Later On

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

Archive for August 11th, 2022

100 Ways to Live to 100: A Definitive Guide to Longevity Fitness

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I have the food part pretty well in hand. Interesting list to browse. Tanner Garrity writes at Inside Hook:

At this point, we’re all familiar with the trope. A local news station visits a retirement home to celebrate Muriel’s 106th birthday. She’s deaf or blind or both or neither, sitting in a wheelchair in the “good spot” next to the TV set, and a reporter asks her her secret. You’ve lived through both World Wars?! How’d you do it? Then Muriel gets to flash a mischievous grin and tells us she smoked a pack a day for 50 years.

Interacting with centenarians in this way has long made them seem like circus oddities. It trivializes the concept of lifespan and longevity, reducing the science to a throw-your-hands-in-the-hair “Who the hell knows!” It reinforces the idea that our time on this planet isn’t necessarily under our control. If my dad had a stroke and his dad had a stroke then one’s probably coming for me too, right? If I make it to 80, or — god forbid — 90, I’ve just beaten the odds. Right?

Not exactly. Since the mid-1990s, in fact, following the infamous Danish twins study, researchers have understood longevity to be “only moderately heritable.” For a while, this spawned estimates that genetics accounted for somewhere between 20 and 30% of one’s longevity. More recently, scientists have concluded that the true heritability of human longevity at birth is closer to just 7%.

Where does that other 93% come from? Your lifestyle. Your decisions. Your everyday habits, big and small. It’s possible to put years on your life, to surge past both average life expectancy and your own expectations, by resolving to live a certain way. The crazy part? This doesn’t involve some complex Ponce de Leónian quest. You don’t even have to search far and wide for the answers.

Thanks to the efforts of vanguard sociologists, geneticists and historians, we know where the world’s largest concentration of centenarians live and how they spend their days. (They’re called Blue Zones, and the way people cook, move and even happy hour in them is truly revelatory.) We also know, courtesy of a renowned doctor with whom we spoke last year, that certain behaviors can decelerate cellular aging and push the human lifespan into hitherto uncharted territories, and also that we should probably stop eating hot dogs.

You might wonder: Why would I want to live longer? Doesn’t the end of life look drawn out, expensive and horrible? Why would I sign up for decades of suffering? Well, the latest wave of longevity research isn’t focused on living years for the sake of years. It’s concerned with quality years.

Think about it. More years to travel, to exercise, to spend time with your family and whatever new family comes along. An entire life of creativity and challenges to enjoy after retirement. And consider this: those who make it to 100 are no more likely to die at 108 years old than 103. Genetics do start to factor in a bit more once you get way up there in age (hence how the Muriels of the world make it to 106), but overall, your risk of dying from any of the usual diseases plateaus. Longevity wizards only really suffer in the last couple years of their lives.

Take note — this movement is going to happen, with or without you. With an assist from modern medical care, scientists project there will be 25 million centenarians scattered across the world by 2100. (There are currently just 573,000.) But you don’t need to wait for Benjamin Button patents from the big pharmaceuticals. You can start living in the name of longevity today.

Below, 100 ways to live to 100, broken down by how you optimize your lifespan through diet, fitness, good choices and some truly wild wild cards. Before diving in, understand that you can’t do all of them; some of them are likely even incompatible. But the idea is to cherrypick those that work for your life. Ultimately, if nothing else, know this: making the call right now to act in the name of longevity — whether your “right now” is 35 or 65 — won’t just add life to your ledger. It’ll enrich and lighten every year along the way.

DIETARY DECISIONS

1. Eat fresh ingredients grown nearby

The planet’s longest-living communities all have access to food from farms and orchards down the road — that’s to say, within a 10-mile radius of their homes. These ingredients aren’t treated with pesticides or pumped with preservatives; they’re their original nutrient-dense, fiber-rich selves. Sound expensive? So are late-life medical bills.

2. Eat a wide variety of vegetables

So you’ll eat carrots, beets and cucumbers and that’s it. Okay. But if you want to unlock your true longevity potential — and lower your risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to macular degeneration — you need to regularly cycle through the whole menu: cruciferous veggies, dark leafy greens, edible plant stems, roots and marrows.

3. Eat until 80% full

Hara hachi bu is a Japanese saying that translates to “Eat until you’re 80% full.” It’s an alien concept in America, where portion sizes are the biggest in the world and somehow getting larger. But finding your “slightly full” will directly reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke while giving your body more energy and less bloating in the short term.

4. Eat home-cooked family dinners

As the godfather of nouvelle cuisine, Chef Fernard Point, once famously said: “Butter! Give me butter! Always butter!” Restaurants want customers to leave happy, so they use lots of flavor — salt, sugar and fat. It all adds up. According to one study, eating out twice a day increases your chance of an early death by 95%. Cooking is your best bet.

5. Embrace complex carbohydrates

The bread aisle is a starting point for understanding the difference between foods rich in simple carbohydrates (Wonder Bread) and those rich in complex carbohydrates (100% whole-wheat breads). The latter, for instance, rocks a ton of fiber and fuels the body in a sustainable way. Seek out more complex carbs like brown rice, oats and barley.

6. Consider a plant-based diet

You don’t have to give up meat. But you should know that societies full of centenarians don’t eat very much of it. While meat dominates most American meals, it only appears in Blue Zone diets at a rate of five times a month, two ounces per serving. And when it does, it comes sourced from free-range animals that weren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics. . .

Continue reading.

Later in the list:

80. Pick up “forest bathing”

In Japan, shinrin-yoku refers to “forest bathing,” or the act of taking in nature using all of your senses. Recent studies show adults spend 93% of their time indoors, which takes a toll on mental health (“stir crazy” is scientific). But the exact opposite is true for spending time outdoors. A single forest “bath” decreases scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety.

81. Settle down near a body of water

Take a look at a map of the world’s Blue Zones. Each is concentrated along a coastline. Settling down by the sea — in a so-called “blue space” — has been linked to a 17% reduction in mortality rate. One study suggested that living within 250 meters of a seaside environment helps reduce stress levels, with the smell and sounds offering a “wonderful tonic.”

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 7:15 pm

Popper was right about the link between certainty and extremism

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Thomas Costello, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management,  studies the psychology of politics, focusing on ideology, authoritarianism, and radicalism. He writes in Psyche:

Political views are, fundamentally, opinions about the best ordering of society. To paint with the broadest of brushes, progressives are optimists, seeking to plant trees whose shade they may never stand under. Conservatives, by contrast, believe that moving too quickly risks breaking the fragile machinery of society – perhaps irrevocably so. In our view, both of these philosophical positions are logically coherent and, depending on one’s core values, defensible. We hope that this statement registers to most readers as uncontroversial. After all, most progressives can see that some risk accompanies any new, ambitious societal venture, while most conservatives can see that stagnation looms close behind excessive caution.

Regrettably, it is now apparent that reasonable, intellectually charitable discussions between progressives and conservatives are quite scarce in many places – leaving little room for compromise or legislative success. Many people hate those who disagree with them, perhaps seeing no possible route to the other side’s political conclusions other than moral aberrance or callous self-interest. Accompanying this vitriol and anomie, it would seem, is a widespread lack of scepticism toward one’s own political beliefs. Some people are not just confident, but absolutely, 100 per cent certain that their views about how to order society are optimal. For these people, extremism and animosity might seem to be the only logical route. The philosopher of science Karl Popper went so far as to argue that absolute certainty is the foundational component of totalitarianism: if one is sure that one’s political philosophy will lead to the best possible future for humankind, all manner of terrible acts become justifiable in service of the greater good.

We took inspiration from this line of thinking in a recent study of nearly 3,000 people across the United States. As political psychologists, our interests lie in mapping the ‘political mind’ – understanding the ways in which people think and feel about politics, what they want from politics, and how these cognitive, affective and motivational processes shape their behaviour. To get at the nexus between certainty and politics, we asked people a simple question: ‘On a scale of 0 per cent to 100 per cent, how certain are you that your political beliefs are correct?’

We found that 12 per cent of our sample reported being absolutely (100 per cent) certain about their political beliefs on this zero-to-100 scale. Who are these people who say they are absolutely certain? There were not substantial differences in certainty between liberals and conservatives overall, but there was a notable difference between people at the fringes of the political spectrum and everyone else. Absolute certainty was endorsed by 91 of 290 (or 31.4 per cent of) individuals who self-identified as ‘extremely Left-wing’ and by 54 of 133 (40.6 per cent of) individuals who self-identified as ‘extremely Right-wing’. By contrast, only 6.8 per cent of all the other participants reported being absolutely certain – which included participants with only slightly less polarised views (ie, self-identifying as ‘very Left-wing’ or ‘very Right-wing’).

People who identified as politically extreme here are not necessarily members of radical groups that regularly engage in political violence. They are extreme in a relative sense, as compared with norms in the US. Still, these respondents were about five times more likely than others to claim to be absolutely certain about their political views. Extremism and absolute certainty seem to resonate.

Technically speaking, one cannot (rationally) be absolutely certain that the Sun will rise tomorrow – just more than 99.9 per cent certain. Indeed, from a mathematical perspective, being absolutely certain implies that one will not update one’s beliefs whatsoever, even when shown evidence that challenges those beliefs. We can’t be sure that our participants had thought through the rational implications of their absolutism. But the possibility that these people would refuse to change their beliefs under any circumstances generally aligns with a suite of evidence linking ideological extremism to the degree to which people view their political attitudes as superior to others’ attitudes. This belief superiority can lead politically extreme people (on both the Right and Left) to be more intolerant, prejudiced and inflexible towards those who disagree with them.

One popular theory suggests that extremist ideologies – whether on the Left or Right end of the political spectrum – appeal to thinkers who tend to conceptualise the world in unambiguous, black-and-white terms. Indeed, growing evidence shows that ideological extremism is associated with low cognitive flexibility, meaning the ability to adapt to new, shifting or unexpected events and perspectives. What this suggests is that political extremism is related to the cognitive architecture of our brains.

Yet, another popular theory, known as the rigidity-of-the-Right hypothesis, argues that individuals who think of the world as uncontrollable and difficult to understand have a motivational need to adopt political ideologies that foster a sense of order and predictability. Because conservatism offers a sense of certainty by way of its support for current social norms and hierarchies, the theory suggests, Rightists are disproportionately more likely to be cognitively, ideologically and motivationally rigid.

We tested both of these possibilities with our data. The fact that both the ‘extremely Left-wing’ and ‘extremely Right-wing’ expressed absolute certainty about their political views at similar rates supports a link between extreme ideology in general and a black-and-white view of the world. But some of what we found was consistent with the rigidity-of-the-Right hypothesis. For one, when we assessed a characteristic known as dogmatism via a . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 6:53 pm

Ted Gioia’s 10 Rules for Public Speaking

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Ted Gioia’s rules make sense to me:

I learned this craft unwillingly, at least at first—and it was all because of music.

It started at age 13, when I pestered my parents to buy me a record player. There was a sweet little model at nearby Clark’s Drugstore. My highest life goal at the time was to place the turntable near my bed and listen to my favorite songs over and over again.

At first, my parents said no. But I didn’t give up. My mother soon grasped how much I wanted this hi-fi and, shrewdly seizing her leverage, finally agreed that it could be mine—but on one condition. I had to enter a local public speaking contest for high school students.

This was an unsettling proposition. I had no experience in public speaking, and I was just a 9th grader, and one of the youngest in my class—how could I compete with 17 and 18 year olds on an equal footing? I considered saying no, but I desperately wanted that record player.

So I worked hard on my speech, and when the dreaded day arrived, I stood up in front of a roomful of grownups, and gave my little talk. To my surprise, I took home the prize—and, a few days later, my first turntable. I kept it all the way through college.

Over the next few years, I entered—and won—a few more speech competitions. And then I was confronted with real life public speaking demands. I won a college scholarship from a business group, but to collect the money I had to talk to a huge auditorium full of people at their annual convention. I walked up on stage and gave a joke-filled speech that was almost a comedy monologue. It had an amazing effect—once again, with an audience where everyone was more than twice my age. I was such a hit that, over the next 24 hours, I got numerous requests for a copy of my speech.

But the reality was that  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Flawless, Flawless, Flawless || M. Muzychuk vs Kashlinskaya || Chess Olympiad (2022)

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Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Chess, Games, Video

The Most Successful Scientific Theory Ever: The Standard Model

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Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Science, Video

The Big Red One: A ferment

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The Big Red One here refers not to the famous 1st Infantry Division (aka “The Fighting First”) but to my new ferment:

red cabbage
• red kale
red beet
red onion
red apple
red cayenne peppers
red Russian garlic
• fresh ginger root
• Medjool dates
• chipotle and ancho chiles

I was aiming for 3 liters (two 1.5-liter jars), but on looking at the gathered ingredients, I thought I would exceed that by about a liter, and I was right:

The two large jars are 1.5 liter each, the small jar is 1 liter. The whole batch, once prepared in my biggest bowl, weighed 2,735g (6 pounds), not counting the weight of the bowl, so I used 55g Himalayan pink salt (salt-to-veggie ratio of 2% by weight).

Below is what I did with each ingredient. (The links below are not affiliate links; they’re just meant to be specific and helpful.) It occurs to me that preparing the vegetables would be much easier and faster if I still had my big Cuisinart food processor: slicing and grating the vegetables would be a snap. However, doing it by hand wasn’t all that onerous.

  • red cabbage – quartered and cored it, then I sliced the wedges 1mm thick using my Oxo handheld mandoline (Oxo makes several; link is to the one that I use.)
  • red kale – chopped stems very small, then sliced leaves thin
  • red beet – coarsely grated using my Rösle coarse grater
  • red onion – quartered vertically, then quarters sliced thin with my chef’s knife. (Now that I think about it, I could have used the mandoline, and that may have worked better.)
  • red apple – grated using the Rösle coarse grater
  • red cayenne peppers – sliced in thin cross-sections, using the knife
  • red Russian garlic – peeled (very easy — this garlic’s skin is like a shell and it pops off readily) and then sliced thin using my Oxo garlic mandoline.
  • fresh ginger root – I used about 1/3 of the piece shown, and sliced it thin with my knife; I did not peel it.
  • Medjool dates – pitted and chopped
  • chipotle and ancho chiles – I ground these in my Cuisinart spice & nut grinder

After all the veggies were prepped (sliced or grated or chopped or ground) and in my big bowl, I poured 1/2 cup spring water into my 1-cup measure and stirred in a packet of starter culture. This must hydrate for 10 minutes before use, so I let it hydrate while I mixed and massaged the vegetables.

I added the 55g Himalayan coarse salt to the veggies, and then I massaged and mixed everything by hand, with some vigor and firmness. I made sure the ingredients were well mixed, which required some effort since when I started they were more or less layered in the bowl in the order I had prepared them.

Lesson learned: Mix as I go: add a vegetable or two, then mix that well with everything so far in the bowl. As a result, the mixing at the end will be easy, since I must mix only that last vegetable (in this case, the cabbage) into a well-mixed pile of the earlier ingredients. 

One advantage of using my hands to mix is that I occasionally came across a largish lump of cabbage or onion. When I did, I removed it, sliced it thin with the chef’s knife, and returned the slivers to the bowl.

After 15-20 minutes of mixing and massaging, the vegetables were softened and liquid had pooled in the bottom of the bowl.

At that point I added the culture water and continued to mix and massage for another five minutes to make sure the culture was well distributed throughout the vegetables.

I then packed the two 1.5-liter jars, put the leftover veggies into the 1-liter jar, split the liquid in the bowl among the three jars, and put a fermentation weight into each jar. Then I poured in enough spring water just to cover the weights, and put fermentation airlocks on two of the jars. For the Weck jar, I just rest the lid on top of its gasket. — update: I later realized that the spring water should have been brine.

This should be ready on August 25. Lesson learned: start the next batch before this is completely gone so I don’t have to go without for two weeks.

See also my general reference post on fermenting vegetables.

Update: I really like the Weck 1.5L jar — easy to pack and to unpack — and I’m thinking I’ll get two more, which for me is ideal. Having three of these jars means that I can make a 3-liter batch (using two of the three jars), and then after I’ve consumed the contents of one of the jars, I can wash it and use it and the third jar to make another 3-liter batch, which can ferment while I finish the second jar of the earlier batch.

That way, I will never run out of fermented vegetables, and I can always make a 3-liter batch using Weck 1.5L cylindrical jars and let it ferment while I finish off the already-fermented vegetables in the third Weck jar.


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Outcome

I refrigerated the batch after two weeks and have been enjoying it. Very tasty with a little spiciness from the cayenne peppers — not too much, just some warmth. Very good taste. I eat about 1/2 cup a day, with a meal or as a snack.

And the fermented red cayenne pepper sauce also turned out excellent.

19 Sept 2022 – Just had another bowl after a brisk (3.4mph) walk. I have about 3/4 cup with 2 tablespoons hemp hearts poured over it. Really tasty and refreshing, quite apart from health and digestive benefits. Today I had my first serving from the last jar, the 1.5-liter jar on the right in the photo above. I’ll probably make something like this again once I’m close to finishing this batch.

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 12:54 pm

The Weight Loss Program That Got Better with Time

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Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 10:19 am

When you don’t hear what your body is telling you

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Ijeoma Oluo has a very interesting post on her experience in being body-deaf (the way some people are tone-deaf). And the comments to the article are also interesting. For example, I had not known that body-deafness is common among those who suffer from ADHD. Olumo writes:

It starts with the world’s most boring mystery.

Last week, in the middle of the night, I found myself doubled over in unbearable pain. Again. It was radiating up my back and wrapping around my ribcage. I had fallen asleep feeling fine and then woke up in agony. The pain didn’t subside for hours. After the pain meds didn’t work, pacing the floor didn’t work, sedatives didn’t work – I started to panic. Then I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

This was the second time in about a week or so that I’d experienced this sort of attack. And it was a pain I had remembered cropping up every few weeks for many years. I try to avoid googling body ailments because I always come out of such internet sessions hyperventilating, convinced I’m dying of cancer (find me a google search for a body ailment that doesn’t end in cancer and I’ll name my next pet after you). But I was desperate, and I knew that if this was happening to me with such frequency then it must be happening to other people as well and surely at least one of these people has found a solution.

I remembered that I had eaten the same meal from the same restaurant that I had eaten at the last time this attack of back pain happened. So I wondered if maybe it was some sort of allergic reaction that somehow caused back pain. Starting with that premise was a smart move because a search for “can certain foods cause back pain” quickly turned up an option for back pain associated with stomach upset. My searches said that sometimes stomach pain is felt through the back, and often is associated with IBS.

I knew almost nothing about IBS but further searches had my symptoms line up quite neatly with IBS (type C). I’ve had at least 20 years of digestive issues that I’ve regularly either written off as just having a “weird body” or decided that people who poop more than once a week are the weird ones. That’s sort of beside the point though, because I still need to see a doctor for a more firm diagnosis.

So why am I writing this?

I’m writing this because as I finished eating breakfast this morning, my back started hurting again. My immediate thoughts were, “Oh did I sleep weird?” “Was my posture that bad last night when I was watching tv in bed?” But the ache in my back wasn’t a sharp pain, it was the radiating, throbbing pain I’d had just last week. I looked down at the remains of my breakfast: Coffee with oat milk creamer, a bagel with butter, cantaloupe with yogurt – the really good full fat with added cream kind.

I’m lactose intolerant. My mom, sister, and brother are as well. My two sons are. With the addition of a partner who is also lactose intolerant I have often marveled at how in this household I’m the only one who can seem to indulge in dairy (within reason) without paying much of a price outside of some gas. I’ve had to pick my kids up from school early because the milkshake they begged for the night before had kept them in the bathroom the first two periods of school the next day. When I was their age I too used to have horrible stomachaches after eating dairy that left me pretty incapacitated for hours. But over the years that had faded to an extent that really surprised me.

As I stared at my breakfast and felt the pain radiating up my back I realized that I was likely experiencing stomach pain. I closed my eyes and tried hard to concentrate on my body. The feeling of unease that was filling me. Was that anxiety, my old friend? Yes. But behind that it was….nausea? Yes, that might be what nausea is to me today.

It might seem weird to have to sit and concentrate to figure out if you feel nauseous or not but as I realized that I was probably experiencing nausea it all clicked into a long, familiar pattern in my relationship with my body, especially with my digestive system. It doesn’t exist.

The relationship, that is. Pretty sure my digestive system hasn’t gotten up and walked away (although if it did, I likely wouldn’t have noticed).

The first time I passed out due to low blood sugar was in the first grade. It was certainly not the last. Years of iron supplements, vitamins, doctor recommendations, nothing helped. By the time I hit high school I was swooning like I was a white maiden in a Jane Austen novel who had just been told that we could only afford 5 household servants due to our now “reduced circumstances”.

There was about a 10 year period of time between  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 10:13 am

Boar-bristle brushes are great — and the Lupo razor is pretty nice as well

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Yesterday’s shave with my Omega 21762 reminded me how very nice boar-bristle brushes can be, so I brought out my old favorite, the Omega Pro 48 (10048), to enjoy some more boar-brush pleasure. Applying the lesson learned yesterday, I again took my time loading the brush, again going for a degree of overloading (at least, a bit more than I customarily do), and I was again rewarded with a luscious lather.

Meißner Tremonia’s Warm Woods has a fragrance that to my nose is very like the fragrance of Saint Charles Shave’s Woods. Perhaps there’s some standard “Woods” scent profile. At any rate, though I cannot describe the fragrance, I like it, and I agree that it’s a warm fragrance. And MT’s lather is always excellent.

The RazoRock Lupo (here on a Tradere handle) is a fine razor. It has a lot of blade feel and is quite efficient, but it is also not inclined to nick and I would rate it as very comfortable. I don’t like the rounded ends because they make it impossible to stand the razor on its side, but I’ve been told that that problem has been corrected: the ends now are flat.

Three passes did what very efficient and very comfortable razors do: very efficient = totally smooth result; very comfortable = a pleasurable shave with no damage done at all.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Woods with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m all set for the day.

The tea this morning will be Murchie’s Baker Street Blend, once I return from my fasting blood draw: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 8:15 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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