In the first few hours of our Federal government shutdown, it would be nice if I could come up with some POSITIVE things to say about Our Current Situation but I really can’t think of any. The impact on Humboldt County, with our huge Federal holdings such as Six Rivers National Forest and Redwood National Park, plus all that BLM land, will be huge. Anything that hurts tourism hurts us all. Let’s hope for a quick resolution. Elsewhere in the news…
STAND AND DELIVER: Have you been getting a lot of online ads for treadmill desks? The ads I get are for models starting at about $1200 and I see one in my future. I had a couple of colleagues when I worked for the State who used standup desks because they had back problems but I’ve seen about five articles lately indicating that working on your feet is a healthy choice for everyone. Churchill, Hemingway and Leonardo da Vinci did it. The evidence is mounting that, as the Economist puts it, “Prolonged periods of inactivity are bad regardless of how much time you also spend on officially approved high-impact stuff like jogging or pounding treadmills in the gym.” Even just standing up instead of sitting is a low-level activity that uses a different set of muscles than does sitting.
The evidence is scary. A study from England found that the individuals who are least active at work or otherwise are twice as likely to develop diabetes as the most active, are twice as likely to die of a heart attack and are 250% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. These results seem to be independent of the amount of hardcore gym exercise that the study subjects did. A different study, on rats, indicated that immobilizing them led to a dramatic drop in their HDL levels, which is undesirable as low levels of HDL promote heart disease. The good news for humans is that breaking up long periods of sitting with two minutes of walking every 20 minutes can lower your blood glucose level by 30%.
So what does this mean to an employer? You might want to speak to your workers’ comp carrier about a break in your rates if you install standup desks and walking paths. Anything you can do to encourage your employees’ low-level activity, like walking, may turn out to be a lifesaver. Now I’m going to get up and walk around.
FACEBOOK IS DEPRESSING: I never miss a chance to bash Facebook, so here’s this week’s news. Two recent studies studied Facebook users. The first was a joint venture by the University of Michigan and Leuven University in Belgium, which studied 82 teens and young adults over a two-week period by means of questionnaires. They found that the more an individual used Facebook during the study period, the worse they reported feeling. On the other hand, the more real-world interaction they had, the more positive they reported feeling. The other study, by social scientists at Humboldt University (NOT Humboldt State) and Darmstadt Technical University, both in Germany, surveyed 584 Facebook users in their twenties and found that the most common emotion associated with Facebook use was: ENVY. I don’t doubt it, since looking at all those doctored photos and “status updates” which consist mainly of bragging could well affect a person. So, employers, Facebook is not only stealing your employees’ time, it’s making them feel inferior. Try to encourage something more positive. Like Angry Birds.
JERRY BROWN: A new biography by Chuck McFadden, Trailblazer, reminds us that when he was elected Governor he was the youngest Governor in the nation. Now he’s the oldest, at 75, and is apparently planning to run for another term. He’s still jogging three miles several times a week and his Prop 30 has apparently calmed the States’ budget crisis. His wife, Anne Gust, former CAO of the GAP, is a strong partner in his administration. The “crazy” ideas he espoused in his first term that earned him the nickname “Governor Moonbeam” – communications satellites, space exploration, solar energy etc etc- have become mainstream. The book makes the point that Brown’s three (or four) terms as Governor added to his father’s two terms back in the ‘fifties (he left to become Chief Justice) are a very long run. And he shows no signs of slowing down.
BILL CLINTON: I may have been the last to hear about it, but it has been brought to my attention that Bill Clinton- the Bill Clinton of the fried chicken and pork rinds – THAT Bill Clinton has, for the past three years, been a VEGAN. I’m still trying to process this, but if that’s the reason he looks so good lately, I may become a convert. Cheaper than a standup desk in the short run. Last October, on a road trip, we passed through Little Rock and I insisted on visiting his then-favorite lunch spot, Doe’s Eat Place, ( I’m not kidding) . It was closed but I’m willing to bet they don’t serve vegan. All things change. Both Jerry and Bill are inspirations for those of us who are, shall, we say, getting on in years. More power to both of them.
Now if we could just resolve this darn shutdown…