Hunter Gatherer

Brimming with ideas and a fascinating read. STEVEN PINKER, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

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Upstanding Citizen #15: Dan Young and the Cycling Desk

Standing desks are so 2011.  Cycling desks are all the rage in 2012.

Dan Young, of Cleveland, Oho, loves cycling.  So he jerry-rigged his desk so that he could cycle at work.  Check it out.

He’s even started a line of furniture called Kickstand, selling these desks.

“The real mission was to build a line of furniture geared toward the avid cycler. I love bicycles and if I had my way I’d be riding them every day. Now I can.”

It really goes to show, there’s really no athletic activity you can’t do at your desk.  Dan Young, you are an Upstanding Upcycling Citizen. 

The full article is here.  Thanks to Keith for the pointer.

Upstanding Citizen #14: Dwight Schrute from the Office (Rainn Wilson)

It is a great honor to be mocked by Rainn Wilson.  Here is a clip from a new episode of The Office where Dwight gets a standing desk.

And so it is only appropriate that the Upstanding Citizen Standing Committee, by unanimous vote (1-0), would like to honor Dwight Schrute with the most prestigious award in vertical workspace technology.

  • For calling sitting it by it’s true name — a suicide cult
  • For standing up against prejudice in the workplace
  • For a man who is truly in touch with the bipedal ape within 

For all these things, you are truly an Upstanding Citizen.  And you join such esteemed cohorts as Thomas Jefferson, Donald Rumsfeld, assistants to the Iowa State Cyclones football team, and News Corp heir-apparent James Murdoch.  You can see past award winners here.

I can’t wait for Dwight to go paleo.  Jokes about legumes write themselves.

Upstanding Citizen #13: Revenge of the Co-Workers

Our latest Upstanding Citizen, John, is a CrossFit Instructor at CrossFit Advanced in Easton, Pennsylvania.  John finds himself the target of an office prank.

“I recently took it upon myself to raise my desk/”workstation pod.” Part of the Herman Miller “Resolve” workstation series, the desk and accessories are highly interchangeable and can be easily adjusted for height. With a price tag that is easily in the $1,000+ range (nevermind the $400 chair that is now relegated to the corner), you would think the workstation would adjust to standing level. Not so! The telescopic legs stopped short, leaving me to use whey protein containers (yea, I know, 20 lashings for not being strict paleo) as structural supports.

The whole situation left my coworkers amused to say the least (especially considering the workstation next to mine is shared by a colleague who seems to tolerate the shortened hip flexors more than myself.

I was away for travel the other week, and my coworkers found it amusing to do just the opposite and lower the desk to a floor sitting level.  [See picture below.]

Granted, I enjoy the “paleo-chair” idea of squatting just as much as the next guy, but I can’t tolerate that more than 10 minutes at a time!  After a few laughs and embarrassing pictures I was able to easily convince them to restore the desk to it’s prior protein canister-assisted height.”

Standing desks are so six months ago — I need to get me a squat desk.  John, for the workplace harassment you have suffered at the hands of sedentary co-workers, you are truly an Upstanding Citizen.  You can see past installments of Upstanding Citizen here


Upstanding Citizens #11-12: Iowa State Cyclones Football

Athletes hate sitting at a desk all day.  Our latest installment in Upstanding Citizen comes from the Iowa State Cyclones football team, and is a double.

“Attached are our Iowa State Football standing desks. Drew Mehringer and myself [Matt Karleskint] (owners the desks) are Graduate Assistants for the offense and simply took cardboard boxes and paper reams to prop up our computer stations. It is not fancy but it is simple, works fantastic and is obviously affordable. On days that we are in the office all day, which is rare, I have found that I sleep better at night. For me, there is something psychologically better about standing all day as opposed to slouching in the chair. Again, great blog and keep up the good work!”

Go Cyclones!

Upstanding Citizen #10: Geologist at a Canadian mine

Our latest installment of Upstanding Citizen comes a mine in Canada.  That’s Damien, a geologist, and he’s logging drill core.

“The core bench is fairly standard for what geologists log drill core on, sitting isn’t really an option- i think, and it’s been there since way before I started.  In warmer countries geologists log core out side in the sun. I actually like working like this for part of the day (12 hour work days), and normally i do 5-7 hours a day logging core, and you do get used to standing on your feet all day fairly quickly. But doing it for more than 8 hours straight gets too much for the legs – they get tired. But it’s not like i’m standing still in one place, that would be a bit torturous i think (the monitor slides along a rail). The rest of the day is mainly in the office.     

Damien, you are truly an Upstanding Citizen — a type of citizenship that extends across national boundaries.  Maybe one day we’ll even have our own passports.

You can find earlier installments of Upstanding Citizen here.

Infographic: Sitting is Killing You

Check out this sick infographic on sitting.  Go see the full thing at Mashable, it’s worth it just for the art.  I think they tried to get in touch with me about Upstanding Citizen, but I was in the monastery.

Upstanding Citizen #9: Allison from CrossFit NYC The Black Box

You know that old observation about the people who ride the elevator to the gym just to use the stairmaster?  Well, when you work at a gym and you have to update the website, then you might find yourself sitting at a desk in a gym.  But Allison Bojarski — one of the trainers at CrossFit NYC and the communications director — will have nothing of it.  Check out her DIY standing desk.

Allison, for your dedication to functional fitness, including functional web browsing, you are an Upstanding Citizen.  So folks, drop into the Black Box some time, and sign up for a session with Allison — she’s good.

Update: Wait a second, are you on facebook?  The prize committee is re-considering whether that can be called functional web browsing.

Update 2: False alarm.  That’s the CrossFit NYC blog, not facebook.  The prize committee is mollified.

Sitting is lethal

This is getting too easy.  It's as if I have a whole team of reporters over at the New York Times who are doing all my health research for me — and they're doing a bang up job.  It's true, I was being a little lazy in a past edition of Upstanding Citizen when I said that standing makes you "die less or something".  A few of you pushed back on the science behind it.  (As you should have.)  Well, here it is, in black and white, baby:

Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”

Read the whole thing, it's juicy.  Past installments of Upstanding Citizen here.  Thanks to Rob, Aleta, and many others for the pointer.

Upstanding Citizen #8 : Standing Up Down Under

This is the most stylish and minimal standing desk yet submitted.

It's the desk of Michael Honey in Canberra, Australia.  Michael is founder of Icelab, an interactive design studio.  Michael, for showing that creativity does not require a futuristic egg-pod or bean bag chair, you are an Upstanding Citizen.

You can see past installments of Upstanding Citizen here.

Upstanding Citizen #7: The Fox

As usual, the animals know best.

That's a real photo, by the way.  Here are many more pictures of a Russian man and his unusual pets.  Highly recommended.

Here are past installments of Upstanding Citizen.  Thanks to Zoe for the pointer.