Rochester ranks for insomnia based on tweets about it


Take that, Liverpool (2nd) and Oklahoma City (4th) and Kuala Lumpur (6th). Rochester beat you all.

Yes, as the Democrat and Chronicle recently reported, a study found that

“Rochester is the most ‘insomnia stressed’ city in the world. In other words, we are the champions of restless nights.

I’m not sure these are brochures for Bob Duffy and the people at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, although Duffy tweeted an explanation of sorts: “We just need less sleep in OCR.” He told the world. “And we have more energy / caffeine.”

Insomnia classification

Duffy, and others, might raise concerns about the “science” that led to Rochester’s ranking. Obviously, it is determined by tracking the number of stressed sleep tweets generated in various places.

In other words, Rochesters don’t just wake up at night, they tweet about waking up at night.

I find this questionable, because when I go to the bathroom at 3 a.m., I never think of tweeting about the experience, then or later. Obviously, there are people who do.

There’s a lot to keep people awake these days, although the investigation isn’t entirely clear as to why Rochester’s insomniacs are more stressed than any other insomniac in the world.

A few years ago, James Kaufmann, pianist and founder of the Rochester Soundscape Society, referred to noisy car radios as a serious disturbance that needed to be quelled by the enforcement of noise ordinances.

Public officials and police were quoted then, and later, as saying that the ordinances, while well-intentioned, were difficult to enforce, given their subjective nature. One person’s noise can be music to another person’s ears.

None of this was particularly new. One hundred years ago, in a July 1921 opinion piece in the Democrat and Chronicle, GH Cornelius was fed up with the horns of loaded cars and motorists breaking the rules with their loud horns.

I don’t know how it worked for him, but I suspect not. Over the years, as more and more cars and then car radios have arrived, the noises may have also become more frequent and louder.

And in the middle of the night, these sounds can be less of a lullaby and more of a nuisance. So, local insomniacs presumably have a cookie and a glass of milk and tweet, thus preserving Rochester’s choppy ranking. Let’s sleep on it.

Nuts for us

Last week’s column on my new big nut helper, the device that helps my underpaid granddaughter Franny harvest a bumper crop of black nuts, drew reactions from across the region.

Taken together, the Facebook comment followed the region’s nut harvest. Readers in Steuben County, Penfield and Irondequoit reported low nut yield. Readers elsewhere said they were inundated with nuts.

Turns out there is a word for a big drop of nuts. Christina Marie Das, a natural resources educator in the Monroe County office of Cornell Cooperative Extension, explains that a time when trees are producing too many nuts is what botanists call a “mass year.”

It’s a little mysterious why the trees are mast. It could be the weather. This could be the tree’s way of ensuring that squirrels and other nut eaters have enough food for the coming winter. It seems that nature is taking care of its own, one black walnut tree at a time.

From his home in Geneseo, Livingston County, retired editor Jim Memmott writes Remarkable Rochester, Who We Were, Who We Are. He can be contacted at or write Box 274, Geneseo, NY 14454

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