Blue light destroys REM sleep


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in happiness, health | Posted on 11-10-2015

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blue light destroys sleep
Have you seen the documentary ‘Lights Out!’ that showed how colors of light triggered different things in the brain? I sometimes have insomnia or odd sleep patterns, so I found this interesting. It originally aired on the CBC show The Nature of Things, and be viewed online here (Canada only, sorry).

They did a study on night shift workers, with a focus on nurses and truck drivers. It was found out that as a group, compared to daytime workers, that the night-shift workers got the least amount of REM sleep. REM sleep has been found vital of clearing the brain of waste cells. The Netflix special also indicated a much higher rate of breast cancer in the night-shift nurses that were studied.

Background info: Every organ in the body produces waste, and all the other organs get rid of waste when you go to the bathroom. It has been recently discovered that the brain, however, does something different. It simulates a car wash when you fall into a deep sleep, and rinses the brain of waste matter. They believe that the lack of the carwash is causing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. The waste does not get rinsed, and then forms plaque on the neural pathways. (source: tedtalk) Now we know the importance of sleep.

So back the colors of light. The color blue triggers the brain into thinking it is daylight, and tells the body to stop triggering REM sleep. Even being briefly exposed to blue light (5 minutes!) can stop this for a few hours. What does this mean? Even though the nurses and truck drivers slept, their brain does not enter REM sleep for as long as needed, if at all.

They put special glasses on the truck drivers to emit blue light to help keep them awake, which prevented more accidents. Then about an hour before their driving was over, they switched to red-orange glasses which tells the brain it is sunset, and starts to prepare for ‘evening’ hours, even though it may be 7am.

Here are some tips:

1) Avoid a cellphone or computer screen 1-2 hours before sleep.

2) Looking at the cellphone, or computer screen when you have insomnia may be the worst thing you can do. Lying in bed in total darkness will help keep your brain from losing REM sleep.

3) If you have to get up and look at a computer or cellphone, turn down the brightness, and download this app for Windows:
Red screen
Astronomers use Red Screen to prevent losing their night vision. I use this at medium setting, and have my brightness turned all the way down.

For mac users, check this post for some apps: 10 Apps to help you tame your monitor at night

Good luck, and happy dreaming!

Rod Morgenstein – Filling in the Holes


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in Music, drums, happiness | Posted on 11-01-2015

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Rod Morgenstein, you came to Toledo, Ohio back in the mid-80’s and gave a drum clinic. That night you changed how I approach playing drums.

Rod Mogenstein

Rod Mogenstein

You discussed three things that night:

1) Having fun playing the drums
2) Tinnitus and Ear Protection (I wear the gun protection earmuffs now as well when I am playing)
3) a handout called ‘Filling in the Holes’

For everyone reading, I want to discuss #3 in this post.

‘Filling in the Holes’ described taking any drum rhythm, and filling in sixteenth notes on the hi hat where the snare and bass drum are not being played.

Filling in the holes gave me all kinds of ideas, and it continues to give me ideas when playing rhythms.

Here is an example of that:

Rod, thank you for that drum clinic – it had a huge influence on me, and I still like to play with filling in the holes. I kept that handout all these years. You can learn more about Filling In the Holes here.

Filling in The Holes is not only a great drum lesson, but it is a great life lesson.

I challenge everyone to look at their life, and fill in the holes.

5 Reasons to enjoy Daylight Savings Time Ending


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in astronomy, happiness, photography | Posted on 10-31-2015

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#5 You now have an excuse not to do outdoor chores during the week. It is too dark to mow the lawn after work.

#4 It is easier to wake up in the morning when it is brighter out. If you keep the same sleep schedule (as now), you will wake up an hour earlier. Your co-workers will be startled when you walk in early. :)

#3 You have longer time to gaze at the stars, and to enjoy a telescope. Do some long-exposure night-time photography. Take pictures of star trails.

#2 Enjoy that extra hour of sleep that first day.

#1 I can’t think of any more reasons – I miss daylight savings time…but will make the best of it.

ps: Take solace in that the school children are not going to school in the dark, and less of a chance of being hit by cars.

Best free antivirus


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in Tech | Posted on 03-06-2015

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I am often asked what is the best free antivirus program out there.

Often, I am asked to remove viruses and spyware from people’s computers. Frequently these viruses got installed from infected files received via email, or received by infected websites. These viruses often will download additional payloads of viruses. It is not uncommon to see tons of infected files on a person’s computer.

These viruses will usually slow the computer down significantly. Some will make offers of removing the viruses, and then try to sell you software to do so. Don’t fall for this trap.

First off, only download software from safe sites. the site I use for all of my downloads is filehippo.

Filehippo provides all kinds of utilities and programs. Some are full programs, and some are limited demos.

The best solution is prevention – do not launch attachments from strangers. Also, be careful with the links you see on questionable websites.

After that, the best free antivirus is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

It finds the most amount of problems, and fixes the most issues. It does a great job, and is often updated. It also works fins if there is other antivirus /spyware software installed.

The only thing you have to be careful about is the installation. At the end of the installation, it will default to turning on their premium, fee-based version as a trial. You want to uncheck the box unless you plan on buying it, which in my opinion is unneeded.

Ten Gift Ideas for any Photographer


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in gift ideas, photography | Posted on 12-16-2014

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Here are ten gift ideas for the photographer in your life:

#1 Camera Lens Style Coffee Mug
– the mug looks like a camera lens!

#2 Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites
by Syl Arena – awesome, highly addictive book!

#3 The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
by Joe McNally – another great book that gives you instruction on using small flashes

#4 Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite
– I own two of these flashes, and they are simply great. Great flash, great price.

#5 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer’s Photographer
– Gregory Heisler

#6 Yongnuo RF-603 II 16-Ch Wireless Flash Trigger
– I use these with the flashes shown above. It eliminates the cords which can cause tripping.

#7 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6
– I now use this more than I use Photoshop for my photos. This catalogs the photos as well as allows you to crop, edit and use special effects.

#8 The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)
by Scott Kelby – a great book for users of Lightroom

#9 Square Perfect 1040 SP2000 Backdrop Background Support Stand
– I love this background stand – sturdy, and well built.

#10 JOBY GripTight GorillaPod Stand for SmartPhones
– perfect for small cameras and mobile phones, especially when you want to take the selfie to the next level.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, and that a very small portion of these purchases may be paid to me as commission at no cost to you.

Toto – Kingdom of Desire


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in Music, happiness | Posted on 04-05-2014

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Please share. This song deserves to be sung. Blaring horns, Jimi-style guitars, hammond organ, and drums. Very cool break. Surprises await you. No April Fools joke.

–lyrics follow–

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Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in General, Music, happiness | Posted on 04-03-2014

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6:00 – Dream Theater: Awake

–click below for lyrics–

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One word


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in happiness | Posted on 03-07-2014

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Congrats to Instagram!


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in Tech | Posted on 04-11-2012

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Congrats to Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook. Not bad for a 13 person team to rake in 1 billion dollars! Individual payouts vary on time spent, but one payout is rumoured to be at around 400 million in money & stock.

Say No to Negativity


Posted by Brent Hathaway | Posted in General | Posted on 03-04-2011

Just say no to negativity – don’t surround yourself with it. There are better things to do with your time. Build something, instead of tearing it down.

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