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Stairmaster desk, phase one

Here's a photo of my "Stairmaster desk," which I've developed as a Stairmaster alternative to the [|Treadmill desk].

The idea of a treadmill desk stems from research done by [|Dr. James Levine] of the Mayo Clinic. Levine studies "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" (NEAT), which is medical lingo for "activities that aren't strenuous enough to be considered exercise but still burn calories." He finds, for example, that just walking at a casual pace burns about 100 more calories per hour than sitting. He's therefore worked with a company called Steelcase to design a "[|walkstation]" that consists of a treadmill attached to a desk, where people can walk at a slow pace throughout the workday.

The only problem is, the Walkstation costs about $4,000, so hacker ingenuity is stepping in to develop cheaper solutions. Jay Buster (see link above) added a desk surface to a used treadmill, using $49 in materials. I don't own a treadmill, and I'm not sure I have the space for one, but I do own a Stairmaster (which I bought used a few years ago via eBay). I wanted to see whether a Stairmaster desk would work as well as a treadmill desk.

Kudos to Mike and Gini

The Madison Capitol Times had a story today about my friends Mike and Gini Zirkel who have done some volunteering to help victims of Hurricane Katrina:

I first met Mike and Gini through my involvement with the [|Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua]. They're the sort of people who look for ways to help others. It's good to see it recognized.

Dead and Loving It

I'm not a fan of country music, but I saw a music video on Country Music Television today that caught my attention. Sung by [[w:Trace Adkins]], it's titled "Arlington," and it is written from the point of view of a soldier buried in Arlington National Cemetery:

I never thought that this is where I'd settle down.
I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown.
They gave me this plot of land,
Me and some other men, for a job well done.

There's a big White House sits on a hill just up the road.
The man inside, he cried the day they brought me home.
They folded up a flag and told my Mom and Dad:
"We're proud of your son."

Congratulations, Walter

This weekend I was exercising at home with the TV on for company, and when I started flipping channels, all of a sudden the face appeared of Walter Kirn, one of my old Princeton classmates. He was on CSPAN talking with [[w:Brian Lamb]] about his life as a novelist and literary critic and his recent adventures [|blogging on Andrew Sullivan's website].

It turns out that Walter also has a new novel coming out this October, titled [|Mission to America]. And, one of his previous novels, [|Thumbsucker], has just been made into a movie.

What's the "proper way to grieve"?


Jon Friedman, who writes for MarketWatch, posted some thoughts about [[sw:Cindy Sheehan]] in his [|latest column] that seem, well, stupid. They're the sort of remarks that I might critique on a blog post at the website of the [|Center for Media and Democracy] if there were more of a connection to the Center's mission (exposing spin and propaganda), but instead I'll comment on them here.

Friedman seems to think that USA Today's reporter Judy Keen is devoting too much attention to the "Sheehan circus," so he interviewed Keen and peppered her with questions, asking for example whether Sheehan "had begun to enjoy the massive media attention" or whether "the media are distorting the Sheehan story out of all proportions."

John McEnroe quote

I've been trying to track down the exact wording of a quote by John McEnroe. The earliest and therefore arguably most accurate reference I've found is from 1993: "Is golf a sport? I thought in sports you had to at least run at some point." Source: Dan Cahill and Mark Gaffney, "Sox Rate Increase in WGN Viewership," Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 1993, p. 109.

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