From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Scalia, Corruption, and Carpal Tunnel

November 10, 2003 7:49 PM

Krugman reviews Bushwhacked; an excerpt on the ergonomics chapter:

The chapter on ergonomics—i.e., regulations to prevent injuries from poor working conditions—is startling, not so much for the what and the how as for the who. There we learn about the career of Eugene Scalia, now the Labor Department's solicitor general. This is an appointment that should have raised eyebrows, even if the younger Scalia had a history of labor advocacy. Just to be blunt about it: here we have a president who reached office despite receiving fewer votes than his opponent, thanks to a highly questionable Supreme Court decision —and now a plum job goes to the son of the justice who muscled that decision through. Wow.

But it's much worse than that. The younger Scalia isn't just another of the many fortunate conservative sons (and daughters). He's someone to be reckoned with in his own right, because he is, as Ivins and Dubose say, "the godfather of the anti-ergonomics movement." As a lawyer representing business interests—that is, as a lobbyist with credentials—he was a relentless opponent of rules designed to protect workers from workplace injuries. More than that, he was tireless in his efforts to debunk the science of such injuries. And he was, of course, handsomely paid for his efforts—which did, indeed, succeed in delaying the Clinton administration's attempt to establish ergonomics rules that would, for example, protect workers from repetitive stress ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and serious injuries. Such delays prepared the ground for the Bush administration's decision to forget about the whole thing. The fact that Scalia is now the Labor Department's chief lawyer— the man who, in principle, represents worker interests in court—is the kind of thing a satirist would never dare invent.

Eugene Scalia resigned from the Department of Labor in January and returned to his law practice at Gibson Dunne.

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Scalia, Corruption, and Carpal Tunnel (11.10.2003)

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Read the 1 comments.


I have read many very good suggestions about ways to reduce the strain caused by typing. Ergonomic and medically oriented solutions are fine and too often necessary. However they don’t get to the root of the problem. The root problem being that the volume of information being typed is increasing dramatically yet no effective solution to addressing this issue has yet come forth.

I think, however, that an innovative approach is needed to deal with these issues.

I would offer that the only way to strike at the heart of the problem is to greatly reduce the number of keystokes required to produce any level of output. More bang for each keypress.

We all are familiar with abbreviations such as ‘tv’ for ‘television’, ‘ea’ for ‘each’, or ‘USA’ for ‘United States of America’. Suppose it were possible to utilize technology to take these (and far more) keyed in abbreviations and convert them to their corresponding expanded text. In the process you will have greatly reduced the number of keystrokes required to produce a far greater level of output. Then, regardless of your current typing speed or dexterity your productivity would be increased commensurately. (200 keypresses might output 450 letters of text for sake of argument) Not to mention the fact that the number of typing (spelling) errors made and requiring correction would be reduced in kind.

This type of software solution will facilitate both the reduction of the incidence and effect of typing related repetitive motion injuries and the return to a competitive level of productivity with far less effort for those already suffering the effects of Carpal Tunnel.

Some examples may help to clarify.

Type . Output ............... Savings

tt ... that ................... 50%
ts ... this ................... 50%
nf ... information ............ 82%
ub ... unbelievable ........... 83%
wu ... would .................. 50%
wuu .. would you .............. 66%
naoi . in and of itself ....... 75%

Stay tuned for JAKE (Joined Abbreviation Keyboard Entries)

Thu Dec 8 2005 1:22 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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