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Comment Another quote from T.Pratchett (Score 1) 378

In "The Last Hero", Leonard has to build the first Discworld spaceship. When he lists what he needs to Vetinary he asks for hundred journeyman craftsmen. After Vetinary exclaims "But I can provide you with the best masters", Leonard replies "No masters my lord! I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible!"

Now, of course I also realize that the opposite stance [everything is possible; there are no boundaries of human ingenuity] can also be quite misleading and potentially very dangerous. Like the idea that we can screw this planet as much as we want because we WILL colonize space.....well, careful there, I always say....maybe we will need a few millennia of technological advancements to colonize. Or perhaps we can never circumvent c so then the best we can hope for is terraform Mars and Venus which is also a project that goes for 500 years or more [saw a rough calculation once about terraforming Mars with bacteria], whereas most of the problems we created for ourselves on Earth will hit us way sooner than that [and some already have hit with full force]...

Comment RIP (Score 3, Informative) 31

If you browse around you'll find substantial criticisms of his work by his colleagues. I for one was quite surprise about it for I did not see in his books any disrespect to his patients [one of the accusations] nor did I detect that he had twisted the stories or made them Hollywood-style to sell more [another accusation]. SO I don't know.....

What I do know is that his books opened a world for me so fascinating [and at the same time terrifying] that it changed my general perception about neurophysiology and the many bizarre illnesses that can suddenly manifest themselves due to dysfunction of a few hundred nerve cells. It also thought me compassion and understanding of people like this. For instance I used to look at Turrets as "crazy people", shy away from them, even be scared of them....not any more. I understand now and understanding heals fear and distrusts [and disgusts].

Moreover, it was simply unbelievably interesting to learn about those illnesses and people. Some of the stories made me think about profound philosophy questions. Like the one about the lady without a sense of body, the first recorded by medicine "zombi". And yes, she started doubting her own existence [the question here being can you have a sense of self if you are just a thought without a "carrier"].

Or that incredibly funny and insightful story about the patients that have no concept of words and speech while being so attuned to body language, melody of the speech and so on that many people would think they are mute, but understand everything you say to them. The story is about those people listening to president Regan's speech and how they laugh their asses off [probably] because they sense the discrepancy between his body language and the melody, tone and so on of his speech. In the same ward there were patients with the exact opposite issue - they understand only pure sense in speech, so tone, inflection, exaggeration, slang and so on - all of it is lost in them. One such patient said [for Regan] - "he is either sick or he is lying. he does not speak good prose; he does not make sense". So the conclusion was that so good was the speech as a combination between words and the rest of human expression that everyone got fooled except people who are not susceptible to one of those aspects [words or everything else]. Only the ill could see through him, us "normal" people were thoroughly deceived....brilliant!

Comment Re:I volunteer as tribute. (Score 4, Interesting) 381

How come that obesity is a modern day epidemic? Were people in the past ALL starving ALL the time and only barons, priests and kings were obese? I am not sure...looking at the pictures of the villagers where my mom was born [circa 40'ties] I see not a single obese person. Yet, all of them that are alive say they were not starving at all [despite war and shit]. After all they were mostly farmers. But when I ask "what is the major difference between your time and today in terms of food" the answer is unanimous - "sugar". They got 1 small cube of sugar per month, while gorging on fat, protein and grain [man, farmers DO know how to eat]

There is something more here, something hidden [accidentally or deliberately]. Something in our lives today pushes people's bodies in the wrong direction and trying to fix it through genomics seems futile and unwise to me...

I am on no grain, no sugar diet for 14 months already. Of course sometimes I have a piece of cake. In the last 4 weeks not even that. And just now, 5 minutes before finding this tread a colleagues brought chocolate for his newborn. I had 2 small pieces [20 grams in total] and at the moment my heart is racing, I feel dizzy and out of breath, even my hands are shaking a bit. I don't know what the hell is going on here...but I ain't gonna put sugar in my mouth for a long time I can promise you that...

Comment easy now... (Score 1) 170

Do you remember when people stopped laboring with that hunter-gatherer stuff and started farming? Agrarian society... less work, less labor invested to produce food to feed the tribe.

That is simply not true. The hunter-gatherers worked less that us today, let alone the glorious times of the industrial revolution with its 16 hrs working days and horrendous safety record. If you meant that we work more in order to have a bit more than just food, shelter and clothing you might have had a point, but you specifically mention food only. Hilarious. Do you now [for instance] that the average height of humans took a hit after farming was "invented"? Sitting on one place without trade means [usually] poor diversity of food....that's just a small tread to pull if you like to study the subject....

Comment addendum (Score 4, Interesting) 258

Small addendum - the bike lanes can [and are] used by senior citizens in those nice little cars that can only go 40km/hr or so. Old folks needs motorized transport sometimes. Would you prefer them to ride regular car and endanger themselves and the others [you know they are more dangerous than the young drivers]?

Oh, and the lanes are used by small motor bikes [again if you have some health issue that prevents you from cycling]. The pizza delivery guys use them too [those people are in fact the most dangerous participators of the traffic and their behavior should be sanctioned] Electrical motor assisted bikes are on the raise too...those are better since they don't make noise.

Comment Amazing (Score 5, Informative) 258

I did read through the whole tread and I am astounded that so many readers spell doom and gloom for a city that introduces proper bike infrastructure. Distorted reality, eh...

I have news for you. Let's take the obvious case - the Netherlands. Do you believe the countries exists? Yes? OK, so how come it has not collapsed to the bottom of the economic ladder if businesses cannot deliver their goods, customers cannot go to shops and employees cannot reach their work [all those are claims I found in the tread]? Reality check : FAIL!

I live in A'dam and work in Delft [bike-train-bike]. I have regular visits for business, medical and personal reasons to Maastricht, Leiden, Njimegen, Eindhoven, Hilversum and Leeuwarden. Check google maps to see what this means. Never owned a car. Never needed a car except when I shop furniture or tons of materials and tools for home renovation [but that can be delivered by the retailer, I can rent a car for a day or ask a friend with a car to help]. Trains and bikes can get you everywhere in this country and I do mean everywhere. You can go between cities [separated bike lanes that go usually through nice scenery double the road network].

What do I win and what society wins:

No costs for a car

1.5 hrs per working day reading books/magazines and meeting people in the train. Nice, clean trains that are used by all segments of society [so you don't have reasons for the old idiotic Clarkson retort that public transport is used only by junkies who will puke on you]. In fact traveling in the morning to the work you meet all the students that go to Leiden and Delft [university centers]. Did I mention the females are more in the NL than the males and the gays are more than the lesbians [there is a shortage of men here]? Hell, for the last nuclear summit in NL where Obama landed with the plane, shook hands with the king and then immediately disappeared in a helicopter [escorted by 2 others and hordes of bikes and cars] - btw, most dutch thought that was ridiculously paranoid, unnecessary and plain rude - the prime minister of Belgium took the train [high-speed line Amsterdam - Brussels - Paris].

No need for cardio in the gym so I can focus on power training. When I stopped going to the gym for 6 months after I started again the only exercise I could more of compare to before the break was legs [so it helps the power training too]. Because the infrastructure allows me to ride the bike as an exercise as well - very fast with rapid acceleration and braking.

General health benefits for all cyclists [to mention again those mythical [for /. ers] creatures, called women - any idea how riding a bicycle shapes women's legs. No? Thought so...]. Contemplate what this means on a country scale - MASSIVE saving due to healthier population [lower health cots, higher productivity ect.]

Environmental benefits [no need to elaborate I hope]

Convenience. Going out in Amsterdam with a car is idiotic [OK, if you go to the opera with 10 000 euros worth of clothing and a hair-do for 500 you might need a car but I am talking about the 99% here]. It takes me 10-15 min on the bike to go to the hearth of downtown, no need to pay huge costs for parking [if you find available place that is], you can drink [or smoke] and can go back home at any moment in the night independent from any transport.


Cyclist can be nasty and sometimes dangerous on the road - just like everyone else. No surprises here. To claim that somehow there are more asses among them than the rest of the population is moronic at best [I saw that "argument" here as well]

What else? Oh, yes - when you arrive at work you stink of sweat [I see this retort often here]. Actually no. Really, really NO. With good hygiene [and diet!!] your smell is barely noticeable and with enough exercise you can bike with decent speed without breaking a sweat. Besides, at work we have this amazing thing, it's called "running hot water" and "a shower". Check it out!

Less space for cars! Nope. I am looking outside my window and I see 4 [wide] lanes for cars with two double sized bike-lanes on both sides and finally a pedestrian path on both sides. Sure in downtown the bike lanes are on the car's roads [only those were not car's roads but horse and pedestrian roads build centuries ago]. The people like to keep the historical places intact so no widening of the streets there. Apparently the citizens are happy with the trade-off. Democracy at work...

Observation: somehow this moronic attitude to cyclist is prevalent in US and UK. Both countries IMO are textbook examples of car culture gone mad; minds obscured by industry propaganda and sense of arrogance. Cars as a status/fashion symbol and so on...whatever, you will learn someday...

Comment Re:Already propagating (Score 1) 663

Maybe there is something on the subject in PubMed? Their scope expands all the time. Don't ask for citation or details but 20 years ago my biochemistry professor explained why sugar substitutes [she focused on aspartame] are worst than sugar. Don't remember any details but she made me never use it for which I am very grateful.

Comment Re:Already propagating (Score 1) 663

No need to count really, just decrease the foods s/he mentioned and weight yourself a bit more often. You will find the balance by feeling. I lost 20 kg this way and am able to keep it without a sweat for 14 months already [even managed to use the period when losing the fat to build some extra muscle].

On the article - total BS. Sugar is the devil when it comes to food, it really is. My diet is also a personal research project in a way. Juts last week I had a small vacation and experimented with eating some chocolate, drinking sugary drinks and a bit of bread [and not that much from all this, mind you, way less than I used to do]. Result - 2 kilos up, bloated gut, too much gas, some diarrhea, less energy....the duration of the abuse was exactly 3 days!!! Today I finally feel "normal" - that is 4 days after I stopped the 3 day abuse....really someone should shoot those guys from Coke...I cannot understand that level of evil

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 295

What kind of retort is that? I just stated that it is a problem with epidemic proportions, that is strongest in the Western world. WTF? Are you going to tell me that the first world is not suffering from obesity, diabetes and cancer? And that those conditions are not on the raise [normalized for population] nicely coinciding with the whole "all fat is bad, eat sugar" scam? Seriously, WTF?!?

I live in the Netherlands, BTW, which is one of the better places in this respect [US and UK being among the worst]. Do you think that I am wasting my time to try fooling someone here? To what end? I have seen the results of vast world-wide scientific studies on gut flora. My own doctor is part of the project. Having healthy balance in the gut is the exception, not the norm!!! That is how far we have gone down this road. Seriously, it's juts science and data, data , data....

If you prefer to believe people who have vested interest in suppressing the facts, that's you own problem, but fuck it, just go to PubMed and start reading. Take a look at the TED talks on the subject. Do some research, man!

And lastly - I challenge you to not eat grain and sugar for 1 month and then introduce it back. Just do it and come back to me...

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 2) 295

Look, there is no denying of the impact grains had on the development of civilization.

But on the other hand what AC said is also true. I went through the whole thing - a decade of suffering until I was told to stop eating grains. I am not gluten intolerant or something like that. Now, the story of course is way more complicated than it sounds. Why could I eat grains for 30 years and then suddenly I could not? My gut flora is terribly out of balance. What caused it? According to the medics I did not give them [gut bugs of all kinds] enough job by always eating stuff that gets processed in the small intestine. Too much sugar. Too much easy carbs in general [grain]. So, If I want to be healthy and productive at the moment grains are forbidden. Every few weeks I experiment once a day to see if I can process them again. So far the result is negative [one year on the diet]. This makes my life very difficult and expensive, but there it is...

Last point - once I started paying attention to all this and talk to people I discovered that almost anyone around me is in a certain stage of the downwind spiral of imbalanced gut. People do not realize that the feeling of tiredness, too much gas, bloated gut, compromised immune system, joint pain and god knows what else can be traced to the performance of their guts [60% of immune system response is from the gut]. Whether it is eating too much carbs, or too much E numbers, or toxic metals or lack of minerals in food due to accelerated growth practices, too much sugar ...ect. all those things push a bit until your system is out of balance and you are fucked. That is why I am in principle against even more experimenting with food - we already have many bad practices and many bad habits. The natural food pyramid has easy carbs at the top [least available]; the food habits of the modern civilization has the piramyd inverted [mortal fear from fats;extremely stupid idea BTW and carbs, carbs, carbs..].

Don't forget that stomach cancer is on the rise consistently in the developed world and that regions in the world who are adopting the western food habits experience increase in obesity, diabetes and cancer. It really is like this - ATM the Arab world, China, Latin America - they are all on the rise.

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.