(I am breaking my own rules this week and choosing a selection from my current journal, Volume 132. The first part is excerpted from an on-line article I found by googling “arctic resignation,” a concept I was introduced to in a book I am currently reading, The Noon-Day Demon, At Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon. It’s really good.)
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Arctic Resignation : Winter Dormancy without Hypothermia by A.S. Blix
The adaptations of the Svalbard* reindeer…and the Svalbard ptarmigan…to survive under the most austere climatic and nutritional conditions are examined. Both species have an extreme ability for the deposition of body fat in summer. In winter they reduce their energy consumption without becoming lethargic, mainly by a drastic reduction of locomotor activity. The very low winter level of thyroid activity apparently does not affect metabolic rate, but might contribute to the behavioral “arctic resignation” shown by these animals. (Written by the editors.)
…It is well known that both the Svalbard reindeer and ptarmigan are extremely “tame in the wild.” It is tempting to assume that the very low levels of thyroid hormones contribute to the apparent lethargy of these animals. It should be kept in mind, however, that although the Svalbard reindeer and ptarmigan show many of the appearances of a winter dormant animal, these animals are always alert and are able to maintain a constant body temperature due to large seasonal changes in total body conductivity. I therefore suggest that the term: “Arctic Resignation” is best in describing the state of mind of these creatures. Recent studies in our laboratory have shown that the physiological back-up behind this seasonal change in behavior is driven by the changes in photoperiod, although an important endogenous rhythmicity is also at work. (Stokkan et al., 1986).
Living in the cold 2nd International Symposium, Edited by André Malan and Bernard Canguilhem, 1989 - cold adaptation
(* an arctic island group between mainland Norway and the North Pole)
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Trump Resignation: Winter Dormancy with Hyperanxiety
The adaptations of North American liberals, democrats, animal lovers, immigrants, muslims, climate protectors, public school advocates, jewish people, black people, LGBTQ people, poor people, artists, people who need affordable health care, women, scientists, environmentalists, etc., to survive under the most extreme, bizarre, dangerous U.S. political administration of our time are examined.
It is probable that the extreme lethargy exhibited by these groups of humans can be attributable to high stress levels, fear, and uncertainty about the future, which have led to massive increases in depression, insomnia, weight gain, torpor and feelings of immobility and helplessness.
It should be kept in mind, however, that although these human mammals show many of the appearances of a winter dormant animal, these humans are always alert, waiting for the next childish and alarming tweet storm amid ever-increasing evidence of their leader's questionable mental state, and are able to maintain a constant body temperature by hiding inside their houses. I therefore suggest that the term “Trump Resignation” is best in describing the state of mind of these creatures.
Recent studies have shown that the physiological back-up behind this unprecedented change in behavior is driven by the perceived changes in our core values as a country, although an important endogenous rhythmicity in the release of tweets as well as the continual droning of the 24-hour news cycle are also at work.