can be seen on the site. I go there every day because half of the stuff is interesting and informative, while the other half is infuriating, depending who teh poster was. So far, the discussion with them (mostly there) is civil. These are smart and educated people, and even those who are conservative do not appear to be mad frothing-at-the-mouth Bushies. Biology is exciting but not a matter of life or death (figurativelly - of course it is literally!), so I do not expect personal threats or flaming from these folks, and the discussion may still turn out to be enjoyable and educational for all involved.
Speaking of the mad frothing-at-the-mouth Bushies, the third avalanche of hits came from this site:
As you can see, someone there posted a link to my blog there. The comments are scary, almost bloodcurdling. Hate, venom and paranoia. Total strictfatherism at its extreme. They really bought into the lie that the Democratic party is liberal, that liberalism is bad, that USA is not and should not be a democracy, that Kerry will outlaw religion, take away guns, force straight people into gay marriages and other nonsense that Rove likes to spread rumors about. Now I am afraid.