Friday, December 22, 2017

Pennsylvania Geology: Precambrian Rocks in the Reading Prong

I'd written before about the very early Jurassic igneous rocks on some of the small but steep hills in central-to-southeastern Berks (the Jacksonwald Outliers.) Here is a map of the rock in Berks showing that clearly in red, as well as the Precambrian age of South Mountain and the Reading Prong. South Mountain is the "front range" of the Appalachians until it kind of dies just before getting to the Susquehanna, as the Appalachians are making their turn to the east, and in Berks they're basically the hill that Galen Hall is on, as well as the hills in Spring and Cumru Townships, before rising again as Mount Penn Neversink and continuing east-northeast.

Original PDF is here but I've shrunk it to a graphic file. Red is Jurassic, green is Precambrian.

Under-rated and Over-rated Travel Destinations: Countries and U.S. States

I've made various lists of travel experiences before but it's sometimes useful to describe experiences in terms of whether they exceeded whatever expectations you'd formed ahead of time, or fell short. So this is NOT a ranking of absolute pleasantness, but rather how much the pleasantness (for me) differed from my expectations. Example: France is REALLY nice, but has a reputation for rudeness which I find undeserved, so on here it gets a "slightly under-rated." If I had visited Somalia, which I have not, I would expect a nightmarish hellhole but if in the nine square blocks that the "government" in Mogadishu controls I was never shot at and the guides were nice, it would be considered more under-rated than France.)


So that readers may weight this accordingly for optimal usefulness: I like history (of the usual kind as well as scientific), ethnic food, mountain and trails and general outdoor experiences, beaches (though not as much as when I was younger), clear skies, cool temperatures, and road trips, and I live in California.

COUNTRIES (or REGIONS of large countries) (from most over- to most under-rated, excluding U.S. which I will break down by state)

Country/RegionOver/under-rated
Mexico CityThe most under-rated region or capital, and the most unique capital I've ever been to with lots of adventures to get into with locals (yes, good ones you'll enjoy and survive.) Fantastic history both pre- and post-Columbian, and of course great food.
PolandMost under-rated European country and maybe most under-rated on this list. The Spain of Eastern Europe. Fun, genuine and good-looking people, surprisingly good local AND ethnic food, great prices and history, easy to get around in a car, and the Tatra Mountains are awesome.
China-ChengduDefinitely under-rated. Besides the excellent food, Chengdu also has a lot of attractive people, is really unique with its own sense of culture and history, and has a lot of mountains quite nearby.
Japan-Northern HonshuVery much under-rated, especially in winter. The nature is great, and Sendai is an awesome city, much better than Tokyo.
SlovakiaUnder-rated. Unique, Roman plus medieval plus Holy Roman plus Cold War history, tasty food and beer.
New Zealand-South IslandUnder-rated, only because it's not better known. What an amazing outdoors experience on that whole island.
El SalvadorUnder-rated. Beaches, mountains, seafood, recent history packed into this small country.
SpainStill under-rated believe it or not. Prices still haven't caught up to the rest of the E.U. Administratively much better than you'd think. It's a big country with a lot of varied terrain, and some really friendly people.
Hong KongSlightly under-rated. A lot more outdoorsy stuff than I expected, on top of all the usual Hong Kong stuff, i.e. food.
HungaryUnder-rated, especially Budapest. Though it seems silly to say, there's a different feel to Hungarian culture that makes you aware that they only showed up in Europe in the early-to-mid medieval period and come from a different language family.
FranceSlightly under-rated, believe it or not - because, guys, people in France are NICE, and super-helpful. I don't know where these other ideas came from.
AustriaSlightly under-rated. The cultural marvel that is Vienna is hard to over-state.
IrelandSlightly under-rated. Each town is its own little gem. Dublin on the other hand is a little boring and over-rated if you don't drink constantly. Who cares about all the pubs?
New Zealand-AucklandSlightly under-rated. A very nice, interesting city actually with a lot of outdoors stuff to do around it (unlike Wellington.) Ignore non-Auckland kiwis who try to tell you it sucks.
AndorraSlightly under-rated, just because no one talks about it and it's interesting.
SwitzerlandAs advertised.
ItalyAs advertised.
Japan-KansaiAs advertised.
Canada-TorontoAs advertised.
Mexico-BajaAs advertised.
Guatemala (Peten lowland with Mayan ruins)As advertised.
Guatemala City and SurroundsAs advertised.
Brazil-RioAs advertised.
Argentina-Buenos AiresAs advertised.
Paraguay-AsuncionAs advertised.
Canada-MontrealAs advertised.
ThailandAs advertised.
NepalAs advertised.
SingaporeAs advertised.
Australia-SydneyAs advertised.
Australia-MelbourneAs advertised.
Australia-QueenslandAs advertised.
GermanyAs advertised.
NetherlandsAs advertised.
China-GuangzhouAs advertised.
BelgiumAs advertised. Feels like the D.C. of Europe for obvious reasons, not always in a good way.
Morocco (Marrakech and Ouazazarte)As advertised I guess, but we still didn't anticipate how annoyed or limited we'd feel by the realities of life in a North African country.
Czech RepublicAs advertised. Prague is maybe slightly over-rated. Outside of the old city, maybe even a little dull.
New Zealand-WellingtonOver-rated. Guys, it's not that great. It's either boring (most of the time) or filled with screaming drunk 20 year olds (Friday and Saturday night) and they definitely don't have a sense of humor about the myth of wonderful Wellington being punctured.
Canada-VancouverAs advertised, getting over-rated actually (nature still awesome, but just too much money destroying the uniqueness of the place and the traffic really has become a quality-of-life-damaging nightmare.
Japan-TokyoOver-rated. Even going there with someone from the country who speaks the language, feels very closed-off and non-spontaneous and "behind glass". I found that good sushi and electronics markets didn't make up for that.
England (London)Over-rated. People in London are often ruder than they need to be, even compared to New York and Paris. Much more expensive, and less open to visitors having spontaneous experiences than many other capitals (except Tokyo.)



AMERICAN STATES (from most over- to most under-rated)

StateOver/under-rated
PennsylvaniaMost under-rated state on the east coast. Mountains. Whitewater rivers. Forests. Maybe the best concentration of history in the country (Independence Hall! Gettysburg! Valley Forge!) Culturally unique (Amish and Dutchmen, that weird accent in Pittsburgh, Slavs and Appalachian Scots-Irish and Italians all mixed in). and some of the tastiest unhealthiest food on this planet.
OregonThe most under-rated state on the west coast. Yes it's rainy, but Portland is like San Francisco used to be, and the nature can't be beat.
DelawareUnder-rated. People like to make fun of it but the beaches are great, it's small enough that it's easy to run the state pretty well (and they do), and you're far enough south of the 40th parallel that you rarely see snow.
New MexicoDefinitely under-rated. Santa Fe is hands-down the best state capital and historically and culturally you don't feel like you're in the U.S. or any other country, although I think the spirit of the Old West is best preserved here. How many states have two or three of their own cuisines and a dozen native nations ringed around the capital?
North CarolinaSecond most-under rated state on the east coast. Excellent beaches, also has great mountains, and some cities with actual intellectual activity in Research Triangle.
AlaskaUnder-rated. It's a real frontier. You should go there sometime.
UtahUnder-rated. Yes, Mormons - but it's pleasant, there is GREAT terrain in the south, and great skiing and hiking northeast of SLC.
GeorgiaUnder-rated. Atlanta is a big city with some nooks and crannies and people forget there's a coastline, which is great and almost deserted.
CaliforniaOver all slightly under-rated believe it or not, just for outdoors stuff. San Francisco is starting to get over-rated. L.A. is also a bit under-rated and really is interesting, although the traffic is as bad as you think.
South DakotaSlightly under-rated. Black Hills are pretty cool and not famous (although Mt. Rushmore is overrated.)
MinnesotaUnder-rated. Yes I really enjoyed ice-fishing but I've been there in the dead of winter several times, not even doing fun winter stuff, and people always seem to be enjoying life to an odd degree even then.
VirginiaSlightly under-rated. People forget there's a state separate from D.C. History, mountains, beaches in the southern part.
West VirginiaSlightly under-rated. The only state entirely in the Appalachians, very close to some east coast cities yet rarely visited.
MarylandSlightly under-rated. Pleasant towns, D.C. suburbs, and eastern shore coastline on the Delmarva.
AlabamaMaybe slightly under-rated, influenced by area around Mobile.
New HampshireSlightly under-rated only because it has a lot of nice forests, and like other parts of northern New England a number of people who manage to live deliberately and even experimentally without going off the rails.
VermontSlightly under-rated for the same reasons as New Hampshire.
MaineSlightly under-rated for the same reasons as New Hampshire.
NebraskaSlightly under-rated. Sand Hills, Carhenge, Scotts Bluff are a bit more interesting than you think anything in Nebraska could be
TennesseeSlightly under-rated mostly for Smokies.
New JerseySlightly under-rated only because New Yorkers like to make fun of it.
WashingtonAs advertised, which is pretty nice.
MississippiAs advertised. Don't miss the blues history.
IdahoAs advertised. Pleasant towns, interesting geology, great nature.
HawaiiAs advertised.
ConnecticutMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
Rhode IslandMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
KansasMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
OklahomaMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
IowaAs advertised.
MissouriAs advertised.
South CarolinaAs advertised.
ArkansasMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
MichiganMinimal experience so far but outdoors seems under-rated.
WisconsinMinimal experience so far but seems under-rated. Everyone says Madison is very pleasant with some interesting parks.
IllinoisAs advertised.
IndianaAs advertised.
OhioAs advertised.
KentuckyMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
North DakotaMinimal experience, but as advertised so far.
New YorkNYC is slightly over-rated only because it would be hard not to be. Upstate is as advertised.
MontanaSlightly over-rated. Has become synonymous with "wild" but much of it is privately-owned rolling prairie. The western part is nice.
ColoradoMaybe a little over-rated, just because it's so identified with the Rockies. Lots of other states have Rockies. The San Juans are amazing, Boulder is interesting but has kind of become the San Francisco of Middle America (yeah I said it), but Denver is kind of blah and the eastern third of the state is boring prairie.
WyomingSlightly over-rated. Most of the state (outside of the unambiguously mountainous parts) are not very pretty dry ranch and prairie.
MassachusettsSlightly over-rated. Come on, Boston isn't all that great. The Cape and Islands are pleasant enough but can still be cold in the summer and the crowds are stupid.
TexasOver-rated, although admittedly not thought of as a tourist destination. The Hill Country is under-rated, as is Fredericksburg. Austin is as advertised. Houston sucks. Dallas is maybe a little more interesting than you'd think. San Antonio is definitely over-rated. (You need more than a Riverwalk and Alamo for a city that size guys.) Gulf Coast is slightly under-rated.
ArizonaSlightly over-rated. Yes it's warm in the winter. In the summer, it has temperatures that if NASA found them on an exoplanet would make them consider it uninhabitable. Tucson is laid back in the way California supposedly used to be, Phoenix is like a poorer, more generic L.A. Flagstaff under-rated and mountains and canyons in the far north are nice.
LouisianaOver-rated. New Orleans is definitely over-rated. The rest of the state is culturally kind of a weird Southern state with lots of bugs.
FloridaMost over-rated state on the east coast. Yes there are attractive people and some great food in Miami, but a) the people won't talk to you and b) it's a gigantic state full of snakes and bugs and mildew, and those few things are all clustered down near the far end. The beaches are nice and warm. (By the way people on the east coast who visit Florida *during the summer* - why? Waste of airfare! Go in December or March!
NevadaMost over-rated state in the Pacific time zone and probably west of the Rockies. Main attraction is a city famous for machines that you put money into with only a small chance of it coming back out, though there are a few decent cheap restaurants (because of other people financing your food) and Mt. Charleston is a nice hike. Tahoe is nice but more of Tahoe is in California. Reno only seems like civilization if you've spent the last two days driving across deserts and salt flats on I-80. The rest of the state is quite empty and mostly not that scenic.

The View From Your Window in Pennsylvania

When god of all bloggers Andrew Sullivan was still doing his thing, he had a series called "The View From Your Window". His readers from all over would take pictures from their window and send them in, Sully would pick one and put it up, and there was a prize for the reader who guessed the closest location. People half a world away sometimes actually guessed the exact window in a building that the picture had been taken from! Every now and then I tried but never won - there were one or two clearly California ones, and one of Wellington New Zealand that like many San Franciscans I believed was San Francisco. (I've since been to Wellington, and the resemblance is not merely passing.)

But as soon as I saw this picture I knew it was clearly taken in Pennsylvania. Specifically, central Pennsylvania.


The older wood-sided plainly-painted houses, the yellow leaves and gray rolls of cloud, and the Appalachian ridge in the background - there's really nowhere else it could be. The picture was taken on a fall day in Muncy, PA, near Williamsport.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

People Who Want New Stadiums Are Quite Often Worthless, Unpleasant, Stupid

Seattle told the Supersonics to get lost last decade, in a widely praised move against a pro team that thought they were entitled to tax money. (The same thing happened to the San Diego Chargers more recently.) When councilmembers dared vote against the entitled yahoos who wanted to build another stadium, the deviants came out of the woodwork. I think attorney Jason M. Feldman should be singled out as a great example of these sad bitter losers, who took the time to email the dissenting councilmembers and said this:
I can only hope that you each find ways to quickly and painfully end yourselves. Each of you should rot in hell for what you took from me yesterday...Please don't misunderstand me. I TRULY pray for nothing but horrible things for each of you moving forward. You have made this world a worse place by whoring yourselves out to the highest bidder. Please Please Please do the honorable thing and end yourselves. Each of you are disgraceful pieces of trash that deserve nothing but horrible outcomes.
Turns out that Feldman was suspended from his state bar after a client alleged he sexually assaulted her. That such a gentleman would comport himself in this manner is, I know, shocking! Kidding, he's an ass-face with poor impulse control and went out of his way to be a jerk so he should suffer.

Fortunately, voters across the country have figured out that stadiums are bad, bad UNDERperformers as investments, and/or as tools to bring outside tourist dollars into a city. That is to say, if there were a little league of investments, you'd have to have a heartbreaking talk with stadiums and their parents and say, "I'm sorry, but little Stadiums here just isn't cut out for this game, and not everyone gets a trophy."

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

High Altitude Psychosis: A New Medical Entity?

Cross-posted at Cognition and Evolution.

A new paper breaks down cases of acute mountain sickness into several categories, including isolated psychosis with no evidence of cerebral edema (a quarter of cases!) Psychosis was more associated with accidents than the other subgroups, not surprising in retrospect. These cases were all taken from above 3500m/11,700'. It's always interesting that humans, and life on Earth generally, can tolerate some amazing extremes, but when the partial pressure of O2 drops a little bit, everything breaks.

Hüfner K, Brugger H, Kuster E, Dünsser F, Stawinoga AE, Turner R, Tomazin I, Sperner-Unterweger B. Isolated psychosis during exposure to very high and extreme altitude – characterisation of a new medical entity. Psychol Med. 2017 Dec 5:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717003397

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Exercise More Important Than Obesity or Age as a Risk Factor for Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the wear-and-tear kind. A recent study discussed in JAMA looked at skeletal remains and found that even after controlling for weight and age, if you were born in a developed country after WWII, you're more than twice as likely to have OA of the knee.

That is to say: a two hundred pound man born in 1945 and who died at 70 is twice as likely to have OA of the knee than a two hundred pound man born in 1900 and who died at 70.

What changed since WWII? Wealth plus automation = less exercise. This is quite consistent with the work done already showing that runners are slightly LESS likely to have knee problems than non-runners. (This should shut up those annoying people telling you you're going to mess up your knees.) As the JAMA editorial states, it's also consistent with evolutionary medicine - that if we behave as evolution designed us to behave - i.e., running around all the time doing stuff and not sitting at home in front of glowing screens - that we're more likely to be healthy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Nothing is More Boring Than Reading Someone Else's Diet Log

Except maybe writing one. Still doing reasonably well. After my cheat day I did have a little bit of a GI disturbance, but since then have been doing mostly fine. I did notice that when I wander into the kitchen, I'm often not hungry, just bored. Amazing what happens when you actually pay attention to your eating habits. Instead I'll leave you with a self-motivation game I play, called "time machine".

Ever get frustrated at something you did in the past (or more likely, didn't do) and wish you had a time machine so you could go back and change it? Try this instead: think of what you will be frustrated about five years, ten years from now and wish you had a time machine to fix. Guess what? You do. You just traveled back in time from the future, and you're here. Fix it. Related: when you think of how stupid you were five or ten years ago, that's a good sign that you've gotten smarter.

Consequently, I worry if ever I'm not frustrated with how stupid I used to be.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Very Low Carb Day 9 - CHEAT DAY

Day 9:
  • Whole milk with protein powder
  • 2 protein bars
  • 1 piece of bread
  • half a bag of chips
  • 1 quesarito from Taco Bell
  • 1 chalupa from Taco Bell
  • 1 ultimate cheeseburger from Jack in the Box
  • 1 root beer float with Tilenti sea salt and caramel ice cream
  • 2 chicken wings
  • several crackers with much brie
Workout: very hilly 7 miler in Auburn (1000'ish of gain and loss, pretty much all at once)

Effects: In my previous terrible diet, I would get 4-5 items at Taco Bell and put them away with no problem. Now? I had to force the second one down. The Jack in the Box burger was not fun either. The boiled lettuce and shrimp dish my wife put together for herself actually looked pretty good! (Again, this is my *cheat day.*)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Very Low Carb Day 8

Day 8:
  • Whole milk with protein powder
  • One hard boiled egg
  • One can of tuna
  • Whole milk with protein powder
  • Six slices of turkey
  • Ahi tuna with sesame
  • (and then cheat day began (at sunset, as the sabbath.)
  • ~10 horse derbs contained crackers and cheese but also meat)
  • glass of wine
  • 2 pieces of bread
  • 10 crackers
  • brie and parmesan cheese
Workout: none

Effects: none noted. Also, reading about Atkins (which basically this diet is), I saw that there's not a lot of good data on weight loss compared to other diets. It seems to me that many diets converge on weight loss via the same mechanism, which is that suddenly you're paying attention to intake and eating more filling foods (i.e. not crap from McDonald's and 7-11.) I don't know if that study has been done. In any event after cheat day, I will keep my carb intake lower than standard American diet, but I'm not going to strive for zero as I have been.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Very Low Carb Day 7

Day 7:
  • 3 slices of turkey
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 3 sunny-side up eggs with 1 chile
  • 1 packet of teriyaki beef jerky (stupid me, after I ate it I read the label and learned that there are 17g of sugar in this)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • Flaked Romano cheese mixed with pound of beef and one fried egg with fat poured off
Workout: none. Very sleep-deprived.

Effects: Felt a little more hungry today than other days. Terrible sleep the night before so I think my lethargy is related to that, but still feel okay all things considered. Tomorrow is the last day before cheat day - will be interesting to see how my body reacts.

Very Low Carb Day 6

Day 6:
  • glass of milk with whey protein powder
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1.3 lbs of pain fried ground beef, fat poured off, scooped into lettuce "sandwiches"
  • 1 chile
  • 2 protein-style burgers from In-N-Out
  • 1 glass of milk with protein powder
Workout: None.

Effects: no cravings, although I spend most of the day inside the house with my wife and newborn, and when I went out to get the In-N-Out, exposure to all the convenience store and fast food logos did trip my circuits a bit (but not THAT much. Really didn't have to exercise that much willpower.) Oddly sore in triceps and platysmus and don't know why.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

RIP Dan Gorfain, Northern California Trail Pioneer

The Bee has an article on him. I hadn't heard of him before but his foresight and persistence have been behind the Sacramento River Parkway and the Great California Delta Trail. It's easy to get lost in negativity online these days, so when I see a life that was dedicated to trails and improving others' quality of life, I like to do my small part to advance that example to others. After all, trails don't just happen on their own.


From sacramentoriverparkway.org.

Very Low Carb Day 5

Day 5:
  • 2 tilapia fillets with tartar sauce
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 venti Americano with half & half
  • 3 tilapia fillets with tartar sauce, tabasco, and serrano chiles
  • 4 scrambled eggs
Workout: sprints x 4. They were bad - peak velocity lowered ~20%, long recovery afterwards with shallow puffing indicative of just trying to blow off CO2, just no good in general.

Effects: After the filets, bacon and coffee, and sprints, my blood glucose was 74. A little hungrier after eating than I had been. I'm thinking of instituting a cheat day on Saturdays after I've gone over a week (yes I know I won't enter ketosis.) While I'm being gross, I had a loose stool but that may have been from undercooked fish. No cramps today.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Very Low Carb Day 4

Day 4:
  • 4 slices of turkey
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • half a bell pepper
  • crystal light (40 sugar calories)
  • 1 tall pumpkin spice latte (an indulgence, the most carby thing I've had for 3.5 days)
  • 1/2 venti Americano with half & half
  • 1 can tuna in water
  • ~1.8 pounds ground beef (some for lunch, some for dinner) with lettuce and serrano chiles
Workout: None.

Effects: Okay, now the cravings have begun. I dreamed about chocolate, and I've never before dreamed about food. I felt terrible (weak, grouchy) on waking, but not sure I can distinguish that from infant sleep deprivation. Some cramps (when bending awkwardly) but not severe. Overall, still feel full after I eat a meal.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Very Low Carb Day 3

Day 3:
  • 1 cup of coffee with half and half
  • burrito bowl with carne asada, lettuce, beans, guac and sour cream (guy at pick-up window: "Are you doing paleo?")
  • 2 black pepper-crusted tilapia fillets
  • 1 Crystal Light pitcher with caffeine (40 sugar calories)
  • 8 slices cotto salami with 2 chili peppers
Workout: flat 7.7 mile run which was MUCH MUCH harder than it otherwise would have been. Needed many breaks, couldn't sustain my normal pace for more than a couple hundred yards. I hadn't done weights for a long time and when I got back, decided to do bench presses and had to give up after 2 of my normal 3 sets, with a weak second set. Definitely feeling the effect here. Solution: more cardio! "Ve have vays of making you more insulin sensitive."

Effects: besides the crash and burn on my exercise as above, I was very hungry when I woke up and didn't eat until 1pm, but not still not dying. No incredible cravings like some people report. I continue feeling full after I eat.

I have terrible dietary discipline, so I'm a combination of ashamed and proud to admit that this may be the longest I've stuck to a major dietary change. Being in a heightened state of awareness and self-control due to my daughter's birth (and wanting to be healthy for her) likely has a lot to do with that.

Very Low Carb Day 2

Day 1 here, Day 3 forthcoming.

Day 2:
  • 3 hard-boiled chicken eggs
  • 8 oz of lentils with Japanese curry
  • 8 slices of cotto salami
  • 6 slices of turkey wrapped in lettuce with barbecue sauce
  • 1 package smoked salmon
Workout: no workout. Fell asleep when I was intending to run. Babies mess up your schedule. Well, at least everything will return to normal soon!

Effects: I may have urinated more than usual overnight. Slightly hungry when I woke up but not dying for a candy bar. After the eggs and lentils in the morning I was full, which surprised me.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Diet Experiment - Very Low Carb, Day 1

I've read enough about the benefits of this and been wanting to try it for a long time. Also, my wife had gestational diabetes, and went low carb, and she actually lost (fat) weight relative to her pre-pregnancy for the first five months - so it works! (That's without ANY additional exercise.) My intention is to get as close to zero carb, and zero fat as possible. I will be providing gory details so if you don't want to hear about blood chemistry, poop consistency, the whole nine yards, this is not the post series for you.

Zero carb!?!? you say? Yes I know about rabbit starvation, but partly I'm trying to induce ketosis, and I doubt I'll actually eliminate all carbs or fat so I will keep that as the goal knowing I may fall short. If I start rabbit-starving because I'm so committed, then it's easier to relax a bit than to wonder why it's not working when I'm aiming at x milligrams of carbs, and overshooting it.

So begins my experiment. I'll be posting my diet here partly to commit myself in public (embarrassing if I don't stick with it) and partly in case it's useful to others. I didn't have any kind of ease-in, just went from my crappy junk food diet day zero to this on...

Day 1:
  • 1 can of tuna fish in water
  • 5 swallows of heavy whipping cream (forgot about the diet for two seconds. See the crap I eat?)
  • 8 oz of lentils (with portions experimentally spiced with Japanese curry, turmeric, cumin, garlic, black pepper, oregano and basil. Japanese curry and black pepper were best.)
  • 1 tilapia fillet
  • 1/2 bell pepper
Effects: by the end of the day I had a very mild headache. Unusual for me, as I've had probably ten headaches in my life. I'm mildly more hungry, with occasional but not out-of-the ordinary carb cravings; i.e., while thinking I would make a sandwich for dinner, I had to catch myself to remind myself that that wouldn't be happening. No workouts today.


Comments:

- Some question the wisdom of making such a profound change in diet when I'm already sleep-deprived with a newborn at home. But waiting for the ideal time to try something is often just a way of avoiding ever trying it. Another way to look at it: if ultra-low carb makes me feel terrible, well I'm already miserable, so why not?

- I also started taking a probiotic today. While I'm starving my high-carb flora, if I really want to give them the old 1-2, I could either take high-dose antibiotics (not responsible and carries risk) or load in a bunch of new competition just as the old ones are weak. And so far, the only effect is maybe a mildly softer stool. I've tried them before and it smelled like a wet cattle ranch, so this isn't nearly as bad.

- This diet is of course washed down with an ungodly amount of Diet Mountain Dew, which I'm also considering cutting out. People have actually warned me that switching over to all protein and vegetables AND stopping soda could leave me hyponatremic, when suddenly my body that's used to getting of salt is getting NO salt.

- I will be checking my lipids and A1c after 6 weeks and comparing to my most recent values.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Rural, Coastal Natural Areas Better for Sense of Well-Being

It's not just your imagination - a new paper by Wyles et al in Environment and Behavior shows that it's better to get away from people and/or head to the coast, rather than spend time in a natural setting in the city. So, as much as some time forest-bathing (shinrin yoku) in an urban park will improve your state of mind, maybe it's worth that drive to get out of the city and away from people for an even better experience.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Another Weird Weirdo: Walking from Portugal to Turkey

Man these people just keep coming out of the woodwork don't they. Here's ANOTHER cockamamey fiasco, walking from Portugal to Turkey. Well I hope they're proud of themselves!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Longest Walk to Save the Salmon

I often post about running or walking projects. Because they're interesting, and I've done a couple of my own. But let's be honest: whether it's Karl Meltzer's record on the Appalachian Trail, or my (much slower) run across California, ultimately we're doing it for fun. It's not like we're delivering medicine to a sick child, or a message to the other side of enemy lines, or exploring a wilderness. Ultimately, these little projects are all just for grins. Here's one that's not for grins.

Image above from PBS. Image below, Skaagi by Bill Reid. Image from fishcreekalaska.com
This year, for the first time ever, the Yurok Nation in far northern California voluntarily called off its salmon season this year because the fishery was so depleted? That might not seem like such a big deal, but if you're Yurok, it's about as big a deal as there is. If I said this was as if hunting season and and a trip to the holy land rolled into one, in terms of its cultural centrality, that might not be far off. For them, protecting the salmon is very much the same as protecting their lands, and if you've ever been there (think the Requa area, near Prairie Creek Redwoods) it's easy to see why it inspires such patriotism. It's some of the most ruggedly beautiful land anywhere on this planet.

The Yurok lands are not the only place people have seen a collapse of the salmon fisheries. Consequently a group of native people has been walking from Seattle to San Francisco (yes, now, in the rain) to try to bring awareness to this problem, in the aptly named Longest Walk to Save the Salmon. There's a radio interview here. Their Gofundme page explains as follows:
On our journey, we will also be addressing common issues and threats facing Native communities in the Pacific Northwest such as; sovereignty, pipelines, saving sacred sites, keeping our rivers in balance and harmony, equality and justice. We will present this to community leaders, politicians so we can work together to find solutions. We will also be stopping to honor and heal our Veterans, with visits to VA hospitals in Seattle and San Francisco. Helping our Mother Earth, we shall pick up roadside trash.
Consider donating to support them.

As I type, they're planning on arriving in SF tomorrow November 22. You can read about their walk and see pictures here and here. (Below: the Klamath River. From klamathrenewal.org)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pictures of Textures

I am occasionally obsessed with getting "pictures" of textures. Some of these were done with older phones so please forgive the quality in some cases. Some of them aren't textures, exactly, but the image is so fuzzed out as to be more impressionistic. As near as I can tell, what I find interesting about these images is that there is always a suggestion of meaning or information you would get from a more detailed visual picture, but you're forced to infer much about the rest of it (even the scale), often (but not always) from imagined touch. These were amassed roughly over the period from 2007 to present. Most are mine except for the satellite images of course. Hope you enjoy.