Marked for Ingestion: Physics and Malthus

Links for the moment:


1 billion pushups: the slackening

So, as I secretly expected, I fell down the stairs with regard to my resolution to complete the 100 pushups program… again. The third time. My last set was February 12th, and it was a struggle to do even the minimum. The idea that I was hitting a wall in spite of the program’s seemingly gentle curve seems to have stymied me again.

It’s now February 23rd, a full 11 days later, and the next set is even more daunting. But I’m going to make the attempt, and damn the torpedoes. (The torpedoes being jacked-up wrists and generally below-average physique.)

(Grunting sounds commence.)

Well, I was just barely able to complete the set. On my progress sheet, I’ve placed unhappy faces on set 5 to indicate that I was “only” able to complete the minimum number of pushups, this time, 25.

Coming next update: a shot of the completed week 3.

Horrible Idea: fancy-pants Periodic Table from old Scrabble Sets


A few weeks ago, I was listening to a RadioLab podcast, and among the segments was a somewhat eccentric scientist who had a cabinet that he was slowly filling with every element on the periodic chart. The very idea is wonderful, whether you’re a chemist or not, and for someone like me, who never took chemistry (even in high school) it has a certain appeal. It’s a learning project, to be sure.

The idea is obvious enough for me not to trust myself to think it’s original, but why not take an old Scrabble set, and make a crafty little table of periodic elements myself? Hang it on the wall, look at it smugly, etc.  Continue reading

Freeware: ManicTime micromanages your day

It looks like a file defragmenter, but really it’s a way to see how very fragmented your day is. ManicTime is a fat, but free .NET app that snoops on all your window titles and creates a series of charts that describe the applications that take up your day. It’s a good way to augment your timecard, or just see how long you’ve spent playing Team Fortress 2 versus World of Warcraft. I’ve been using it for about eight hours now and I already feel terribly, terribly guilty.

ManicTime main screen
ManicTime main screen


  • Free and professional-looking
  • Silently records your doings with no interaction
  • Unobtrusive – unlike a PDA-type app, it won’t remind you what to do, it passively records what you’re doing
  • Accurate enough out of the box, better with a little personal configuration
  • Can export graphs (to PNG) and data (to CSV)
  • Does not share or upload your data with a 3rd party source, all info is store locally


  • Induces guilt
  • Requires .NET (and therefore not native to Mac or Linux machines)
  • Grossly overweight (its two runtimes exceed 50MB when minimized)
  • Without user interaction, cannot differentiate between different activities using the same app (bad if you use your browser for multiple tasks: watching YouTube, checking email, writing a blog post)
  • Weird, fuzzy display of some text (some .NET issue, maybe?)


(found via Lifehacker)

1 billion pushups progress: week 1 complete, week 2 in progress

I’m voluntarily pursuing the program over six weeks and blogging about it so I don’t crap out. So far I’ve completed week 1, and started week 2:

Week 1 complete.
Week 1 complete.
Week 2 in progress.
Week 2 in progress.

Week 2 is getting trying already, and I’m afraid of looking at week 3. My previous maximum, 20 pushups, will be the max-out for the next session. I could just barely complete the max-out for this last session, 17.  It still may not seem that I’m doing very much (and I’m not), but the first session had me complete 55 pushups; now it’s 71.

According to the program, I’ll rest my bony arms a day or two then perform another exhaustion test to sum up my progress so far, then head into week 3.

First post:

Category:  Pushups