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Thanks to the folks at HarperCollins and various book stores and venues around the country, the SEVENEVES book tour schedule is coming together--click here to see what we have so far.

Notes on 416 Days of Treadmill Desk Usage

Neal Stephenson - March 2015

Since I’ve advocated for the use of treadmill desks in Some Remarks and evangelized it to people I know, I thought it behooved me to publish some data and some reflections on it, born of experience. I have been using a treadmill desk for a few years, but in mid-January of 2014 I began keeping track of my daily mileage on a spreadsheet. As of early March 2015 I have enough data (416 days’ worth) to amass some simple statistics.

While its beneficial effects certainly outweigh its downside, it would be less than honest to claim that use of a treadmill while working is completely benign. During the first half of 2014 I began to experience discomfort in my left leg, typically in the buttock and thigh but sometimes extending down to the knee and ankle. This was clearly associated with walking on the treadmill. Interestingly, however, it was completely absent when walking out of doors. I could walk in a normal stride outdoors for many miles without having any trace of this problem, but even a short stint on the treadmill brought it back. I began to curtail my treadmill mileage by reducing the speed, typically to the minimum value of 0.5 miles per hour.

In mid-June of 2014 I consulted a physical therapist who observed me walking on a treadmill in her office and pointed out that I was tottering from side to side in a Frankenstein-like gait. The obvious remedy was to start walking normally, planting one foot ahead of the other. In the meantime she prescribed some stretching exercises.

A bit of experimentation showed that increasing the treadmill’s speed produced a longer, more normal stride. While the leg pain didn’t go away entirely (and is still with me to some degree) I was able to log more miles while experiencing a significant reduction in discomfort. Typically I now run the treadmill at 1.8 mph, almost quadruple the speed to which I had reduced it in June 2014.

Here’s a plot of all the raw numbers, showing miles per day, from mid-January 2014 through the first week of March 2015. The vertical red line in June is the day I went to the physical therapist:

There are outliers to both ends of the scale,…

Lascaux: The Journey

Congratulations to the good people at Fat Pony Games for shipping Lascaux: the Journey which is an unusual and very cool combination of strategy game and art game. The elevator pitch might be that it supplies the missing backstory for the prehistoric Lascaux cave paintings by allowing players to game the set of experiences that those artists had to survive, in order to get to a place where they could make that art.

SEVENEVES cover design

Thanks to the team at HarperCollins for putting together a great cover design for SEVENEVES. My task for today is to stop admiring it and get back to work checking over the page proofs.



Congratulations to Tony Wolf on the publication of SUFFRAJITSU! Tony deserves credit for years of patient research and steady promotion of Victorian and Edwardian "antagonistics"--a fascinating chapter in martial arts history that I and many others wouldn't know about, were it not for his efforts.

Available on Amazon & Comixology


I helped make a graphic novel