Last summer, a friend recommended that I look for bookshelves at the local university’s surplus store. I did, and found that they had a whole bunch of excellent, solid-wood bookshelves on sale. I bought three: two full-height (shown) and one half-height. 2 weeks ago
We made some Soylent with oat flour instead of maltodextrin. It tastes like you’re drinking cardboard—which is actually quite an improvement.
Then we tried a variation that used 1 part coconut oil to 2 parts olive oil, as opposed to olive oil alone. That was quite a lot better. Previous Soylents had a certain disgustingness about them, and this version got rid of almost all of that.
It’s extremely filling. 1 month ago
What’s this about Aristotle’s “inability to conceptualize temporality”? 1 month ago
It’s making me misanthropic right now. And I don’t see any reporters around here doing a story on that. 1 month ago
Good point! Wikipedia says that chest hair sometimes doesn’t even start growing until a man is in his 20s, but doesn’t give a source.
Here’s a 1951 paper that says:
It is not unusual for a man to have only a few straggling chest hairs at twenty and
be well endowed with a hirsute mat at forty. …
A study of adult patterns of body hair presents, therefore, a number of
observational problems …
With only 21 subjects, and similar weaknesses in the other data cited by Dr. Alias, this sounds like a newspaper overreporting the significance of a scientific hypothesis. 1 month ago
Googling for hirsutism intelligence correlation turned up only this newspaper article and references to it.
In a paper published ten years later by Dr. Alias, he writes:
“Among 21 Caucasian men (aged 22-31, mean 25.7), the IQs of men with body hair ratings of 6 or more were higher (P <0.05) than those of the rest, but the entire sample failed to show statistically significant correlation between body hair ratings and IQs, demonstrating the complexity. The two men with the lowest body hair ratings were among the highest in IQ."
The paper goes on to speculate about varying amounts of androgen receptors and enzymes in different places in people’s bodies, which would produce varying effects depending on the quantity of androgens produced. In other words, it’s complicated (as well as speculative). 1 month ago
The newspaper article says that the study author’s last name is “Alias”, so naturally I suspected that the newspaper had been taken in by a joke, especially given that the finding is the sort of thing that encourages links and titters. I did some googling, and found that indeed lots of people had linked to this newspaper article, but the actual study was nowhere to be found.
However, the study author appears to be a real clinical psychiatrist in St. Louis, Missouri, originally from Kerala. He offers contact information at the end of a discussion here, and even offers to send copies of his papers.
The newspaper article might have reported on a presentation at a conference, not a study that was published or peer-reviewed. It was called “A Statistical Association Between Liberal Body Hair Growth and Intelligence,” noted here. Dr. Alias has a long-running interest in the effects of androgens, as suggested by more of his research papers here.
His comment in the discussion above suggests that there won’t be much correlation between body hair and intelligence in people from ethnic groups that don’t have much body hair, because the effect he’s proposing has to do with varying amounts of the receptors and enzymes for androgens in the skin and in the brain. 1 month ago
I thought the B♭ Invention would be a lot harder than the A minor Invention because of all the 32nd notes, but I’ve learned the first eleven measures and have found it very easy going so far. The music seems to have a naturally slow and easy tempo, and the counterpoint is not tricky or complex.
Plan: Maintain my slow pace of one measure a day, five days a week. I’ll be taking off for a vacation next week, so I might not have access to a keyboard. I should be able to play the whole thing from start to finish by June 1. 1 month ago
I learned the 2-Part Invention in A minor, and have explored many ways of playing it, and can play it expressively, but I have yet to play it without making a mistake. The best I’ve done is two small mistakes.
It might help if I got a keyboard stand to hold the keyboard at the right height. I’ve always played it at an awkward height, either too high or too low. 1 month ago
Interesting comments above about seeing body hair as an adult trait, and not seeing a lack of body hair as feminine.
I understand body hair to be mostly a trait of adult white men. White women have much less body hair than white men, and most people of other races, of both genders, have hardly any body hair except for pubic hair. I think it varies a lot by ethnicity: men of ethnic groups from around the Mediterranean Sea tend to be hairy, as well as the Ainu, a small ethnic group in Japan, and various other ethnicities here and there.
It’s called androgenic hair because it’s mostly men who have it, though the term ignores the fact that it’s mostly a racial or ethnic trait (a little like “lactose intolerance”).
I understand that the reason why (most) humans don’t have body hair is still a scientific mystery. Of 193 primate species, ours is the only one that isn’t covered in fur. There are all sorts of theories about why. A wild but interesting theory is that we descend from apes who lived near water and spent a lot of time wading and swimming in it, and lost the fur for thermodynamic reasons and for streamlining. Here’s a nice video about it.
Another mystery is why shaving became so popular in some cultures. 1 month ago
Chosen by typing:
randrange(154) + 1
into Python. 1 month ago
To start, I memorized the four geologic eons: Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic. They weren’t officially part of the goal, but memorizing those seems like the way to get started.
That was pretty easy. I also memorized the four eras of the Archean eon (they aren’t subdivided into periods, as the rock record isn’t detailed enough to say very much). Somehow, without trying, I also memorized the sequence of periods during the Cenozoic era (just names, not dates or facts). I just tried to write them down in order, and found that I got it right on the first try.
So far, this has been wonderfully satisfying. I’ve come across some major facts about the history of the Earth that I never even knew about before. Here are a few: During the Hadean eon (before about 4 billion years ago), the Earth’s atmosphere had little oxygen and lots of rock vapor. There was life in the Archean (4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago)—mostly anaerobic, as there was still not much oxygen. Only when photosynthesis really got going, in the Proterozoic, did the atmosphere acquire so much oxygen—and that killed off most of the anaerobic life forms.
I did know this fact beforehand: that it took more than a billion years to get from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. Wanting to see that fact in context a little better was the impetus that started me memorizing all these things. Well, that goal has already been achieved. 1 month ago
Here’s the goal: memorize the name, start and end date, and at least one distinctive fact about each geologic era and period.
I’m not bothering with epochs. I just want an idea of the main events in the evolution of life, in what sequence they happened, and roughly how long they took. 1 month ago
My friends are doing very well on Soylent, but I found it moderately sickening, and I wasn’t digesting very much of it (judging by the results in the toilet).
Soylent’s inventor switched the carbohydrate source from all maltodextrin to half maltodextrin, half oat powder. I never liked the idea of using maltodextrin because the glucose chains seem awfully short, and should result in a “sugar rush” followed by a crash (which I think I did experience during the first 24 hours).
We ordered 50 lbs. of oat flour. Next, we have to figure out how to adjust the doses of all the other ingredients, since oats contain a lot more than just carbohydrates. 1 month ago
I’m no marketeer, but I understand that trying to appeal to all people ensures a generally weak appeal, while trying to appeal to some people gives you a chance at appealing strongly enough to get some sales. 2 months ago
The first 24 hours started Sunday night (a few nights ago). I drank three cups and felt high for the next several hours. I had a lot of energy, maybe too much.
My friends only drank a cup at a time, and their batches were mixed with more water than mine. So maybe I drank too much, too quickly. I slowed down to one or two cups at a time, and felt very good all day Monday.
My friends’ one-day batches lasted them about three days, but I went through mine in less than 24 hours. I ended up eating regular food for the next couple days until we got together again to make the next batch—a slight nuisance, since I had eaten everything in my refrigerator before starting on the Soylent.
My friends reported that they didn’t like the flavor, and were looking for ways to improve it. I didn’t mind the flavor of mine. We made another day’s worth for each of us. I tried adding as much water as they did, and now I think it tastes worse. Not awful, just not something to sip on with pleasure. I gulped down a cup. 2 months ago
I’ll know that in 30 days.
Seriously, I’m sure I will miss food. But some regular food is allowed.
I’m very low on cash right at the moment, I suspect that a lot of my difficulties with concentration in grad school have been due to nutritional deficiencies brought on by stress, and it’s the end of the semester so I’m time-pressured as usual. So, I’m glad for the savings in time and money, and hoping for some extra energy and mental focus. Hopefully that will more than make up for the lost pleasures of eating the old-fashioned way. 2 months ago
Two friends and I have bought all the nutrients necessary for human life, in the form of chemical powders, and begun mixing them up into a daily drink—called Soylent. We got the idea and the recipe from the first person to experiment with this, Rob Rhinehart, at http://soylent.me/.
The plan is to eat Soylent about 90% of the time, and regular food only socially.
Here’s a picture of the first day’s batch: theoretically the amount needed for one person for one day, but actually it seemed to satisfy for two or three days. 2 months ago