We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, April 28. 2020
New to Exercise? Here’s Why It’s Never Too Late to Add Strength Training
Monday, April 27. 2020
In the Nature–Nurture War, Nature Wins. Environmental influences are important, too, but they are largely unsystematic, unstable and idiosyncratic.
Friday, April 24. 2020
Thursday, April 23. 2020
It is not exactly a disease of the immune system, but some supposedly strong immune systems over-react, as I posted yesterday. Cytokine Storm.
It continues to be apparent that the elderly, overweight, or pre-diabetic/diabetic seem to be most likely to face death with this virus. Those people ought to be protected as best we can, but that's difficult. Most people weather it just fine, if miserable for a while. The luckiest ones (most people) get the sniffles and a headache for a few days and then feel fine.
Wednesday, April 22. 2020
We generally recommend resistance (weights) for strength-building, but some people are just afraid of weights or associate them with body-builders. Wrong, but whatever.
However, there are some exertions which can be useful upper body fitness-builders without weights. Four calisthenics in particular: Pushups, pullups, planks, and Burpees.
These are far from comprehensive, but they cover lots of the basic muscle groups, and proper pushups stress core too. There is a reason these are basics of military basic training.
Another good thing about them is that they can be modified until you can do the real thing. For examples, you can do "girl" pushups (on knees) until you can do real ones. You can do assisted pullups (with bands) until you can do real ones. Everybody can do straight-arm or elbow planks, but duration is the challenge. Aim for several minutes. Shoulder-touch planks are a cool variation. Burpees (with the pushups and jumps) are a great upper-body and whole body calisthenic.
How many? That depends on you. Generally speaking, for a middle-aged (45-75) guy or gal who avoids weights, I'd aim for 25-50 pullups assisted or not, 100 pushups (modified or unmodified), 3 or 4 30-45-second planks, and 50 Burpees. Not all in a row, but on the same day.
(For general fitness without weights, this can (should) be coupled with a day of lower-body body-weight workout (eg lunges, squats, step-ups, box jumps, etc) plus a couple of days of cardio. That all is good enough for casual or club tennis fitness, or for a long day hill hike.)
When life gets back to normal, then we can return to our usual routines. Or maybe just stick with these sorts of things.
Some people seem to be more prone to it than others. In the case of COVID-19, children with their less-developed immune systems are unlikely to react in this way.
A brief piece on cytokine storms here.
Not related, The Swedish experiment looks like it’s paying off
Wednesday, April 15. 2020
As we have oft repeated, endurance exercise is worth doing once weekly if you do two other days of calisthenics (which also have endurance components). Although many refer to running as "cardio," it does little or nothing for heart functioning unless it includes HIIT, such as sprints.
Some good advice: How to take up running
Related, 10,000 steps: Not quite magical when it comes to weight. Walking is great to maintain mobility especially in the elderly, but it does nothing for the heart and certainly nothing for losing fat. Quite enjoyable, though. Walks are great, with friends, spouse, whatever.
Saturday, April 11. 2020
As Scott Adams says every day, models are not information. Models are for persuasion. He knows, because he once had a job making them.
Did the shutdowns help prevent mass catastrophe? We will never really know. I suspect that it did help hospitals manage their flow of difficult cases, which was the purpose. They seem to be managing fairly well. Stress is their job.
Thursday, April 9. 2020
Like everything in the cardio/calisthenic area, these are not strength-builders. Done right, they have close to zero joint impact. They are endurance exercises, and endurance exercises belong in everybody's routine if they want a vigorous life. I see women and men jump-roping for 15 minutes. I cannot do that. After three minutes of either of those exercises, my form falls apart and I become short of breath, probably from not getting good breathing rhythms.
I'm interested in reader opinions on these things.
Wednesday, April 8. 2020
Trump Admin Expects To Roll Out ‘Millions’ Of These Tests Next Month To Help Reopen The Country
Just hope you test positive. The more people who test positive, the better for the country. If elederly, overweight, or have other issues, if you test negative you might chose to remain in jail for a while.
Still, I think we'll be surprised by how many people have the covid antibodies already. If you even had a stuffy nose in the past 3 months, you might have the covid antibodies. If you don;t know what they are, read up on them.
The animal body has unbelievable abilities. What is an antibody? Read and learn some basic biology.
Tuesday, April 7. 2020
Just for this month. You do not need a Nikon for them. (h/t, Instapundit)
Now approved by the FDA, but already in use in other countries. The sooner we can get it everywhere here, the better. It might take a week or two. Obviously, if you have recovered from a confirmed case, you are good to go.
Despite the careful caveats in the article, what a positive test basically tells you is that you have been exposed to covid and have immunity to it. That means you have no to minimal risk, and are no risk to anybody else.
Monday, April 6. 2020
What is the purpose of all of these virus recommendations? The masks, the distancing, the stay-at-home, the hospital and nursing home rules?
The purpose is to lower the curve. Not to reduce cases of those made very ill, but to flatten the burden to make medical care more manageable over time: longer, but less intense at the moment.
This particular covid is sneaky - almost always mild-to-nothing, but sometimes lethal for the frail or unlucky. The unlucky part is what makes it scarey. There is no effective protection, in my view, because viruses go viral. Their RNA is their reason for existing.
Sunday, April 5. 2020
Most fitness buffs do not have barbells and racks in their garage or barn, much less a fancy home gym. Still, most have bands, hand weights, some dumbells, maybe a kettlebell or two. TRX straps are versatile and take up no space.
Without barbells, it will be difficult to build strength while away from your gym with their heavy weights, so many of us are stuck doing our weights routines in suboptimal fashion. For example, doing floor bench presses with 10 or 15 lb. hand weights cannot compare with barbell bench presses.
The same applies to dumbell deadlifts.
(Generally-speaking, low reps refers to exertions you can only manage to repeat around 6 times, medium reps refers to exertions you can only manage to repeat 6-15 times, and high reps are over 15 times. High-rep exertions, even to failure, do not build strength but build muscle endurance. Low rep exertions build strength but not endurance.)
It's all explained clearly in this post.
The point I want to make is that, without access to a good supply of varied serious weights, April might have to be a month of endurance weight training instead of strength-building. Why not? It is better than nothing.
That would entail, for example with lower body, squats with dumbells/hand weights X 20 per set, or dumbell deadlifts X 20, or 20 floor bench presses per set instead of 5-10. These sorts of things will slow the strength loss that occurs after 10 days without heavy weight stress.
Your calisthenics days and cardio days are easy at home or outdoors, so no need to discuss that.
All of the experts, including Dr. Fauci - are bullshitting (pardon my annoyance). Not this guy, because he admits what is unknown. What is known is that this virus can be lethal and it can be completely harmless, and anything inbetween. We know who are most likely to become seriously ill, but what is completely unknown is how often it creates serious illness. Via Powerline, which says:
Here it is:
Saturday, April 4. 2020
We do not know the virus death rates. I'll say it again.
We do not know death rates because we do not know infection rates in the US. We would have to do a mass involuntary screening of people on the street to know that. That will not happen. The only numbers we have is positive tests (on people already symptomatic and seeking tests) and deaths.
We do know death numbers (not accurately, because if you had terminal cancer but a corona pneumonia was the final thing, you're a corona death).
One easy piece of information might be interesting, though: number of deaths in, say, Boston for the week beginning April 4 in 2019, and the numbers for the same week in 2020.
Friday, April 3. 2020
Monday, March 30. 2020
Sunday, March 29. 2020
This fellow makes it clear.
Saturday, March 28. 2020
Friday, March 27. 2020
Wednesday, March 25. 2020
For what it's worth, I found this useful. There are several typos and some sentences don't make sense, but I suspect English may have been the second language for the author. You'll get the ideas, which are accurate and helpful.
This is from an Asst. Prof in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. In our community chat, here, they sent this excellent summary to avoid contagion. I share it with you because it is very clear:
The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.
Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.
The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin
outer layer of fat. That is why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam CUTS the FAT (that is why you have to rub so much: for 20 seconds or more, to make a lot of foam). By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.
HEAT melts fat; this is why it is so good to use water above 25 degrees Celsius for washing hands, clothes and everything. In addition, hot water makes more foam and that makes it even more useful.
Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.
Any mix with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the
protein, breaks it down from the inside.
Oxygenated water helps long after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein, but you have to use it pure and it hurts your skin.
NO BACTERICIDE SERVES. The virus is not a living organism like bacteria; they cannot kill what is not alive with anthobiotics, but quickly disintegrate its structure with everything said.
NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or cloth. While it is glued to a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only between 3 hours (fabric and porous), 4 hours (copper, because it is naturally antiseptic; and wood, because it removes all the moisture and does not let it peel off and disintegrates). ), 24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic). But if you shake it or use a feather duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose.
The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars. They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster.
UV LIGHT on any object that may contain it breaks down the virus protein. For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin, eventually causing wrinkles and skin cancer. [DB added this link regarding UVC light: https://www.insider.com/does-uv-light-kill-germs]
The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.
Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.
NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol, and you need 65%.
LISTERINE IF IT SERVES! It is 65% alcohol.
The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.
This is super said, but you have to wash your hands before and after touching mucosa, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. And when using the bathroom.
You have to HUMIDIFY HANDS DRY from so much washing them, because the molecules can hide in the micro cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better. * Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.