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The health hazards of sitting

By Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark
We know sitting too much is bad, and most of us intuitively feel a little guilty after a long TV binge. But what exactly goes wrong in our bodies when we park ourselves for nearly eight hours per day, the average for a U.S. adult? Many things, say four experts, who detailed a chain of problems from head to toe.

The health hazards of sitting

By Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark

We know sitting too much is bad, and most of us intuitively feel a little guilty after a long TV binge. But what exactly goes wrong in our bodies when we park ourselves for nearly eight hours per day, the average for a U.S. adult? Many things, say four experts, who detailed a chain of problems from head to toe.

Conservatives don’t like the observation that American health care performs worse than other countries’ systems because it relies too much on the private sector and the profit motive. So whenever someone points out the obvious, there is a chorus of denial, of attempts to claim that America does, too, offer better care. It turns out, however, that such claims invariably end up relying on zombie arguments — that is, arguments that have been proved wrong, should be dead, but keep shambling along because they serve a political purpose.

A Fix For Voice Mail

Voice mail is stupid:

Teddy Wayne, Millennials Shy Away from Voice Mail

One factor behind the decline of voice mail is that it represents a gesture of vulnerable intimacy among otherwise alienated modes of communication.

Ms. [Kate] Greathead agrees: “It seems more practical to text or email. The only reason you leave a voice mail is so the person can hear the sound of your voice. It almost seems presumptuous, for that reason.”

As she suggested, there’s also the understandable matter of efficiency. A missed-call notification on a cellphone can be its own request for a call back. A “Call me” text will likely be read more quickly than a voice mail message will be heard, and if the matter is urgent, multiple missed calls may declare that most vociferously.

Voice mail greetings, too, have grown increasingly tedious on mobile phones. At the start of the gauntlet is the cellphone provider’s slowly read message that “your call has been forwarded to an automated voice-messaging system.” Then you must wait through either the robotic reading of the phone number, or the recipient’s personalized greeting, which also often includes the number (information that seemed superfluous in the landline era, unless it was given in lieu of one’s name, but even more so now, when the phone’s screen already indicates the number).

I’m tired of the geezerish etiquette lessons about voice mail. the quote above, by Kate Greathead hits the issue perfectly: The only reason you leave a voice mail is so the person can hear the sound of your voice.

What we lack is a convention — that phone companies would agree to — where instead of having to go through the whole drill with the voice mail machinery, we could instead hit a standard code — like *99 — and then be allowed to type a short message, or *999 to leave audio. Then we could avoid the enormous time waste of millions of people bailing when they hear ‘your call has been forwarded…’, and then later send a text message.

James S.H. Lee’s paperclip armrest, designed in 2009, still is not in use.

Socialogy Interview: Valdis Krebs

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Every age has a theory of rising and falling, of growth and decay, of bloom and wilt: a theory of nature. Every age also has a theory about the past and the present, of what was and what is, a notion of time: a theory of history. Theories of history used to be supernatural: the divine ruled time; the hand of God, a special providence, lay behind the fall of each sparrow. If the present differed from the past, it was usually worse: supernatural theories of history tend to involve decline, a fall from grace, the loss of God’s favor, corruption. Beginning in the eighteenth century, as the intellectual historian Dorothy Ross once pointed out, theories of history became secular; then they started something new—historicism, the idea “that all events in historical time can be explained by prior events in historical time.” Things began looking up. First, there was that, then there was this, and this is better than that. The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence.

Most big ideas have loud critics. Not disruption. Disruptive innovation as the explanation for how change happens has been subject to little serious criticism, partly because it’s headlong, while critical inquiry is unhurried; partly because disrupters ridicule doubters by charging them with fogyism, as if to criticize a theory of change were identical to decrying change; and partly because, in its modern usage, innovation is the idea of progress jammed into a criticism-proof jack-in-the-box.

dbreunig:

Google sees you as a user, Amazon sees you as a consumer, Microsoft sees you as an employee (though they’re trying to change that).

Apple sees you as a person, but one at leisure who doesn’t want to be using a computer in the first place.

Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.

Charles Eames