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
Sunday, June 28. 2015
Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry,by Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., with Ogi Ogas: A Critical Discussion
Dr. Friedman's discussion is excellent and interesting. One quote:
Wednesday, June 24. 2015
Just a few comments about Monday's post about Trainer advice. If the reader is strong, fit for most physical challenges in life and in good shape, then this is all irrelevant.
- Weight loss is mostly a separate subject from physical fitness training. Adipose tissue (fat, the revolting yellow lard that burdens your body and drives surgeons nuts by makes their scalpels greasy and slippery) is very easy to accumulate and difficult to burn off. It's like the opposite of money.
- Your energy storage consists mainly of carbs stored as sugar (glycogen - the petty cash drawer of energy) and carbs converted into sugar and then into fat if the sugar isn't burned right away (the long-term investment which is more difficult to access and burn). It's been calculated that the average Western citizen has enough stored energy to walk 600-1000 miles. A gift of evolution.
- To burn fat as fuel, you have to restrict sugar (ie, carbs). The resulting condition is known as ketosis, and can make your breath smell funny. It is thought that your body can speed up its ability to mobilize fat as an energy source, when carb-limited.
- There is a myth about good carbs and bad carbs. This really only applies to diabetics. All dietary carbs are converted to sugar, even potatoes. That's why all the talk about dietary sugar itself is nonsense. We've all seen people have a Splenda in their coffee with their whole wheat bagel. Are you kidding me? A little sugar is 10 calories and the bagel is 300 calories. Many people do not understand that all carbs become sugar during digestion.
-To attain a target weight, you have to restrict but not totally eliminate carbs from the diet. One or two slices of bread and one apple is plenty of daily carbs for a weight loss program, along with the relatively small amount of carbs in vegetables.
- As I have posted in the past, exercise, especially intense exertion, has numerous health and life benefits but is an ineffective way to try lose fat without the primary dietary component. The reason is that the body burns carbs preferentially. It's easier for it to do. The body is set up to protect its long-term investment in case of starvation conditions and it is happy to store as much as you will offer it. It's a sponge.
- In middle age, metabolism slows for both men and women. Menopause, especially. Caloric needs drop substantially regardless of activity level. Accumulating fat becomes easier, and getting rid of it becomes more difficult. Best just not to accumulate it.
- It is true that, the minute your feeling of hunger goes away, you have probably had enough to eat. Also true that, in the prosperous Western world, feeding has become a recreation, an event, or a self-soothing therapy or a cure for boredom, and a clockwork routine, and both hunger and satiety signals are thrown to the winds. For example, many sedentary people will eat a lunch simply "because it's lunchtime."
- It is also true that intense daily exercise reduces appetite in most people. It has to be intense, though.
- The less you eat, the more your stomach shrinks and thus the quicker you are satisfied. If you pay attention to it, that is.
Now to fitness, not weight loss
- As for physical conditioning (but not for weight loss), it is true that anything beyond full-day sedentary is good. Maintaining mobility and ordinary functionality is a good thing. Use it or lose it. The more activity demands you put on yourself during the day, of any sort, the better off you will be.
- To maintain good conditioning in middle age and later age requires either day-long physical labor or a more compact, more intense, daily or every other day effort and commitment for those whose lives are basically sedentary. That is most of us in our luxurious, decadent era. (Walking around counts as sedentary as does weekend sports or yard work.) Otherwise, there will be more physical deterioration than we want.
- I agree with all who say that serious weight training is the best way to do that. I agree that intense weight training and high-intensity aerobics are the most efficient ways to improve or maintain physical conditioning at any age.
- a physically-stressful weight training program requires some protein for muscle repair and construction. It doesn't require very much, but it requires some small amounts during the day. A whole steak or fish filet is not necessary, but an egg or one slice of meat 3 or 4 times daily is plenty sufficient protein for a demanding program. Adult humans do not need much protein - except for pleasure.
- It is true that light, high-rep workouts and non-intense aerobics (meaning if you can breathe relatively comfortably) have minimal benefits, but they do make people feel good, reduce anxiety, and help with sleep. That counts for something.
- Being fit will likely not extend your life, but could make it more pleasant, energetic, and functional.
- It has become clear to me that fitness and fatness is a class- and culture-related topic. In the US, poor people tend to be fatter and less active. I don't know why that is. For what's it is worth, Pres. Obama does a tough workout for an hour each morning with a trainer before he does anything else. So did Bush. Good examples for those of us who sit on our behinds most of the day to earn a living.
- Gluttony is a sin, deadly spiritually and literally like lust. Prosperous Romans ate until over-full, puked in the vomitorium, then went at it again. For fun. Their slaves were healthier than the patricians. Adult people do not need much food to be healthy and strong. On the other hand, fitness is a secular, esthetic, and practical virtue. I have never been able to think of my body as a temple but it sure comes in handy.
- Why are Americans overweight? Cheap food, habit, hedonism, TV, internet, prosperity, machines, minimal hard work to be done. It's no mystery.
A fairly good piece on the physiology: Fat Metabolism During Exercise: New Concepts
Sunday, June 21. 2015
I believe that gender surgery is, or is close to, medical malpractice. Psychotherapy is not likely to change these people either. Same with effeminate gays. Like it or not, we must all just accept that there is a lot of strangeness and discontent in the human species. Blame our hypertrophied cortex.
Friday, June 19. 2015
It seems to me that decent, spirited people always aspire to improve their souls, their brains and knowledge, their fitness, their appearance, their skills, their morals, their relationships, etc. etc. Giving up is not cool and shows no respect for God's gifts - and surely nobody wants their teeth to indicate that they might be from England or Bosnia.
Orthodontia in America: America’s obsession with perfecting its teeth.
Saturday, June 13. 2015
Sociopathy is common, ranging from violent to simply exploitative users (More). Don't be paranoid, but always make sure of people before welcoming them into your life. Superficial charm and pseudo-intimacy are clues. If they feel your pain, watch out.
Tuesday, June 9. 2015
Your Boss Wants You to Be Happier. This Is Not a Good Thing.
Right. Your happiness is not your boss' concern.
Monday, June 1. 2015
Sunday, May 31. 2015
"...the wind of opinion in recent years appears to have begun to blow against those who insist that Western liberal societies owe nothing to the religion from which they arose. Partly because the more we become acquainted with other traditions, the harder it becomes to sustain. Indeed, although some people still hold out, it should be evident by now that the culture of human rights has more to do with the creed preached by Moses and Jesus of Nazareth than that of, say, Muhammad. Nevertheless, the question of whether this societal position is sustainable without reference to the beliefs that gave it birth remains deeply pregnant and troubling in the West."
Thursday, May 28. 2015
From the article:
Wednesday, May 20. 2015
I often write about dietary and nutritional issues here, trying to debunk the fads, but I think anything people do to keep moving with vigor in all stages of life improves the quality and functionality of life. Physical and mental challenges, constantly.
All kinds of resistance exercises are excellent for the regular sedentary Western person to maintain posture, balance, function, bone density, and muscle mass. The challenge is that middle-aged people develop aches and pains, reminding us that Nature and maybe God never intended us to live much beyond our prime breeding ages. But, there is a need for a few wise elders. Why not be one?
What exercise cannot do, unless you are hiking the Appalachian Trail (we did it as a between-jobs extended sabbatical, before kids - Georgia to Katahdin. A crazy 5-month honeymoon of bliss, bonding, and exertion. Youthful woodland passion from hill to dale, from state to state. God saw us. Then hubbie's "garden leave" ended, we started new jobs, I got an office, life returned, and kids came. I think we created our first one towards the end of that hike and we later nicknamed him "Trail," - short for Trail Mix) is get rid of fat. Only diet can do that.
When people have young kids, they rightly neglect their own well-being. Nature demands that. After that chapter, you either rise or fall.
These are averages for average-fit people, not what might be desired. Average sizes, not lifters and hard exercisers (for ages 30-60). These rough numbers are with reps, however many one can handle (1-10):
Average fit male can bench press his weight.
Thursday, May 14. 2015
The Economics of Tidying Up: An Economist Reads Marie Kondo. “People are wrong when they think that pair of jeans will ever fit again, Kondo is arguing. Optimistic predictions keep people from getting rid of things they don’t need.”
We adhere to the two-year rule except for jewelry, art, firearms, and heirlooms.
Wednesday, May 13. 2015
Watch out. Assess peoples' characters, if you can. Watch out for flatterers and users.
Friday, May 8. 2015
Have trouble identifying the point at which you have had enough food to live on? Tend to eat as if in a race, too fast or more greedily than most other people? Tempted to eat impulsively between meals? Feel that you have to clean your plate without thinking, or without sensing normal satiety? Want a dessert even when you are full or over-full (not counting Thanksgiving)? Occasionally conceal your eating habits out of shame? Feel bad about yourself when you know you have eaten more than you need?
These are the main signs of a fairly-common "binge eating disorder." You do not have to pathologize it - it could also be called a "bad habit," or, from a moral standpoint, "gluttony," one of the Christian 7 deadlies. A First World problem, but not as much as you would think: there is more overweight among the "poor" around the world these days than among the more prosperous.
Like many so-called "disorders," it is mainly medically-defined as such for insurance purposes but it is a real pattern of impulsivity, often manifest in many areas. If it's a problem, it is easily addressed.
Binge Eating Disorder - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Help
Friday, May 1. 2015
It's nothing new in human cultures. It's been around forever. It's not culture that becomes sexualized, it's human nature. I think my point was that when you place mixed sexes in close proximity, really regardless of age, chemical things happen for a hundred different reasons. Often with unfortunate consequences. Work, home, school, wherever. More so today with coed campi and many women in the workforce.
Truth is, it can be overstimulating for both men and women. Overstimulating, and too easy for the weak of character and conscience.
My advice from such experience: Guys, if you desire your family's au pair, get rid of her. If you can't take your mind off your receptionist's body, get rid of her and hire an old lady.
This is why everybody needs his or her own code of behavior, and his or her own boundaries. No need to invent one's own because many smart people have thought about it already. God, too, as a gift to us.
Sunday, April 19. 2015
Most exercise is a terrible and inefficient way to lose weight if you are too heavy or fat. Just think about it: A four-five mile high-speed walk will barely burn off the calories in a donut, muffin, or bagel (with the cream cheese, add another few miles). You would have to walk all day, every day, to lose weight.
Remember, all carbs=sugar and yes, that includes the carbs in beans, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, yams - all the high-carb "veggies." We feed those things to farm animals to fatten them for slaughter. Some people get wacky about sugar, but human digestion turns all carbs into plain sugar so there is lots of physiological ignorance out there about "complex carbs" and so forth. So-called "complex carbs" just get turned into sugar more slowly.
Nature designed us to love carbs because nature expected us all to be poor and half-starving on the African savannah. If you have excess fat which bothers you or slows you down, you do not need hardly any carbs. You do need some fatty meats, though, or other fats like olive oil.
If happy with your physical condition and level of conditioning, please ignore all of this.
I've been following Bird Dog's fitness renewal program which is not designed for weight loss but to convert fat weight to muscle weight, and I approve of it. A bonus of that sort of high-intensity program (which I have done for a few months in the past to rapidly get back to fighting condition after periods of relative sloth, such as after childbirth, to get back my 28 year-old weight and fitness) is that it can help a fellow survive a male's almost-inevitable MI by building up collateral cardiac blood supply.
While high-intensity work-outs will burn fat (but only if on a carb-restricted diet), the main things they build are aerobic capacity and endurance, agility, a feeling of youthful vigor, and muscle fitness if not muscle power. Those are all good things. (Gross muscle power development - body-building - requires heavy lifting instead of reps and is more about appearance than fitness. A harmless hobby for some.)
Barnhardt says this:
I do not think food is the main post-Christian preoccupation, but it does seem common in the higher socio-economic classes. These are often the educated who missed Physiology 101 and Biochem 101. Think Whole Foods and "organic" farming. I think we have been clear on this site that most dietary preaching here is about weight loss, not general health. Nobody can define a "healthy" human diet, as we are omnivores which means we can thrive on anything digestible. In America, we are blessed with cheap and abundant food of all sorts and spend a lower percentage of our funds on tasty food than anywhere else in the world. Thus many people eat more than they need, for fun.
As I have said, I have seen 6'3" football players who grew up on nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and the occasional hot dog.
Thursday, April 16. 2015
This gives a very close idea, I'd say +/- 3 points. It is context-free so has nothing to do with education, just pure mental horsepower. Give it a try. You will either be humbled and hate yourself for being an overachiever - or hate yourself for being an underachiever. No, not really. Many will figure they had themselves pegged correctly.
Speed counts, of course. No allowances for slower thinkers or "disabilities" because it is not a test of knowledge or operations. I came out 123 which I think is about right.
Wednesday, April 15. 2015
I have posted about IQ in the past. It's said to be a measure of "g", which is not much different than saying IQ is a measure of IQ.
IQ and total SAT scores are well-correlated so, at the least, it says something about one's power to handle relatively, but not extremely, complex cognitive tasks like higher math, challenging reading, high-level abstractions, etc. etc. It's about cognitive potential more than anything else. In today's world, cognitive powers matter more than they used to and more than they should, I suppose.
Many psychiatrists and psychologists have learned over the years to estimate peoples' IQs quite accurately, just in conversation. Subtlety of mind, rigor of logic, and curiosity as manifested by breadth and depth of knowledge are some of the markers. Of course, there is the birds of a feather issue too: people tend to find others within a similar range most engaging.
Very high IQ is a life handicap, sad to say. There are few of those, though. Lower IQs which are fully-functional and effective in life are far more common.
Medium-range IQ is the most life-adaptive (ie 110-115) for 95% of things in life from plumbing to software sales to money management. It's often been reported that the ideal IQ for CEOs of large, intricate organizations is near or around 130. Of course, character, personality style, sense of humor, and ability to connect with others in a positive way play perhaps larger overall roles in life although they will not help you perform, or even understand, a regression analysis. Furthermore, even moderately alert managers can easily hire brighter people to carry their water and make them look good. We call that "savvy" or "street smarts," not intelligence.
Here's a good essay on IQ and professional performance.
Lots of awkward nerds there.
Report says schools still shortchanging gifted kids - UI research finds many high-ability children bored and unchallenged, despite increased access to programming
Most public school teachers can rarely keep up with the truly gifted
IQ and wealth are the two of the main things social justice warriors hate. They sort-of tolerate every other sort of inequality like musical talent or running speed.
Tuesday, April 14. 2015
We were introduced to this handy term for a certain kind of manipulation by the McCain website.
Wednesday, April 1. 2015
This is the sort of crap that drives docs to retirement. It's called "electronic medical records," and it is essentially government-mandated in hospitals now. It is an incredible time-waster, and almost requires physicians to follow a script instead of focusing on you. Docs used to just note relevant positives and relevant negatives quickly on a piece of paper in a minute, and then practicing the art and science of caring about you.
"Care" is not an economic term. It is not a technical term. The "medical care" experts don't get that.
Read it and weep: Please Choose One.
It's too late to keep corporate and government bureaucracy out of American medicine. We all must now just seek out physicians with the traditional, independent medical values, who work for you despite the intrusions. However, most of them will not "take insurance" anymore. They can't afford the professionally-trained billing staff.
Sunday, March 29. 2015
I have seen plenty of marriages hit the rocks on those shores, but on plenty of other shores too. "Class" doesn't mean money in the bank. It means a shared understanding and approach to reality and relationships - and interior decor!
Tuesday, March 24. 2015
Different people with different problems and different personalities can benefit from different approaches. Psychoanalytically-informed approaches can be extremely valuable for some people, and useless for others.
Friday, March 20. 2015
I read that article in The Atlantic. I disagree with almost all of it. There is no better or cheaper (it's free) approach to substance abuse for the motivated person.
It's not about "Does it work?" It's about "Does the person work it?" Sanity, like physical health, is not a passive enterprise.
Nothing can be done for the unmotivated person. However, some people on a downward spiral need a little rehab (ie forced abstinence) first to get a little clarity; some people benefit from naltrexone or topamax, and all benefit from treatment of any coexisting problems.
Thursday, March 5. 2015
"Emotion" is sort-of an artificial construct, is it not? It - whatever it is - can rarely be separated from cognition, perception, ideas, and all other mental processes and biological instincts. We easily can identify, in ourselves, lustful desire ("urge to merge"), rage, despair, joy, fear and anxiety - but these extremes are rare and still more expressible by poets and musicians than by scientists.
Friday, February 27. 2015
Marketing can work wonders, as can the placebo effect. Don't be a sucker.
(Page 1 of 30, totaling 746 entries) » next page