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How much of eating healthy is placebo effect?

December 18, 2011

“Model this”: Why does Panama use U.S. dollar bills but mint their own coins?

December 14, 2011

Cars not yielding to pedestrians – optimal for traffic flow?

December 11, 2011

Whoa, smart escalators – they hardly move when empty, then quickly speed up when someone steps on

December 5, 2011

Why is there a bike cop riding around inside the airport?

November 25, 2011

Take a break

November 12, 2011

If you’re an online workaholic like me, you might have a hard time ever stepping away from your computer. It’s amazing how much a short power nap or a quick walk around the block can help to break up your workday grind, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re “iced in”. I also find myself sometimes programming away until 3 or 4 in the morning, only to wake up the next day and realize all the code I wrote was error-ridden or poorly designed. Plus many doctors recommend keeping a consistent sleep schedule, so I really need to avoid those late-night programming binges no matter how focused I feel at the time.

Here’s a simple way I’m trying out to force myself to step away from my computer (on Windows):

Open the Task Scheduler, and click Create Task. Select the Triggers tab and set it to run once daily, at whatever time you want to commit to stop working (for me it’s 1 am, and I may add another forced break during the middle of the day after I test this out). Then on the Actions tab choose New, and have it run “rundll32.exe” and add the arguments “user32.dll,LockWorkStation” (without the quotes). Click OK and you should be all set. When the chosen time arrives, you will locked out of your computer and forced to log back in. Obviously it won’t stop you if you’re determined to work, but it’s a good gentle “nudge” like behavioral economists always love to talk about.

Results Disoriented, B.C.

October 31, 2011

A decision was wise, even though it led to disastrous consequences, if the evidence at hand indicated it was the best one to make; and a decision was foolish, even though it led to the happiest possible consequences, if it was unreasonable to expect those consequences.
Herodotus