Monthly Archives: November 2016

Are you moving around enough?

Are you moving around enough? tiredThe takeaway from a new study of modern day hunter gatherers, the Hadza, is that our bodies need and respond to the kind of physical demands that these tribespeople still engage in most days.

It’s not too surprising that they move a lot, typically more than two hours a day. The men walk briskly searching for game animals off and on most days, and the women find, dig up, heft and prepare fruits, vegetables and other foods.

But, the vast majority of their activities are moderate. The tribespeople rarely run or are otherwise vigorously active.

They remain active, well into middle age and beyond, even those in their 70s moving as much as or more than the young.

The tribespeople have enviable heart health. The Hadza typically present low blood pressure and excellent cholesterol profiles across their life spans.

Some of their cardiovascular health is no doubt a result of diet, but the data intimate that the Hadzas’ active lifestyle, consisting of plenty of walking, lifting and generally being up and doing, helps to protect their hearts against disease.

Other parts of the Hadzas’ lives remain difficult and chancy. There’re real risks for untreated infections and illnesses, accidental deaths and no access to dental care.

These are risks that people in the industrial world have mitigated. But we now have the diseases of civilization which we might also be able to mitigate by following the Hadzas’ tendency of moving for a couple of hours a day. And it doesn’t have to be necessarily intense  or hard.

I’ve excerpted the information above from a recent NYT article about recent studies of the Hadza people.

Sugar Daddies

sexworkerIt’s a new twist on an old story. Money isn’t everything (as long as you have some). Operating in our modern world requires money, especially in some of the expensive big cities young people tend to flock to.

The internet and social media increase the opportunities for making money by using your body. It’s easier than ever to be a sex worker or a consumer, a sugar daddy, too.

An article claimed a young woman usually charged her sugar daddy around $400 for an encounter and added, “The guys don’t like talking about money, so they’ll just like leave money in your purse.” I guess people like to pretend it’s not a business transaction.

She seemed surprised to find that the men, although generally nice, didn’t actually respect her. “They’d never consider a monogamous relationship with someone who’d need to do this to survive. They see you as beneath them, desperate.”

Young artists and musicians used to go to New York City looking for a creative community with broad possibilities. But now, the city has become unaffordable for most people especially young struggling artists. So sex work becomes an option for some.

Payments are evolving too. One sugar baby said many now use the Amazon “Wish Lists” that sex workers set up for their clients to use. To avoid paying cash through PayPal or other traceable channels, clients can pay with gifts like iPhones, laptops, or flat-screen TV’s.


2016’s Surprise

blank-flagOur brains evolved to keep us alive so we could procreate. Registering the objective reality around it isn’t the highest priority. So the movie in your head is likely different from mine even though we’re both able to survive, and maybe flourish.

Lots of Americans are in a bad mood. More than we thought. There’re the lost jobs, flat incomes, too much political correctness, and of course the diminishing power of white folks generally. The Democratic party alienated about 14 percent of their 2008 voting base.

Most Americans don’t make a decision because of a number or a policy, they want a story. Trump came along with a story about not to letting China and Mexico freely drink our made-in-the-USA milkshake. And lots of people liked his story. Apparently it was even good enough to win over some women, Latinos and African Americans – like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.

Trump won fairly. Maybe his psychological need to be perceived well, combined with magnitude of being the president, will lead him to make good governing decisions.

If you’re pessimistic, and the bad thing you’re worrying about happens, then you just wind up living it twice. So let’s see what he does, because actions speak louder than words.


Are audiobooks cheating?

images-1The short answer is no.

A 1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension.

From the perspective of the mental processes involved, there’s no real difference between listening to a book and reading it.

Some people feel that listening to a book is cheating because the listener got the reward without putting in the work. Also, maybe you’re missing out on something, or it’s not that the reading experience could be better for you.

The feeling is that you’re somehow cheating because you’ve avoided the difficult part, using your eyes, implying that to your brain, listening is less “work” than reading.

That is the case when you’re young. But it stops being true somewhere around the fifth grade. Listen on.


nasa-no-godsA couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door last weekend promoting an introductory meeting in a nearby town.

What I wanted to say was, “Religion seems like a short pier selling itself as a bridge to somewhere most people wouldn’t want to visit. And whatever solid wood of founding concepts the pier had been made of is long gone, replaced by layers and layers of encrusting barnacles. It’s a pier of barnacles that collapses under the weight of any sort of clear-eyed scrutiny.”

But I just said, “Thanks.” and took their flyer, I felt sorry for the two middle-aged ladies sweating in the midday Mexican sun trying to be helpful in their own way, and besides, we’d all already chosen our world views.