No Sleep till Brooklyn

I always enjoy breaking the rules and looking for exceptions to those rules. Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you to one of those exceptions - a bird that can sleep while flying in midair! The Alpine Swift is a crafty little bird that can remain in the air for up to seven months without landing. It can eat insects, sleep, and even drink water off its wing while flying, breaking all the rules.



Surely, you’ve heard the popular Beastie Boys song of the same name – but I’m not going to muse on that here.

Any marketing muse reader knows that I don’t like rules – and am always on the lookout for exceptions to those rules.

Today, I’m happy to introduce you to one of those exceptions.

A bird that can sleep while flying in midair!

Yup.  It’s true.

Enter the Alpine Swift.

This crafty little bird can spend up to seven months in the air without landing.

For added flair, it also eats insects, sleeps and even drinks water off its wing while flying.

Now that’s a rule breaker if ever there was one!

But what’s truly crazy is this bird can retain their navigational ability while in REM sleep – literally fly with their eyes closed.

According to a paper published by Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute – flying birds like the Swift can sleep with either on half of their brains active, or with both hemispheres shut down at the same time:

“This technique of sleeping is called the unihemispheric slow-way sleep (USWS), which allows one half of the brain to enter into deep sleep while the eye corresponding to this half is closed and the other eye remains open.  Unihemispheric sleep allows an animal to get some rest, while also allowing it to maintain awareness of its surrounds.  In fact, dolphins also use this technique to avoid drowning while they rest.”

Another fun fact about this cool bird is that it’s ability to fly at high-altitude – reaching heights up to 21,000 feet.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no – it’s a friggin’ Alpine Swift!

Let’s check in with Albert Einstein and ask him for a relevant quote on this subject, here’s what he had to say:

“Everyone knew it was impossible until a fool didn’t know came along and did it.”

You see the beauty here – when you don’t know what’s possible, you can do the impossible.

No limiting false beliefs.  No ceiling to hit on the way up.

Just a limitless and blissful flight up above a world of conformists and those seeking shelter in the status quo.

What a nice flight that would be.

Marketing Zombies: The Talking Dead

Before we drift too far away our conversation about the mighty “swift,” let’s circle back

on the unique mechanism in play here – this magical “unihemispheric slow-way sleep,” (USWS.)

If birds and some aquatic mammals can sleep with half a brain – just imagine the possibilities.

It could be the cure to sleepwalking… sleep-waking.

Or for the sleep-deprived masses – wouldn’t it be nice to catch up on some ZZZs in the middle of work, surfing, reading a book, or during a jog on the beach?

Me thinks we need to study this USWS phenomenon more closely!

But as with any innovation or new technology breakthrough – there is potential danger ahead.

If you’ve been reading my muse, you know that I often speak ill of the dreaded “Marketing Buzzards,” a term I coined to describe the predatory like shiny new object marketing sales vultures who prey on the masses.

These are the “marketing zombies” of our day – using half a brain, asleep at the wheel, compelling you to follow their rules and conform to their norms.

In a world of confusion – it’s part of their enigma.

Maybe these marketing zombies have these USWS superpowers and we don’t know about them yet?

Certainly, fits the enigma script…

…hard to figure out…

…the reasons behind what they say and do are not easily understood…

…mysterious for all the wrong reasons.

Most troubling – these talking dead marketing zombies are now equipped with Artificial Intelligence language models like ChatGPT.

Oh, the unintended consequences!

It’s like splitting the atom all over again.

Nuclear marketing zombie Armageddon here we come!

The marketing world as we know it will now be flush with Douglas Powers (Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers film series,)  – a nemesis to all truth-seeking business folks just trying to eke out a living.

Who would have thought that technology and innovation would become today’s biggest villain?

Maybe what we all need is to learn this wonderful art of slow-wave unihemispheric sleep.

And take flight high and fly somewhere far, far away.

To your limitless journey ~


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