Caring for your Piano – from Steinway South Africa

AMBIENT CONDITIONS
Wood and felt are highly sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. During the heating period a standard good-quality humidifier should be used to control and regulate humidity. The most favorable environment for your piano is a relative humidity ranging between 45% and 70% and a constant temperature of approximately 20˚C. Sudden fluctuations in temperature must be avoided as the tuning and regulation might be influenced negatively.

via Caring for your Piano

Get Up- Stand Up! – by Gretchen Reynolds – NYT

“The scientists then found strong statistical correlations between sitting and mortality. The men and women who sat for the most hours every day, according to their accelerometer data, had the highest risk for early death, especially if this sitting often continued for longer than 30 minutes at a stretch. The risk was unaffected by age, race, gender or body mass.It also was barely lowered if people exercised regularly.

But interestingly, the risk of early death did drop if sitting time was frequently interrupted. People whose time spent sitting usually lasted for less than 30 minutes at a stretch were less likely to have died than those whose sitting was more prolonged, even if the total hours of sitting time were the same.

In essence, the data showed that “both the total hours spent sitting each day and whether those hours are accrued in short or long bouts” of physical stillness influenced longevity, says Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University, who led the new study.”

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

What a great article, exceptionally good common sense, and interesting science. As my Dad liked to advise, Don’t let the bastards get you down. I’d write more, but I think I’ve been reading the NYT now for two and a half hours straight, and having just absorbed the main gist of your reporting, I’d better walk about and do some chores.

The Benefits of Talking to Yourself – The New York Times

“A stranger approached me at a grocery store. “Do you need help finding something?” he asked. At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant. Then the realization kicked in: I was talking out loud, to myself, in public.

It was a habit I’d grown so comfortable with that I didn’t even realize I was doing it.The fairly common habit of talking aloud to yourself is what psychologists call external self-talk. And although self-talk is sometimes looked at as just an eccentric quirk, research has found that it can influence behavior and cognition.

“Language provides us with this tool to gain distance from our own experiences when we’re reflecting on our lives. And that’s really why it’s useful,” said Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.”

The Best Thing to Eat Before a Workout? Maybe Nothing at All – The New York Times

“. . . But it was the impacts deep within the fat cells that may have been the most consequential, the researchers found. Multiple genes behaved differently, depending on whether someone had eaten or not before walking. Many of these genes produce proteins that can improve blood sugar regulation and insulin levels throughout the body and so are associated with improved metabolic health. These genes were much more active when the men had fasted before exercise than when they had breakfasted.The implication of these results is that to gain the greatest health benefits from exercise, it may be wise to skip eating first, says Dylan Thompson, the director of health research at the University of Bath and senior author of the study.”

Should 15,000 Steps a Day Be Our New Exercise Target? – The New York Times

“Taking 10,000 steps per day is often suggested as a desirable exercise goal for people who wish to improve their health. But a new study of postal workers in Scotland suggests that that number could be too conservative and that, to best protect our hearts, many of us might want to start moving quite a bit more.

It has been almost 70 years since the publication of the London Transit Workers Study, a famous work in which researchers tracked the heart health of London bus drivers and conductors. They found that the conductors, who walked up and down bus aisles throughout the workday, were substantially less likely to develop or die from heart disease than the drivers, who sat almost constantly while at work.”

Do We Need to Give Up Alcohol to Lose Weight? Not Necessarily – The New York Times

“Unlike protein, fats and carbohydrates, alcohol is a toxic substance that is not stored in the body. Alcohol calories are used for fuel, thus decreasing the body’s use of other sources of calories. That means people who drink must eat less or exercise more to maintain their weight.

Dr. Chaput said he is able to keep from gaining weight and body fat despite consuming “about 15 drinks a week” by eating a healthy diet, exercising daily and monitoring his weight regularly.”

This article is very valuable. I use one of the recommended techniques. I weigh myself everyday, to remind myself not to overeat, which in my natural inclination.

Savings, Longevity and the Year in Fitness – The New York Times

“Two numbers are, to me, particularly emblematic of what science had to tell us about fitness this year.

The first is 42 percent and represents the extent by which people’s risk for premature death rises if they are out of shape, according to a study published in July. That number almost equals the risk of early death associated with heavy smoking.

The second figure is $2,500 and is the amount of money that each of us most likely could save annually on medical costs related to heart disease if we walked for 30 minutes most days, according to a wonderfully pragmatic study released in September.

In other words, exercise science this year taught us that being inactive could potentially cost us years from our lives and many thousands of dollars from our wallets.”

How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body – The New York Times

Editors’ note: We’re resurfacing this 2012 magazine article for Smarter Living so you can feel a little less guilty about skipping that yoga class.

“On a cold Saturday in early 2009, Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus, was giving a master class at Sankalpah Yoga in Manhattan.

Black is, in many ways, a classic yogi: he studied in Pune, India, at the institute founded by the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar, and spent years in solitude and meditation. He now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and often teaches at the nearby Omega Institute, a New Age emporium spread over nearly 200 acres of woods and gardens. He is known for his rigor and his down-to-earth style. But this was not why I sought him out: Black, I’d been told, was the person to speak with if you wanted to know not about the virtues of yoga but rather about the damage it could do. Many of his regular clients came to him for bodywork or rehabilitation following yoga injuries. This was the situation I found myself in. In my 30s, I had somehow managed to rupture a disk in my lower back and found I could prevent bouts of pain with a selection of yoga postures and abdominal exercises. Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way. With it went my belief, naïve in retrospect, that yoga was a source only of healing and never harm.”

Source: How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body – The New York Times

How Artists Change the World – The New York Times

“As usual, there were a ton of artists and musicians at the political conventions this year. And that raises some questions. How much should artists get involved in politics? How can artists best promote social change?One person who serves as a model here was not an artist but understood how to use a new art form. Frederick Douglass made himself the most photographed American of the 19th century, which is kind of amazing. He sat for 160 separate photographs (George Custer sat for 155 and Abraham Lincoln for 126). He also wrote four lectures on photography.

Douglass used his portraits to change the way viewers saw black people. Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard points out that one of Douglass’s favorite rhetorical tropes was the chiasmus: the use of two clauses in a sentence in reversed order to create an inverse parallel.For example, Douglass wrote, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.”And that’s what Douglass did with his portraits. He took contemporary stereotypes of African-Americans — that they are inferior, unlettered, comic and dependent — and turned them upside down.”

Source: How Artists Change the World – The New York Times

NYT: Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness

As the son of a corporate lawyer on wall street, when a teenager I used to complain that I felt like I had no father.

A study published this week found that prestigious jobs were not linked to more well-being and that public-service work correlated with less alcohol consumption.
well.blogs.nytimes.com|By DOUGLAS QUENQUA