Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 30th, 2022

In Praise of Jock Values

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Jehan posts in Atoms vs Bits:

If you grew up in North America, you’ve probably experienced the high school dichotomy of jocks vs. nerds: the first physically adept, but oafish, the second intellectually gifted but unathletic.[1]

You’re reading this post, so no offense, I’m going to assume you were the latter.

If you’re a nerd, jocks are your outgroup, which often creates an aversion to their extrinsic values. I say “extrinsic” because I mean beliefs and practices that aren’t intrinsic to jock-ness; they just happen to be associated with it.

The problem is that oftentimes these values are good, so we do ourselves a disservice by neglecting them for silly reasons. If we follow the nerd value of truth-seeking, what will we discover we can learn from jocks?

Jock Value: Physical Activity

For one, the jocks may have been (inadvertently?) right about exercising all the time because it turns out exercise is really really good for you. One of the hardest parts of recognizing the virtues of the outgroup is admitting that they’ve had a point, especially when you suspect that they don’t even really appreciate it themselves.

In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence though, most nerds have come around to the belief that they should exercise. But it is often only begrudgingly and after years of inactivity, which puts them way behind in athletic conditioning, coordination, and skill.

You might say, “It’s hard to prioritize physical activity because I don’t care about it, I just value intellectual pursuits”, but that’s exactly why you should care! The key to maximizing your brainpower is physical activity.

It’s generally believed adults can’t increase their IQ. Brain training games will improve your performance at those particular games, but they don’t generalize—switch to any other intelligence task and you’re back to baseline.[2]

And not only does mental training not improve IQ, but despite the commonly held belief, it probably won’t mitigate age-related cognitive decline either.

What will help though, and is the WHO’s very first recommendation to stave off dementia, is physical activity.

(Before his own physical-embodiment renaissance, my co-blogger said he’d thought of himself as “just a brain in a vat”, wholly focused on intellectual affairs. Well, your brain-vat is dirty! Exercise to clean it and think better.)

Pumping Iron

So maybe you ran cross country, or played ultimate frisbee, or participate in something appropriately nerdy like a quidditch league or such. Yes, nerds can move too.

Unfortunately, the jocks even nailed the specific form of exercise that seems especially helpful: strength training. I’d like to just chalk this up to jock-vanity, but honestly, the football players were the only ones I ever saw squatting while the rest of us did bench presses and bicep curls.

Muscle strengthening is recommended 2 times weekly by the CDC, and muscle mass is a robust predictor of longevity in older adults, but again, nerds specifically should lift weights because it helps your brain more than practically anything else.

From this nootropic survey of nearly 2000 people, weightlifting was rated as the 3rd best intervention overall at improving cognitive performance.[3] It was the only one of the top 3 that wasn’t an amphetamine, and it’s rated higher than . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

30 June 2022 at 4:09 pm

Trying Stokes Purple® potatoes

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Raw Stokes Purple® potatoes

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about purple potatoes, partly from reviewing the value of eating colorful foods and partly from reading about how satiating potatoes are. Moreover, potatoes are a good source of potassium.

My interest increased when I discovered that, after I got my pacemaker, my fasting blood glucose was much improved and potatoes in particular did not spike them as before (provided I chilled the potatoes after cooking to make the starch resistant, and I ate a moderate amount around mid-day (rather than late in the day)). 

So I’ve been looking for purple potatoes, and yesterday found at Whole Foods a bin of Stokes Purple® potatoes. After searching on-line for how to cook them and not finding anything that suited me, I just went with what seem logical — namely, slicing a potato into chunks, tossing those with a little olive oil, and cooking them in my Cosori “air fryer” (convection oven) on the “Fries” setting (which cooks at 380ºF for 25 minutes).

Roasted Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes on Chef’s Planet prep taxi

At the right is a photo of the outcome. One of the slices is cut open to reveal the purple interior, and I ate that one to verify it was done. In fact, I think I’ll try cooking them for 22 minutes and see how that goes.

UPDATE: The second batch I cooked with the potatoes whole, not cut up as in the photo. I rinsed potatoes well, let them dry, rubbed with a little olive oil, then roasted them in my “air fryer” at 380ºF for 25 minutes. When I tested them by poking them with a fork, there was a little too much resistance, so I gave them another 5 minutes. They came out perfectly done, with the interior pulled away a bit from the skin. (I do eat the skin, but some do not. If you don’t, the skin is easy to remove after the potatoes cool. I think cooking with the skin on improves the texture by retaining moisture so the potato sort of steams in its own jacket.) I refrigerated the cooked potatoes overnight, and they’re delicious and sweet. /update

I will now chill the roasted potato to have tomorrow — perhaps a few in a salad with an oil and vinegar dressing (this one). And I’l now go ahead and roast the other two potatoes.

I think these will be a regular. These are somewhat sweet, particularly after being refrigerated, but not intensely so.

Purple Stokes® potatoes seem to be a commercial crop in California and North Carolina, and of course those who have a kitchen garden can grow purple potatoes at will, though the Stokes brand may be limited to commercial production.

This also may be of interest:

Written by Leisureguy

30 June 2022 at 3:02 pm

Unraveling the tangled network of history: The Fateful Lovers’ Suicide that put the World at War

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Perhaps the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was not the triggering event that made the Great War inevitable, but an event that occurred decades before. Mary Kay McBrayer explains in her article in Messy Nessy, which begins:

On the morning of January 30, 1889, three friends of Rudolf, the Crown Prince of Austria, broke down the bedroom door at his hunting lodge to find him dead, sitting by the naked corpse of his teenage mistress. For more than a hundred years, people have speculated wildly at the events surrounding this double suicide – or murder suicide, depending on whom you ask. One thing seems to be consistent, though: through the butterfly effect, these untimely deaths not only symbolized the destabilization of European monarchies, but they had global repercussions. This tragic romance directly triggered the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which led to the subsequent start of the First World War, ending in a peace agreement that would ignite the embers for a Second World War just two decades later, and finally, set in motion a 45-year long Cold War between East and West that arguably continues to this day. Our world would be completely different had they lived.

The progression of global events is indisputable, but the facts of that night are messy. To understand the story, we have to understand the characters, and perhaps even more importantly, we have to understand the setting. A few key things to know:

Franz Joseph was the reigning Emperor of Austria-Hungary in 1889, an empire of myriad ethnic and national groups, many of whom wanted their own nation-states. Franz Joseph would not give them independence, instead allying the empire with Germany.

Before his death, the Crown Prince Rudolph, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, sympathized with those wanting . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

30 June 2022 at 1:25 pm

Cologne Russe and the wonderful Dorco PL602

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A perfect lather today, thanks in part to my Whipped Dog 22mm silvertip (set at standard depth, rather than deeper, to provide good loft and excellent lather capacity). The lather was exquisitely fragrant — Cologne Russe is a superb Barrister & Mann achievement — and also the perfect consistency and volume: the right density and compactness.

And it did the job: my Dorco PL602, a top-notch razor in terms of feel and performance, had no problem at all in delivering a pleasurable shave that produced a perfectly smooth result.

A splash of Cologne Russe aftershave with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the end of the month.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Victoria Garden: “Notes of jasmine, lavender, sweet pea and bergamot are combined with strawberry and vanilla in this smooth and well-rounded blend of green and black teas. This tea evokes the beautiful florals that are a quintessential part of Victorian gardens.” And certainly in my neighborhood flower gardens abound in almost every yard, and even apartment buildings have attractive plantings.

Written by Leisureguy

30 June 2022 at 10:30 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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