Category Archives: Commentary

Twenty Pounds On My Back

I was getting ready to head to the airport and noticed my backpack was feeling really heavy.  It has two computers, all my clothes, an iPad, all the charges, etc.  I decided to weigh it and sure enough it was just a hair under twenty pounds in total. I thought to myself, “That’s a lot of weight to be hauling around an airport for a couple hours in each direction!”  Yet just a few months ago I was carrying an extra fifteen extra pounds of fat on my body each and every day.  Hopefully as I carry forward having my fitness routine dialed I’ll be carrying around twenty five pounds less weight than I was at the beginning of the year.  There’s obviously a toll for carrying around all that extra weight.  Plopping twenty pounds on your back to experience that briefly is an interesting exercise in reminding ourselves of that.

Make Your Facebook Experience Sane Again

There are lots of write ups and studies which are showing more and more the negative effects on our perpetual stimulation by social media.  This is everything from the negative effects of not giving your brain a rest, negative emotions from the perpetual stream of information, all the way to it being potentially an addiction.  One simple way to get around this is to just uninstall every app, log out of the sites, and be done with it.  That’s not always practical since these ecosystems are often how we tie into events, stay in touch with friends, and are helpful conduits to information we are looking for.  The real problem is not having control of what and when information is presented to us once we enter these ecosystems. This is a byproduct of two features: alerts and newsfeeds.  Eliminating and/or getting control of these is the key to getting control of and crafting your social media experience into being sane again.

Continue reading Make Your Facebook Experience Sane Again

How do you coax without pushing someone away?

Anyone who’s been following along knows that I have hardly been a model of fitness and healthy lifestyle here.  At the same time I’m (hypothetically) trying to be proactive at avoiding health problems that creep up in later years.  It’s not lack of knowledge or following trends but instead a lack of execution.  When it comes to watching loved ones around you that are in the midst of having health problems that are caused by or substantially exacerbated by lifestyle choices that everyone knows are bad what can one do?

Continue reading How do you coax without pushing someone away?

Fitbit Ionic May Be Ugly, But Will It Make Me Leave Garmin Anway?

A little over a year ago I switched from the FitBit ecosystem to the Garmin one when I traded in my ChargeHR for a VivoactiveHR, reviewed here.  I made many compromises when I made the move to pick up a lot of additional capabilities, but now that the FitBit Ionic is on the horizon it may be time to re-evaluate that equation to see if it still balances out. Continue reading Fitbit Ionic May Be Ugly, But Will It Make Me Leave Garmin Anway?

Test your solar eclipse glasses, even if they are rated

Apparently there are some very unscrupulous people who are faking their solar eclipse glasses to make it look like legitimately rated ones.  It goes without saying that if you don’t have legitimate solar eclipse glasses then don’t even think about looking directly at the eclipse, no not even with layers of polarized sunglasses.  If you can’t find them last minute then make an eclipse projector box such as the suggestion from Popular Science or this pinhole model.  However now that I know that there are people who are low enough to fake out eclipse glasses just having ones rated is insufficient comfort for me.  So, how do you make sure you don’t burn out your eyes using some something some POS manufacturer cranked out (they should be prosecuted)?  You test! These are the tests I’m doing to confirm for me I can safely use my own glasses to view the eclipse.  Use any of these steps at your own risk.

Continue reading Test your solar eclipse glasses, even if they are rated

If Bad Documentaries Cause Positive Changes Are They Redeemed?

This has been quite a year of lifestyle transformations for a lot of people I know, and a lot of it has been spawned by documentaries.  Health documentaries aren’t new, perhaps the grand-daddy of this current generation going all the way back to Super Size Me in 2004.  There is also no shortage of new awareness about problems with the Standard American Diet (SAD) between all of the various diet and lifestyle trends.  It therefore makes sense that year after year more documentaries are being cranked out covering the topic of diet and health from a myriad of points of view.  However the quality of these documentaries to seems to be plummeting, but they still seem to be showing success into converting people to healthier diets.  The question I struggle with then is if that’s a net positive or still a net negative.

Continue reading If Bad Documentaries Cause Positive Changes Are They Redeemed?

Compulsive Connectivity

I’ve been a computer geek literally my whole life, at least as far back as I can remember.  I grew up getting “online” back before there was a thing called “internet” and quickly transitioned into all of the technologies associated with it. What started off as costing way too much to be online and with mostly text based interactions has become, as we all know, a pervasive and universal multimedia rich infinite stream of connectivity.  But is that connectivity too much, or at least too much for me?

Continue reading Compulsive Connectivity

N=1 Intoxication Quantification

As I’m sipping a glass of champagne while finishing up some coding for the night (yes, I’m one of those people that don’t think you need a special occasion to drink champagne) an interesting self experiment came to me.  I’ve heard of and seen video of people who are put in driving simulators to show the difference between difference levels of blood alcohol levels and the impact on driving performance.  I’ve sadly seen the direct effect on people as well.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to try to do a direct measurement of this in a safe way?

Continue reading N=1 Intoxication Quantification

We Get Unnecessary Medical Treatment Because We Want To

A link showed up on my Facebook news feed with this article, talking about the all too common practice of doctors pushing stents treatment  that don’t actually save our live for people who don’t need them.  I happened to have been listening to this podcast earlier today talking about the same thing when it comes to prostate screenings, cholesterol medicine, etc.  Both try to address the “why” of these things to varying degrees.  There is the cynical “because there’s money in it” or “the Doctors are too arrogant/too busy/too brainwashed/too much in CYA mode.”  I’m sure those elements play varying degrees case by case but I think there is more of an overriding reason we get these treatments, and that’s because we want them.

Continue reading We Get Unnecessary Medical Treatment Because We Want To