I’ve had this blog for years, but never had a “Health” category before. It seems that as you get older, health is something that you don’t take for granted any more.
Personally, I’m on the borderline between overweight and obese, and my blood sugar is high. I’ve tried various diet and exercise programs over the years, and all of them worked, except that they were hard to stay on. Here are some of them:
- Atkins diet
- Orange Creamesicle diet
- Food diary / computer diet
- 40-milk (cycling per week) exercise
So, I’ve started a new diet based on some Michael Mosley videos that were on PBS a few weeks ago. They are supposed to have all sorts of health benefits including weight loss, lowering cholesterol, growing new brain cells, and reducing the risk of cancer. So the diet is basically eating 600 calories a day (500 for women) two times a week.
At first one might think that eating just 600 calories a day is uncomfortable. Actually it is only that way the first time you do it. The second time, it’s not much trouble at all. Some diets are hard to follow because they require special foods. This one doesn’t. What I also found is that once you do a “fast day,” you’re not as hungry and you feel satisfied with smaller portions on the other days. If you need motivation, just remember that on the non-fasting days, you can eat whatever you want.
Mosley also introduced a rather remarkable 3-minute a week exercise program that for some people has remarkable benefits, including increasing insulin sensitivity. I haven’t started this one yet. Basically you get on an exercise bicycle and pedal your heart out for 20 seconds, cool down, and repeat for a total of three times (1 minute). Do this three times a week. That’s 12 minutes a month. Again, this is a program that should be easy to stay with because it doesn’t take a lot of time. The only program is the special equipment.
I just listened to a telephonic town hall meeting with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who voted to block a universal background check bill in the Senate. Graham told a story of a woman who was determined to be mentally unstable in court, but whose status was never entered into the federal background check system. She later bought a gun legally and tried to shoot up a school in Charleston, but the gun didn’t work. Graham says that people like this need to be in the federal background check system.
In fact state participation in the federal system is spotty, particularly when it comes to mental health data. It’s a big problem.
Graham admits that there are people out there who are dangerous who can buy guns, and the current background check system won’t stop them. Graham’s answer is to get these people in the system. If they are in the system, then these dangerous people will have to buy their guns from private unlicensed sellers online or at gun shows.
It doesn’t do any good to have every dangerous person in the federal background check database, when not every gun purchaser is checked against that database.
OK, here’s a trick that works with Windows 7.
If you have several Windows open on your desktop, give this a try. Take your mouse and left-click and hold on the title bar (top) of one of the Windows, as if you were going to drag it. Instead of just dragging it, shake it back and forth vigorously. All the other Windows will minimize. Shake it again, and they will restore.
Usually I’m critical of my Internet service provider when I can’t do what I want to do. In this case I was trying to forward email spam to a spam-reporting service. Charter Internet, who is my provider, blocked my sending the email, saying it was spam.
A lot of email spam comes from home computers, connected to high-speed Internet services, that have been compromised (hacked, pwned) by spammers. What Charter appears to be doing is blocking that illicit activity. This is the kind of corporate responsibility I applaud.
What was a bit curious, however, is that Charter figured out that the email was spam. It was so deeply obscured that my own spam filter, including a well-trained naive Bayesian classifier, didn’t catch it.
I am please to announce completion of my latest audio book, Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov. When I started this project, I thought it would be a fairly uninteresting reading of an unknown work by a little-known author. That’s not how it turned out. This is a book that literally everybody was reading in Russia when it came out, and I think it has something to say to modern people as it deals with questions of work and leisure. Here’s my summary (with help from the Wikipedia):
Oblomov is the best known novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov, first published in 1859. Oblomov is also the central character of the novel, often seen as the ultimate incarnation of the superfluous man, a symbolic character in 19th-century Russian literature. Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Spoiled as a child to the point of not even being able to put on his own socks, Oblomov is unprepared to deal with the smallest difficulty of adult life. In his fevered dreams he sees the words "Oblomovstchina" ("Oblomovism" or in this translation "the disease of Oblomovka") in flaming letters on the ceiling putting a name to the disability of which he is all too aware.
This romantic novel was considered a satire of Russian nobility whose social and economic function was increasingly in question in mid-nineteenth century Russia, and from it the word "Oblomovstchina" entered the Russian vocabulary.