Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Ideal Active Survivalist Restaurant

Most restaurants care little about the calorie count and nutritional content of the meals that they serve up to customers. Salt and sugar is used excessively to enhance taste and many ingredients are sourced from the cheapest providers and are of unknown quality. Who knows what items have expired and how much of the meal accidently dropped on the floor before it arrived at your table? Or what state of health is the chef in and what hygiene care is taken out back in the kitchen? Who knows? We all know that some real horror stories could be told.

There is one restaurant that is better in this regard than all the rest and that is Chinese Hot Pot or what is sometimes referred to as Steam Boat. At these restaurants you are presented with a selection of fresh vegetables and meats and other dainties that you can take back to your table and cook in boiling water. You can eat your fill of meat, seafood and vegetables and know that it has been cooked well and that the ingredients are of good quality. You can inspect the raw meat and the vegetables for freshness and quality. There is no hidden sugar and salt. To make it a lot more appetizing the boiling water is spiced up and there are delicious sesame sauces that could have hidden horrors but overall I think this is a perfect restaurant choice for the Active Survivalist.

I recommend breaking an intermittent fast with a visit to one of these restaurants as you arrive with a good appetite and it is pretty cheap too at less than twenty bucks a person.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Longevity and the Cruelty of Nature

(Della Francesca ca. 1550)

In a post below I mention that Nature can be cruel although describing Nature in this way is an anthropomorphism. Of course Nature like God isn’t a sentient being so ascribing such qualities to it is more poetic than actual. What is more correct is to say that Nature appears to be cruel. One of these cruel things is the way the body just seems to give up and start falling to bits as the years pass by until we are left with a barely functioning, spotty, wrinkled old sack of bones in place of the magnificent creature we once were.

The truth is Nature just doesn’t really care about you once you could theoretically be a great grand parent which is around 45 to 50. Once this age is reached the downward spiral to decay and destruction appears to be swift. A man in his forties is still in his prime and possibly into his fifties but once the sixties are reached he could be justifiably referred to as an old man. Yet ‘not caring’ is quite different to deliberate cruelty. If Nature doesn’t care if you live or die then you might as well live – makes no difference to nature. We are not deliberately programmed to die in the way that we are programmed to reproduce. We have been selected to reproduce but we are not necessarily selected to age and die, it just happens because we are neglected, not cared about.

This means that Nature doesn’t care if we fiddle with things and drink from the fountain of youth. Humans can change things, make things better for themselves. We have the potential to live far longer than we do.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Seven Minutes a Week!

Seven minutes a week of intense exercise is all you need apparently to maintain a healthy body. This makes a lot of sense to me. When man became an agricultural animal his decline in health probably came about in part due to an increase in aerobic activity. Tilling the ground, bending over all day pulling weeds and threshing of grains was akin to endless jogging and the result was often worn out bodies before their time.

Now a new study has revealed:

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University have found that short, intensive periods of exercise – involving as little as seven minutes per week – can significantly reduce the chances of contracting diabetes.

What our study shows is that by doing the right type of training, intensive for very short periods, it is plausible for young, and most probably middle aged, adults to reduce their future risk for developing diabetes without spending 5-6 hours each week involved in exercise programs.

This is the sort of exercise that hunter gatherers over hundreds of thousands of years had. Long periods of stalking with the occasional, yet fairly regular, burst of intense exercise from either chasing game down or fleeing an enraged cave bear.

This seven minutes of exercise needs to be intense. The sort of exercise that leaves your heart pounding, your lungs gasping for breath and that unpleasant feeling of queasiness while you get your breath back.

I’ve changed my exercise program to this sort of approach. Now you can’t really do this sort of exercise without a little lead up and a little light exercise between the 30 second bursts of intense activity so total exercise time is still far more than seven minutes per week yet the actual total duration of intense exercise is probably around this mark . What I am doing is 25 press ups, 75 Ab King Pro, 25 press ups, 30 second sprint up a hill, walk for 2 minutes, jog for three minutes, sprint for 30 seconds up a hill and then repeat it all and finally finish with 25 press ups, 75 Ab King Pro and another 25 press ups. Takes about twenty to thirty minutes and has about 2 minutes of really intense exercise. I’ll try and do this at least every second day.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nietzsche Quote for Today

"He who considers more deeply knows that, whatever his acts and judgments may be, he is always wrong."

Human All Too Human - Nietzsche

Just to temper my previous ramblings.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Truth

I was brought up as a Christadelphian which is an obscure protestant Christian cult. For the most part they are decent folk with ideas that aren’t too whacky – they don’t believe in actual demons or hell for instance. These words are more labels for concepts that are anti the good. They do believe in God and heaven which is interesting as it appears that they are half way there. Satan has become a term for all that is evil, what could be described as our worst aspirations so why can’t God be a term for our highest aspirations? God exists as a concept. The Christadelphians always referred to their beliefs as “the Truth” as if by saying this it made it so. People were either “in the truth” or they were not. To be “in the truth” you needed to be a baptized member of the cult. Once you were baptized there was no turning back and the consequence of denying “the Truth” were dire indeed. I never got baptized so I get a certain respect as a militant atheist who is quite cold to “the Truth” in contrast to those namby-pamby agnostics.

So what is the Truth? - as Pontius Pilate once said.

Well, I have some answers. I have identified three fundamental truths. If you embrace these three fundamental truths you can’t go too far wrong:

1. God is the label we give to our highest aspirations.
2. The Moment Recurs Eternally
3. The Creator is Mindless

So, I have explained number one above. God only makes sense when you think of him in this way. This is why he never directly answers your prayers or saves people. How can a concept save anyone directly? A concept cannot literally reach out of the sky and pluck someone off a sinking ship for instance. A concept can inspire someone or give them hope but it can never be a sentient being.

I have discussed number two of course and consider this to be my core belief. We are always in the moment yet the moment passes quickly to stay forever unchanged and unchangeable, locked in time and space. Consider carefully what you do for it cannot be undone.

Number three I haven’t touched on yet I clearly remember the day when it struck me like a bright flash of light. It always seemed vaguely absurd that God would be the great architect and builder of the Universe. As if he had a big office where he drew up designs and then made things. Those first ideas must have been the hardest, how do you create a Universe out of nothing? How do you get that first idea? And then why do things follow the same patterns? If you can create anything then why aren’t life-forms more weird and wonderful? Why is there always an easily discernable heritage in all things living? The truth is that to be truly creative and original it is essential to have no mind. Without a mind you have no preconceptions and no inhibitions. Mindlessness is unthinking. This is why nature can be so cruel because mindlessness has no conscience and no remorse. Human intelligence merely observes the world and copies it, sometimes in the imagination and sometimes for real. Nature does this too. Constantly copying, mutating and selecting. Mutation is the true creator but it is a very inefficient one making thousands of bad things before it gets it right. And what is right now may not be right for tomorrow. Selection mechanisms work with replication and mutation to create – there can be no other way but the mindless and accidental way.

I am a Lab Rat III

OK so I went and did it, I took the nicotine dose. I was spending the morning doing some physical computer installation work and thought now would be a good time to do the experiment. I had eaten nothing that day and worked out in the early morning.

The gum tastes quite spicy, quite pleasant. The nicotine didn’t take too long to have an effect. I tried not to chew it too quickly, keeping it lodged in my teeth for as long as possible as I worked. Nicotine is definitely quite a powerful drug. The effect was like smoking five camels one after the other and inhaling the smoke deep into your lungs. I recall now that I was never a deep inhaler of cigarette smoke yet with the gum you cannot really control the effect except by reducing the amount you chew. I did buy the extra strength ones which was probably a mistake and the next time I try it I might just have a third of a piece.

Interestingly my tongue, throat and lungs felt as if I did actually smoke the cigarettes. I soon started to feel that I had taken in too much and I think I spat the gum out even before I had received the full dose. I started to feel a little nauseous – it really does suppress appetite it would appear. I think I became a little hyper-active although only an independent observer could really say. I’d have to say I felt pretty cheerful, not anxious or depressed. I think my problem solving skills would have improved – it would be really interesting to take the nicotine while doing a computer test. The effect seemed to last quite a while and appetite was suppressed for the whole day. I did eat a small can of sardines for lunch but mainly just for the protein and fish oil.

My dose was far too much as I had to spit it out when I felt too affected by the drug. Later on in the day I had a very mild headache and my tongue was very dry which was unusual for me. Nicotine is certainly a powerful neurological drug and the effect can be readily experienced. It probably doesn’t lose its effectiveness with use like caffeine tends to. When I smoked I could always get a nicotine hit by breathing in more deeply. I’d say the experiment was a success although I was doing physical work rather than mental work. I am impressed that you can purchase something like this off the shelf at the supermarket.

Hey what about taking caffeine and nicotine together? Hmmmm...

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I was quite impressed by Barak Obama’s level of fitness yet surprised that he continued to smoke. Smoking seems so wrong for someone who wants to stay in shape as inhaling anything that’s not clean air into your lungs cannot possibly be conducive to health. Well, I suppose it could be but my understanding of the workings of the lungs is that they are very sensitive and smokers only survive for as long as they do because the human body is amazingly resilient and you actually have to work quite hard to damage it so badly that it won’t bounce back. This is why you can probably smoke up until the age of thirty-five without causing irreversible damage to your body.

I used to smoke moderately, probably an average of two or three cigarettes a day. I stopped in order to reduce my insurance premiums. There did seem to be some benefits to smoking and the main one was that when I was working on a stressful problem I would go and have a smoke and very often the answer would come to me. Did this happen because I took some time out from my problem or was it something in the cigarette that helped my thinking?

I was reading that Obama’s clear thinking during the campaign, while aided by many things such as relative youth, exercise and innate intelligence, could have been enhanced by the use of nicotine in various forms. He is trying to give up smoking and was using nicotine gum. Now it seems that nicotine itself is not particularly harmful. It is one of those natural chemicals found in plants that were probably synthesised as a response to insect predation – nicotine kills insects apparently. Some studies have indicated that nicotine might ward off Parkinson’s disease and other neurological maladies. OK you might start to get the feeling that I’m starting to go somewhere with this…..

Yes, it’s time for; I am a Lab Rat Three. I have purchased some nicotine gum, extra strength. Nicotine is supposed to be more addictive than heroin so this could be dangerous folks although I do feel confident that I can kick it as giving up smoking I found to be quite easy.

In my next post…the results.