Category Archives: Just for fun

Thanks to my phone and my chair, my spine hates me!

I saw an article in the Atlantic recently about the stress that looking down at your iPhone puts on your neck. There is more to the story, but the graphic in the article makes it obvious that looking down like that for extended periods multiple times per day certainly isn’t natural.


This reminded me of a similar graphic describing the effects of prolonged sitting on the spine (and elsewhere)  in the Washington Post earlier this year.


No wonder back pain is such a huge problem!



What’s wrong with the way we eat, according to Jim Gaffigan.

I happened to catch a segment of the public radio show Here & Now yesterday afternoon. The guest was comedian Jim Gaffigan, who has a new book out, called Food: A Love Story. Food is a common topic in his comedy.

Anyway, in the discussion, he made a joke that I think perfectly describes what is wrong with the way we think about food. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but basically he says:

Artists have long painted bowls of fruit because no one will touch the fruit. There are no famous paintings of donuts because someone will eat them before the painting is complete.

That’s funny, at least partly because it is true. And that’s the problem.

My kids will be thrilled to learn that they don’t have to eat vegetables anymore!

According to this video from SCI CODE’s Coma Niddy (via The Kid Should See This), there is no such thing as vegetables.  What we think of as vegetables are really fruits, roots, stems, and leaves.

That said, these formerly-known-as-vegetables are still really good for us and we should eat them.

While my kids will thrilled to learn that they don’t need to eat “vegetables” anymore, I suspect they will be less amused by a plate full of tubers and legumes.


How to encourage people to use the stairs? Make it fun!

This isn’t new, but it is a neat way to encourage people to take the stairs.


Yesterday was National Chicken Dance Day. And that is good news for your health.

I can’t believe I missed it!

Yesterday was National Chicken Dance Day! Aside from being a favorite of children and wedding DJs, doing the chicken dance can help you meet physical activity goals to improve your health.

According to the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities, doing the chicken dance could burn as many calories as participating in an aerobic dance class.

Chicken dancing isn’t  specifically listed in the compendium, but it probably falls under category code 03031: general dancing (e.g., disco, folk, Irish step dancing, line dancing, polka, contra, country).

This type of dancing is listed at 7.8 METS, which is a geeky exercise scientist way of saying that you could burn about 10 calories per minute doing the chicken danceNote: This is a rough estimate, of course. The actual amount depends on your body weight and how vigorously you do the dance.

That may not seem like much, but it’s a lot more than you would burn sitting at your desk at work or on the couch watching TV at home. So, why not celebrate (belatedly) National Chicken Dance Day by getting up and shaking your tail feather during breaks at work and TV commercials at home!


MMMMMM, cookies!

It’s Friday afternoon, so a video seems like a good idea. Cookies seem like a good idea, too. So, how about a video about cookies!

I’m a bit of a food science geek, so a video about the chemistry of cookies got my attention.


The Chemistry of Cookies via TED-Ed


The problem with bicycle commuting might be bike lanes

I saw this video earlier this week and thought it was worth sharing, for two reasons. First, it’s funny. Second, it makes an important point about the safety and practicality of commuting by bicycle.

I bike to work as often as I can, so this is something I am interested in. Since I live in a town that has no bike lanes, the specific problem in this video doesn’t apply to me. But I still have to deal with other vehicles, both moving and parked, as well as other obstructions in the roads. I do my best to be a good cyclist and stay out of the way of cars, but it isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, as the video shows, I’m not sure having bike lanes would solve the problem. | via Unlooker

Dad appreciates the healthy Halloween treats. The kids…not so much!

We took our kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood this evening. Predictably, they got lots of candy. Lots.

But some people gave other treats, too. Like little toys, glow sticks, and stickers. To be honest, the kids were almost as excited about those things as they were to get candy. Almost.

One of our neighbors tried to impress me by having the healthiest Halloween treats I have seen: mini packages of Fig Newtons, individually wrapped prunes, and dark chocolate Hershey Kisses (because dark chocolate is healthier, right?).

Healthy halloween treats

It worked. I was impressed. The kids…not so much!

Today I am celebrating Food Day with…an apple!

Specifically, this apple.

2013-10-24 15.59.46
This past weekend my family was visiting the upstate and we took the kids to pick apples at Bryson’s Apple Orchard. Not only did we get a bunch of delicious apples, but the kids got to learn a little about where apples come from. As kids tend to do, they ate as they picked, and noticed immediately that the fresh-picked apples were much tastier than the ones from the grocery store. They even got to meet “Farmer Bryson,” who appreciated our business and the kids’ enthusiasm.
And this is the point of Food Day: learning where food comes from, eating fresh foods, and supporting local farmers. I tried to explain this to my kids while we were driving home from the farm, but they were more interested in eating the apples they had just picked!


On the topic of food additives: Why there is seaweed in your ice cream.

Since I have been writing about food additives this week, this article caught my attention when I saw it.

Why Seaweed is Sometimes Used in the Making of Ice Cream.

I am continually impressed by what I can learn through randomly clinking links on the web. I could probably spend and entire day just doing that. [Leading to a feeling of panic upon realizing that is it already almost 11:30 am!]