New Unscientist - Peregrine Nation.
Digital watches can make you put on weight. You heard it here first. Technology is not such a good thing all the time. I know you think this is just a catchy first paragraph to get you interested but stay with it and I?ll show you the real connection.
It is necessary to set the scene.
I hadn't been sleeping too well and research shows that interrupted sleep can cause weight gain. Now, some of you have already rushed to a conclusion, but bear with me.
I am unlucky with watches. I always break them. The longest I have owned a watch without having to get it repaired is, at best a year. I have dropped them in the toilet. I have left them in coffee shops, I even run one over, but that's a long story that I'll save for another time. Suffice to say I should probably stick to asking other people the time or install a sundial on my car dashboard.
On my last trip to America I stopped off at Walmart. For those of you who don't know (and you'd have to be living in a hole not to!) they are the largest retailer in the world and have some great bargains, including digital watches at give away prices. I bought several for about twenty dollars.
"You always get what you pay for", my grandfather used to say. I should have listened more closely but I probably put it down to another one of those "in my day" stories.
Once home I unwrapped one of the watches with gusto and discarded the cheap packaging. Unfortunately, with the packaging went the instructions of which buttons to press for the myriad things of which my new purchase was capable. Silly me.
Now it was around this time that my sleep pattern went to the dogs. And it wasn't until Mrs. Nation asked me to reset the alarm that was going off in the middle of the night that I realized the source of my problem. And, let me tell you, Mrs. Nation is a very sound sleeper so for a digital watch to wake her up must be something.
My new watch was water resistant to a depth of ten millimetres, it had a stopwatch, it told me the wrong day and date effectively and it had an alarm. It had five different buttons for pressing and holding to stop, start or change any of its functions. But, I had no instructions.
For someone who can operate most technology I believed it wouldn't be too difficult for me to stop the alarm from sounding off in the small hours. How wrong could I be?
There is somewhat of the compulsive-obsessive about my personality, which means that I do not give up easily. I kept at that watch for the best part of three weeks before I smashed it with a hammer. There is also a touch of berserker in my personality and I should not really be allowed to have heavy or sharp implements.
It was time for one of my other new watches to be tried out so I went to my store of cheap watches but they were not where they were supposed to be, a drawer in my office.
I found them after a relatively short search. They were all out of their packaging, employed in a worthy cause and attached to the likes of Buzz Lightyear, Barney the dinosaur; even Barbie had one around her waist.
After recovering them from their surreal tea party I took them back to my office resigned to the fact that I would have to work out their buttons unaided. I tried for a while but my heart was not in the endeavour.
My children had been pushing the watch buttons, with some success, because now they chimed, beeped and buzzed on the hour. The alarms went off at varying times of the day and night. I would weigh four hundred pounds in no time if these things came anywhere near my bedroom.
I must admit Barney seemed happy to get his watch back, buzz was his usual unemotional self as he was more concerned with defeating the evil Zurg and getting out from the endless tea parties he was attending. And Barbie, well, Barbie I thought could do with putting on a little weight so she could have as many bleeping watches, as she wanted.