Friday, Aug 21, 2015
When it comes to political issues, we usually should not fight for what we believe in. Fighting for something, as I understand the term, involves fighting against someone. If one's goal faces no (human) opposition, then one might be described as working for a cause (for instance, working to reduce tuberculosis, working to feed the poor) but not fighting for it. Thus, one normally fights for a cause only when what one is promoting is controversial. And most of the time, those who promote controversial causes do not actually know whether what they are promoting is correct, however much they may think they know... they are fighting in order to have the experience of fighting for a noble cause, rather than truly seeking the ideals they believe themselves to be seeking.
Fighting for a cause has significant costs. Typically, one expends a great deal of time and energy, while simultaneously imposing costs on others, particularly those who oppose one's own political position. This time and energy is very likely to be wasted, since neither side knows the answer to the issue over which they contend. In many cases, the effort is expended in bringing about a policy that turns out to be harmful or unjust. It would be better to spend one's time and energy on aims that one knows to be good.
In Praise of Passivity, Michael Huemer, 2012, http://studiahumana.com/pliki/wydania/In%20Praise%20of%20Passivity.pdf
Saturday, Jun 27, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
Lessons learned buying a truck camper:
- Slide-outs are a must. They make everything so spacious.
- Solar panels are worth it so that you don't have to always worry about disconnecting the battery when leaving the camper for a while.
- Learn all the weight acronyms and try to take everything into account (solar panels, generators, etc). Most of the additional weight will be on the back axle (although cab+engine is still the majority of the weight in front), so each GAWR is just as important as GVWR.
- Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) = Everything in Vehicle including passengers and cargo
- Wet Weight/Curb Weight = GVW – (Passengers + Cargo)
- Dry Weight = Wet Weight – Fluids
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) = Max GVW
- Gross Combination Weight (GCW) = GVW + GTW
- Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) = Max on one axle
- List out all truck components (axles, wheels, rims, springs, etc.) to find your weakest weight rating link, as that's all that really matters (unless you upgrade those). Manuals can be confusing: some calculate available cargo assuming a 150lb person in every seat. Manuals might also give the rating of something as its weakest link, so for example an axle might have a much higher rating but it may be listed at the rating of the springs (which can be upgraded).
- Get weighed at a CAT scale before and after putting on the camper: http://catscale.com/
- Wheel airbags with remote control are really nice - 5 PSI without camper and 70 PSI with
- Get a rechargeable tire inflater and a tire gauge that runs to the tires' max PSI
- Make sure the tires are at max PSI before putting the camper on
- Use checklists before putting on the camper, taking it off, going somewhere, etc. (e.g. retracting the slide out, moving license plate, etc.)
- Make sure the center of gravity will go in the right place
- Measure the total height of truck+camper and put it somewhere on the dash so that you always know if you're good when an overpass is coming up.
- When backing the truck under the camper, kneel down under the tailend to see if you're lined up
- If you're financing, as always, get a few quotes before hand to find a good deal on the rate.
- If you get bigger wheels, make sure the odometer is updated to track correctly.
- Carry a portable, rechargeable tire inflator in the truck like the Slime 40033
Friday, May 23, 2014
It's often said that humans have a unique appreciation for death, compared to other animals, due to our advanced consciousness. I wonder if it's not the opposite. So often we don't live life to the fullest because of our abstraction of death. We can pass for months or even years in our safe, sheltered houses, doing minimal labor to get remotely packaged foods, with the only fears being what other humans think of us. Non-human understanding of death is probably more intuitive, but seems to be much more appreciative. Humans seem to appreciate death - and therefore life - the most when actually confronted by it. When it leaves the abstract and becomes real. I think death can be looked at optimistically, and ultimately happily, but it probably does good to consider it - and life itself - more often, in all of its light.
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
In my mid-20s, I slowly ballooned up to 210 pounds. I changed my diet to a high fat, high protein, low sugar/carbohydrate diet and lost 50 pounds. I ate a lot but didn't change my exercise routine (new research supports the theory that low carb diets affect metabolism and burn more calories at rest). In addition to losing weight, I felt better, and in particular, satisfied after meals, but my LDL (bad) cholesterol shot way up from 126 pre-diet to 317 (should be less than 130). My doctor told me that the medical consensus is that dietary cholesterol only affects LDL up to 15%, which meant the only thing I could do is to take a statin drug for the rest of my life. I did a lot of research and found some hints that this isn't true. After a lot more research, I changed my diet by adding a lot of carbohydrates back to my diet and taking a multivitamin, and got another test after 4 months. My LDL went back down to 134. My doctor was shocked, and so was I after just the first attempt! (Some scientists believe that high cholesterol is not necessarily bad and that the problem is inflammation/damage and only then does the LDL get into the arteries, but even if that's true, my research suggests it's good if it's low anyway and a huge life risk if it's not true.)
Next came the interesting part. I had started with the scattershot approach of adding both carbs and vitamins, and I guessed that it must have been one or the other that caused the change. First, I removed the carbs and left the multivitamins and continued that diet for 5 months and LDL went up to 201. So it didn't seem to be the vitamins, so it must've been the carbs. I removed the vitamins and added the carbs and continued that diet for 8 months but my LDL was still 170. Finally, I went back to the original, good test and added both carbs and multivitamins and LDL went back down to 128! My triglycerides are also better than before I started the diet.
I learned a few things:
- Question everything and never give up.
- Find a doctor that's willing to listen to your crazy theories whilst monitoring you as you do self-experiments.
- Question your doctor and do your own research. Research is difficult (so much is conflicting or shoddy) and takes a lot of time.
- Get blood tests or other diagnostics before making any big changes.
- Changing one variable at a time is not always the right thing. Unfortunately, that means that are (2^N - 1) combinations of N variables, so that means a lot of hypotheses to test.
- Even if you feel great, check your vital signs and blood results.
My current diet is best described in the book Perfect Health Diet by Drs Jaminet. The basic idea is to start with our historical/evolutionary diets and conservatively add in whatever the science supports. This means a diet that is as close to nature as possible:
- No antibiotics
- No grains
- Grass-fed meat
- Carbs that have the most evidence that they are the least toxic to humans (what they call "safe starches")
The book also goes over all of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Most can be found in natural sources and I plan to remove the multivitamin pills I'm taking so that I can get back to a food-only diet.
I also found using a genetics test that I'm lactose intolerant (as is much of the world), so I cut out milk, cheese, and butter (I cook with lard), although this change had no impact on my cholesterol.
Here's my diet:
- 3 Eggs (fried/scrambled)
- 3 Pieces of Bacon (fried)
- 1 Potato (fried)
- Multivitamin Pill
- Vitamin C Pill
- Vitamin K Pill
- Seaweed salad
- Sushi (rice, avocado, seaweed, cucumber)
- 1 Pound of Meat (fatty rib eye, fatty fish like salmon, liver and onions, or chicken)
- Steamed: 2 Potatoes, 1 Yam, 1 Beet, 1 Carrot, 3 Celery Sticks, Kale, Spinach, Another Leafy Green, Bell Pepper, Squash, Asparagus
I only drink water throughout the day (3 huge glasses, one at each meal). Sometimes I'll have a small dessert or cookie after dinner.
This is basically a French cuisine diet. And hey, what'dya know, the French have low heart disease: The French Paradox. The potatoes and yams, while likely most safe, are high on the glycemic index; however, that's probably mitigated by the rest of the diet.
Recently, I've also been convinced in a discussion with a philosophy professor that modern factory farming is immoral. As much as possible, I try to buy meat at Whole Foods that's at step 4 or above on their animal welfare rating, even if it's not the cut that I want. There's also the Certified Humane standard/label.
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