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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Born To Rest, by Jonathan Shaw, Harvard Magazine

“No hunter-gatherer goes out for a jog, just for the sake of it, I can tell you from personal experience,” says Lieberman. “They go out to forage, they go out to work, but anything else would be unwise, not to mention maladaptive” in calorie-restricted environments.

This tension between activity and rest, he says, plays out in human physiological and anatomical systems that “evolved to require stimuli from physical activity to adjust capacity to demand.” Muscles become bigger and more powerful with use, for example. With disuse, they atrophy. Bone deposition and repair mechanisms likewise require the presence of mechanical stimulation, such as running. The absence of such stimuli can eventually lead to a risk of osteoporosis. “In the circulatory system,” Lieberman continues, “vigorous activity stimulates expansion of peripheral circulation,” improves the heart’s ability to pump blood, “and increases arterial elasticity.” Without exercise, arteries stiffen, the heart pumps less blood, and metabolism slows.

The Eating Out Habit, by Paula Marantz Cohen, Table Matters

When I was growing up in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, my parents would announce periodically that we would be going to go out to dinner. When the announcement was made, the evening was imbued with a festive air. We dressed up — I have a recollection of patent leather shoes and crinolines. Eating out was an occasion; it happened rarely and felt like an extravagance.

I don’t think my family was unique in this. Most people of that era — unless they worked in advertising — rarely ate out.

No longer. Now, everyone eats out all the time.

Playing Up Anchorage: New Book Reviews Playgrounds Of Alaska’s Biggest City, by Erin Kirkland, Alaska Dispatch News

Anchorage parks and playgrounds can be tough to find. Some are so small and tucked away in neighborhoods that parents new to town have a difficult time locating them. Some, like Margaret Eagan, have pseudo-names that only those of us who have been here long enough to learn them know the difference. Carlson took care of that aspect, too, listing nicknames alongside the official moniker. Been to Russian Jack Springs Park, aka "Polar Bear Park?" How about Bob and Arlene Cross Park? That one is known to many as the "Birdhouses Park."

Noah Hawley On A Thriller In Which Thomas Edison And George Westinghouse Face Off, by Noah Hawley, New York Times

What makes a fictional story feel true and a true story feel fictional? This is a question I considered often while reading “The Last Days of Night,” a novel by Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Imitation Game” and author of the 2010 novel “The Sherlockian.” His new book is a thriller built around the so-called electricity wars fought over a century ago between the rival inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Specifically, it explores Edison’s attempts to drive Westinghouse (and his superior A/C current) out of business. Our way into the tale is the real-life lawyer Paul Cravath, a prodigy in his mid-20s hired by Westinghouse to defend his growing empire from Edison’s attack.

Writing A Book Is Like Riding A Bike: You Shouldn’t Do Either, by Jim Behrle, The Awl

Some authors want to write bestsellers and some want to write deep and meaningful literature. I have different advice to those different kind of writers.