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Friday Genius Ten: “Walking” Edition

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, May 6, 2011 11:48 EDT
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HopStop (an invaluable service for people who use public transportation to get around in one of their featured cities) added a new feature to their website, and I don't know how I feel about it. If you put your journey in, the site now tells you not only how many minutes walking, how many minutes total, and distance traveled, but now has an estimate of how many calories you burn because of the walking.  I have mixed feelings about this, and wanted to ask what the Pandagonians out there are thinking.  Such estimates are by their nature very rough, since how many calories you burn depends on things like your weight, your muscle-to-fat ratio, your age, and probably how fast you walk.  So I worry it's going to give some people overly optimistic estimates of how much exercise they're getting.  But on the flip side, this could encourage people to walk and use public transportation more.  It would be more cool if they could put how many calories you would burn driving the distance. (Like 5 on average, maybe?)  And with the HopStop feature, the calories burned might encourage more users to consider the "More walking/fewer transfers" option, which is my permanent setting since I'm a big fan of trying to increase incidental exercise, since the research shows that even if you have a regular workout routine, if you sit on your ass the rest of the time, you still have a much higher risk of heart disease. Our bodies just did not evolve to sit down as much as we do.

So, what do you guys think?  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Irrelevant?  Would you like to see more sorts of casual inducements to walk more like this?  Would you want to see some research on whether or not this works?  I know I would.

One thing is for certain.  This gives me an excuse to play one of my favorite all time trashy New Wave songs to kick of an 80s-centric Genius Ten. (You bet I played this at the WAM! Prom.)  I found a great televised live version where the lead singer of Missing Persons has one of those outfits that really demonstrate why the over-the-top fashion outbreak of the 80s was a good thing for humanity. I want her hair. Leave your list in comments, or your opinion on this or anything at all. Open thread.

Original song: "Walking In L.A." by Missing Persons

1) "Girl U Want" by Devo

2) "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo (one of those great underrated bands)

3) "Private Idaho" by the B-52s

4) "Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Go-Gos

5) "Message of Love" by the Pretenders

6) "Senses Working Overtime" by XTC

7) "Shellshock" by New Order

8) "Stand and Deliver" by Adam Ant

9) "Reap the Wild Wind" by Ultravox

10) "Genius of Love" by the Tom Tom Club

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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