Friday Four

Friday, February 05, 2016

1. Michael Cho describes his difficulty switching to a standing desk in, "Why I Killed My Standing Desk:"

After about two hours, I took a break. Sitting felt like greatest invention ever.
He also questions the idea (which I never bought) that sitting is deadly in and of itself.

Standing (only) to work has never held an attraction for me: Being able to switch back and forth between sitting and standing is the way to go. Along those lines, I wonder why Cho didn't just get a higher chair for his standing desk so he could do that.

2. Happy (belated) Randsday! Just because I let the date pass without commenting on it here doesn't mean I didn't celebrate Randsday. In the process of locating the official web site, I discovered that the term has made it into Urban Dictionary.

3. From an article on why Chinese has failed to achieve global dominance comes word of a curious modern difficulty:
[R]eliance on such [computer-aided writing] technology increasingly leads to character amnesia, which is on the rise among literate Chinese: People recognize the characters but forget how they are actually written...
The article is quite interesting, although the basic idea, that the system overtaxes the memory, seems obvious to me. Amazingly, aspects of the problem are even worse than I thought.

Also, the article discusses a character with so many strokes that there is debate as to the exact number.

4. The frustrated gardener in me enjoyed reading about fruit walls in Low Tech Magazine. Curiously, the piece is available online:
We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been transported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn't always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

These crops were grown surrounded by massive "fruit walls", which stored the heat from the sun and released it at night, creating a microclimate that could increase the temperature by more than 10°F).
That said, there is neither a climate change alarmist nor a "locavore" in me.

-- CAV


Scott Holleran said...

I appreciate the dissent on anti-sitting claims. I write while sitting and standing up. I'm wary of sweeping assertions.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks. It is especially hard for me -- as a scientist and after seeing so many widely-trumpeted finding get overturned -- to pay any attention to fads based on the overhyped-new-result du jour.

That said, the standing desk fad offers me an attempt, as someone who liked the idea before it was cool and for my own reasons, to inject a bit of sanity into the mix whenever the topic comes up.