D4D

Writing for the Slash and Burn crowd

Archive for the category “1BEM”

10,000

Over the last couple of days, there’s been some coverage about an American scientist (which seems to be a pretty endangered species in the Age Of Trump) claiming that fitness trackers and pedometers are pretty arbitrary, and not necessarily the best way to go.

Which, I think it’s fair to say, we can file under “Sherlock, Shit, No”.

Of course that 10,000 steps a day advice is arbitrary. Even the figure tells you it’s arbitrary – those nice round numbers for ‘ideals’ simply don’t occur that often in reality.

Hager claimed the 10,000 steps target dated back to a 1960s Japanese study that showed there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise – roughly equivalent to 10,000 steps each day. An early pedometer was known as the manpo-kei, which means “10,000-step meter” in Japanese.

Really, if anyone is taking anything from these devices as gospel truth, they’re a fucking moron. At best, these devices are indicators.

The heartrate monitor is well known to not be accurate – but so long as it’s fairly consistent per user/wearer, it’s a decent-enough indicator of where you stand.  And if it suddenly dropped to reporting 10bpm (or 200bpm) then anyone vaguely sensible would take themselves to a GP for a proper check.

The same’s true for the sleep monitor (which I do use).  It’s not gospel truth. But it’s a decent-enough indicator of awake vs. disturbed ‘sleep vs. actual REM sleep. Do I believe it innately? Hell no. But does it consistently show me my bad nights vs. less-bad ones? (I’m yet to have a good night’s sleep) Yes.

And if you can’t rely on those indicators, why would you rely on the step monitor? Simple, you wouldn’t. Can you game it and mess figures simply by swinging your arms more? Yep. But what’s the point of doing that, unless all you’re interested in is attaining that arbitrary [x],000 steps in a day?  The only benefit in that is you, and you’re just cheating yourself.

However, it does make for a useful indicator, and a reminder to actually move more. I can understand (kinda) why people make these things into targets, but really all that’s important is being more active. And that’s what counts.

Booked in Advance

Considering that I’m planning on a quieter year in 2017 without quite so many busy weekends, is it a good or bad thing that I’ve already got two things booked in for September 2017?

And of course, me being me, they’re both on the same weekend.

I suspect I may just be an irredeemable idiot.

Apprentice Thoughts

Once again, the BBC has a series of the Apprentice running. And yet again, every single contestant currently appears to be an inveterate fuckknuckle with all the business skills of a bundle of second-hand scrotum skin.

What I don’t understand about the competitors (more even than being so massively underprepared and underqualified) is what think will happen afterwards.  This year, there’s 18 competitors, and that means that 17 are going to lose, and go back to reality.

But anyone who has seen the programme will know that they’re insufferable, incompetent, and in most cases utterly vile human beings who couldn’t truly run a business if their lives depended on it.

So – what happens when they look for new work? Or even just return to the job where they’ve managed to negotiate a break or sabbatical? (Come to think of it, that situation might be even worse, with the added weight of expectations etc.)

I know that if, regardless of whether I were interviewing or being interviewed, any single one of them were in the room, I’d know they’re (at best) useless, gobby, opinionated, and shit at their supposed job; and wouldn’t work with them.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d do the same.

All told, pretty mind-boggling.

Eating Well For Less

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the BBC’s “Eat Well For Less” series.  It’s an interesting concept, helping people with their eating habits (and more accurately, their spending on food) by removing all the labelling and branding from food in people’s houses, removing all the prejudices etc. around their food spending.  They replace expensive branded stuff with ‘own-brand’ or cheaper alternatives (and in some cases with more expensive, but better/healthier options) and also leaving some things alone.  Additionally, they help people with recipes for their favourite meals, rather than buying pre-packaged and so on.

A lot of it is insanely annoying, but the core information is (in my opinion) worth it, for both the families on the programme, and people watching it.

But oh Dear God, those families are fucking pathetic. There’s lots of preconceptions about brands being preferred “because they wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t the best” and so on, which drives me crackers.

The most recent one tonight, though, drove me crackers. One family member had been diagnosed as coeliac, and had spent six years eating salads he hated. Six. Fucking. Years.  How does anyone end up eating stuff they don’t like for six bloody years? There’s no logic in it that I can see – unless they haven’t done any enquiries or research about what’s got gluten in and so on?

In this case they were buying loads of pre-packaged food – and I get that more, because they were so worried about cross-contaminating from their foods to his, and making him ill – but with no thoughts or understanding. I think the peak point for me was buying pre-packaged “gluten-free” rice, not understanding that all rice is gluten-free, in the name of Jesus H Pant-shitting Christ.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting series, but Holy DogEggs, some people are fucking lazy/stupid/pathetic*.

(* Delete as applicable)

Sporting Chronoclasm

Every year it boggles my mind that this weekend seems to be All The Sport – due to some epic scheduling, we always end up having the finals of Wimbledon on the same day as the British Grand Prix.

This year, we’ve also got the finals of Euro 2016, just in case we didn’t have enough bloody sport to contend with already.

Not that I care (in case you hadn’t guessed) as I won’t be watching any of it.

But seriously, how much organisation and planning does it take, to get three major sporting events to all climax/happen on the same damn day?

Slack Data

In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.

However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…

Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)

It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.

I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.

Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.

Second Thoughts

As I wrote a while back, I’ve signed up to the NSPCC’s “Climb the Gherkin” challenge in about eight weeks’ time. It involves walking (or, if you’re a lunatic, running) up the 38 flights of stairs inside the Gherkin in London to get to the top.

It’s fair to say, I’m having some doubts and second thoughts about the wisdom of it. It’s a lot of steps…

I’ve looked it up – because I’m an idiot – and now know that it’s over 1,000 steps to the top, and that’s making it all a bit real. There’s a lot of me to lift up that many steps, and really not many places where you can get to train or prepare for something like that.

I’ll still go, and I’m sure I’ll complete the challenge. It’s just that it might destroy me along the way…

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