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Comment Re:High-fat, but no carbs (Score 1) 379

Fun fact: there are essential proteins (well, amino acids), and essential fats, but there are no essential carbohydrates.

There certainly is a relationship between calories consumed, calories burned exercising, and weight, but this is not the whole picture. Hormones and metabolism can not be ignored.

Now, I'm not a no carb guy, but I do subscribe to the notion that most of your carbs should come from fruits and veggies, rather than sodas, pastas, breads, etc. Turns out, though, it's hard to get a ton of carbs from veggies. On the flip side, I think most people don't pay nearly enough attention to the quality of their fat sources - fat should come from grass-fed meats, fish, eggs, nuts, etc.

Comment Re:Appendix isn't useless... (Score 1) 776

Interesting way to get back on topic - most ankle injuries could be avoided if we went barefoot.

Barefooting won't save your ankles from a hammer, but there's no reason people should be spraining their ankles with body weight loading.

Social constraints may make actually going barefoot difficult, but I've found Vibram Fivefingers to give the same ankle protective effects, which is why I'm wearing some right now. After getting to the point where I could do all my running and weightlifting in them, I've had rock solid ankles.

Comment Re:Whay about psychiatruic drugs? (Score 2, Interesting) 83

I would certainly agree this is largely semantics, and that the shitty feelings, whatever the cause, are complex chemical responses.

However, is personality also not a chemical thing? Isn't an addictive personality due to an unusual dopamine response (can't remember whether it's signal or receptor, and over or under active, but that's immaterial here)? Are there not chemical bases behind aggressive, nurturing, apathetic personalities?

My point was not that these aren't chemical things, but rather, everything is chemistry, so I'm just trying to apply labels to certain parts of chemistry so that they line as consistently as possible with normal language use.

While the general population may not articulate it as such, I'd say in general usage personality is something of a look-up table for how a given individual will respond to situations whereas "self" is the qualia of self-awareness and experience. For example, your personality describes whether you'll stay calm and collected or freak out when thrust into a new situation, whether you'll take charge or sit back when a power vacuum arises, or whether you'll sit in the corner or strike out and meet people at a party (many more possible examples, not all based on dominance). Self is that gooey, even more ill-defined subject that philosophers are always going on about (which I happen to think boils down to information processing structures in those vast chemical reactions, but that is another discussion).

Comment Re:i'll play counterpoint to the inevitable (Score 1) 83

Let me take the opposite cant. I am reasonably tall, much stronger than the average man, and exceptionally intelligent. I earned a triple major in 4 years while being paid to go to school, all the while sleeping through classes, and procrastinating as much as possible. I competed in two body building competitions, for which I dieted between 1/3 and 1/4 the time that other competitors had to. The only unnatural aid I used for any of this was a bit of caffeine when realized it was 1 AM and I hadn't started on the lab report due that morning, and even that wasn't all that important since I don't respond strongly to caffeine.

Does this mean I am uber-satisfied and proud of myself as uber-man? No. My exceptional abilities are only made possible through genetics and luck. Not only did I not earn these abilities, I didn't even choose them. I have great respect for those who must and do work to achieve significant goals. If innate abilities were somehow only rewarded to the worthy, then it might make sense to feel shitty about having to artificially enhance one's ability, but that is not the case. Likewise, being deceptive in your usage of enhancements is bad, but to say that he who works hard and openly with aids cannot be proud of his hard work is disingenuous.

I would say you're setting up a false dichotomy. Look at sports and performance enhancing drugs. To athletes and trainers what is steroid and what is supplement is mostly about the law.
Broccoli - anti-estrogenic, but totally natural food.
Glutamine and Leucine - natural amino acids found in protein, help your body recover, but you may not be able to get enough quickly enough from normal whole foods.
Creatine and Beta Alanine - present in small amounts in meat, improve your muscle's ability to do hard work, but to get the normal supplement amounts you'd have to be stuffing your face with beef all day.
Pro-hormones - amped up doses of the building blocks and signalers your body needs to manufacture hormones.
Steroids - don't magically add muscle, but improve the body's response to hard work at the gym, and allow one to work harder without over training.

There are a bunch more performance aids along the continuum which I don't have time to enumerate, but the point is that it's just that, a continuum.

Comment Re:Whay about psychiatruic drugs? (Score 3, Interesting) 83

Step 1 - introduce Stranger A to your friend Alice, when Alice is having a bad day.

Step 2 - introduce Stranger B to your friend Alice, when Alice is having a good day.

Step 3 - ask Strangers A and B to describe Alice's personality. Ding ding ding! They describe different personalities.

But wait, you say, one person's description based on purposely limited evidence is not a complete picture of Alice's personality, the old 3-blind-men-feeling-an-elephant-and-describing-it problem. Indeed this is true. A complete picture of someone's personality would account for the variation in their behaviors, as well as the distribution of those various modes, and anti-depressants could clearly alter that distribution.

If anti-depressants perceptibly alter one's distribution of behavior, I see no reason to say they don't alter one's personality. Of course, it's conceivable someone could feel better internally but not act any different, but that doesn't seem to be what you're saying. You seem to be saying that different behavior != different personality, and I'm asking, well why not?

One could point out that situations affect behavior without affecting personality. If your dog died, you lost your wallet, broke a bone, and your girl-friend broke up with you in the span of a couple weeks, you'd probably be feeling pretty shitty in a way that would affect your behavior. However, this kind of feeling-shitty, unlike with depression, is directly caused by shitty-stimuli and leads to feeling-shitty-behavior. If it were the environmental stimuli of taking anti-depressants that directly lead to more-optimistic-personality-behavior, then I would counter that taking the placebo would provide the exact same environmental stimuli, and hence should lead to the same behavioral changes. However, it doesn't, so I don't think it's unfair to label an anti-depressant as possibly personality-altering.

Comment Re:Poetic justice? (Score 1) 689

oh, is that what they were doing? silly me...i thought they were lining their own pockets and looting the treasury for themselves and their investors & business partners while they had the opportunity.

Yes, that too, and that fits in with my point which I guess I never explicitly stated. Free-market-as-the-neocons-deem-it is a joke, but, there are free market economists who have been making very accurate multi-year predictions. To ignore the economists because of the neocons feckless behavior is poor judgment.

I had actually thought of mentioning the parallel with communism; I don't see that it opens any logical flaws in my point. In any event, it seems failures in Soviet Union communism arose both through abuse of power and through inherent flaws in communism - disincentivizing hard work.

Finally, I don't consider myself a 100% gung-ho free-marketer. I'm actually *gasp* undecided on how much of a role I think the government should play in the market. So, I'm taking data now to form a stronger opinion - I'm listening to predictions (not postdictions) from guys like Peter Schiff, and comparing them to the Obama crew's, and holding onto my fiscal-butt for a few years while we see who was right, or righter.

It also occurs to me that free market ideas may be a useful tool to analyze the market but have no good, practical way to implement. I'm trying to keep an open mind regardless of who is popularly associated with an idea.

Comment Re:Poetic justice? (Score 2, Interesting) 689

While I agree Libertarianism can be taken too far, that doesn't mean free market principles are inherently so terribly misguided.

Take a look on youtube at guys like Peter Schiff - who nailed the current economic collapse years in advance based on free market principles. The fact is Bush et. al. weren't even remotely interested in running a true free market, and in trying to quiet the economic grumblings following the dot-com-bubble-bursting set the stage for an even bigger crisis.

The failure of a shitty implementation of an idea by a government only paying lip-service to the idea and known for not letting go of power is hardly an indictment of the idea itself.

The other side of the coin is that a free market does need to prevent fraud, but again the government seems only weakly interested in such things. People had been trying to blow open the Madoff scam for years, but for some reason the SEC didn't want to pay attention

Comment Re:Remind me again... (Score 1) 140

One thing I think would be really cool is basically an iPhone with tactile feedback. Imagine a grid of small click-able buttons behind a flexible touch screen. Software can then match up a virtual keyboard, menu items, etc. to the underlying buttons, so that you can both feel when you've clicked and tell where it thinks you clicked based on the way the screen depresses.

Comment Re:Teleportation and aging issues. (Score 1) 436

Both parent and grandparent have parts of the truth.

The velocity determines the relative rates of aging. However, if neither frame of reference accelerates, then both can claim with equal validity that the other is the one moving and hence the one aging slowly.

The acceleration of leaving the earth on a rocket, turning around, and coming back is what breaks the symmetry between the two reference frames so that both earthlings and astronaut agree the astronaut aged less.

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