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Jun 11 - That 2:30 feeling at your office job?! It's because of high CO2 levels in the air


 
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 7 days ago '04        #1
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Exs 474 heat pts474
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Jun 11 - That 2:30 feeling at your office job?! It's because of high CO2 levels in the air
 

 
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Ever sit in a meeting or lecture wondering why time slows down to an agonizing pace and your eyelids suddenly feel as if they weigh two tons? You’re not alone, and you just might be pin your suffering on the 21st Century’s most infamous molecule.

Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas we love to hate, doesn’t just wreak havoc on the atmosphere at high concentrations—it’s in the air all around us, even indoors. Because humans exhale CO2, enclosed spaces we occupy tend to have much greater concentrations of the gas than outside. The more people there are per unit of space, the faster the CO2 level in the air within that space will rise. And without proper ventilation, it can reach numbers that would make an atmospheric scientist shudder.

Adam Ginsburg, a research fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, recorded this process in real time last week at the “Linking the Milky Way and Nearby Galaxies” academic conference in Helsinki. He used a small air quality monitor plugged into his computer to track the CO2 concentration in the conference meeting room and found that it peaked far above the 1000 to 1200 parts per million maximum indoor level recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.



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Ginsburg collected data every day of the conference. He found that the CO2 levels in the room climbed fast soon after speaking events on the second day began. About an hour into the first speaker, they peak at nearly 1700ppm and drop dramatically after the attendees take a coffee break, opening the doors and allowing the room to ventilate. Ginsburg says he alerted conference organizers to the impending carbon catastrophe, after which they made an effort to keep doors and windows open and allow air to circulate. That afternoon, CO2 levels stabilized at around 1000ppm, and remained at a mostly similar level for the rest of the conference (the doors and windows remained open during that time).

When Ginsburg made his data available to other scientists at the conference and on social media, he said a few people commented something to the effect of, “Oh, that explains a lot.” That’s because such high concentrations of carbon dioxide might be making people lethargic and unproductive not just there but in offices and auditoriums around the world.

Effects of ultra-high CO2 concentrations on the body’s physiology are well documented. Because the molecule is acidic, absorbing an excess of it throws off the blood’s pH, resulting in a condition called respiratory acidosis. Acute acidosis (occurring at concentrations of at least 10,000ppm) can cause headaches, confusion, drowsiness, stupor, and even loss of consciousness. But the effects of lower CO2 levels—below the 10,000ppm mark—on the body are less understood, largely because typical indoor levels of carbon dioxide were long thought to be innocuous. However, some evidence suggests it may not be so harmless.

Mark Mendell, an affiliate researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has conducted experiments on indoor air quality, says CO2 has historically been a marker for ventilation in buildings—the higher the level, the lower the ventilation and air quality. But the gas itself wasn’t thought to contribute to these problems, until a team Mendell worked with decided to test it.

In a 2012 study, they isolated people in an office-like chamber at three concentrations of CO2: 600ppm, 1,000ppm, and 2,500ppm. Subjects at each concentration completed the Strategic Management Simulation (SMS) test, thought to replicate the complex cognitive functions used in a work environment. They found that the quality of decision-making decreased at 1,000ppm and deteriorated even further at 2,500ppm.

In 2016, a Harvard study found that people performed better on cognitive tests when in a controlled environment with low concentrations of carbon dioxide than conventional, high levels of carbon dioxide. Mendell says this experiment was basically a more complicated version of his team’s study, which made him more confident in their results.

Another said high CO2 concentrations can also lead to sleepiness. And one study on the effects of differing carbon dioxide levels in a flight simulator found that FAA-certified pilots were likely to perform maneuvers better when breathing in lower concentrations of the gas.

While he doesn’t deny the anecdotal evidence of falling asleep in a crowded meeting room, Mendell isn’t quite convinced of the role indoor CO2 plays in the human body given that the scientific literature on the subject is still growing. Further, researchers have yet to identify the underlying mechanism (if there is one). However, these preliminary studies are a good start—all of them tested CO2 only, making it unlikely that the conclusions drawn could be from anything else. Mendell is looking forward to more studies on the physiological effects of the range of carbon dioxide levels found indoors.

“It’s still unclear what the actual story is,” Mendell says.

While Ginsburg’s data from the conference wasn’t a controlled study that isolated carbon dioxide and measured cognitive function, he says he “would certainly a*sume” that CO2 played a role in its attendees’ experiences. Once the organizers opened doors and windows, Ginsburg says he felt the room become less stuffy.

“The fresh air flowing through certainly felt refreshing,” he says.

It’s unclear how many embarrassing instances of sleeping scientists were avoided by letting the room breathe, but sufficeth to say Ginsburg is an inspiration to bored businesspeople everywhere.

Ginsburg continued to measure CO2 throughout the conference, noting that in times when doors were closed for noise reasons, its levels still spiked—though lower than the initial snoozefest-worthy concentration and closer to the ASHRAE-recommended level. But when studies suggest that psychological changes start occurring at 1000ppm, it’s no wonder why a solution to feeling sluggish can be to go outside and get some fresh(er) air.

Several climate scientists and activists shared the data on Twitter, noting that CO2’s possible effects on our ability to be smart, functional humans could have greater implications as the “fresh air” we often escape to becomes more saturated with the gas. If we do little to mitigate emissions, the IPCC estimates that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could reach up to 1000ppm by the year 2100—in other words, the outdoors would become as stuffy as an office, driving indoor concentrations to almost unlivable levels. Climate scientist Michael E. Mann pointed out the irony that scientists and policymakers attending most climate conferences likely also experience a CO2-related reduction in cognitive function, which can lead to a vicious cycle of bad policy and even more greenhouse gas emissions. Science historian Naomi Oreskes summed it up:

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visit this link https://www.popsci.com/co .. twitter#page-3
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31 comments for "Jun 11 - That 2:30 feeling at your office job?! It's because of high CO2 levels in the air"

 7 days ago '05        #2
old head 190 heat pts190
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+10   

 7 days ago '05        #3
B.S. Writer 
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Props g. Sometimes those meetings be brutal.

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 7 days ago '14        #4
NineDime 1 heat pts
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This is something that has been influencing the architecture/design industry for some time now.

The built environment has a bigger impact on inhabitants than most ppl think (especially the work place)
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 7 days ago '12        #5
acefresh 24 heat pts24
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That sh*t is the worst. I always blamed myself

Thanks op
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 7 days ago '06        #6
Sewer 32 heat pts32
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 7 days ago '07        #7
CASH1 11 heat pts11
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Nah man, it's bc the 8 hour work day is antiquated as fu*k from old warehouse and factory production jobs. Basically they NEEDED to be limited to 8 hours so employers wouldn't run their employees ragged.

Now, most of us have all of our a*signments, tasks and projects completed by 2 PM... and we basically just k*ll the clock from that point to the end of the day.
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 7 days ago '07        #8
Jayceon 518 heat pts518
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 CASH1 said
Nah man, it's bc the 8 hour work day is antiquated as fu*k from old warehouse and factory production jobs. Basically they NEEDED to be limited to 8 hours so employers wouldn't run their employees ragged.

Now, most of us have all of our a*signments, tasks and projects completed by 2 PM... and we basically just k*ll the clock from that point to the end of the day.
I wish my sh*t was done by 2
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 7 days ago '17        #9
TROY 
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 CASH1 said
Nah man, it's bc the 8 hour work day is antiquated as fu*k from old warehouse and factory production jobs. Basically they NEEDED to be limited to 8 hours so employers wouldn't run their employees ragged.

Now, most of us have all of our a*signments, tasks and projects completed by 2 PM... and we basically just k*ll the clock from that point to the end of the day.
My guy I'm done with work by 9:15am...todsy I work 11-7 but I worked from home (had to drop my car at the shop) I literally had nothing to do today

But it's nice to see why I doze off around that time..

 7 days ago '04        #10
Exs 474 heat pts474 OP
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Get out of the building for your lunch breaks and 10-15 min fresh air breaks in the morning & afternoon can go a long way too
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 7 days ago '15        #11
DamianDragunov 
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Work outside in some the cleanest air in the US but low oxygen level because of elevation. Still get that sht. I blame it on too big of lunch or not active enough.



Ain’t got to go to the gym if ya just work hard. Never had just stay all day in the office job. I’d probably be nodding in and out after lunch. So y’all just pretend ya taking a sht to get away from it here and there?






Ya gotta get away from coworkers sometimes.
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 7 days ago '17        #12
JacobWatch 8 heat pts
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Wow

One of my last jobs had that whole “open workspace” vibe with no walls and I would be tired as fu*k after lunch for no reason

Once I left there I feel great all day and don’t get tired during the day at all
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 7 days ago '05        #13
BurninLz 35 heat pts35
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And it's because most people eat a sh*t ton of processed carbs and after the insulin rush dies down they crash hard as fu*k
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 7 days ago '08        #14
cristiansed101 10 heat pts10
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Or maybe we are just tired AF
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 7 days ago '05        #15
Stuart Scott 234 heat pts234
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 BurninLz said
And it's because most people eat a sh*t ton of processed carbs and after the insulin rush dies down they crash hard as fu*k
close thread
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 7 days ago '19        #16
Bucks414 19 heat pts19
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That’s what happen when you fu*k boys work at call centers

Left my office job to work with the railroad best choice I made
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 7 days ago '06        #17
"SS" 32 heat pts32
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I go to lunch from 11:30 to 12:30 i always come home to eat because i live like 5 mins from work, go back and get off at 3. Those are the hardest 2.5 hours lf the day trying to stay woke. I just always figured it was because of the food and getting comfortable at home and having to go back to work
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 7 days ago '05        #18
ice wolf 574 heat pts574
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Goddamn you mean to tell that im just learning this now?

That C02 been knocking my a$$ out for years
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 7 days ago '05        #19
pnoi89 18 heat pts18
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 Bucks414 said
That’s what happen when you fu*k boys work at call centers

Left my office job to work with the railroad best choice I made
You railroad companies are a fu*king headache to deal with whenever I’m working on a pipeline having to cross your ROW.
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 7 days ago '19        #20
Bucks414 19 heat pts19
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 pnoi89 said
You railroad companies are a fu*king headache to deal with whenever I’m working on a pipeline having to cross your ROW.
Railroad low key runs sh*t lol, they get the final say almost every time. and we send a bunch of guys to watch your every move if you’re working near our tracks

 6 days ago '05        #21
pnoi89 18 heat pts18
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 Bucks414 said
Railroad low key runs sh*t lol, they get the final say almost every time. and we send a bunch of guys to watch your every move if you’re working near our tracks
Yup. For my project, BNSF was trying to enforce a cased HDD for a 20" pipeline with a 30" casing, which was essentially impossible. We ended up spending lots of man hours for us to convince them that the standard uncased directional drill was the way to cross the railroad. And yes, the 3rd party witness with a 30-45 days notice is a headache to deal with too.
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 6 days ago '12        #22
MidnightRae 27 heat pts27
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@
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 6 days ago '08        #23
cohs 9 heat pts
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Remote ftw

My office is wherever my laptop is.
+1   

 6 days ago '15        #24
DamianDragunov 
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 Bucks414 said
That’s what happen when you fu*k boys work at call centers

Left my office job to work with the railroad best choice I made
Isn’t the railroad real hard to get into? I’ve heard it’s a great job with k*ller benefits. Just gotta know somebody.

 6 days ago '04        #25
Exs 474 heat pts474 OP
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The people who are claiming that it's just b/c you're tired AF... let me ask you how you feel as soon as you step out of that building?




That's not because you just got un-tired AF.... That's because the air you're breathing is less concentrated. That's why that drive home with the windows down on a Mon-Fri feels that much better


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