Monthly Archives: September 2012

Can you see it?

If you can see something, it’ll resonate with you better. Visualizing something helps you understand it because you’ll be forming a mental picture.

What about sugar, how much is bad for you?

Currently, the standard American style of eating provides you with 150 pounds of sugar a year. Which by the way, works out to about 40 teaspoonfuls a day.

For perspective, a little over a century ago, the average American ate only about five pounds of sugar per year.

If you knew how much sugar is in each food item you’re popping into your mouth, you might reconsider eating it – if it had lots of sugar.

But who wants to figure that stuff out? Even though it’s printed on the label along with other information, those numbers just don’t resonant with most people, right?

Maybe if sugar content was broken down into teaspoonfuls, it’d be easier to imagine. Or even better, if you could see a little stack of sugar cubes representing sugar content, it’d be easier to grasp the amount and so might hit home better.

A sugar cube is the same as a teaspoonful of sugar. For some perspective, one cup of sugar contains 48 sugar cubes. Visualizing cubes helps  because you’ll be forming a mental picture of stacks of sugar cubes.

There’s a sugar stack site showing lots of common foods, each with a stack of sugar cubes representing the sugar content for that item. It’s pretty shocking visually to see how much sugar is in what we commonly eat, especially the industrially processed foods.

Everybody loves Skittles, right? How many cubes of sugar do you think are in a (2.6 oz) bag of Skittles? Almost 12 cubes worth of sugar. Shut the front door! Just in case any kids are reading.

 

How do you like it?

How do you like your experiences to unfold? You may not have considered it, but most people prefer having pleasurable experiences split up over time into segments. On the other hand, we prefer our painful experiences to be lumped together.

For example, it feels better to get $500 twice, in two distinct payments, than to get a $1000 payment all at one time; and it feels much better to lose $1000 all at once – than to lose $500 two times.

That’s how I like it.

More on squatting

Here’re some more thoughts on squatting, or maybe on squatting more often. I like calling it crouching instead because it just sounds better than squatting, and lots of people associate squatting with the exercise called squatting.

Someone said, “Squatting is not an exercise; it is a movement pattern. The movement is part of growth and development as a transition from the floor to standing. Squatting can be used as an exercise, but is first and foremost a movement pattern.”

Hinging at the hips to fold down toward your ankles with your bum is a common movement pattern for all little kids. The more we sit in chairs as we’re growing up the less easy it becomes to crouch down comfortably.

You can get it back. The biggest trick or tip is to lead with your bum, on the way down into a crouch and when coming up and out of a crouch. Going down or up, just try pointing to the wall behind you with your bum first, the rest of you will follow. Two other things to do are keeping your toes pointed more forward and allow your knees to drift outwards a bit, not inwards.

And when you get the crouch back, the ability to fully crouch down and easily stand up will seem easy and will help in sports or just playing around. I think it’s an important and fairly easy thing to get back and maintain.

Vegans in the wild

This probably isn’t politically correct, but I don’t think vegans follow a natural philosophy by shunning animal products.

I do think veganism can provide some health benefits since vegans generally stay away from industrially processed foods and  avoid sugar.

But what if unfriendly aliens show up and wipe out civilization as we know it.

Or a super bug causes infections wiping out most of the world’s population.

Maybe a war breaks out that causes irreparable damage to our infrastructure.

They’re all unlikely, but what would happen if people from wealthy nations found themselves without their normal, extensive support networks? Back in the wild, how would most people adjust? In the wild, how long would vegans last? Have you ever met a vegan that you thought could beat you up? I didn’t think so.

Would they quickly revert to eating animals or hold strong, and probably perish? How long would it take for a vegan to abandon being a vegan?

Who knows. But I’m not too worried. Most vegans would probably start eating meat pretty quickly if our world were to suddenly force us back into the wild.

 

The Slow Web

Disappearing down a digital rabbit hole is easy to do on the web.

Information access is so fast now that  spending lots of time repeatedly checking updates and sites is the norm.

I’m trying to create a better user experience for myself that’s more enjoyable by slowing down how I access the web. A good analogy might be the trend away from fast food towards slow food. The slow web.

It’s easy to build up a backlog of sites, articles, blogs, and emails. What seemed like it might make your life better, winds up adding  stress. It’s the newest version of the growing stack of magazines you’d keep adding to with the best intentions of reading each one, but never actually got around to them.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

First, trash most of your “stack of stuff” you’ll never get around to and create a “Backlog” folder for the stuff you can’t justify trashing. You can keep some expiration date in mind and trash the Backlog file later.

I’ve created six other files on my browser.

One file is called “Daily.”

And the five others are labeled for each day of the workweek, “Monday” through “Friday.”

I grouped the stuff I check everyday like email, the NYT, and Seth Godin’s blog and put them into the “Daily” file. Infrequently updated sites were randomly put into the “day” folders, with each folder holding three to ten sites.

Now each day of the week, I check in on the “Daily” and that day of the week’s folder. Saturday and Sunday don’t have folders. I’m trying to use the computer even less on the weekends, so I only open the “Daily” folder. It’s pretty simple.

So far I’ve found a week is enough time to allow a site’s material to accumulate. For sites  that aren’t very active, I made a “15th of the month” folder and I check it on the 15th.

When I stumble across a new site I like, I bookmark it and it stays there. Later, if I like it,  I’ll move to a day of the week folder.

There’re still the other older folders in my browser for reference, like: Doctors, Spanish, Travel, etc. Usually, I open those as needed.

This slow web idea is working out well for me; and it’s still fun to disappear down a digital rabbit hole.

 

 

New Bloggers

Three people I know just started blogging.

Here’s my advice for them:

Write about what you find interesting and care about, otherwise, you won’t be writing after a couple of months.

Keep your writing style short and to the point. Use short words, unless a longer one is better.

Write like you talk – using contractions, an active voice, short paragraphs, and different length sentences.

The online attention span is short, so try to keep your posts to around 300 words.

Edit your post. Then edit again. And try to have someone proofread it.

Stick to a  regular posting schedule. It keeps you on task and your readers will come to expect it. That’ll make easier for you to attract fans.

Pick one topic for a post and stay focused on it.

If you plan on blogging for a long time, try to write “evergreen” posts that can be read in the future and still be interesting or useful.

Finally, pick a blogging tool that’s easy for you and your readers to use. Especially a clear, clean format for your readers.

Good luck!

Off-center

With two tax cuts, unfunded wars, and ultimately harmful financal deregulations, the previous president, Bush, stepped down leaving Obama with a big mess to clean up. That’s not a big news flash but it’s something that seems to get glossed over.

The Tea Party, Romney, and Ryan keep going on about the dangers to business of raising the personal income tax rates as an idea for paying for what we’re doing. Their objections are a bit off-center. No one prefers more taxation, but it’s better than the wishful thinking the Republicans keep pushing.

Since I’m not a business owner, my opinion on business matters isn’t as valid as a business owner’s; which makes sense. So I was happy to see a post by a successful business owner, Josh Newman, with his take on the impact of the personal income tax on making business decisions:

As an owner and board member of several companies, I find a lot of the political rhetoric around ‘job creation’ very confusing.

When I’m thinking about whether we need to hire more people at a company, here are the things I consider:

  • Is demand for the business’ product or service growing?
  • Is the current team having trouble keeping up with that growing demand?

And here’s one thing that I’ve never even remotely considered:

  • What’s my personal income tax rate?

Fellow business owners, are you honestly telling me your marginal income tax rate is what drives your hiring decisions?

That makes sense to me.

Risk

Almost everyone seems to loves the lottery.

Hearing about statistics doesn’t seem to affect  people as much as seeing a face and the name that goes with the face. In the news, we’re fascinated to see a lottery winner and his story. Whereas, seeing the headline saying, “Yesterday, 17 Million People Did NOT Win The Lottery” is a yawn.

We won’t be far off the mark by thinking of lotteries as a tax on the people who’re bad at math, but most people don’t think of lotteries in that way.

We’re not very good at assessing risks and then assigning risks their proper weight.

It’s human nature. Instead of looking at the track record of almost everyone losing; we prefer to project ourselves into the future and assume we’re more special than we really are. It’s what keeps a lot of crazy stuff going. I guess even though the risk of losing the lottery is so great that it’s hard to imagine, the risk is worth it to most people.