Category Archives: Life

The Costs of Over Working

working-overtimeI came across a good article at The New Yorker about over working which is a issue that certainly has become more prevalent with the advent of technology that allows people to stay connected to work much more easily.  While the article mainly takes a look at it through the financial sector, I think the problems of over working is applicable to many professions.  I certainly know the feeling of working more than your standard 40 hours because most of my paid jobs in the last few years have been on political campaigns. The norm is to work between 60-80 and even close to 100 hours of the week.  That being the 7 day work week since there rarely is a day off in the world of political campaigns. Going into campaigns you know that is the case and expect those types of hours, but that knowledge does not keep you from some times having those days where you are just dragging a bit.  One quote I wanted to pull out of the article that talks about the problems of overworking:

The perplexing thing about the cult of overwork is that, as we’ve known for a while, long hours diminish both productivity and quality. Among industrial workers, overtime raises the rate of mistakes and safety mishaps; likewise, for knowledge workers fatigue and sleep-deprivation make it hard to perform at a high cognitive level. As Solomon put it, past a certain point overworked people become “less efficient and less effective.” And the effects are cumulative. The bankers Michel studied started to break down in their fourth year on the job. They suffered from depression, anxiety, and immune-system problems, and performance reviews showed that their creativity and judgment declined.

via James Surowiecki: The Costs of Working Too Much : The New Yorker.

I can very much understand how that could happen to people who have worked such long hours for a sustained period of time over multiple years. Being able to find the right work-life balance is important I think for every one so that you can keep your mental and physical health at a good level.  What that balance is for each person I am sure is a bit different but important to find.  This second quote from the article I also found interesting:

When new regulations limited medical residents’ working hours to eighty a week, many doctors complained of declining standards and mollycoddling, and said that it would have a disastrous effect on training, even though residents in Europe work many fewer hours, without harming the quality of medical care. “I went through it, so you should” is a difficult impulse to resist. 

The comparison between European and American work hours is not totally new to me, but still interesting when I come across good examples that illustrate it. I also certainly understand the impulse of if “I went through it you should too.” I think it is a bit natural to have people go through what you had to go through, the feeling of that type of working conditions is a rite of passage or similar feelings.

The issue of overworking certainly is a subject that needs to be discussed and I thought I would share my experience of over working related to the jobs I have had. The whole article is well worth a read and is not real long, so check it out. 

Image courtesy of I Drew Something Blog

Riots & love in Vancouver

Like the writer says below I love the juxtaposition between the cops and the couple, a very striking image and one of the more memorable images I have seen in a while.  They say they will be interviewing the photographer today so will be checking back to see the update on this great image.

When one of my colleagues alerted me of this image by retweeting it this morning, my gut instinct was to shout “No way! That’s fake!” But minutes later we discovered that the image was shot by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam.

I was beside myself.

The “too-good-to-be-true” element of this photo is the juxtaposition of the riot cops and the couple who made a bed out of the littered street following last nights’ Stanley Cup Playoffs in Vancouver.

via PhotoBlog – Amorous protestors, lost in the heat of Vancouver riots.

Osama is dead

Certainly an historic day in American and World history.

“It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9-11 are seared into our national memory: hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the twin towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world: the empty seat at the dinner table; the children who were forced to grow up without their mother, or their father; parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace… Nearly three thousand citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. On September 11 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors our hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.”

President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011, statement on Osama bin Laden’s death [video]

Great video of hand made Noodle Making

This video shows how noodle making can really be an art and a great thing to watch.  When I have gone to Cossetta’s Italian Market & Pizzeria in St.Paul it is always fun to see them throwing pizza dough and getting it ready, but certainly not to the level shown below.

Huacan Chen is an aspiring entrepreneur from Fuzhou in southern China, with a skill that happens to be seriously marketable in New York at the moment: he knows how to spin out endless skeins of la mian, smooth, springy hand-stretched noodles, using nothing but a countertop and his hands.

via The Long Pull of Noodle Making –

Neptune & its First Orbit Since Discovery.

I came across the article talking about how Neptune is now just about under a year from completing its first full orbit since it was discovered by humans, that is 164 years to go around the sun once.  Pretty amazing amount of time, and learning that it takes the outer planets that long to travel around the sun really puts into perspective as to how huge just our own solar system is.  I know the solar system is huge but just did not quite understand how big, since when you hear a planet is so many billion miles or kilometers away from Earth it is sometimes hard to get a true sense of scale.  That is where the time it takes to travel around the sun really helps to put it into perspective.

As Neptune is located so far away from the sun (approximately 4.5 billion kilometers, 30 Astronomical Units (AU), or 30-times the sun-Earth distance), it takes over 164 Earth years to complete one full orbit around our star.

As the first direct observation of the blue-green gas giant was made on Sept. 23, 1846, Neptune will arrive back in approximately the same spot as where it was first spotted on July 12, 2011.

via When Will Neptune Complete Its First Orbit Since Discovery? : Discovery News.

For comparison sake it takes Uranus 84 years to make a complete circuit, first discovered in 1781 and first one completed 1865.  For Pluto it is even longer than Neptune taking 248 years for each rotation, first discovered in 1930, won’t make a complete rotation until 2178.

Flugtag world record in St.Paul, MN

I went to the Red Bull Flugtag this Saturday, which was being held on the Mississippi River at Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul.  If you are unfamilar about the event here is the brief explanation.

Red Bull Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, is a competition that dares both the brave and the brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot high ramp in hopes of achieving human-powered flight. But don’t be fooled – this is no ordinary flying competition! Distance is important, of course, but teams need both creativity and showmanship to impress the judges.

via Twin Cities | Red Bull Flugtag USA.

The video at the top of the post is of the world record settling team, going 207 feet with the previous world record being 195 feet.  The design they have seems like the kind you would want if going for distance, a lower part that is used to give to height to take off and then a plane part to take flight once launched.

Once I was finally at the event it was enjoyable to watch these machines fly off or in some cases just fall for the most part.  Given that the estimated crowd was 90,000 it was quite the hassle to get to downtown St.Paul for it.  It took me a bit over an hour to get there, for a drive that normally would take me 15 minutes, the crowd was quite crazy to say the least.  But overall it was interesting to see this event in person after only seeing pictures and videos from previous locations of this event.

To read more about the event and the winning team check out this article Flugtag: Flights of fancy |

Adam’s Op Ed: Toystory 3, and men who cry.

Man cries at Toystory 3, and doesn’t think that’s wierd.

First of all, it’s obvious that you’re trying to prove to someone specific that it’s okay for men to cry… otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to make a public post about it… Second, your (essentially) entire point of relating to the toys having to give Andy up (he’s growing up), and that relates to you being a dad, is flawed. Yes, it’s literally what’s happening and the overall plot of the movie… But that was covered within the first 30 seconds of the film. Why wait until the end credits to start weeping? Why not the whole length of the movie? No, the real reason I believe you’re upset is exactly what your daughter said to you.

“It’s sad because Andy had to give up his toys, right?”

Yep. That feeling of having to give up something that you love is a HUGE emotional moment of the film, and guess what? It happens like 2 minutes before the end credits roll. So, pair that with a great musical score, dramatic lighting and (sometimes) a cool pair of 3D glasses, and you’re balling your eyes out. Oh, and by the way, your friends ARE making fun of you because it IS kind of girlie for a man to cry at a movie theater.

That’s just the way I see it.

Twins opening day

I have been meaning to write this post for a few days now, just never got around to it. I am quite excited for the twins opening day tomorrow since it will be the first regular season game in their new stadium. The best part of is that I get to go to the game in person after all. Last Tuesday night when I was watching the Twins game, they said on the broadcast that the Twins had put a limited number of tickets on sale for the home opener since the red sox’s and I think some other groups had returned tickets.

It will be great to be able to go the first regular season game in the stadium, since I was also able to go to the first ever regular season game for the Minnesota Wild and their new arena.  I will try to post my thoughts on the new stadium some time this coming week after the game tomorrow. Will certainly be interesting to see since have heard a lot of good things about the stadium.