Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Winding down

Okay, I’ve pretty much finished the proposal, and while I could spend the rest of the night on FastLane, I’m going to wrap up and go to sleep. Though having stayed up this late, I’ll probably have trouble going to sleep.

I am glad I have the kind of job where I can do this here at home, within earshot of my kids, rather than at the office.

A word of advice to graduate students who have trouble staying up really late: mix your caffeine sources. I find that alternating cups of coffee and cans of Diet Coke works wonders. You end up imbibing less caffeine, but still manage to stay alert.

Hunter S. Thompson, in his deeply strange book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, argues that there’s a deep significance to the fact that the drug world shifted from uppers to downers when Nixon took office. I wonder what deep meaning attraches to the popularity of caffeine….


  1. Your advice reminds me of my only real all-nighter (no sleep at all from dusk to dawn), which I pulled as an undergraduate. Not liking coffee, I decided to concoct a sort of homemade Jolt by soaking tea in Coke. It worked pretty well, but there was one horrible shall-I-puke-or-pass-out moment when the caffiene cut out. Luckily it didn’t last more than 30 seconds; the sugar buzz from the chocolate I’d been eating all along finally kicked in.

    I have no desire to repeat the experience!

  2. As Neo said, “Whoa…”

    When I was in college I would make a barely-palatable cocktail consisting of several tablespoons instant coffee, about five packets of sweetner, a little water, and ice. Then drink before I could change my mind, get smart, or think too much about what I was about to put into my body.

    My taste buds always recoiled at the experience, but about ten minutes later, you were good till dawn….

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