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More on Abbey Road

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As Kara mentioned this morning, Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the taking of the iconic photo that graced the cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road album and it was celebrated with all the crazed enthusiasm that a band that once claimed they were bigger than Jesus can still inspire.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to head down there for the mayhem "“ I was engaging in another British passion, "walking," and was out in the country on a 10-mile hike "“ but I have been able to catch up on some of the goings on. According to published reports, it was a madhouse: Hundreds of Beatles fans, some in costume, flocked to the famous crosswalk (called, quaintly enough, a "zebra crossing" here), singing along to the St. Pepper's Only Dartboard Band covers and stopping traffic for a few hours. From photos and TV news coverage, it looked to be an awesome party and no doubt the remaining Beatles are still smiling.

In honor of the occasion, here's a bit of Abbey Road trivia, of all sorts:

The album was originally going to be called Everest, after the brand of cigarettes the band's sound engineer, Geoff Emerik, smoked. That idea was nixed when they realized that actually going to the Himalayas to do the photo shoot would be a bit prohibitive, and they tried to think of something closer to home. Ultimately, Paul McCartney sketched out a picture of four little stick figures in the zebra crossing, and the idea was born.

Abbey Road was the final album recorded by the band, though not the final one released (that would be Let It Be).

The album, in order, included:
- John Lennon's "Come Together," which was inspired by a campaign song he wrote for Timothy Leary's bid for governor of California

- George Harrison's "Something," one of his first successful songwriting efforts

- Paul McCartney's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"

- "Oh! Darling" also by McCartney

- The trippy "Octopus's Garden," written by Ringo Starr

- "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is one of the Beatles' longest songs "“ it cuts out at 7:44, leading some people to believe there was actually something wrong with the recording

- "Here Comes the Sun," also by Harrison

- "Because" by Lennon and inspired by Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"

- The medley "“ it's a collection of several short songs, strung together. There's "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End."

- "Her Majesty", which was originally part of the medley

It was recorded mainly on an 8-track tape, featured the Moog synthesizer, and the was one of the most successful Beatles' album ever, debuting at number one on the UK charts. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Abbey Road the 14th greatest album of all time.

The Tributes

biggerthanjesusVirtually every tourist who crosses Abbey Road has had their photo taken in the pose (much to the chagrin of drivers), but there have been other, more famous folks, who have imitated the famous photo: The Red Hot Chili Peppers for their Abbey Road EP, naked, but for a few strategically placed (and somewhat optimistically large) socks; Homer Simpson's barbershop quartet The Be Sharps, with their album, Bigger Than Jesus; The Simpson family on the cover of Rolling Stone; Benny Hill, for his Best of Benny Hill album; Booker T and the MG's; Kanye West's Live Orchestration DVD; even SpongeBob SquarePants did it, with an episode called "Krabby Road."

The Road

Abbey Road is in NW8, the St. John's Wood section of town, and northwest of Regent's Park. There are rumors that the original zebra crossing, the one the actual Beatles' touched with their actual feet, has been removed and is now in some bunker somewhere for safekeeping. How this would even be possible is unclear, but hey, the album inspired even stranger rumors than that (see "Paul is dead").

But it is true that because of the crossing's popularity with tourists, officials have long been trying to move the crossing, claiming that it's a "death trap." Councillors from the neighborhood have cited the 22 accidents at the crosswalk since 2000 and say that it would be safer to move the crossing to a less auspicious location; fans have vowed to protest.

You can watch the crossing, any time, night or day, via the Abbey Road webcam. It's a bit weird to watch an intersection, no matter how famous, but keep your eyes peeled for tourists re-enacting the photo and angry cab drivers cursing at them.

See Also: Miss Cellania's 'Many Views of Abbey Road'


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The Brain Chemistry Behind Your Caffeine Boost
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Whether it’s consumed as coffee, candy, or toothpaste, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. If you’ve ever wondered how a shot of espresso can make your groggy head feel alert and ready for the day, TED-Ed has the answer.

Caffeine works by hijacking receptors in the brain. The stimulant is nearly the same size and shape as adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows down neural activity. Adenosine builds up as the day goes on, making us feel more tired as the day progresses. When caffeine enters your system, it falls into the receptors meant to catch adenosine, thus keeping you from feeling as sleepy as you would otherwise. The blocked adenosine receptors also leave room for the mood-boosting compound dopamine to settle into its receptors. Those increased dopamine levels lead to the boost in energy and mood you feel after finishing your morning coffee.

For a closer look at how this process works, check out the video below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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Live Smarter
5 Tips for Becoming A Morning Person
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You’ve probably heard the term circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that influences your daily routine: when to eat, when to sleep, and when to wake up. Our biological clocks are, to some extent, controlled by genetics. This means that some people are natural morning people while others are night owls by design. However, researchers say the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle, which is good news if you want to train yourself to wake up earlier.

In addition to squeezing more hours out of the day, there are plenty of other good reasons to resist hitting the snooze button, including increased productivity. One survey found that more than half of Americans say they feel at their best between 5 a.m. and noon. These findings support research from biologist Christopher Randler, who determined that earlier risers are happier and more proactive about goals, too.

If you love the idea of waking up early to get more done, but you just can't seem to will yourself from out under the covers, here are five effective tips that might help you roll out of bed earlier.


If you’re a die-hard night owl, chances are you’re not going to switch to a morning lark overnight. Old habits are hard to break, but they’re less challenging if you approach them realistically.

“Wake up early in increments,” Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker at Compassionate Counseling in St. Louis suggests. “If you normally wake up at 9:00 a.m., set the alarm to 8:30 a.m. for a week, then 8:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m.”

Waking up three hours earlier can feel like a complete lifestyle change, but taking it 30 minutes at a time will make it a lot easier to actually stick to the plan. Gradually, you’ll become a true morning person, just don’t try to force it to happen overnight.


Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so jumping on the treadmill or taking a run around the block is a great way to start the day on a high note. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising early in the morning can mean you get a better overall sleep at night:

“In fact, people who work out on a treadmill at 7:00 a.m. sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.”

If you don’t have much time in the morning, an afternoon workout is your second best bet. The Sleep Foundation says aerobic afternoon workouts can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often throughout the night. “This may be because exercise raises your body’s temperature for about four to five hours,” they report. After that, your body’s core temperature decreases, which encourages it to switch into sleep mode.


Whether it’s a noisy street or a bright streetlight, your bedroom environment might be making it difficult for you to sleep throughout the night, which can make waking up early challenging, as you haven’t had enough rest. There are, however, a few changes you can make to optimize your room for a good night’s sleep.

“Keep your bedroom neat and tidy,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based doctor of psychology on staff as an expert in sleep hygiene at Seasons Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggests. “Waking up to clutter and chaos only makes it more tempting to crawl back in bed.”

Depending on what needs to be improved, you might consider investing in some slumber-friendly items that can help you sleep through the night, including foam earplugs (make sure to use a vibrating alarm), black-out drapes, light-blocking window decals, and a cooling pillow

Another simple option? Ditch the obnoxious sound of a loud, buzzing alarm.

“One great way to adapt to rising earlier is to have an alarm that is a pleasing sound to you versus an annoying one,” Dr. Irwin says. “There are many choices now, whether on your smartphone or in a radio or a freestanding apparatus.”


Getting up early starts the night before, and there are a few things you should do before hitting the sack at night.

“Set an alarm to fall asleep,” Torgerson says. “Having a set bedtime helps you stay responsible to yourself, instead of letting yourself get caught up in a book or Netflix and avoid going to sleep.”

Torgerson adds that practicing yoga or meditation before bed can help relax your mind and body, too. This way, your mind isn’t bouncing from thought to thought in a flurry before you go to bed. If you find yourself feeling anxious before bed, it might help to write in a journal. This way, you can get these nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Focus on relaxing at night and stay away from not just exercise, but mentally stimulating activities, too. If watching the news gets your blood boiling, for example, you probably want to turn it off an hour or so before bedtime.


Light has a immense effect on your circadian rhythm—whether it’s the blue light from your phone as you scroll through Instagram, or the bright sunlight of being outdoors on your lunch break. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists compared the sleep quality of 27 subjects who worked in windowless environments with 22 subjects who were exposed to significantly more natural light during the day.

“Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions—role limitation due to physical problems and vitality—as well as poorer overall sleep quality," the study concluded. "Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

Thus, exposing yourself to bright light during the day may actually help you sleep better at night, which will go a long way toward helping you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Conversely, too much blue light can actually disturb your sleep schedule at night. This means you probably want to limit your screen time as your bedtime looms closer.

Finally, once you do get into the habit of waking up earlier, stick to that schedule on the weekends as much as possible. The urge to sleep in is strong, but as Torgerson says, “you won't want your body and brain to reacclimate to sleeping in and snoozing.”


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