Sunday, July 25, 2010

An interesting trend line analysis of a diet

I am quoting the core of the post below.  Well worth a visit to the original (above) if you are interested in dieting or losing weight.

Shangri La diet graph
The graph covers the 321-day period ending on July 6, 2010.
Two-month pre-diet baseline:Aug. 22 to Oct. 21, 2009
Shangri La diet:Oct. 22, 2009 to July 6, 2010
Weight immediately prior to start of diet (ten-day avg.): 222.4 lbs. (100.9 kg.)
Weight as of July 6, 2010 (ten-day avg.): 193.6 lbs. (87.8 kg.)
Total weight lost during this period:28.8 lbs. (13.1 kg.)
Average weight loss per week:0.78 lbs. (0.35 kg.) / week
I lost about 29 pounds / 13 kg. (as of July 6, 2010) by following a diet that was developed by psychologist Seth Roberts.  Briefly, the Shangri La diet involves appetite suppression via the ingestion of flavorless calories in the form of oil and/or sugar water.  The diet is described here and here, among other places.
I first heard of the Shangri La diet when I read this article in the New York Times back in September, 2005.  The diet seemed so bizarre that the idea of it stuck with me—until, about four years later, I finally decided to try it.
Being 5' 10" tall and weighing 222 lbs. (1.8 m / 100.7 kg.), I wanted to lose weight, and I was looking for a diet that would satisfy the following five criteria:
  1. It wouldn't require me to change the types of foods that I eat.  I'm a vegan for ethical reasons, and I did not want to stray from that philosophy.  (Note, for example, that it's very difficult, if not impossible, to eat a low-carbohydrate diet without consuming animal products.)
  2. The diet wouldn't depend on willpower, at least not heavily.  Knowing myself, I would not be able to adhere to a diet that could be sustained only by exerting an iron will (which is, essentially, almost all diets).
  3. The diet did not have any obvious characteristics that might cause one to believe that it would be harmful to your health.
  4. The diet wouldn't require regular exercise.  I've hated exercise my whole life, and I don't have time for it, anyway.
  5. The diet could be continued indefinitely.
The Shangri La diet met all five criteria, so I tried it—to some success.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Enabling comment moderation

I hate to do this, but the spam comments from Chinese child p-rn sites has gotten too heavy.  I can't think of another solution, so I've now enabled comment moderation.  My apologies to anyone whose comments get delayed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Three Rules

I came up with my rules after reading about mission statements that work and those that don’t, and trying to communicate with small children, but wanting rules that would be ones that can follow-through as children become adults and my peers and friends.

My three rules are:

  • Be honest
  • Work hard
  • Love others

There are a number of different types of rules to give children.

First, guidance or mission statement rules. Those should be direct, action oriented, simple and clear. You have my three.

Second, safety/practice rules. Don’t talk to strangers. Look both ways before you cross the street. Take your medication daily. These are obviously circumstance driven (if you don’t have medication you are taking, then you don’t need a rule about taking it; if you are diabetic, food rules are much more strict and important).

Third, procedural rules. We often don’t have enough of those. My wife bought our youngest daughter a book about the rules of friendship. Suzette Haden Elgin has pointed out a number of times that in talking, you should limit yourself to three sentences and then stop (there are two kinds of conversationalists, those who will break in at three sentences, those who expect you to stop at three sentences so they can speak if you want to. If you stop at three sentences you will make both types comfortable). They are all things you need to know.

Fourth, boundary rules. Don’t call your eight year old friends after 10:00 p.m. to invite them over to play. Only twelve hours a day on the computer. Don’t leave the house without your clothes on. Dress in a way that does not bear false witness by the messages the clothing communicates about the community you belong to.

Sometimes a rule crosses several realms. I’ve never drunk alcohol, but I’ve had relatives with serious problems. I’d advise my children to avoid alcohol as a boundary measure (the WoW is a marker of our community), as a safety issue (a genetic prediliction to alcoholism is a risk), etc.

Some times a rule changes meaning over time. If your culture has wine that is 2% alcohol and that you mix 4-1 with water (so that the final drink is 20% wine, or less than .4% alcohol) your risk from alcohol is much less than a society that has (a) much more wine and (b) wine that is 11% alcohol. You have to drink about ten or more drinks of the primative wine flavored water to get about the same alcohol as a modern glass of wine.

My post I linked to above had to do with how there are different sets of rules that have come with the gospel at different times. Ours are different from those of other times.

Why rules are significant, how they are significant and when we are “better” than the general society that needs to follow those rules so we don’t have to, that is a huge question.

After all, at 2:00 a.m. at an open intersection where you can see for miles in every direction, how complete of a stop you come to might be different than at 2:00 p.m. with a hedge blocking your view.

Anyway, this is the applied version of the same thoughts I had at

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Son, he said, with pity in his eyes ...

"Just how many coats of paint has that wall gone through?"

Well, it was painted when we bought the house last year, painted bisque with the rest of the house, then light brown, which really worked, but needed some constrast.

"Yes, and you were in earlier this week matching and buying paint ..."

Ok, the pale blue-green, and the pale greener blue-green, the yellow, and the salmon, but this bolero red will be the last paint of coat.

The salesman looked at me. "Son, if you don't mind some advice ... " You will need to give it to my wife, I said with a twinkle, she is the one who has been doing all the painting. Suddenly he smiled. "Nevermind, you don't need any advice after all."

Ok, the furniture needs to be moved back, the paintings straightened out, but that is how the wall looks, you can see the original brown to the right (with the picture that was so bland with the bisque and just pops out with the light brown). The artwork is either some pictures by Suzette Haden Elgin or one by Rachel (our ten year old) that we really liked (depending on which of the three pictures on the now red wall you are looking at).

But I'm very pleased with how the house looks.

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Truth and Treason movie trailer

Obviously I'm going to see this when it comes out. I've got the play in my bookshelf, had a photocopy of the Lawrence of Arabia play (and had the author as a guest once). Tom Rogers was an incredibly spiritual man.

There was a lot of concern about the play causing trouble in Eastern Europe; Communist readers theaters took it up for a while; it remains with us. I'd love to see the play undergo a revival now.

Margaret Young's comments

Sunstone article:

One of the survivors died, late last month. I saw a link to this trailer in an article about him.

God bless them all, may we draw courage from them.

Friday, July 09, 2010

We can't all be Jeff Green

Not too long ago a person I knew well expressed trouble about an issue they had. It turned out their model was Jeff Green, who once sent out seventeen resumes and got thirty job offers. My response was "We can't all be Jeff Green."

My second was to discuss the thousands of hours of preparation he had put in, the years of effort, the attention to obtain crucial certifications and the breadth of knowledge he had at that point in time.

Which means if someone is willing to take the time, do the work, pray the price, they may not be able to be Jeff Green, but they can be like him in the ways that matter. The person I was talking to decided to try harder and smarter and to be like Jeff.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Adversity, evil and metaphor

For a time I designed myth structures and commented on them, worked on heroquests, was published a little, have some credits. I worked on developing metaphors for evil and for adversity.

Saturday morning I came up with another one: tangled. In fiction and simulations things were "incomplete" with the emotions, patterns and motivations twisted. But too often, in real life, things are tangled.

Much of what we deal with, much of what afflicts us is tangled and misdirected. Not so much our evil self as our real self, only misguided, with cognitive shifts warped around the misdirection.

Loving ourselves is essential to unraveling these tangles that block and bind us. To allow self preservation to preserve us rather than harm us (as it does when it goes wrongly directed or focused) we have to accept it.

So, we acknowledge and accept what we currently are. Our strengths and our weaknesses, our inventory of what we are, how we have come together in a pattern of coping and survival that has flaws -- defects -- that make our lives unmanageable. Then, if we accept and love ourselves, we can look at how each defect interacts with our motives and lives, what it seeks.

At that point we can seek God's help to do what we can not do for ourselves, and untangle one more knotted area, unwinding, untangling and releasing. I had started thinking of tangled fishing line, but tangled muscle knots being massaged out also fits.

Stretching, trigger point release, massage -- all of these are efforts to restore a muscle that has knotted up by mistake to proper function. Releasing a muscle knot does not make you any less, it merely lets you do more with what you are, with less pain. But the muscle that is knotted up is not a part of you to reject or cut out of yourself, instead it is something that just needs release to function as a better part.

Anyway, that was my thought, my metaphor for the day.

so I just picked up the baby and told them to go back to bed, stating that he was only four days old and had not yet read the book

Recently read books:

Also, just having been reminded of it in a thread I just read, an important book:

Sunday, July 04, 2010

On the movie 8 (better, see Facing East)

Better than the movie, I would recommend Facing East as this report discusses.

However, because it is topical ...

You would never know from 8 that many famous Mormons — Harry Reid, Steve Young, Bill Marriott — spoke out against Prop 8 publicly. There’s no hint that many faithful Mormons created activist groups and websites against Prop 8.

For more, visit this review:

Add these all together and you have a package designed not just to NOT attract faithful Mormons, but deliberately offend them. Even the Mormons who can (and should) consider the secondary theme of the film about charity and Christ-like behavior towards gays aren’t going to watch 8: The Mormon Proposition because they’ll hear about it being merely an anti-Mormon polemic.

And for the most part, they’d be right. Unfortunately, it seems the filmmakers of 8 think “tolerance” is something only other people need to do.

and his conclusion:

It’s really too bad that the important messages here are going to be lost. If I was asked by another Church member if they should see 8, I would say, honestly: “20 minutes of it should be required viewing for all Church members…and the other 60 minutes are an intellectually dishonest framing of a serious issue that is probably a waste of your time to watch.” You can decide for yourself how many members would end up seeking out the documentary based on that “recommendation”.

For comparison:

THE advertisement warns of speculative financial bubbles. It mocks a group of gullible Frenchmen seduced into a silly, 18th-century investment scheme, noting that the modern shareholder, armed with superior information, can avoid the pitfalls of the past. “How different the position of the investor today!” the ad enthuses.

Mary F. Calvert for The New York Times

It ran in The Saturday Evening Post on Sept. 14, 1929. A month later, the stock market crashed.

“Everyone wants to think they’re smarter than the poor souls in developing countries, and smarter than their predecessors,” says Carmen M. Reinhart, an economist at the University of Maryland. “They’re wrong. And we can prove it.”

This time is different

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Taking a class in two months

I was thinking of how hard it would be to finish a class like statics (two hours of credit) in two months when I thought of a group of post-graduate students that finished a three hour class in two months. That meant six hours of lecture a week, projects and a comprehensive final. is a link to the class notes and other materials.

I was lucky enough that the group of mixed professionals (including M.D.s, hospital administrators and others) gave me a higher feedback rating than anyone else teaching in the program, and I survived putting the class together on about ten days notice. I was working full-time, down town in the city when I taught the class.

But the key point is that the students were also all working, 50-60 hours a week much like I was, in demanding jobs, and they all finished the class and earned As (admittedly, the projects were more important than the final, which was a test of concepts vs. application).

They read hundreds of pages of material, participated in class intelligently, completed projects and passed oral and well as written exams. Without significant prior academic exposure to the focus area of the class.

Think what they could have done if they were working fewer hours or had more preparation.