119 Relapsing

Do you know what a circadian cycle is? It has nothing to do with a chart on the life cycle of chirping cicadas (not circadas, as some people might think it's spelled) or the life cycle of any other insect, plant or animal.

Circadas? Close, but no cigar....

The Circadian Cycle is a compound word, made from two different Latin roots, Circa which means around, and diem meaning day. So Circa + Diem = Circadian, which means "around the day". You may also note that the Latin phrase Carpe Diem means "Day of The Carp", and people in Ancient Rome used to go to the River Tiber on this auspicious day in droves to catch carp (which is a fish), with their hands. And so it was, that Carpe Diem became to mean "Seize the Day" in the modern English Language.

Carp Diem!: You're right to think something's fishy around here

The Circadian Cycle in actual fact, is a biological cycle that affects most animals on a daily basis. Some of us call it the biological clock, and we usually complain that once we miss some sleep, we mess that thing up.

Biologists have tracked certain physiological statistics in humans and animals, such as temperature, and have noticed that it varies throughout the day, in a regular fashion. Also, certain hormone glands are more active, for instance at 1 -2 am, than at other times of the day. Body temperature seem to hit daily low at 4 am, when sleep is usually in its deepest stage, and a secondary low sometime in the evening, causing some of us to crave for forty winks in the late afternoon.

The circadian cycle has definitely got something to do with the biological clock, since it is influenced by, among others, our sleeping time. Dozing off at the wrong times has been shown, in the long term, to be detrimental to our health, and has been linked the increased risk of cancers, such as breast cancer.

But, I'm not interested in all that. After an afternoon of contemplating and drawing back on some past data, I've been trying to construct a rough sketch of a graph to tabulate a Circadian Cycle for MSN Messenger. It will show number of people online on MSN against the time of the day, for two different situations, i.e. the typical weekday and the typical weekend. This could effectively be an online biological clock, and I speculate that it could show a decent correlation to the probabilty of a person being on the Internet, at a certain time of the day. However the graph is very crude, and I'm still testing its accuracy using my MSN statistics combined with my sister's to see whether my graph is correct.

I can already extrapolate uses for the study if it is proven correct and further researched. The values taken from the graph can be treated as a statistical mean, which can be used in a Poisson Distribution to predict the probability of a certain number of people being online at a given time. It can also be further approximated to a Normal distribution for a particular strata of the population, i.e. students or even an age group. Wow, excess free time can be put to good use...

PS: Did you believe that "the Day of the Carp" is an actual festival? Unbelievable, huh? Here's another bit of trivia... did you know that the word "Gullible" is not an actual English word? It is actually a fictitious word created in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", used by the Lilliputians (there were very small creatures) to describe Gulliver. I think you can hazard a guess on the meaning of the word...