Treat people like human beings

In the end what he wanted wasn’t entitlement to other people’s money, or a pity job from someone who secretly didn’t like him. All he needed to keep going was to have people acknowledge there was a problem and treat him like a frickin’ human being.

~ Scott Alexander

I’ve heard that men tend to be quick to propose solutions. That fits perfectly with my self-perception: When someone complains, or voices a concern, or raises an issue, etc., my first instinct is to try to find the root cause (or at least, a major cause) and then immediately start proposing or brain-storming solutions, things to change, action items.

It took me a long time to understand that what everyone wants, first of all, it to be understood.


To test the relationship between exercise and ketosis I decided to examine my blood levels of glucose, B-OHB, and lactate immediately before and after three different types of workouts on three successive days. This interplay is complex and no one knows “everything” about it, including the world’s experts (which I am not pretending to be). I’m going to try to balance a fine line in this post – I want to be rigorous enough to explore the ideas with substance but not too detailed to put you to sleep. I hope I am able to balance these forces adequately.

~ Peter Attia

The more I read about the human body, the more fascinated I become. One of the big dietary changes I started long ago was to just “try to eat fewer refined carbohydrates.” Less cookies, breakfast cereal, that sort of thing. And then I spun off into intermittent fasting and ketosis and on and on.

But this guy, he’s gone way WAY farther down the rabbit hole. This article is a superlative dissection of ketosis, fuels (carbohydrate, protein, fat), wattage, workouts and … well, the best part is after all of it, there’s no strong conclusion. It’s just this wonderful exploration of how one person’s body performed under a bunch of circumstances.

Anyway. File this one under: Human body = amazing.

GMO and Roundup®

When you apply Roundup® to it — as we find with some other Roundup-ready crops — then that disease becomes very intense because the Roundup® will nullify the genetic resistence. So in corn for instance, in 2012 we lost one Billion bushel of corn to a disease that was considered a very wimpy disease of no significant economic consequence througout the corn belt, and that’s Goss’s Wilt.

~ Dr. Don Huber

Dr. Huber is — this is my personal take on the matter — the original whistle-blower on Roundup®. I do not like Dave Asprey’s interview style, but I gladly sat through Dave to hear Dr. Huber. If you’re not yet ready to commit to listening, here’s a few things to make you either listen, or rage-quit industrialized food entirely:

Roundup® is a brand name for a (relatively) simple molecule first used to remove scale from the inside of boilers. Generally, the chemical is called Glyphosate. Originally discovered in 1950, in 1964 it was first used as a “chelator” — that is a chemical that will grab and bind minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc — to remove scale.

Wait. So why does it kill plants? Why is it used as a weed killer? Turns out that trace minerals are like keys to many biologic processes. A zinc atom unlocks this process, a magnesium atom unlocks that process, etc.. If you expose a plant to a chelator, each molecule of the chelator locks on to a mineral atom, and the plant dies for lack of minerals. (Glyphosate is special in that it locks on to MANY minerals. Most other known chelators only grab a specific mineral.) So Glyphosate kills all plants. (Actually, if you think about it, it would kill anything which relies on the minerals that the chelator locks on to. Care to guess if animals rely on minerals too?)

So at first look, chelators are NOT very useful on crops because they kill the crops along with the weeds. This is where the GMO versions of our food crops come into the picture: They are modified (bred, selected, etc.) to resist the chelator. So you can now spray the chelator on the entire field and only the crop survives.

I don’t know about you, but I find that all pretty depressing. But wait! It’s actually so much worse…

Bonus round 1: Does the modified food crop have any other differences? What if the GMO crop was entirely wiped out — as in erased from the planet — by some disease it was formally resistant to? (hint: pull quote above)

Bonus round 2: Does the chelator remain in the food crop? Does it end up in our food products? Is it present in sufficient quantity in the food products to have a meaningful affect?

Bonus round 3: What would happen to proteins in one’s body if the Glyphosate molecule (the chelator meant to pull minerals from the scale inside boilers) happened to be chemically similar enough to one of our normal amino acids (glycine)?

Bonus round 4: What’s the half-life (how many years must elapse before 1/2 of the stuff remains) of Glyphosate? How long after it’s sprayed on a field will it continue being picked up by anything that grows there?

Once more, louder, for those in the back

Society has any number of pressing needs that are crying out to be tackled. But there’s a need that everyone can start addressing immediately — no experience or Kickstarter campaign required: regularly showing more human kindness.

~ Brett McKay

Many years ago, my mother bought me a little metal rectangular paper weight which says, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” The type is laid in lines, and the, “no matter how small” is teeny-tiny so each time I read it, I have to look closely.

It also helps me remember to look a little more closely throughout my day.

10 questions for myself

Over the years, I have been collecting and reflecting upon questions that have helped me improve my people judgment, especially around personality and attitude. Here are ten key questions to help you better understand the intrinsic “why” and “how” behind a person:

~ A. Tjan

I read this simple (super simple) article with a list of ten questions… and I all I could think was:

Forget about asking this about OTHER PEOPLE… I’m going to start regularly asking these ABOUT MYSELF!

Changing context

There’s nothing magic about printing on paper and editing with a pen. To me it’s all about changing context, putting my brain in an at least slightly different mode. That’s why I love Lopp’s imperative to “Sit in a different place” — you need to see your own words in a different light.

~ John Gruber

Changing context is so critical. There’s deep magic to be found in having loving crafted spaces where you work, think, read, etc.

Root of modern disease?

… the microbes are holding the reigns to a lot of what’s going on. If we were not doing a good job at passaging them around to additional culturing flasks — specifically other humans — they would undoubtedly discover ways to make us better at doing that.

I think a more optimistic, or different way to frame this, is just that we’re composite organisms. I think we traditionally think of ourselves — the human body — as a collection of human cells. And what we really are is an ecosystem. We have microbial and human parts that come together to work in a concerted fashion to make up this
super-organism. And we can’t forget about the microbes because they’re really an important part of our biology.

~ Dr. J Sonnenburg

If you haven’t heard much about how important are all the teeny little microbes living in your digestive track, this is a good podcast to get started.

Master the day

The big umbrella for me is this idea of “master the day.” The whole idea is that life doesn’t change — wether it’s weight loss, success, happiness, marriage. It doesn’t change until something today changes. And that by itself is a huge revelation. Because most of us, we may have heard that idea. But if all we did was change something today, then that would already put us on the path we want to be on. And that, again, right there, there’s a philosophical change. Because if we knew that it just took changing small things, and that by changing something small today it would be easeir to change something small tomrorrow, a lot of us would have a much easier time reaching our goals.

So how do you change on a daily level? When you think about it, the average person only reflects about what needs changing, once a year. Right? The New Year we write our resolutions and that’s the only time we reflect on what’s working and what’s not working. One time in 365 days. Imagine if you did that every day. Imagine if you did that 365 times now. Imagine how quickly you could iterate on your behavior and your habits.

I sure wish I’d read, (or heard,) this about 10 years ago. Took me an embarrassingly long time to discover this on my own. This is literally the it’s-not-actually-a-secret to all of my success. Small daily changes. Even in the face of catastrophically stupid, self-imposed set-backs. Small daily changes. Every day, one step forward.