Three or maybe four times last night when trying to fall asleep I lurched suddenly, even violently, upright, my heart pounding not just in anxiety but in fear, like I’d just had the scare of my life.

Willow, who was hanging out on the bath mat in the bathroom, jumped into the empty tub when I walked in, and whined at me.

On Autobiographical Memory

Art Kavanagh is the reason I know the term aphantasia, after I’d blogged about discovering that unlike me many if not most people literally can visualize things in their mind’s eye. In that post, I’d referenced something I’ve used in my online “about” pages for many years.

If the events of one’s life were pictures and the emotions were sounds, his memories would play as silent movies.

Now I’ve got another one to grapple with, as Kavanagh reveals to me something called severely deficient autobiographical memory; there’s some indication that the two conditions might be related, and once again I feel like part of the experience of my own life might be bought into starker relief, and sharper focus.

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Does anyone else experience strange, subtle vibrating pulses in their legs? I’d seriously decided that it was the fan in my laptop except it happens when I’m not using my laptop, too. I’m literally right now trying to determine if either of the cats next to me is purring. I don’t feel it in any other part of my body.

When my alarm went off this morning, I couldn’t open my eyes. I don’t mean that metaphorically: I couldn’t open my eyes for several tries.

Handshakes are not valued equally among all the social and cultural groups that practice them. According to Yuta Katsumi, a cognitive neuroscientist who currently researches memory but has conducted several studies on people’s evaluation of handshakes, everyone he studied appreciated a handshake. They were taken as a sign of goodwill and trustworthiness and business competence. However, Katsumi saw one group’s brains light up more than all the others when they witnessed a good, firm handshake: men, and white men in particular. “There’s a good amount of evidence that handshakes are a male activity,” Katsumi says. “If you do an observational study, male-male interactions involve a handshake much more frequently than female-female or mixed-gender interactions.” A quick Google search will reveal articles cataloging multiple strains of gendered handshake angst. There are worries about grip strength, chronicles of boardroom handshake snubs, advice columns urging women to engage in flesh pressing and for men to tone down the macho bone-crusher routine when dealing with their colleagues.

From The End of Handshakes—for Humans and for Robots by Emma Grey Ellis