Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another reason not to buy a breadmaker

The incredible shrinking hippocampus (and how to stop it)

It appears that using a GPS shrinks the hippocampus, which then can lead to poorer memory.  It's not a huge logical leap to think that this may apply to other convenience items that make it easier to get things done, but allow us to shut down and not mentally engage with them.

I occasionally get these fliers in the mail:

This is supposed to be an ad, something that attracts me to their establishment, but the large array of identical machines is rather scary to me.  It's an assembly line of fitness.  You walk into your place in the assembly line, with a bunch of strangers, staring at the back of another stranger, trying to artificially manufacture fitness.

What is fitness anyway?
Definition of FIT1
(1) : adapted to an end or design : suitable by nature or by art (2) : adapted to the environment so as to be capable of survivingb : acceptable from a particular viewpoint (as of competence or morality) : proper <a movie fit for the whole family>2
a : put into a suitable state : made ready <get the house fitfor company>b : being in such a state as to be or seem ready to do or suffer something <fair fit to cry I was — Bryan MacMahon><laughing fit to burst>3
: sound physically and mentally : healthy

Going to the gym may help you become acceptable from a particular viewpoint, but it has little to do with adapting you to your environment, or make you ready to do something practical.

Meanwhile, Cuisinart is trying to sell me this image:

Happy, carefree, easy cooking, so I have more time to go to the gym and get a sterile workout in a stall next to a bunch of strangers.

Here's one tip for saving yourself money, eating healthier, and getting some light exercise all in one shot: learn how to cook like your grandma did.  Get out the cutting board, and a potato, and learn how to make nice thin slices, and make up nice potato casserole from scratch, with real ingredients, not that weird chemistry set industrial food uses.  Want a bigger workout?  Learn how to can.  You can easily go to a U-pick farm in the morning, come home with a bushel or two of apples/peaches/pears by lunch, and spend the afternoon peeling, chopping, stewing, and canning, and you'll have those home canned preserves/applesauce/fruit pieces to enjoy all winter long.  No, you won't get the intensity that the sterile gym can provide, but you're going to be off your butt for most of the day, which may be healthier than exercise in the long run.

Further reading: