Four short links: 21 July 2010

Health, Profit, Policy, and Semantic Web Software

  1. The Men Who Stare at Screens (NY Times) — What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their risk of heart disease soared, despite the exercise. Their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of sitting. (via Andy Baio)
  2. Caring with Cash — describes a study where “pay however much you want” had high response rate but low average price, “half goes to charity” barely changed from the control (fixed price) response rate, but “half goes to charity and you can pay what you like” earned more money than either strategy.
  3. Behavioural Economics a Political Placebo? (NY Times) — As policymakers use it to devise programs, it’s becoming clear that behavioral economics is being asked to solve problems it wasn’t meant to address. Indeed, it seems in some cases that behavioral economics is being used as a political expedient, allowing policymakers to avoid painful but more effective solutions rooted in traditional economics. (via Mind Hacks)
  4. Protege — open source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework.
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  • Stefano Bertolo

    for an alternative open source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework some may be interested in the NeOn Toolkit at

    http://neon-toolkit.org

  • Alex Tolley

    Re: Staring at screens.

    ‘Regular workout sessions do not appear to fully undo the effects of prolonged sitting. ‘‘There seem to be different pathways’’ involved in the beneficial physiological effects of exercising and the deleterious impacts of sitting, says Tatiana Warren, a graduate student in exercise science at the University of South Carolina and the lead author of the study of men who sat too much. ‘‘One does not undo the other,’’’

    This is very similar to what is seen in micro-g environments. Astronauts do a lot of concentrated workouts, yet they still lose bone and muscle mass. Perhaps they need to break up these exercise sessions more (scheduling issues) or wear clothes/devices that simulate gravity by putting stresses on the joints or working against muscle movements.