Division of Labor In Quarantine: How Being Home Affects It

Earlier this year our homes went from being the places where we’d catch a few winks and spend nights bingeing ‘Queer Eye’ to our gym, office, school, restaurant, etc. Here, a collection of stories that celebrate our homes and the integration of wellness under one roof. See More

My husband and I have lived in the same New York City apartment for five years, and it’s not a big one. With only a few hundred square feet in sum, the kitchen accounts for only a small fraction of the total real estate, which makes me wonder, dear spouse: Given the size of the space, and the thousands of meals we’ve prepared in it over the years, how can you not know where the paprika is? Let me expand. How can you not know where the paprika is, given that you already have the salt and garlic powder out, and thus clearly know where the spice cabinet is located? And how can you look me square in the face and ask if we have any rice left when I nearly never eat it, but you do bi-weekly? And, really, I’m concerned that you don’t know where the Instant Pot goes after we use it—there is only one cabinet large enough to safely house it. Did you open that single large cabinet? Did you notice an Instant Pot-size vacancy on the shelf?

I assume the answers to my personalized take on “Let me Google that for you” would all be a human incarnation of the upside-down smiley face emoji. That’s to say, my husband doesn’t want to irritate me; he’s empathetic, sensitive, smart, and kind. He’s also completely oblivious and doesn’t want to not irritate me enough to spend two minutes looking for items that are right in front of him. During our time in quarantine in our tiny apartment with a tinier kitchen, I’ve officially grown tired of being the keeper of all things we share. We’re both spending more hours than ever inside these same walls, and we’re both cooking more meals than we used to. Why is it that only one of us is capable of finding the correct size Tupperware lid for its corresponding container? (It’s me. I’m apparently the only one who can find the lid.)

According to one relationship therapist, a lot of my frustration may have to do with the unequal household division of labor in quarantine and also with emotional labor, which journalist Gemma Hartley previously described to Well+Good as “the often unnoticed labor that goes into keeping those around you comfortable and happy.” Research has long shown that women bear the burden of emotional labor at work (where they’re underrepresented), and at home (where the household division of labor is still not equal, even when both partners have full-time jobs outside of the house). So it’s not a new thing that I have about seven cartons of chicken stock at any given time because my husband doesn’t know where they are—second shelf, above

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Solar eclipse measured on Mars, affects interior

Surprise on Mars
If the moon Phobos obscures the sun, the seismometer tilts to the side, hardly measurable, and thus registers the transit of the moon in front of the sun. Credit: NASA/JPL

NASA’s InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars. Its seismometer, equipped with electronics built at ETH Zurich, not only records marsquakes, but unexpectedly reacts to solar eclipses as well. When the Martian moon, Phobos moves directly in front of the sun, the instrument tips slightly to one side. This miniscule effect could aid researchers in determining the planet’s interior.


An observer standing on Mars would see the planet’s moon Phobos cross the sky from west to east every five hours. Its orbit passes between the sun and any given point on Mars about once each Earth year. Each time it does so, it causes from one to seven solar eclipses within the space of three days. One place where this happens is the site of NASA’s InSight lander, stationed in the Elysium Planitia region since November 2018. In other words, the phenomenon occurs much more frequently than on Earth, when our moon crosses in front of the sun. “However, the eclipses on Mars are shorter—they last just 30 seconds and are never total eclipses,” explains Simon Stähler, a seismologist at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Geophysics. Photos taken by NASA’s two Mars rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity, also show a sharp-edged lump against the backdrop of the sun.

Photographs are not the only way to observe these transits. “When Earth experiences a solar eclipse, instruments can detect a decline in temperature and rapid gusts of wind, as the atmosphere cools in one particular place and air rushes away from that spot,” Stähler explains. An analysis of the data from InSight should indicate whether similar effects are also detectable on Mars.

Waiting for 24 April 2020

In April 2019, the first series of solar eclipses were visible from InSight’s landing site, but only some of the data it recorded was saved. Initial indications from that data prompted Stähler and an international research team to prepare excitedly for the next series of eclipses, due on 24 April 2020. They published the findings from their observations in August in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

As expected, InSight’s solar cells registered the transits. “When Phobos is in front of the sun, less sunlight reaches the solar cells, and these in turn produce less electricity,” Stähler explains. “The decline in light exposure caused by Phobos’s shadow can be measured.” Indeed, the amount of sunlight dipped during an eclipse by 30 percent. However, InSight’s weather instruments indicated no atmospheric changes, and the winds did not change as expected. Other instruments; however, delivered a surprise: both the seismometer and the magnetometer registered an effect.

Surprise on Mars
The moon Phobos orbits Mars. Credit: jihemD/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Unusual signal from the seismometer

The signal from the magnetometer is most likely due to the decline in the solar cells’ electricity, as Anna Mittelholz, a recent addition to ETH Zurich’s

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How Lifestyle Affects House Design

I can still hear the crunch of the gravel driveway under the tires of Grandpa's Dodge Fury at my grandparents' home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I remember how well the house seemed to fit them and my great-grandmother, who lived with them, and how everything had its place in their home. In that simpler time homes were smaller and less complex, as were the lives of the people those houses sheltered. They were very comfortable in their modest ranch. It was a custom-built house, but it was unlike any of the others in their neighborhood. It was small, but spacious, and it had character. Knowing my Grandfather, I'm certain he shopped for the best bargain on the street, but he also knew construction and got himself a solid building of quality materials.

When as an Architect, I began to think seriously about home design, I wondered how that house came to be that fit them so well. I like to think that their quiet little homestead was designed and built with care and craftsmanship by someone who had a pretty good idea of ​​the kind of family that might like to live there. Our lives are more varied and complex now, and the design of our homes should support and reflect that.

The opportunities for architectural invention in home design today are limitless – new materials, products, and construction techniques are constantly being introduced, and new technologies are having an impact. Unlike days past when historical styles ruled home design, our options today are wide open. We are free to interpret style, or to create our own to satisfy our aesthetic desires.

But all of these available design tools are too rarely used to create homes that are molded to the lives of their owners. Instead, homebuyers find themselves having to choose from among a few floor plans designed to appeal to a broad market, and then struggling to give it personality and character with just paint, carpet, and furniture. We try to make a house "ours" with features and decorating and never consider that it is the architectural design itself that brings a house to life.

We lose sight of what's possible and end up with just another house instead of a home.

Designing and building a new home is an opportunity to create something brand new, something unique, something as individual as you. We're working on several homes that defy any stylistic categorization because their inspiration, their "style" comes from the lives that their owners lead. These homes are built with character as the major construction material – the architecture and the "decorating" can't be separated.

Houses like these are so much more than just the number of bedrooms and the size of the floor plan – they're the ones that you return to look at again and again and think, "wow, there's something about that house that I really like ". What you like about those houses is the result of the owners having taken an active …

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