16 September 2006

AfC and Software-Free Days

It seems that AfC’s fiancee wants today to be a software-free day.

Historically, it turns out that she has a point — well, half a point, anyway.

Several religions have a rest day every week, and a common one is (kind of) Saturdays, known as Shabbat or Sabaoth. Most practice along these lines runs the day from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, although some run it from 6PM (18:00) & a few want to run it on Sundays instead.

The basis for this is typically either celebration of a dramatic rescue of the creed, or memorial of the day of rest at the end of the creation week. These Saturday traditions seem to have a far stronger basis than the Sunday ones. For example, the word for “Saturday” in many languages means or sounds like a rest day (Italian gives us Sabato, for excample, & Portugese gives us Sábado).

However, I did say “half a point” & the missing half is that the day of shutdown typically includes no work (ie, no computers) & no trading (ie, no shopping).

If AfC wants a break & fiancee wants to shop, the closest I can think of to a reasonable compromise-that-works within these rules is to find shops open after sunset on Saturday (or before sunset on Friday) & to run AfC’s computer-break across the finish-line — kinda — so that his computer-break lasts across some shopping-time.

The break-time seems to be effective because the studies I ran across while exploring this are universal in claiming longer, healthier lives for the practitioners. Some groups also have a health emphasis, but it turns out that many of the benefits apply largely to those not officially practicing the directly healthy aspects (typically vegetarianism & longer nights) but nevertheless taking a break.

It seems that one day a week works out to be a functional break time, without taking up so much time as to become detrimental.

Based on that alone, I guess that having a day off to go shopping would be helpful, although I’m not clear on shopping itself being so restful (OTOH, I’m neither fiancee nor femme).

If you do try it, Andrew, please post & let us know how it works out. (-:


Leon Brooks said...

Don’t know if this helps, but many of the groups assessed preached controlled (or no) smoking & at least moderate exercise.

There are also implications of “group support” which is kind of expected within a community of almost any kind.

There are also mentions of “feeling full” much earlier due to more fibrous food amongst the veggos.

Major said...

Well, it sort of hiders really if your intent is to demonstrate that having a sabath leads to "longer, healthier lives for the practitioners".

While it would be reasonably easy to prove that having a sabath and refraining from smoking was good for your health it actually says nothing about the value of the sabath.

A group with refrains from smoking and does X (for almost any value of X) will be healthier than the general population.

To demonstrate the value of the sabath you would either have to (a) find a group which practices a sabath but is like the rest of the population on other health-affecting lifestyle factors or (b) find a group which which does not practice a sabath but is like the sabath practicers on other health-affecting lifestyle factors.

I doubt such groups could be isolated (if the exist at all) and so any study claiming to find scientific evidence for the value of a sabath is bound to be deeply flawed.

Speaking of bugus methodology, did you see that Harvard Medical school re-did the value of prayer for surgical patients experiments (with a bit more attention to methodology than previous studies). They found that prayer did not affect a patient's outcome unless they knew they were being prayed for, in which case they had slightly worse outcomes.

Major said...

PS: שבת [shabbātt] means rest, צבאות [Sabaoth] means "hosts" or "armies" and is often associated with the name of god.

Leon Brooks said...

Hi, Major!

Apparently, the necessary groups are widely available as subsets of the other groups measured.

For example, some groups of sabbath observers are smokers, some are healthy eaters, and so on. At least, so say many of the medical comparisons I saw, and this appears to be a normal factor.

Having a regular break seems to be one of a number of factors which each contribute towards "longer, healthier lives".

Major said...

I stand corrected (but surprised).

Do you have a citation?

Leon Brooks said...

Citation? Blast, now I'll have to find it all again.