Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Alastair Reynolds' "Poseidon's Wake"

tl;dr: I need to find a book that I like.

I've read a number of Alastair Reynolds' books in the past, and have enjoyed them all, although I noticed a flaw in a number of them that was particularly notable in this book.  So when I took Poseidon's Wake out of the library, I was quite excited.

The premise of the book is a good one: ship thought destroyed turns out to instead have been cast light years across space; a message from it is received.

The bulk of the book is then the response to this message, I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that a mission to the ship is dispatched.

The world building is pretty good, although there are a number of elements that cause it to creak, some of which are the fault of the author, and some of the publisher.  In many parts it's reminiscent of the world-building of Arthur C. Clarke, with a cast that would be today described as "minority", although since apparently all the Europeans have gone  missing, that term is really an anachronism. Labels are in Swahili and Chinese, it's mentioned several times.

Ultimately though, I found this book to be supremely dissatisfying, so much so that it was a struggle to finish.  I distinctly recall page 488, as that was the page at which I looked at the page number and said to myself, "How much longer?"  Over one hundred pages, was the unfortunate answer.

So the problems: let's start with the publisher. When I finished the book, I turned to the acknowledgements page, to discover that his was the third of three books. Huh?

Nowhere on the outside of the book is this fact mentioned, the inside flap mentions "in the conclusion of his epic saga", but one shouldn't have to hunt for this information! No doubt the publishers, noting that each version of a series sells fewer copies, decided to elide this information in order to sell a few more.

So, much of my initial reaction, that much of the world-building is absent, is likely because it was in the two prior installments.  No fault of the author.

What is the fault of the author is the bad elements of world building, the plot, and the characters.

There are a number of major world building problems, however. It won't take anything away to observe that a major plot point involves elephants in space.  As you might imagine, elephants aren't well suited to space, or space suits. Elephants, you see, are prolific creators of dung. Elephant dung is mentioned a number of times, in particular when the villian anounces that she must clear her bowels before getting into a space suit. I'd already begun wondering how this problem was handled, as the dung in spaceships issue had been mentioned as a problem earlier. The solution to how elephants evacuate themselves in spacesuits is never resolved, however. Given that elephants in space suits desperately trying to get inside becomes a issue at one point, one was left wondering if they were desperate to evacuate their bowels. This is an issue which was not resolved in the novel, however.

That's just one example of a deus ex machina approach to story-telling.  Reconfigure an entire spaceship to make it suitable for elephants?  Sure, no problem!  Couple days' work.  Fix a hole in the hull? Sorry, that's a year or more. It just makes no sense.

I enjoyed a few of the characters, including the captain of the ship dispatched to find this missing ship, and the artificial intelligence robot Swift, who plays a crucial role and is an enjoyable character. The protagonist, who appears to be an interesting, likable man at the beginning of the story, turns out to be an idiot. I can't recall a single instance where the opportunity to make a mistake arose and he failed to take that opportunity. He gets treason out of the way early on, so most of the remaining mistakes are more minor, until later, but they grate. I thought this was just ill-considered storytelling on the part of Mr. Reynolds, until he has the character recount his entire history of idiotic mistakes at the end of the book, and realize it must have been intentional. It may well have been, but it didn't make for an enjoyable read.

One additional major mistake appears just before what would have been, in a better-crafted book, the climax.  I recall an episode of an old TV series (it may have been The Dukes of Hazzard), where in order to prevent the progress of a villian, our heroes affixed a chain from the engine of his car to a tree.  What happened to that car as the villian attempted to speed away from the tree is roughly what happens to this book when the fool of a protagonist makes this crucial mistake.  The engine is ripped out, although the vehicle continues to move.

The thrust of the plot up until that point seems to be forgotten, the crucial danger that our protagonist was willing to commit suicide to prevent just disappears.  The entire story falls apart at that point. Mind you, at the very end of a trilogy!

Sadly, the book still has a ways to go.  Much of the rest involves the other characters congratulating our protagonist for his idiocy, which turns out to have been entirely pointless, as the danger never materializes, and his "moral victory" turns out to be almost entirely Pyhrric.

While I was initially annoyed that the publisher mislead me into reading the third book of a trilogy first, something I prefer not to do, I now realize that they did me a favor.

The intense dismay and annoyance that I experienced as what should have been an enjoyable read fell apart in my hands would have been far worse had I read the prior two books first.

The Importance of Negative Splits

"In the 2016 US men's Olympic marathon trials, only three of the 108 entrants ran the second half faster: the men who came in first, second, and third."
Fascinating article.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

[Cordain's] Paleo vs. Keto: What’s the Difference?

Interesting comparison by Phinney and Volek, but not one that I endorse, as they’re using Cordain's Paleo Diet, which I think is silly in some respects.

"There are a lot of similarities between Paleolithic (Paleo) and ketogenic diets (KD), particularly when compared to the now discredited ‘Standard American’ low fat, high carbohydrate diet....

"By definition, a ‘ketogenic diet’ allows your body to be in nutritional ketosis, whereas a Paleo diet seems to be purposefully designed to prevent it."

That version, maybe, but I agree with many of their crticisms, although some are bizarre:

"Nagging stomach and bowel issues go away (a common side effect of a high protein diet)..."

What?

My own view is that a paleo diet should be ketogenic a lot of the time, and that's fine. And likely included whatever dairy they could get their hands on.

OK, so read and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Seven Phases of Heart-Rate Training


So you've decided to start heart-rate training (HRT). Congratulations! Or you've been training and you've hit a rough patch, and need a little encouragement. Since I discovered it through the work of Dr. Phil Maffetone several years ago I have enjoyed great success with it, and I've seen others also enjoy the benefits.

But, HRT can be a bit challenging. The key to HRT is that most of your workouts are, well, easy. But the mental part of it can be tough, especially if you're a hard-charging Type A personality.  Extremely challenging!

So I thought I'd lay out the seven phases of HR training to help those who might think they're the only ones feeling that way, and help them get through the tough parts. (This is written from a beginner's perspective, a world-record athlete like Zach Bitter may jump directly to Horror, as he already has a base.)

1. Anticipation

You've read about the amazing success that some athlete (Mark Allen, etc.) has achieved on the Maffetone Method, and you're raring to go. You've probably done your first run or two, and you're thinking to yourself, this is easy! It's great! I can totally do this, I'll be setting a Personal Record (PR) in no time! Enjoy it while it lasts, because what comes quickly after is:

2. Hatred

"You've got to be kidding me!", you say as your HR monitor (HRM) goes off for the umpteenth time on that run or ride, telling you you're going too fast, and you need to slow down. You already thought you were going slow! And now you have to slow down even more? This is insane! My most clear memory of hating the Method and Dr. Maffetone personally was when I was going up a 21-degree grade, and I literally could not walk slowly enough to keep my HR under the target I was using. "The heck with Dr. Phil, I need to get home!" Take this as consolation: if you're doing it right, you will hate it at the beginning. So it's a good sign.

3. Resignation

This is, without a doubt, the toughest part. If you're going to bail from HR training, you're going to do it here. You'll have thoughts that this was a mistake, and you'll go re-read the material on the Method to make sure that you're doing it correctly. You are. It's not that hard, you really can't mess it up. You just need to resign yourself that it, well, sucks, at the beginning.

4. Acceptance

If you can accept that this is how it should be, and accept the notion that what you've discovered in 2 and 3 is that your engine is broken, and this is how you fix it, you'll make it through. You'll also begin to enjoy the easy pace, and begin to anticipate your HR readings. You'll start walking before the HRM goes off when you reach a hill. You'll love the fact that you can train every day, and that you won't suffer any problems from training. You'll miss your friends you used to train with, but you'll be seeing some gains, and you'll be in it for the long haul.

5. Horror

Yes, Horror. After you've come to accept and even enjoy the slow and easy pace, the moment will come when you're walking up a hill and your HRM alert will go off. You'll look down, as you're surprised that you've gone over your HR target, as you'd become pretty adept at anticipating it. But you're not over the target, you're below the bottom of the range. You have to speed up. Soon you'll notice that you have to speed up going down hills, as you've gone through the bottom of the range. You'll find you have to start running going up hills! Then you'll find that you're pushing the pace to stay in the range.  Yes, this is what you hoped for, but you'll realize that you've strapped a coach to your wrist, and he's starting to crack the whip. The easy times are beginning to end, your legs are beginning to get sore at the end of runs, and you're working! Egads!

6. Exhilaration

My moment of exhilaration came when I ran a race during my first year of HR training. I'd done some good times, PRs, and was quite happy. But I came down sick during the last race, and had to walk back to the finish line. It was pretty disappointing. I'd already paid for this race, and wasn't sure if I was over the bug. But I figured I'd run it anyway, so I ran at an easy pace, and just enjoyed the trails. But when I got to the finish line, I had PR'ed! Without even trying! This was fantastic!

7. Success

I had many successes, as during that first year I ran 9 races, was sick for two and didn't finish, but PR'ed in the other 7, breaking all my records. I was pretty stoked. This was the last race of the season for me, a half-marathon on a hilly course in my home town. The last two miles were uphill! At the beginning I ran with a friend who was a good bit faster than me, and as I was pacing myself, he slowed down so we could chat. When we got to the hills and I slowed down he dropped me and headed out of sight. Oh well. The halfway mark was at the bottom of a long downhill stretch, and I caught back up to my friend. We again ran together for a little bit, and this time I dropped him. Over the second half of the course, I gained 10 minutes, and finished with a PR, eclipsing my PR from a 1/2 four months earlier on a flat course. Not only had I beaten my fast friend by 10 minutes, but it was the easiest race I'd ever run. I was so well fat-adapted at this point that I had my end-of-race coffee, and then forgot to eat for four hours.

Needless to say, after that first year I've stuck with heart-rate training. My consistency has wavered, affecting my pace, but I know that I have a solid recipe for success for whenever I need it. It turned me from a reluctant runner for health reasons into a runner who runs because he loves to. It's been a real gift!

The most valuable lesson has been that when I waver from using HR as a guide, that's when I get myself into trouble. But that's another post.

Enjoy, and stick it out. It will be worth it!

P.S. Since the question was asked, I use a Garmin Forerunner 225, original model. It's fine as a running watch, the main feature I wanted was the wrist-based HRM. I'll never go back to the chest strap!

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Running in a minimalist and lightweight shoe is not the same as running barefoot: a biomechanical study"

Yep. Now it's official!

"Experimental conditions
"The protocol involved four experimental conditions: (1) barefoot; (2) a minimalist shoe (NIKE Free 3.0); (3) a lightweight racing flat (NIKE LunaRacer2) and (4) the shoe in which they were currently completing the most training mileage (herein called regular shoe)....

"Conclusions
"Barefoot running was different to all shod conditions. Barefoot running changes the amount of work done at the knee and ankle joints and this may have therapeutic and performance implications for runners."

Full-text at the link.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Omega-6 Fats: The Alternative Hypothesis for Chronic Disease


People have been asking me to write a post on what I've been learning about diet for a long time, specifically focusing on linoleic acid and omega-6 fats. Well, here it is.  Credit goes to Raphi Sirt of Break Nutrition, who hit me up at just the right time.

Here's the published version over at BN ("Omega-6 Fats: the Alternative Hypothesis for Diseases of Civilization"), and here's the tweet announcing its publication:

Reception seems to have been quite good.  Mark Sisson mentioned it in his weekly 'net round-up, and then re-tweeted it separately:
Prof. Tim Noakes also retweeted the original tweet. Probably my favorite reaction was this one:
So I was pretty happy with the reception, and with the piece. Raphi was a good editor, and added a lot to it with some citations to studies backing up the argument that I'd never seen before. So if you're interested in the topic, go read that version.

Raphi also asked me to be on his podcast. Due to my verbosity, and prediliction to avoid brevity and drill down, it turned into two episodes. They're below, in order.

Episode 23 – Tucker Goodrich dishes on bad fats



Episode 24 – Tucker and Gabor on Seed Oils vs Refined Carbs – Part 2



I thought I would post the first draft here, mainly to get it off my hard drive, but also to have something to reference in posts on this blog. Links to citations, if you're curious, are in the final.

So here's the rough draft as delivered to Raphi:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: "This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol..." by Annie Grace

tl;dr: If you've ever thought about your drinking, you should probably read This Naked Mind. It's that fundamental—it's the owner's manual for alcohol.
"Can I still drink alcohol?" — Everyone's First Question About Fixing Diet
Alcohol consumption is one of the first questions that comes up after I start discussing the topic of a healthy diet with people. I always laugh, and say, "Well, alcohol's a poison, of course, so you don't want to overdo it..."

And, like most who try to eat well, I make alcohol a part of my "healthy" diet.

We also hear in the media that "moderate" consumption of alcohol is healthier than consuming none. I've never believed this, first because it's based on epidemiology, and second because I think it's a bit silly. Alcohol is a poison, and I don't think that consuming "moderate" amounts of a poison is ever really going to improve health, unless it's counter-acting some other poison. In which case the logical course is to stop consuming the first poison, not to add the second.

I was discussing the topic of booze with a friend one day recently, and she recommended this book. Despite this blog basically being a self-help blog, inspired by a self-help book (McDougall's Born to Run), I hate self-help books. Most of them I find tedious, repetitions of obvious things that we all know and know we should do.

Those that I've found valuable and compelling enough to actually alter my behavior, like BtR or Stephan Guyenet's Whole Health Source blog, contained a combination of some truths that I was aware of, and had acted upon; some validation or proof of another truth that I had considered, but had not acted upon; and then, having been pulled to that point, some other truths that I would soon be acting upon. It has been a powerful combination.

Grace's book is that kind of self-help book.

This is not a hellfire-and-brimstone anti-drinking book. I had those classes in high school, and they're a bit ridiculous. My reaction upon reading the definition of an alcoholic in that class was, "That's everybody!" Defining a disease so broadly as to include everyone is silly.

Grace does not make that mistake. She observes how widespread drinking and abuse of drinking is, as a book like this must, but she doesn't harp on it, and there are no stupid generalizations. As she explains:
"I have not given you definitive direction to stop drinking altogether. I have a hard time with rules. If there is a rule I must follow, my every instinct is to break it. A definitive statement to answer this question is difficult. I don’t want to write a rule and have the rebels, like myself, feel that they are bound. I would much rather present you with all the facts, allowing you to come to the decision that is best for you."
And, compellingly, she focuses on the subtle effects that alcohol has on the individual, the moderate drinker. She states her goal early:
"As you uncover the truth, your perception will begin to change, both consciously and unconsciously, and with this knowledge you will no longer desire alcohol. You will be free."
Then she begins to go through the facts:
"As John A. Bargh, a professor of psychology at Yale, put it, “Unconscious systems are continually furnishing suggestions about what to do next and the brain is acting on those, all before conscious awareness. Sometimes those goals are in line with our conscious intentions and purposes and sometimes they’re not. ”
I've often thought that our conscious mind is really nothing more than a passenger in our body, driving to some extent, but often just carried along, so this really hit a note.
"While scientists used to believe dopamine was linked to feeling good, they now believe that dopamine is linked to learning, and learning includes wanting, expecting, and craving."
So essentially what is happening is that by activating your dopamine system, alcohol is training you, like a rat in a cage, to subconsciously crave more alcohol.

Grace goes through the consequences of that, and notes that while we can use our willpower to moderate that craving, "willpower is a finite and exhaustible resource, much like a muscle, that can be fatigued." So when you wake up in the morning and find out that you had "a little too much to drink last night", you're responding to a powerful chemical stimulus with a muscle that probably fatigued. It's no surprise that all find themselves over-indulging occasionally. The surprise would be if none did.

She does go through the many negative consequences of alcohol. It's a known carcinogen, with no non-carcinogenic dose, other than zero. We all know it alters behavior, but not how pervasive those alterations can be, and there were a few moments where I found myself thinking, "Oh...", with a bit of chagrin. None of us likes to discover we're an unwitting puppet to a chemical.
"Now that you know the naked truth about alcohol and what it has been doing to you, your body, and your mind, you’ll be able to act."
One particularly amusing little anecdote struck me, as it describes me and, probably, everyone who will read this review on this blog:
"Everyone at the table was intelligent and seemed very in control of their drinking, yet there they were, drinking a known poison in massive quantities and speculating about the possibility of plastic leaching into their drinking water."
Yes, put like that, it seems downright stupid.

The book is also well-written, and enjoyable. She has a terrific voice, is clearly intelligent, and includes some great quotes:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
So yes, the book is a mind-bomb.

If you've ever reflected on drinking and it's role in your life, this is a terrific book to read. It's a great book if you've wondered about the health consequences of drinking, and more important, may enlighten you to some behavioral consequences of drinking of which you had not been aware.

Her intent, if you choose to let her by reading the whole thing, is to alter how you think about and look at alcohol forever. It certainly had that effect on me. Much like first reading BtR, that niggling doubt, that nascent thought, has been validated, brought to the fore, and now demands action.

You couldn't ask for more from a book.

Highly Recommended.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Science catches up, eventually

Literally decades after Noakes observed this must be the case, this study comes out:

"These results suggests that maximal fat oxidation rate exert an independent influence on ultra-endurance performance (>9 h). Furthermore, we demonstrate that 50% of the variation in Ironman triathlon race time can be explained by peak oxygen uptake and maximal fat oxidation."
Phil Maffetone had been training Mark Allen to promote fat-burning for some time in order to produce the result Noakes noted in his book 14 years ago.

This is the problem with using published science as a guide: it's often so slow and so far behind practice that it's utterly useless.

It's also a nice reminder of what a genius Maffetone is, as the literature is still catching up to him.

Friday, November 3, 2017

"The Prevalence of Overfat Adults and Children in the US"

The latest from Dr. Phil Maffetone:

"In the US, 91% of adults and 69% of children are estimated to be overfat.

"Despite previous indications that the prevalence of individuals categorized as being overweight and obese is leveling, their prevalence is currently at their highest rates in US history."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Much Omega-3 Is Too Much?

tl;dr: A lot, pretty much nothing but. It's very unlikely anyone would experience this by accident.
"It took roughly a month to achieve a clear overdose. I generally felt very good, improving health overall, for the first two weeks. It leveled off after that. Around 3 weeks, I noticed that foods seemed to taste more bitter, especially potassium rich foods and I felt a little bit off from my peak, but not too much. In some ways, it felt a little like when you take a high dose NSAID for a long time, you don’t feel bad necessarily, but you can kind of feel that your body is just a little bit off from its normal homeostasis with maybe a touch of dysphoria. I also began to have this bizarre intense craving for foods rich in oleic acid, which is something I’ve had never experienced prior or since."
Read the whole thing .

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"But Noakes won’t shut up or go away..."

"...because he has a steel spine and refuses to be intimidated by bullies."

And God bless him for that.

Read the whole thing .

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Let's Talk About Thyroid -- Low-Carb or Ketogenic Diets and Thyroid Function"

A nice mention by Amy Berger at Tuit Nutrition of my thyroid post, "Thyroid and Low-Carb: What Do Thyroid Hormones Do?".

Here's an excerpt:

"The effect of low carb diets on thyroid health is quite the controversial issue. Some people following a low carb or ketogenic way of eating find that their T3 decreases after a while. At first glance, we might take this to mean that low carb causes a slowdown in metabolism, or maybe it has other negative downstream effects. On the other hand, physicians and researchers who’ve spent decades improving the lives of their patients with low carb and ketogenic diets have not reported adverse effects on thyroid function. So what’s the deal?"

Read the whole thing, and thanks for the mention, Amy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: "The Way of Chuang Tzu" by Thomas Merton

tl;dr: The Way of Chuang Tzu is a fascinating look at Eastern philosophy from a Western, Catholic perspective, many of Tzu's writings as presented here are almost poetic, and do not require being read in sequence. Well worth reading to understand the commonalities in philosophy between two great religions and civilizations.

It may seem odd to read a book about Eastern philosophy written by, of all people, a Catholic monk, but I became interested in the intersection after being dragooned into watching Japanese anime such as Noragami and Kamisama Kiss and being surprised by what I initially thought were strong Catholic elements to the stories and morality.

But as I quickly learned, the Catholic influence on Japan was rather minute, as the Japanese government was not receptive to Catholic missionaries, and in fact banned them from the country, and killed those they found along with their converts.

The influence instead stems both from Japan's native Shinto, and from Zen Buddhism, the two dominant religions in the country. And Zen derives largely from Chinese Taoist philosophy, hence my interest in this book.

Two Chinese Men
Chuang Tzu was a Taoist writer who lived and wrote during the third and fourth centuries B.C., and is regarded as one of the greatest such writers, although he is not the most well-known. Tao () is a Chinese word meaning "way" (the Way of the title of this book), and while it has roots in the Hinduism from which sprung Buddhism, is more of a philosophy of living than a religion, although it clearly has religious aspects. It is the foundation of much of Chinese culture.

Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk who became quite famous in the middle of the 20th Century, and had a fascination with Eastern religious practices and philosophies.

As Merton states in his Introduction:
"The rather special nature of this book calls for some explanation. The texts from Chuang Tzu assembled here are the result of five years of reading, study, annotation, and meditation. The notes have in time acquired a shape of their own and have become, as it were, "imitations" of Chuang Tzu, or rather, free interpretative readings of characteristic passages which appeal especially to me. These "readings" of my own grew out of a comparison of four of the best translations of Chuang Tzu into western languages, two English, one French, and one German. In reading these translations I found very notable differences, and soon realized that all who have translated Chuang Tzu have had to do a great deal of guessing."
So far from being a primary source, it's is a translation twice removed, once from the Chinese, and once through Father Merton's unique lens.

Lest you think this makes this work less important, Amazon lists it as their #1 Best Seller in Asian Literature, and the it features an introduction by the Dalai Lama, who was a friend of Merton during his life, and a fan of this work.

Merton has a short discussion of Tzu and his work and influence at the beginning, but most of the text are from Tzu, or from his disciples.

Topic covered include "The Importance of Being Toothless", "The Need to Win", and the surprising "Flight From Benevolence":
"When justice and benevolence are in the air, a few people are really concerned with the good of others, but the majority are aware that this is a good thing, ripe for exploitation. They take advantage of the situation. For them, benevolence and justice are traps to catch birds. Thus benevolence and justice rapidly come to be associated with fraud and hypocrisy. Then everybody doubts. And that is when trouble really begins.  
"King Yao knows how dutiful and upright officers benefit the nation, but he does not know what harm comes from their uprightness: they are a front behind which crooks operate more securely. But you have to see this situation objectively to realize it. 
"There are three classes of people to be taken into account: yes-men, blood-suckers, and operators..."
A rather astute observation from 2,300 years ago!

Much of the book, however, revolves more around what it means to be a man of Tao, or a man of the way.
"For Chuang Tzu, the truly great man is therefore not the man who has, by a lifetime of study and practice, accumulated a great fund of virtue and merit, but the man in whom 'Tao acts without impediment,' the 'man of Tao.' Several of the texts in this present book describe the 'man of Tao.'"
Much of what is presented here will not prove at odds with Christianity, in fact the many commonalities are what drew Merton to his study of Eastern philosophy and religion.

It's a terrific introduction to a wide area of study and understanding, and for those not steeped in Chinese philosophy, Merton serves as an excellent guide.

Highly recommended.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Eight Years Later: Ouch.

So it finally happened. After eight years of barefoot-style running, I finally had to cut short a run due to a foot injury yesterday.

I was out on a trail, running over a damp stone wall, when my trailing foot slipped out from under me, leaving me unsupported. I landed hard on the leading foot on a flat rock, and kept running. I thought I was uninjured.

But about five minutes later, I realized something was wrong with the foot that had slammed into the rock.

I seem to have bruised the top of the arch on that foot, and as almost every step involved hitting another rock with the bruised arch, it was going to be a long run.

I decided to bail at that point, and was able to slowly jog back to the parking lot.

Limped around all afternoon, but it seems OK this morning.

Not a bad stretch to go without an injury!

I was wearing my Luna Sandals on this run. But a damp, slippery rock will be a hazard regardless!

P.S. As the foot felt fine this morning, I did a three-mile run. Arch twinged a little during first mile, then was fine.

Amazing how fast feet heal! It's like they're meant to be banged against rocks!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"There’s Something Uniquely Terrible about Wheat in the U.S."

Mark Sisson is an intelligent man, and a careful observer. His anecdotes are therefore worth more than most published reasearch.

From his post on observations while traveling abroad:

"...This means I’m quite attuned to the quality of wheat. Wheat simply doesn’t affect me to the same degree in other countries. When I was in Greece, a couple times I had some baklava after dinner or pita dipped in hummus or olive oil. Pita is unleavened. It certainly isn’t fermented. It’s about as unaltered as you can get. And it didn’t affect me...."

And this:

"Industrial Food is Addictive

"...It’s a damn shame. but industrial food always wins. It’s supposed to, and that’s the problem."

"Discovering New York’s Ultra Scene"

By Ken Posner, who would be the guy to ask...

"...We certainly do not want to enter into a discussion of the merits of the decision."

Why not discuss it? It's child abuse, plain and simple, which is why they took the child away from his parents.

They obviously don't understand the basics of raising a human.

"Baby raised on vegan diet hospitalized for malnutrition, taken from parents"

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Where the praties grow: My seven-day potato diet experiment"

In which our hero encounters the high-carb flu.

Interesting symptom, I suspect due to mitochondrial restructuring to accommodate an altered micronutrient ratio. Makes sense it should go both ways.

I've no interest in trying this experiment, but that's mainly from the eagerness the Irish part of my family showed in avoiding a high-potato diet.

The population explosion the Irish experienced on potatoes, as Guyenet relates, speaks to its healthfulness.

Note how appealing everything else became!

"After a few days on the diet, non-potato foods began to taste fabulous.  I always enjoy fresh vegetables from my garden, but while I was on the potato diet, simple tomato or lettuce salads with vinaigrette dressing were delectable."

Potatoes, the spice of life! Read the whole thing.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"A dose of fructose induces oxidative stress during endurance and strength exercise"

Interesting.

One of those studies I would love to see done in a low-omega-6 context.

But I presume this is what accounts for the recovery benefit that low-carb athletes see.

The Best Advice on Running Ever

“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high that hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practice that for so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smoooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.” — Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Barefoot hiking in the Adirondacks

Great post from the legendary Kenneth Posner.

"Without the extra weight, I scampered upwards, the anorthosite rock faces offering great traction for bare feet, and managed to pass a handful of shod hikers, which is always fun."

He carried FiveFingers as fallback shoes (always wise to have fallback shoes!), and used them a few times.

My Daughter's Blog: Grace Under Pressure

My elder daughter has started a blog, to catalog her adventures attending school in Japan.

Here's her latest, where she details frantic efforts to secure a flight into an area about to be hit by a hurricane.

"The Longest Trip Ever: My Flight to School"

She's a great writer—very funny. Check it out and subscribe if you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"The Seven Pillars of Running Wisdom"

Must-read, and great advice for any sport.

Alex Hutchinson is ending his Sweat Science column, and it will be missed, this is his summation of what he learned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Omega PUFA types and effect on gut microbiome

Type of fat matters.

"A host-microbiome interaction mediates the opposing effects of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids on metabolic endotoxemia"

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep11276

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Software Eats the World, But Biology Eats It"

If you want to know why Microsoft and Google's efforts will fail...

Link via In the Pipeline

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Tripping Over the Truth"

'Is Cancer a Metabolic Disease?' Yes, it is...

Link via The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Vitamin C – an update"

Five-fold reduction in death from sepsis. Impressive.

Link via Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"The Great BirthdayShoes Garage Clean-up"

Please help this man!

Link via Toe Shoes, Barefoot or Minimalist Shoes, and Vibram FiveFingers Reviews, News, Forums | Birthday Shoes

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Climate Change Activist’s Barefoot Walk Across America Ends in Tragedy"

RIP.

Link via NYT > Home Page

"How a decade-old sports science article changed my relationship with running for the better"

In the span of a few pages, anthropologist Daniel Lieberman and biologist Dennis Bramble explained how human physiology is better suited for distance running than almost any other animal’s. And what’s more is that running was critical in allowing our ancient ancestors to out-compete other predators for prey. Running wasn’t an invention of modern fitness culture, it was as natural and uniquely human as the capacity for abstract thought.

I had a similar reaction to learning about Lieberman and Bramble's research, although my exposure was through Born to Run, which is a fantastic read on its own.

Prof. Lieberman is one of the most learned individuals I've ever had the pleasure to encounter. If you'd like to learn more about his research and thinking, I highly recommend his The Story of the Human Body.
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"In the past we knew how to run for our livelihood"

Progress. Sigh.

Link via Tracking Science

Review: "Dune: The Butlerian Jihad"

Dune, if you're not familiar with it, is the most popular and well-regarded science fiction novel ever written.  It's one of my personal favorites, I've read the entire six-book series many times over.

Meh.
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, is not one of the original six books, however, and is not written by the same author.  It's the fourth pre-quel book written by the original author's son and his co-writer.

I've avoided the Dune prequels for the same reason I avoid most other attempts to capitalize on successful stories by other authors.  They usually disappoint.

In this case I skipped the first three pre-quels and started with the fourth, as it's largely an independent story, and I hoped they'd gotten their writing and story-telling sorted out, as I'd heard not-good things about their earlier efforts.

Luckily, I took it out of the library.

I won't go into great detail about this book, other than to say the low-star reviews at Amazon or Goodreads reflect my views.  The writing is poor, the story-telling implausible, character motivation is often questionable, and large swathes of what this book was supposed to be about were discarded. The authors do away with the religious motivation for the jihad, for instance, which guts the story. Happily that's not made clear until the very end. Dune was notable for its intelligence,  they did away with that, too.

So if you're looking for an extension of your experience with Dune as I was, skip it.

I did find the story some what entertaining, however, as some of the attempts to fill in the story from the original novels was interesting (it was supposedly based on the original authors notes), but it was soured by the poor and in-your-face story-telling.  So I'm not entirely unhappy that I read the thing.

But I am very happy to have taken it out of the library.  I'll skip the rest.

Dune and the other five books in the original series are magnificent, however.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.